1.         Curonian Spit (Lithuania,Russian Federation) (C 994)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (v)

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/994/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 85,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/994/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO mission 2-6 November 2003; 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/994/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

Since the last session of the Committee, a number of bilateral initiatives by the joint Lithuanian-Russian Commission on Environmental Protection have taken place.  These initiatives included an agreement on the establishment of working groups on emergency plans and pollution risk assessment (24-25 August 2004, Moscow, Russian Federation) and the creation of a monitoring programme of the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon (Vilnius, Lithuania, 21-22 September 2004).  The site visit by experts of both countries (30 September-1 October 2004) also took place during a meeting of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission).  These initiatives culminated in the signing of the monitoring programme of the Baltic Sea and Curonian Lagoon (30 November - 1 December 2004, Moscow, Russian Federation) and the development of a draft joint action plan (20-21 December 2004, Kaliningrad, Russian Federation). 

Following the decision of the Committee, the World Heritage Centre received a joint letter on 28 January 2005 from Lithuania and the Russian Federation stating that both States Parties had agreed to (a) perform a joint post-project environmental impact assessment for the D-6 oil platform and pipeline by 15 June 2005; (b) start bilateral environmental monitoring of the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea by 1 July 2005; (c) sign a bilateral agreement concerning cooperation in case of pollution accidents, pollution prevention/mitigation and compensation measures; (d) sign a cooperation plan in the event of pollution accidents in the Baltic Sea.  This joint letter is accompanied by an action plan with a timetable.  With reference to Decision 28 COM 15B.75, the timely submission of this joint letter means that the property was not automatically inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger on 1 February 2005. 

 In a report submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 8 February 2005, the Russian Federation outlined the detailed protection measures that are in place for the Curonian Spit, including monitoring, fire management, tourist management, restoration plans and area zoning.  These measures fall within the framework of the Federal Law on Protected Natural Areas and the National Park management arrangements.  The Russian Federation expressed its concern that the level of oil prospecting activity had increased in the port of Klaipeda and in the oil terminal in Buntinga and this may have a negative impact on the Curonian Spit. 

The World Heritage Centre had a meeting on 17 February 2005 to exchange information with the designated Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the Curonian Spit to discuss the Council of Europe mission to the property in May 2004 and their motion of 9 July 2004 regarding the protection of the Curonian Spit in the context of the Baltic Sea.  He welcomed the joint letter by both States Parties.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies ICOMOS and IUCN welcomed the progress made and collaboration in joint activities.  What seems to have been agreed upon between the States Parties, as indicated by the joint letter of 28 January 2005, is specific cooperation on monitoring and post-project analysis of ecological impacts on the Curonian Spit and to consider the possible impact of the oil drilling programme by the Russian Federation that has already commenced.  What is not yet in place is a general agreement between the two governments on cooperation for the wider protection of the Baltic Sea, and in particular the Curonian Spit.  At the time of inscription, the ICOMOS evaluation report stressed the need to address the management of cultural qualities and recommended that the two Management Plans should be harmonised.  It also suggested that a tourism development plan be created and that the management of the property should be guided by a joint commission.  As the joint Russian-Lithuanian Commission has now been set up, the issues of the cultural landscape management, and a coordinated Management Plan for the whole property, and the development of an overall tourism strategy has now to be addressed.  The report provided by the States Parties forms a sound basis for bilateral agreement for the conservation of the Curonian Spit.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

N/A

Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7B.67

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined the Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev and the Draft Decision 29 COM 7B.67.Rev,29 COM 7B.67.Rev,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15B.75, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Warmly commends both States Parties of Lithuania and the Russian Federation for establishing an agreement by the deadline of 1 February 2005 to perform a joint post-project Environmental Impact Assessment for the D-6 oil platform and pipeline, together with other activities related to bilateral cooperation for safeguarding the property, and therefore avoiding the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

4. Requests both States Parties to implement the joint post-project EIA process and to sign the bilateral agreement concerning cooperation in case of pollution accidents, pollution prevention/mitigation and compensation measures including the cooperation plan in case of pollution accidents in the Baltic sea as outlined in the action plan according to the timetable;

5. Also requests the States Parties to provide the World Heritage Centre with a state of conservation report of the property, including information on progress of cooperation between the States Parties regarding the joint post-project EIA process and other activities specified in the action plan by 1 February 2006 for examination by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006).