UPDATE 23 July 2009
A note from Sabah’s Minister of Tourism:
After being voted into the second round, experts appointed by the organisers did not pick Sipadan to go into the final round of voting. Sipadan was beaten by Galapagos (Ecuador), Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Maldives and Jeju (South Korea). Sipadan is a unique creation of God, but God also created other natural wonders in other parts of the world. Thanks for your support.
Sipadan Island, pride of Sabah and of course Malaysia, and arguably the world’s top dive destination has been shortlisted as one of the contenders to make the New7Wonders of Nature list, which seeks to determine the world’s top seven “clearly defined natural sites that have neither been created by nor significantly altered by humans for aesthetic reasons.”
Sipadan is Malaysia’s only oceanic island, rising 600m from the seabed. It was formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcanic cone. This took thousands of years to develop. Rarely seen diving sights are a common occurence in Sipadan: eg, schools of greenback turtles & big-eye trevally in tornado-like formations.
We will be up against heavyweights such as:
(i) the Galapagos Islands, famed for their vast number of endemic species and was visited by Charles Darwin, contributing to the his theory of evolution by natural selection.
(ii) Bora-Bora Island, some say this is the world’s most beautiful island.
(iii) Rock of Gibraltar
(iv) Mount Everest
(v) Grand Canyon
(vi) Ayers Rock
(vii) The Amazon
(viii) Black Forest
(ix) Niagara Falls
(x) Danube River
(xi) Dead Sea Lake
(xii) Great Barrier Reef
So as you can see, this is not about being terbilang anymore, this is firmly in tersohor realm, so every vote counts.
The organisers are the very same ones who organised the wildly successful New7Wonders of the World campaign, where more than 100 million votes were cast.
It is likely that this new campaign would receive at least the same level of attention, bringing Sipadan to a much bigger audience.
According to the organisers, the purpose of the campaign is to
significantly raise awareness of the incredible variety and beauty of nature around us. As our slogan says, “If we want to save anything, we first need to truly appreciate it!” This is something that is very important – more awareness and more tourism income means that these natural treasures can be better preserved for future generations.
Voting is open to the world, hence, it is imperative that we do our part to help Sipadan make it as far as possible.
So far, Sipadan has made it to the second phase (out of 4), where 261 national and multinational nominees from 222 countries fight it out in order to be among the top 77 by 7th July 2009 – and qualify for the third phase.
In the third phase, the New7Wonders of Nature Panel of Experts, led by Professor Federico Mayor (former Director-General of UNESCO) will go through the top 77 and choose the 21 finalists, which will be announced 21st July 2009.
General criteria to make the top 21:
1. Unique beauty;
2. Diversity and distribution;
3. Ecological significance (in terms of either stand-alone eco-systems and/or their significance for human beings);
4. Historical legacy (relation that human beings and/or indigenous populations have or have had with the site);
5. Geo-location (even distribution of the 21 Official Finalists between all continents). That means Sipadan has to be the best in Asia.
In the fourth and final phase, the 21 will again be put to popular vote. Voting will continue throughout 2010 and into 2011. During this period, the New7Wonders World Tour will visit each finalists, in order for them to present themselves to worldwide voters.
The final 7 will be announced sometime 2011.
Each human in the world is entitled to one vote in phase 1, 2 and 4.
Voting is online: www.new7.wonders.com/nature
Spread the news far and wide!
… since it’s only for 6 months, I suppose the person who gets the job doesn’t need to bring in too much luggage …