1.         Nahanni National Park (Canada) (N 24)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1978

Criteria  (vii)(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/24/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/24/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Mining and mineral exploration;

b) Oil and gas exploration.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/24/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

The State Party of Canada submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property on 31 January 2006. As requested by the Committee in Decision 28 COM 15B.24, this report provides updated information on the mining development proposal by Canadian Zinc Corporation (CZN) at Prairie Creek, upstream from the World Heritage property, and in particular on a pending court decision related to a judicial review concerning the granting of a water licence for a proposed pilot plant and enlarged underground works. Canada’s Federal Court heard the case on 30 August 2005 and ruled on 20 December 2005 that the water licence should be issued with certain modifications. The State Party report indicates that the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (MVLWB) is likely to re-issue the permit soon. CZN plans to move ahead with the mining development project, which includes enlarging the underground workings and processing some ore on site in a pilot plan.

According to the State Party report, there are two other matters of concern with regard to the CZN mine at Prairie Creek. First, CZN applied to MVLWB to re-open an abandoned winter road into the mine. On 6 May 2005, the Northwest Territories’ Supreme Court overruled a previous MVLWB ruling, stating that the road project does not have to follow the environmental assessment processes in place today. However, MVLWB will still have to hold consultations with First Nations and Parks Canada before issuing such a permit. Second, CZN applied for an amendment to their Land Use Permit to seek approval to expand the extent of the drilling programme on their property. Following an environmental assessment of the project, a report issued on 23 December 2005 recommends approval of the project, with mitigation measures. This report is awaiting Government approval.

The State Party also reported that North American Tungsten has re-opened the CanTung mine on the Flat River, again upstream from the World Heritage property, and that other activities related to mining and mineral exploration take place in the South Nahanni watershed around the property. In Section II of the 2005 Periodic Report for the property, the State Party elaborated on the potential adverse impacts of both the CZN and CanTung mines on the property. The main concern is the water quality in the park because of the close upstream location of both mines on direct tributaries to the South Nahanni River. The mining developments may also have adverse impacts on transboundary wildlife such as grizzly bears and Dall’s sheep. In addition, the re-opening of the abandoned winter road may degrade areas such as the North Nahanni Karst that has long been proposed for inclusion in the park. On 8 July 2005, a well-known expert on karst hydrogeology submitted a letter to the World Heritage Centre and IUCN explaining how the proposed CZN mine and road could contaminate the surface and groundwater in the South Nahanni watershed, including the World Heritage property. On 26 July 2005, CZN submitted a response, concluding that in the company’s view the further development of the Prairie Creek mine and road will not in any way endanger the South Nahanni River or the World Heritage property. Despite this response, IUCN remains very concerned that, through downstream effects, the various mining, mineral, oil and gas exploration activities around the property, including the CZN mine and road, could have major adverse cumulative impacts especially on the water quality and, thus, integrity of the World Heritage property.

Concerning the previously reported proposed expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve, the State Party reports that a feasibility study is expected to be completed by autumn of 2006, with an agreement on expanded park boundaries to follow within one year. This initiative is proceeding through the Deh Cho First Nations land claims process and the Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy. A significant portion of the South Nahanni watershed has been withdrawn from further industrial development pending the outcome of this process. As noted in Resolution #8 of the 8th World Wilderness Congress, held in Anchorage, Alaska from 30 September to 6 October 2005, both the Deh Cho First Nations and the Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy have called for the proposed expansion. The congress delegates expressed their support for expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve to protect the entire South Nahanni watershed and the karstlands of the Ram Plateau and called on the Government of Canada to expand the park reserve. Considering the mounting pressures around the property and that there is no established buffer zone around the property, this initiative is welcomed and the Government of Canada is encouraged to proceed with the process leading to the approval of this expansion.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 11B

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/11B,

2. RecallingDecisions 29 COM 11 A.4 and 29 COM 11 A.5 adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Noting proposals for changes to the nomination dossiers for some World Heritage properties in North America,

4. Approves the Statements of significance for the World Heritage properties in North America as included in Annex I of Document WHC-06/30.COM/11B;

5. Notes the changes to the names as indicated in Document WHC-06/30.COM/8B, and further notes the adjustments to natural heritage criteria concerning geological values, as indicated in Document WHC-06/30.COM/8D and decides to also change the name of Redwood National Park to Redwood National and State Parks;

6. Encourages the State Party of Canada to put forward extensions to Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks and Wood Buffalo National Park, pursuant to Canada's Tentative List for World Heritage Sites (2004);

7. Encourages Canada and the United States of America to submit any outstanding documentation related to World Heritage properties, as soon as possible;

8. Recommends that Canada and the United States of America continue, in cooperation with other Committee members, States Parties, the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre to explore, as appropriate, the potential for developing guidelines for management plans and principles for evaluating visual impacts for activities in and adjacent to World Heritage properties;

9. Encourages Canada and the United States of America to continue their strong collaboration and to consider how to enhance collaboration with the State Party of Mexico in matters of shared interest for natural and cultural heritage.

 

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.22

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decisions 27 COM 7B.16 and 28 COM 15B.24, adopted at its 27th (Paris, 2003) and 28th (Suzhou, 2004) sessions respectively,

3. Notes with concern that the various mining, mineral, oil and gas exploration activities around the property could have major adverse cumulative impacts on the integrity of the property;

4. Encourages the State Party of Canada to proceed with the expansion of Nahanni National Park to protect the entire South Nahanni watershed and the karstlands of the Ram Plateau;

5. Requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre and IUCN informed of the mining developments around the property and any other important changes in the state of conservation of the property.