Decision : CONF 201 XII.103-105
The Curonian Spit (Lithuania/Russian Federation)
XII.103 The report provided by the Russian Federation on the status of the proposed oil extraction operation by a Russian enterprise in the Baltic Sea stated that the project documentation relating to the development and exploitation of the oil-field had not yet been received by the Russian Federation Natural Resource Ministry. Furthermore, the report stated that at present no oil was being produced and the oil-field did not have a negative impact on the heritage values of the site. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) had not been carried out. It further stated that the buffer zone of the Russian part of the Curonian Spit includes shipping routes of the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Bay at a distance of 1 km from the coastline, while the oil rig is situated 22 km from the coast. Within the framework of the Russian-Lithuanian Joint Committee, acting under the Agreement of co-operation in the field of environmental protection, signed by the two Governments in June 1999, Lithuania may participate in the development of appropriate environmental protection measures to mitigate the possible impact of the oil production on the natural environment, should the decision to start oil extraction be taken.
XII.104 ICOMOS informed the Bureau that the project, although located 22 km from the site, can be made out from a high point of the Spit. During the ICOMOS-IUCN evaluation mission no mention was made in the documentation of this oil extraction project. ICOMOS pointed out that the potential impact on the site could be catastrophic, and that the strong tides could cause a "black tide" to threaten in particular the Lithuanian part of the Spit. ICOMOS emphasized that effective and extensive measures should be put in place which could come into effect in case of an accident, and that the EIA and protective measures should be carried out jointly by the Lithuanian and Russian authorities.
XII.105 The Bureau took note of the report provided by the Russian authorities and requested the State Party of the Russian Federation to urgently carry out the EIA in collaboration with the Lithuanian authorities. Furthermore, it requested the Russian and Lithuanian authorities to co-operate closely to develop effective and extensive environmental protection measures as a matter of urgency, should oil extraction commence. It requested the State Party of Russian Federation to provide a detailed report on the results of the EIA as well as on progress made in the development of the environmental protection measures by 1 October 2002.