IPS supports Flow Country World Heritage Site Nomination


The Flow Country World Heritage Site (proposed)

The International Peatland Society Executive Board offer their support to the Flow Country World Heritage Site Working Group and the Peatlands Partnership in their endeavours to inscribe the Flow Country as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS).

The International Peatland Society (IPS) is the only organisation promoting the responsible management and wise-use of all peatlands that incorporates individual, corporate and institutional members. With more than 1400 members from all over the world, the IPS plays a leading role in addressing contemporary issues including conservation and restoration of peatlands.

The IPS Executive Board unanimously support the peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland nomination as a candidate for WHS inscription. The IPS Executive Board agrees with the International Mire Conservation Group’s recent comparative study and conclusion that The Flow Country is “the best peatland of its type in the world”. We hope that the support from a prominent international society like ours further demonstrates the global significance of the Flow Country peatlands. The IPS Executive Board are very pleased that the Working Group, established in 2017 by the Peatlands Partnership to take this proposal forward, is highly motivated and capable, and will be following its progress with interest.

The Peatland Partnership formed in 2006, has delivered several successful projects including the £10.6 million Heritage Lottery funded “Flows to the Future Project”.  Whilst this is currently in its fifth and final year, the project has helped lay the foundations of a future Flow Country WHS by installing a significant visitor infrastructure both on and off site, as well as significantly restoring a large area of the Flows from forest back to bog. The Partnership’s history of collaboration with local communities, as well as its wide membership of professional public and private sector organisations, makes it well-suited to delivering the Flow Country World Heritage Site Project.

Our Society understands that the WHS Working Group has a fixed purpose of developing and submitting a Technical Evaluation to the UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in 2019. The balance of expertise and local knowledge on the Flow Country World Heritage Site Working Group should allow for a thorough and appropriate application to the DCMS and we support you wholeheartedly in this work. The Outstanding Universal Value of The Flow Country and the potential opportunities that World Heritage Status might offer, not only to local communities in Caithness and Sutherland, but nationally and internationally as well, will need to be carefully and sensitively presented to garner further support and keep the momentum that now exists behind this initiative growing.

We firmly believe that the Working Group’s aim of attaining WHS status for the Flow Country is a goal well worth pursuing and we gladly offer our support in your endeavours.

Yours faithfully,
For and on behalf of the International Peatland Society.

Gerald Schmilewski          Gilbert Ludwig
President                         Secretary General

Further information: www.theflowcountry.org.uk

Photo: J. Carter (with kind permission of The Flow Country)