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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

23 November 2000

Australia gives youth a voice in World Heritage issues

The Pacific World Heritage Youth Forum was opened in Cairns today where delegates are focusing on ways young people can help conserve places of outstanding heritage value.

Hosted by Australia in conjunction with next week's World Heritage Committee meeting, the World Heritage Youth Forum brings together approximately 100 students and teachers from 17 Pacific nations, including East Timor.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said he was pleased Australia could host the Youth Forum, and looked forward to the contribution its delegates would make to ongoing efforts to protect world heritage areas.

"Hosting the Youth Forum is another example of Australia's commitment to the global conservation of world heritage places," Senator Hill said.

"The forum follows Australia recently taking the lead in establishing an Asia Pacific Focal Point for World Heritage Managers, with a goal of coordinating efforts to promote world heritage conservation in the Asia-Pacific region."

Senator Hill said that the Asia-Pacific Focal Point, coordinated by Australia, would provide a network for World Heritage managers in the region, and a source of technical advice and assistance.

"In the short time it has been operating, the Asia Pacific Focal Point has already made a significant contribution to world heritage conservation in the region," he said.

"Through the Focal Point, the Australian Government is assisting Thailand in progressing additional nominations to the World Heritage List and is helping Vietnam in the management of the Halong Bay World Heritage Property. We are also working with the UNESCO Pacific office on heritage issues in Western Samoa."

In Papua New Guinea, Australia is helping with possible World Heritage nominations of Kuk, an ancient agricultural site in the central highlands; and Bobongara, an archaeological site on the Huon Peninsula which is the location of the oldest human habitation site in the Pacific outside of Australia.

November 23, 2000
Contact: Matt Brown (Senator Hill's office) 0419 693515

Commonwealth of Australia