The world heritage areas of the West Norwegian Fjords and the Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska face many of the same challenges. Both are popular cruise destinations and are under threat from the pollution caused by this traffic. Guidelines have been set out in Glacier Bay and demands are put on any that wish to travel into the bay. They have put a limit on how many ships that are allowed to travel through the bay, and all of these ships have to adhere to strict environmental demands.

The West Norwegian Fjords has since the beginning been working for a greener, more sustainable tourist industry. Representatives from the two areas that make up the West Norwegian Fjords work closely with the local communities to ensure a sustainable community development, anchored in the world heritage values of the area.

It is the World Heritage Marine Programme which has facilitated a collaboration such as this one between the Glacier Bay National Park and the West Norwegian Fjords. Dr. Fanny Douvere, a coordinator for UNESCO’s Marine Programme, along with two representatives from Glacier Bay, visited the West Norwegian Fjords in August of 2015. They took part in celebrations of ten years of world heritage both in Geiranger and in the Nærøyfjord during which Dr. Douvere officially opened the first World Heritage House ever in Undredal. In Glacier Bay har allereie funne berekraftige løysningar på fleire av utfordringane som Vestnorsk Fjordlandskap no står føre, og ved eit samarbeid vil ein kunne læra av deira erfaringar og finna løysningar som vil passa for Geirangerfjorden og Nærøyfjorden. 

The Glacier Bay National Park have already found sustainable solutions for several of the challenges now faced by the West Norwegian Fjords, and through the collaboration between the two the latter will be able to learn from their experiences and find solutions that are suitable from the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord.

You can read what UNESCO wrote about the twinning project and the visit to Norway here; Twinning the West Norwegian Fjords and the Glacier Bay National Park.

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