1.         Volcanoes of Kamchatka (Russian Federation) (N 765bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1996

Criteria  (vii)(viii)(ix)(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/765/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/765/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission to the property 17 to 21 May 2004.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illegal Salmon fishing; Gold mining; Gas pipeline; Development of a geothermal power station; Forest fires; Boundary changes; Construction of the Asso-Palana road.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/765/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

Following the Committee’s decision and the recommendations by the IUCN/UNESCO mission to the property in May 2004, a report was received from the Ministry for Natural Resources dated 27 January 2005.

The report acknowledges salmon poaching as significant in the specially protected areas of Yuzhno-Kamchatsky Zakaznik, the Natural Parks of Yuzhno-Kamchatsky and Nalychevsky, although remedial environmental protection measures and public awareness programmes have gone someway towards mitigating the problem.  With regard to gold mining, high mining costs and falling world prices are attributed to the complete halt in mining activities within the specially protected natural areas.  As regards the boundary issue, the Kamchatka regional authorities have advised that they do not intend to redefine the boundaries of Bystrinsky Nature Park again since redefinition by a resolution of the Governor of the Region in 1996 effectively excluding gold mining from within these boundaries.  It is reported that a 418 km long gas pipeline has been approved and partially completed with a tentative date of completion scheduled for 2006.  The report however does not provide an indication of the extent to which this pipeline and associated developments impact on the World Heritage property.  The State Party also reported on the construction of a geothermal electric power plant near the volcano Mutnovsky, which is reported to have been approved on the basis of an Environmental Impact Assessment.  The Committee is informed that neither volcano Mutnovsky nor the construction property is within the World Heritage property.

Concerning the conservation status of the Natural Park “Bystrinsky”, it is reported that only a small area of forest fires occurred in the park.  The State Party reported that hunting within the park is not prohibited and is in line with the traditional practices of the area’s indigenous people and Russian settlers. 

The State Environmental Expert Committee considered the environmental impact assessment to be adequate in relation to the construction of the Esso-Palana highway through the national park.  There are no plans to construct a new road; however this road will be upgraded to year round use.

IUCN noted that while the State Party reported on a number of aspects of the World Heritage property management, there remain a number of other areas, which the 2004 mission highlighted that have not been addressed.  These include: improvements in staffing levels; tourism planning and development; overall access planning for the property including issues in relation to the Esso – Palana Road; Management Planning including the completion of Management Plans for the remaining two protected areas comprising the World Heritage property (Klyuchevskoy in 2005 and South Kamchatka 2005/6); improved interagency cooperation on timber and logging concessions in the property.

Salmon Poaching on the Kamchatka peninsula including the protected areas forming the World Heritage property is reported to be on the upsurge.  In a report appearing on the BBC Earth Report in Mid 2004, it is noted that trade in Salmon caviar has attained disproportionately high levels with allegations of corruption by senior law enforcement officers.  The increase is allegedly fueled by readily accessible markets in Japan, by far the biggest foreign buyer, with other regional centres in Asia and Europe also reported to fuel the illegal trade.  Thousands of small-scale poachers are reportedly taking immature salmon from the rivers in the Kamchatka region with a consequent sharp decline in salmon numbers.  A number of other concerns regarding the integrity of the World Heritage property were already highlighted by the 2004 World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission.

The State Party still needs to respond to the specific recommendations of the 2004 mission on the growing and challenging problemof Salmon Poaching within the peninsula.  Poaching occurs both within and outside of the property and impacts the ecological processes for salmon on the peninsula as a whole.  The State Party should elaborate on efforts taken to improve collaboration between the Aginskoye mine and the park authorities and ensure that the mine operates according to best mining practice and latest technology. 

Despite the oil pipeline lying well outside of the property, this infrastructure has the potential to significantly disrupt salmon spawning on rivers flowing from the property to the sea.  The State Party should take all measures to mitigate the environmental impacts of the project.  IUCN also noted that whilst the 2004 fire season was a mild one, the State Party should undertake research to review natural fire patterns in the property.  Based on this research more detailed fire Management Planning should be undertaken to manage natural and human induced fire within the property.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7B.20

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15B.27 adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Commends the State Party of the Russian Federation for its updated information on the range of threats to the property and efforts to address these following the recommendations of the mission;

4. Welcomes the State Party’s confirmation that there will be no further boundary changes to Bystrinsky Natural Park to avoid future mining operations and reinforces its opposition to any future mining activity being considered within the property;

5. Encourages the State Party to ensure that any pipeline construction be undertaken giving due consideration to mitigate environmental impact on the peninsula’s ecology and the property upstream; measures should be implemented to maintain the integrity of rivers crossed by the pipeline for salmon spawning and environmental impacts of the project should be closely monitored;

6. Requests the State Party to respond specifically to the joint 2004 World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission recommendations regarding efforts to improve interagency cooperation on poaching; efforts to increase overall staffing levels (which have increased but remain inadequate to combat poaching); and the need to review fines and penalties for poaching;

7. Urges the State Party to address the serious concerns regarding the impacts of the Esso - Palana road on the property, raised by the 2004 mission and specifically to report on progress to implement an effective monitoring and control programme, to establish inspection stations to check poaching; to ensure that best possible standards of road construction and maintenance are applied and that no subsidiary roads are constructed from this road;

8. Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with a report on progress towards the completion of the management plans for all components of the property by 1 February 2006 for examination by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006).