The final countdown

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Officials visit and evaluate fossil cliffs

JOGGINS - The preparation work has been done, the Is dotted and the Ts crossed. Now all supporters of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs project can do is wait and hope they pass the test.

JOGGINS - The preparation work has been done, the Is dotted and the Ts crossed. Now all supporters of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs project can do is wait and hope they pass the test.

Joggins will be in the global spotlight beginning Friday when officials from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources will begin a six-day field mission to evaluate the community as a potential UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"We're ready and are really excited to have them come and visit the site. We feel ready and we're extremely proud of what we accomplished to date," Joggins Fossil Institute director Jenna Boon said. "It's fun to show people from all over the world what we have in our back yard."

Boon admitted that while staff are busy putting the final preparations in place, the stress level is much lower now that the field mission is about to begin.

"In terms of our stress level, it's low right now. We're busy, but we know we have a great product and feel that the submission is solid."

Union experts Tim Badman and Ms. Wesley Hill will be in the area from Oct. 19 to 25 to evaluate the nominated property on the ground and discuss the nomination with the relevant national and local authorities, local communities, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders.

Boon said the field team has a busy schedule ahead of them that includes unscheduled time to review the presentations that are provided and take in the Fundy and Joggins experience.

The specific goals of the field mission include becoming familiar with all aspects of the nominated property and double check that the nomination dossier is complete, to review property boundaries and buffer zone boundaries, evaluate the management system and effectiveness, to review actual and potential threats to the property and the nomination with all stakeholders.

The nomination dossier for the Joggins Fossil Cliffs was formally submitted to UNESCO in Paris in January and the field mission is the next step in the evaluation process that has, to date, involved extensive data assembly and an external review of the nomination by independent experts.

The report from the field mission will be examined by the IUCN world heritage panel, which is expected to meet in Switzerland in December to evaluate nominations from around the world.

The results and recommendations are expected to be presented to UNESCO's world heritage committee in either June or July of 2008. That committee makes the final decision on whether Joggins is inscribed as a world heritage site.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: UNESCO, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Joggins Fossil Institute

Geographic location: JOGGINS, Paris, Switzerland

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