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Committee Decisions

CONF 205 XI.1

Decision of the Third Extraordinary Session of the World Heritage Committee concerning Kakadu National Park, Australia

The Committee,

(a) Emphasizes the importance of Articles 4, 5, 6, 7 and 11 of the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention. In particular the Committee emphasizes Article 6 (1) which states that:

Whilst fully respecting the sovereignty of the States on whose territory the cultural and natural heritage (...) is situated, and without prejudice to property right provided by national legislation, the States Parties to this Convention recognize that such heritage constitutes a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to cooperate.

(b) Recalls that the twenty-second session of the World Heritage Committee in Kyoto (1998) expressed "grave concern" over the ascertained and potential dangers to the World Heritage cultural and natural values of Kakadu National Park posed by the proposal for uranium mining and milling at Jabiluka;

(c) Notes that the deliberations of the twenty-third session of the Bureau and of the third extraordinary session of the Committee demand the continuous serious consideration of the conditions at Kakadu National Park by the Committee with reference to Section III, in particular Paragraph 86 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage;

(d) Expresses its deep regret that the voluntary suspension of construction of the mine decline at Jabiluka until the twenty-third session of the Committee (requested by the twenty-second session of the Committee) has not taken place;

(e) Is gravely concerned about the serious impacts to the living cultural values of Kakadu National Park posed by the proposal to mine and mill uranium at Jabiluka. The Committee is of the opinion that confidence and trust building through dialogue are crucial for there to be any resolution of issues relating to the proposal to mine and mill uranium at Jabiluka. In particular, a more substantial and continuous dialogue needs to be established between the Australian Government and the traditional owners of the Jabiluka Mineral Lease, the Mirrar Aboriginal people;

(f) Is concerned about the lack of progress with the preparation of a cultural heritage management plan for Jabiluka;

(g) Continues to have significant reservations concerning the scientific uncertainties relating to mining and milling at Jabiluka.