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Decision : 31 COM 8B.12
Nomination of natural, mixed and cultural properties to the world heritage list - Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-07/31.COM/8B and WHC-07/31.COM/INF.8B.2,

2. Inscribes the Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, Republic of Korea, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (vii) and (viii):

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes is a coherent serial property comprising three components.  The unequalled quality of the Geomunoreum lava tube system and the exhibition of diverse and accessible volcanic features in the other two components demonstrate a distinctive and important contribution to the understanding of global volcanism.

Criterion (vii): The Geomunoreum lava tube system, which is regarded as the finest such cave system in the world, has an outstanding visual impact even for those experienced with such phenomena. It displays the unique spectacle of multi-coloured carbonate decorations adorning the roofs and floors, and dark-coloured lava walls, partially covered by a mural of carbonate deposits.  The fortress-like Seongsan Ilchulbong tuff cone, with its walls rising out of the ocean, is a dramatic landscape feature, and Mount Hallasan, with its array of textures and colours through the changing seasons, waterfalls, display of multi-shaped rock formations and columnar-jointed cliffs, and the towering summit with its lake-filled crater, further adds to the scenic and aesthetic appeal.

Criterion (viii): Jeju has a distinctive value as one of the few large shield volcanoes in the world built over a hot spot on a stationary continental crust plate.  It is distinguished by the Geomunoreum lava tube system, which is the most impressive and significant series of protected lava tube caves in the world and includes a spectacular array of secondary carbonate speleothems (stalactites and other decorations), with an abundance and diversity unknown elsewhere within a lava cave.  The Seongsan Ilchulbong tuff cone has exceptional exposures of its structural and sedimentological characteristics, making it a world-class location for understanding Surtseyan-type volcanic eruptions.

The property is well managed and resourced, with a management plan in place for the period 2006-2010 and resources for its implementation.  Key management issues include avoiding potential agricultural impact on the underground environment and managing the high number of visitors to the property.  There is potential for further extension of the property to include other significant lava tube systems and volcanic features of Jeju.

4.   Commends the State Party for the quality of the comparative studies carried out in support of the nomination and for obtaining widespread support and commitment for the nomination from all key stakeholders including international expert organisations;

5.   Also commends the State Party for establishing the Jeju Island Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO MAB Programme, and urges the State Party to manage the World Heritage property in close collaboration with this Biosphere Reserve;

6.   Recommends the State Party to:

      a) Complete at the earliest opportunity the purchase of private land within the nominated property;

      b) Ensure effective management of the high number of visitors to the nominated property and any commercial activities associated with it;

      c) Implement strict measures in the buffer zone of the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System to prevent agricultural practices on the surface impacting the underground environment;

      d) Give further consideration and attention to the management of the significant volcanic features in the wider area of Jeju, and to the management of the biodiversity values of Jeju; and

      e) Consider the potential for extension of the nominated property to include other significant lava tube systems and volcanic features on Jeju;

7.   Notes that volcanic systems are relatively well represented on the World Heritage List and that there is increasingly limited potential for further inscriptions of volcanic sites on the World Heritage List, and recommends States Parties considering further nominations of volcanic sites to take into account the principles suggested in section 5.2 of the IUCN evaluation of Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes.

 Decisions Report
Context of Decision
Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: Republic of Korea
Year: 2007
Decision Code: 31 COM 8B.12