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Committee Decisions

36 COM 7B.24

Virgin Komi Forests (Russian Federation) (N 719)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.25, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3. Deeply regrets that the State Party has not implemented the key recommendations of the UNESCO/IUCN mission, namely to immediately halt the planned gold mine within the property and to reverse the boundary changes which removed the legal protection status of four areas within the property, including the 19.9 square km gold mining site;

4. Expresses its utmost concern that since its 35th session, full-scale gold mining preparatory works have begun within the property;

5.  Reiterates its utmost concern with regard to the boundary changes of the northern component of the property, Yugyd Va National Park (YVNP), which removes the protection status of these areas, and about the approval of a gold mine within the property at Chudnoe;

6. Encourages the State Party to pursue its efforts for the protection of the property as a whole under its initial boundaries in accordance with existing legislation and regulations;

7. Considers that these issues constitute a danger to the property’s Outstanding Universal Value, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention;

8. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to implement the recommendations of the 2010 World Heritage Centre /IUCN reactive monitoring mission;

9. Further reiterates its established policy that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status, which is supported by ICMM’s international policy statement of not undertaking such activities within World Heritage properties, and calls upon the involved mining companies not to proceed with gold mining within the property;

10.  Notes with appreciation the State Party’s positive intention to create an eastern buffer zone, to incorporate the Upper Illych Basin forest within YVNP, and to also upgrade the protection status of PL 350 forest plot, and also considers that the improvement in the protection status of these areas, particularly the Upper Illych Basin forest which links the northern and southern components of the property, will be important for its long-term integrity;

11.  Takes note of the State Party’s intention to submit a boundary modification proposal to the Committee, and further considers that any proposed changes to the boundaries of a World Heritage property should be subject to procedures at least as rigorous as those involved in the nomination of the property and should be considered through the procedure for significant modifications of boundaries, as required under Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines;

12.  Also requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value;

13.  Recommends that all legal issues concerning natural properties in the Russian Federation, which are composed of federal and regional protected areas,  be addressed through a comprehensive national legal framework  for the protection and management of natural World Heritage properties in order to ensure the fulfillment of the State Party's obligations under the Convention and requests the State Party to convene a high-level workshop to assist in developing such a framework, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;

14.  Urges the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, as it was requested by Decision 35 COM 7B.25, a significant boundary modification request containing clarified boundaries of the property and following the recommendations of the 2010 World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission regarding establishment of a buffer zone and including other valuable forest lands and welcomes the efforts made by the State Party to that end;

15.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, describing the progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013. 

Themes: Conservation
States Parties: Russian Federation
Properties: Virgin Komi Forests
Session: 36COM