17 March 2021

Cornish Mining World Heritage Site's New Management Plan hailed by UNESCO UK as a world leading example

The Cornish Mining World Heritage Site has released its latest Management Plan, on behalf of the UK Government, to acclaim from UNESCO UK, the United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO who have cited it as a ground-breaking example of World Heritage in action.

The Plan defines how this extensive, internationally important landscape will be cared for, and how the WHS status, and the international profile that Cornwall and west Devon have achieved as a result, will deliver benefits for the communities that live in and around the Site, as well as delivering across a number of critical environmental and sustainability agendas. 

The Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Partnership Board produced the Plan, which has now been formally ‘adopted’ by all of the partner local authorities – Cornwall, Devon County, and West Devon Borough Councils. The Partnership includes these Councils, the National Trust and the Tamar and Cornwall Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and nominees from local Town and Parish Councils. 

Building on the UK’s Government’s global commitment to protect this internationally important landscape, the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Partnership Board and team have developed an innovative approach to linking the agendas of the partner Councils with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, that support ‘people and the planet’. The Plan includes new policies designed to support environmental growth and to help achieve the carbon reduction aspirations of the partner local authorities. 

Julian German, Chair of the Partnership Board, said; “All of the World Heritage Site partner Councils have declared an ambition to work towards reducing carbon emissions to zero over the next 10-20 years. The WHS Management Plan has pioneered a new, cross-cutting response to managing the mining landscapes in ways that support this shared ambition, and wider sustainable development that looks after the needs of both people and the planet.”

Councillor German continues, “The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals define how economic development can be made fairer to all, whilst respecting the environment we depend on. As a World Heritage Site, we want to do everything possible to align our work with the delivery of the climate change mitigation and environmental restoration plans of our local communities and global partners, and increase understanding of how the mining landscapes in the WHS can contribute to climate and ecological resilience whilst maintaining them as important wildlife habitats.” 

The Plan has been praised by the United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO as a ground-breaking example of the use of World Heritage status, and will feature in a forthcoming UNESCO international report as a case study on how UNESCO designated sites can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. The organisation is urging other World Heritage Sites to study the Cornish Mining WHS approach. 

Kate Pugh OBE, Non-Executive Director at UNESCO UK, said: With only ten years until 2030, we must translate the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into substantial actions at the local level. UNESCO World Heritage Sites can serve as champions of the SDGs by bringing together local communities, partners and stakeholders to solve 21st century sustainability challenges, including mitigating flooding and biodiversity loss, and also through addressing deprivation and promoting wellbeing. The Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Management Plan is a world-leading example of an innovative sustainable development approach. Others in World Heritage Sites and elsewhere can learn from how it translates international agreements into coordinated leadership at the local level to enable partners and stakeholders across its ten Areas to undertake concrete action on sustainable development issues. We look forward to seeing how the Plan is translated into practice to make the Site more sustainable for present communities and future generations in the coming years.”

The Plan is available via the Partnership’s website: https://www.cornishmining.org.uk/conservation/maintaining-a-whs/placeholder