1.         Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands) (Italy) (N 908)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (viii)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/908/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/908/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

IUCN/UNESCO mission in 2007

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of overall management plan 

b) Excessive tourism development

c) Pumice-pit mining 

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/908/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

As requested by the World Heritage Committee (28 COM 15B.26) an IUCN/UNESCO monitoring mission was carried out at the invitation of the State Party. The mission took place from 21 to 28 March 2007, and included a two day visit to the property. The full report of the mission can be accessed on the website of the World Heritage Centre (http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2007). The State Party submitted a report, as requested in Decision 30 COM 7B.23, indicating that mining activities are illegal and should have been stopped, and that management planning was underway. 

The mission noted the effective implementation of the Landscape Territorial Plan since 2004, and the recent efforts made by the State Party to stop illegal pumice mining activity within the property. However, several issues seriously jeopardize the integrity of this property and the values for which it was inscribed in the World Heritage List:

a) Pumice Mining 

Since the 1999 IUCN evaluation mission, the scale of mining has significantly increased on the slopes of Monte Pilato (Lipari), which lie within the property. The Italpomice mine was closed in 2002, but mining has continued at the PUMEX mine. Currently, approximately 40 persons are in full- or part-time employment at the PUMEX mine, and they are concerned about the loss of employment if the mine were to be closed. Re-employment and re-training have been discussed since January 2007 by local and regional authorities. Although the final order to PUMEX to cease all mining activities was issued on 6 March 2007 by the regional authorities, the mission was concerned that some extraction may still be going on at the PUMEX mine in the guise of removal of stockpiled material. The mission reported that as of 24 March, 2007 some type of activity was still occurring at the PUMEX mine. In addition, no deadline has been set for completing the removal of stored material.

Serious objections have been raised by stakeholders and environmental groups, in light of the Committee’s decision (28 COM 15B.26) welcoming PUMEX’s rehabilitation plan for the closed pumice mines. Concerns exist over the environmental damage the implementation of the PUMEX plan would cause. Regional authorities are planning rehabilitation for the closed mining areas, but no official statement has been made. The mission was informed of several proposals by experts and environmental NGOs for rehabilitation of the spoil and conversion of the mining infrastructure into an educational and nature park. It is not clear whether these proposals are being taken into account by the regional authorities, and the mission was not informed of whether a budget had been allocated for rehabilitation of the area. 

b) Management Plan and Supervision

To date, no management plan for the property, or structure for its implementation, exists. Ecosviluppo Eolie received funds to draft a management plan. However, the draft is only a proposal for the management plan, and has been deemed inadequate by the Regional Authority for Cultural Heritage. Although the State Party has committed resources for the development of a management plan by the Regional Authority for Cultural Heritage, a management entity for the property has not yet been designated.

Further concerns relate to the use of scientific information. Funds for scientific studies are available but it is not clear whether these are channelled to priority research areas or used by the regional authorities for the effective management of the World Heritage property. In addition, data gaps exist especially in relation to the implementation of international environmental agreements.

Finally, the mission noted that the complex, often overlapping and uncoordinated governance makes it difficult to manage the property in an integrated and effective manner. Positive signs now come from the regional authorities who are currently collaborating in unprecedented ways. The Regional Authority for Territory and Environment is interested in creating a Regional Park managed by an independent entity. In addition, the environmental NGO, Legambiente, has proposed a draft regulatory framework to create a Regional Park encompassing all the islands. Given the rather frequent changes in political party governance and the communication and integration difficulties among and across government levels, a Regional Park with its separate management agency and stronger regulatory protection, could help counter these limitations.

Lipari Reserve: The island of Lipari is the only one to lack formal protection, as it still does not have legal Reserve status. However, the new Lipari Reserve is planned to be instituted in June 2007, and its proposed boundaries have been redrawn to exclude the mining zones and protect other areas. The previously proposed boundaries, which are also those of the World Heritage property, included the pumice mines within Zone A (Reserve). Neither IUCN nor UNESCO had been informed about the proposed boundary modifications as requested by the Operational Guidelines. The mission considers the redrawing of the boundaries as a positive step taken to ensure the protection of the areas beyond the pumice mines; however the State Party will need to legalise these boundaries and submit a proposal for a boundary modification of the World Heritage property in line with the Operational Guidelines

Infrastructure Development: The World Heritage Centre and IUCN were informed of possible hotel developments as well as plans for the construction of an airport on Lipari. However, the hotel proposals were rejected in December 2006 as they did not adhere to the provisions of the Landscape Territorial Plan. Similarly, the proposal for an airport does not conform to the Landscape Territorial Plan, and seems to be limited by the topography of the island.

A serious new concern arose during the mission in relation to the proposed significant expansion of the Port of Lipari. The new port aims to accommodate large cruise ships, which could bring up to 2,000 visitors per ship. Port development, seawall construction, and cruise ship presence do not come under the restrictions of the Landscape Territorial Plan or any other regulatory framework. While the port and ships do not directly affect the World Heritage property, the indirect effects of increased visitation could be substantial. There may also be proposals for ports on the other islands of which the mission team was not aware. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.24

The World Heritage Committee,

1.Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B.Add,

2.Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.23, adopted as its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3.Welcomes the positive activities undertaken by the State Party, in particular, the development of clear boundaries for the proposed Lipari Reserve and closer collaboration between the two relevant regional authorities;

4.Notes with concern that the PUMEX rehabilitation plan for the mining area is likely to threaten the integrity of the property, and that the World Heritage status is not taken into account in this document;

5.Notes with serious concern the conservation and management issues affecting the outstanding universal value and integrity of the property as assessed by the March 2007 World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission, in particular the lack of a management plan and management structure, continued mining activity at the PUMEX site within the World Heritage property, the lack of a deadline for completion of stockpiled material removal, as well as the lack of regulatory and other mechanisms to control port developments and coastal infrastructure;

6.Urges the State Party to implement the following key recommendations of the March 2007 mission immediately:

    a)Stop all mining extractive activity in areas within and adjacent to the World Heritage property, and prohibit new mines from being opened;

     b)Set a deadline for removal of stockpiled pumice material;

     c)Prepare a Management Plan making use of the most updated scientific data available and including the identification of funding resources to implement it, as well as staffing, monitoring, and awareness-raising; 

     d)Designate an appropriate management entity and ensure appropriate funding;

     e)Undertake a thorough and comprehensive environmental impact assessment of the proposed enlargement of the port of Lipari, including an analysis of the impact on the World Heritage property by cruise ships;

     f)Institute a science-based project of vegetation restoration using native plants and a sound, creative plan for conversion of the mining infrastructure to serve educational and ecotourism needs, in conjunction with a programme of reemployment and/or retraining of the affected mining workers;

     g)Ratify the redrawn boundaries for the proposed Lipari Reserve and submit a proposal for a corresponding boundary modification of the World Heritage property in line with the Operational Guidelines;

     h)Carefully consider the creation of a Regional Park for all the Aeolian Islands; and

     i)Consider, in light of the availability of updated scientific data on the islands' natural values, to submit a re-nomination of the World Heritage property to include additional natural criteria and to protect important coastal and marine habitats;

7) Requests the State Party to submit by 1 February 2008 a progress report including all issues indicated above for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session in 2008, at which the Committee will consider the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger if the State Party does not take effective measures to address the key recommendations of the 2007 monitoring mission and to prevent the loss of the outstanding universal value and integrity of this property.