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Some iconic World Heritage glaciers will disappear by 2050


50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites are home to glaciers (a total of 18,600 glaciers have been identified in these 50 sites. Covering around 66,000 km2), representing almost 10% of the total glacial area on Earth. They include the highest (next to Mount Everest), the longest (in Alaska). And the last remaining glaciers in Africa, among others, providing a representative overview of the overall state of glaciers in the world.

But a new study from UNESCO, in collaboration with IUCN, shows that these glaciers have been retreating at an accelerating rate since 2000. Due to CO2 emissions, which are raising temperatures. They are currently losing 58 billion tons of ice each year. Which is equal to the combined annual water use of France and Spain, and are responsible for nearly 5%.

New UNESCO data highlight the accelerated melting of glaciers in World Heritage sites. With glaciers in a third of sites set to disappear by 2050. But it is still possible to save the other two thirds. If the rise in global temperatures does not exceed 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial period. This will be a major challenge for COP27.

Only one effective solution: rapidly reduce CO2 emissions

The report concludes that glaciers in a third of the 50 World Heritage sites are doomed to disappear by 2050, regardless of efforts to limit temperature increases. But it is still possible to save the glaciers in the remaining two thirds of the sites if the increase in temperatures does not exceed 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial period.

This report is a call to action. Only a rapid reduction in our CO2 emissions levels can save glaciers and the exceptional biodiversity that depends on them. COP27 will have a crucial role to help find solutions to this issue. UNESCO is determined to support states in pursuing this goal.


According to available data, all glaciers in African World Heritage sites will be gone by 2050, including those in Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kenya.


  • Glaciers of the Protected Areas of the Three Parallel Rivers Park in Yunnan (China) – Number 1 with the highest mass loss compared to (57.2%), it is also the fastest melting glacier on the entire list.
  • Western Tien-Shan Glaciers (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) – have decreased by 27% since 2000.


  • Glaciers of the Monte Perdido Pyrenees (France, Spain).
  • Glaciers of the Dolomites.

Latin America

  • Glaciers of Los Alerces National Park (Argentina) – Second highest mass loss compared to 2000 (45.6%).
  • Glaciers of the Huascarán National Park (Peru) – have decreased by 15% since 2000.

Also Read: Natural farming reduced the cost and increased profit for this farmer of Andhra Pradesh

North America

  • Glaciers of Yellowstone National Park (United States of America).
  • Glaciers of Yosemite National Park (United States of America).
  • Glaciers of the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park (Canada, United States of America) – They have lost 26.5% of their volume in 20 years.


  • The Te Wahipounamu Glacier Site – South West New Zealand (New Zealand) has lost 20% of its volume since 2000.

Faced with this situation, UNESCO called not only to drastically reduce carbon emissions but also to create an international fund for the monitoring and preservation of glaciers, which would support research, promote exchange networks between all parties and stakeholders and implement early warning and disaster risk reduction measures.

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