New Pacific sites gain World Heritage status from UNESCO

Three Pacific sites have been awarded World Heritage status by the cultural arm of the United Nations, UNESCO.

Those sites are Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Kiribati’ s Phoenix Islands and Hawaii’s Papahanaumokuakea.

Bikini was the site of U.S. nuclear bomb testing in the 1940s and 1950s.

UNESCO said the tests had major consequences on the geology and environment of the atoll symbolized the dawn of nuclear age.

The Phoenix Islands conserve one of the world’s largest intact oceanic coral archipelago ecosystems, together with 14 known underwater sea mounts thought to be extinct volcanoes, complete with a staggering variety of marine species.

Bikini Atoll
Bikini Atoll

The Papahanaumokuakea chain of tiny islands and atolls, stretches nearly 2,000 km north-west of the main Hawaiian Islands.

It was declared both a natural and cultural heritage site.

This is because it is one of the world’s largest marine protected areas, and the region is also thought to be the origin of life in native Hawaiian belief.

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