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AWA Statement of Concern on the 2022 IUCN Reactive Monitoring Mission Report for Wood Buffalo National Park

July 10, 2023

On June 30, 2023, the Joint World Heritage Centre and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released their report summarizing the state of Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP) based on their Reactive Monitoring Mission (RMM) to the area from August 18 to 26, 2022.

The report concludes that “most threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property as identified by the 2016 remain valid today.” A list of 17 recommendations was included which require action to halt and reverse these negative trends and protect the ecological values of the park as well as the Peace River, Athabasca River, and the Peace-Athabasca Delta.

Despite the dire assessment, Wood Buffalo National Park was not recommended for inclusion on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.

AWA’s view is that recent events following the August 2022 RMM should demonstrate to the Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN that WBNP meets the conditions for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger. In particular, the approval given by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to Suncor for the expansion of the Fort Hills oil sands mine, which occurred in September 2022 and was not made aware to the mission and, therefore, was not considered in the mission report.

AWA submitted the following Statement of Concern to the IUCN, outlining the potential implications of the approved expansion of Suncor’s Fort Hills oil sands mine into the McClelland Lake Wetland Complex on the Outstanding Universal Values (OUV) of WBNP and the Peace-Athabasca Delta (PAD).

Click the link below to view AWA’s full Statement of Concern:


For more information, please contact:

Phillip Meintzer, AWA Conservation Specialist,

I needed something to pare the fat off my soul, to make me grateful again for being alive. And I knew… There is nothing like a wilderness journey for rekindling the fires of life.
- Colin Fletcher
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