UNESCO has confirmed the World Heritage Committee's decision of July 2007 to request the authorities of the Russian Federation to halt the planned construction of a tower in the Historic Centre of St. Petersburg as the project threatens the outstanding universal value of this property.
During an official visit to Moscow from 6 to 10 December 2007, Francesco Bandarin, Director of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, met the representatives of Gazprom and its affiliate the Social and Business Centre Okhta, as well as the British architectural firm RMJM, which won the competition for the tower. Representatives of the National Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO were also present at the meetings.
During these meetings, Mr Bandarin indicated that alternatives for the design of the tower respecting the value and spirit of this historic city could and should be found, and suggested that Gazprom and the City of St. Petersburg City work in that direction.
Representatives of the Federal authorities told UNESCO that the project to build a tower in the Historic Centre of St. Petersburg was, at this stage, only "an architectural concept." They moreover said that they have received no technical documents from the City of St Petersburg to date.
The World Heritage Centre wishes to assist the Russian authorities in finding a solution which would preserve the outstanding universal value that warranted the inscription of the Historic Centre of St Petersburg on the World Heritage List.
A report on the state of conservation of the property, including details on the Gazprom project, will be examined by the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session in July 2008.