1.         Danube Delta (Romania) (N 588)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1991

Criteria  (vii)(x)

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/588/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1990-1991)
Total amount approved: USD 11,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/588/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Accidental cyanide pollution from mining;

b) Deepwater navigation waterway through the Bystre mouth of the Danube River.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/588/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

The State Party of Romania submitted a report on its navigation systems in the Danube Delta on 3 February 2006. The State Party is responsible for maintaining the navigation conditions on the Sulina Canal. From 1991-1993, navigation on the Sulina Canal was interrupted following the stranding of a ship. The shipwreck was subsequently removed between 2003 and 2005 and the Canal was totally cleaned to allow navigation to be fully restored. Since then, regular dredging activities have taken place. Sulina Canal continues to be the most important international navigation way for the Eastern European countries as it is the only canal built as a deepwater navigation way for maritime ships in the Danube Delta. The State Party of Romania has no plans to build new navigation routes in the Danube Delta.

On 30 January 2006, the State Party of Ukraine submitted a report on the transboundary impacts of the reopening of navigation routes in the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta. After dredging activities had been stopped in the early 1990s, navigation became impossible on both the Bystre and Prorva branches. The State Party of Ukraine reports that the decision to reopen these branches was made on the basis of a comparative study of more than 10 design options. The study concludes that there are no significant transboundary impacts on the river hydrology from phase 1 of the Project, and that any future increase in the scale and magnitude of such impacts is highly unlikely. Other impacts, for example on fish stocks, are expected to be alleviated by proposed mitigation measures.

A trilateral conference held under the aegis of UNESCO and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) from 26 February to 1 March 2006 in Odessa generated a shared vision for the conservation and sustainable development of the Danube Delta. Participants from the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine agreed on a number of activities to be undertaken to achieve the shared vision. In order to monitor progress made so far, a follow up meeting will be held later in 2006.

Following a request by international conventions (including the Ramsar Convention) represented at the conference, the State Party of Ukraine agreed to hold a workshop later in 2006 to present the results of the EIA studies prior to starting phase 2 of the Project on the deepwater navigation waterway through the Bystre mouth. Dredging activities to reopen the Bystre mouth (and possibly also Prorva mouth) are, however, expected to be resumed in May 2006.

UNESCO and IUCN remain concerned about the increasing human pressures on the Danube Delta and the current approach to using the Danube River for navigation because it threatens the last intact river stretches including the integrity of National Parks, Natura 2000 sites, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Ramsar sites and the World Heritage property.

The States Parties of Ukraine and Romania are to be commended for their reports noting that Ukraine’s plans to reopen navigation routes are not expected to have significant transboundary impacts on the Danube Delta and that Romania does not plan any new navigation routes. IUCN noted with some concern that the Republic of Moldova is in the process of constructing a petrol terminal at Gjugjurlesti with potentially significant direct and indirect impacts on the Danube Delta ecosystem. Given the above, the three States Parties are strongly encouraged to develop and implement a Master Plan for the whole of the Danube Delta with a set of shared environmental standards and regulations to ensure and enforce compliance. In this context, IUCN and UNESCO welcome the outcomes of the Odessa conference and encourage the three States Parties to follow up on implementing the agreed activities and to take common decisions on Danube navigation in the International Navigation Commission established under the Bucharest Convention.

With regard to the reopening of the Bystre route, IUCN and UNESCO strongly encourage the State Party of Ukraine to ensure, through an open consultative process, that adequate environmental mitigation measures are put in place.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.24

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.18, adopted at its 29th (Durban, 2005),

3. Notes with concern the increasing human pressures on the Danube Delta and the resultant impacts on the World Heritage property;

4. Encourages the States Parties of the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine to follow up on the shared vision generated at the trilateral conference held in Odessa in 2006 and to implement the activities agreed upon;

5. Strongly encourages the three States Parties to develop and implement a Master Plan for the whole of the Danube Delta with a set of shared environmental standards and regulations to ensure and enforce compliance;

6. Requests the State Party of Ukraine to keep the World Heritage Centre and IUCN informed about the reopening of navigation routes, any actual or potential impacts on the Danube Delta World Heritage property, and the implementation of proposed mitigation measures;

7. Further requests the States Parties of the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine to submit a detailed report by 1 February 2008 on the state of conservation and on the factors affecting the Outstanding Universal value of the property.