1.         Shark Bay, Western Australia (Australia) (N 578)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1991

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/578/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/578/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/578/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Summary of previous deliberations: At its twenty-second session (Paris, 1998) the Bureau was informed that a petroleum exploration permit had been granted by the State Government of West Australia (WA) for an area located within the World Heritage site. The Australian Observer assured the Bureau that no development that threatened the World Heritage values of the site would be allowed to take place. But IUCN was concerned about the granting of prospecting licences by State Governments for locations within World Heritage areas, and called for closer liaison between Commonwealth and State Governments on this matter. At its twenty-second extraordinary session (Kyoto, 1998) the Bureau was informed that a mining lease of the Shark Bay Salt Joint Venture (SBSJV) had attracted public comment but is outside of the property. Levee construction occurred outside the World Heritage area and approval for the levee construction was granted under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act of 1986 and construction works complied with the environmental requirements set by the Minister for the Environment. The Western Australian Department of Environment was satisfied with the compliance of SBSJV of the environmental conditions set for the construction phase. In accordance with a post-construction environmental requirement, SBSJV, with professional assistance from the Department of Conservation and Land Management, successfully transferred marine mega-fauna, trapped behind the levee, to open marine waters. IUCN had received a report on the state of conservation of this site from its Australian National Committee, and is in the process of reviewing that report. The Bureau requested the Centre to transmit the report of IUCN Australia to the State Party for review and recommended that IUCN provide an up-to-date state of conservation report on this site for the twenty-third session of the Bureau.

New information: IUCN has informed the Centre that it has received preliminary advice indicating that potential threats due to actual and proposed mining activities, such as shell mining, expansion of salt extraction, gypsum leases and mineral sands mining are key concerns for the conservation of this area. Other concerns include: inappropriate tourism development, visitor access to environmentally sensitive locations and the need to finalise an overall management plan for the site. ACIUCN has established a process involving key stakeholders to finalise a report on the conservation status for the Shark Bay World Heritage site. The report will be ready for the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau (Marrakesh, Morocco on 26 and 27 November 1999).

Action Required

The Bureau may wish to request IUCN to submit an up-to-date state of conservation report on this site to its twenty-third extraordinary session in November 1999.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Previous deliberations:         

Twenty-second session of the Committee – page 93 of Annex IV

Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – Chapter IV. 22

 

New information: The Australian Government informed the Centre in a letter dated 14 September 1999 that the consultative process involving the ACIUCN, the State Government of Western Australia and other stakeholders to prepare an up-to-date state of conservation report for this property is yet to be finalised.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 23 BUR IV.B.22

At its twenty-second session the Bureau was informed that a petroleum exploration permit had been granted by the State Government of West Australia (WA) for an area located within the World Heritage site. The Australian Observer assured the Bureau that no development that threatened the World Heritage values of the site would be allowed to take place. But IUCN was concerned about the granting of prospecting licences by State Governments for locations within World Heritage areas, and urged closer liaison between Commonwealth and State Governments on this matter. At its twenty-second extraordinary session (Kyoto, 1998) the Bureau was informed that a mining lease of the Shark Bay Salt Joint Venture (SBSJV) had attracted public comment but is outside of the property. Levee construction occurred outside the World Heritage area and approval for the levee construction was granted under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act of 1986 and construction works complied with the environmental requirements set by the Minister for the Environment. The Western Australian Department of Environment was satisfied with the compliance of SBSJV with the environmental conditions set for the construction phase. In accordance with a post-construction environmental requirement, SBSJV, with professional assistance from the Department of Conservation and Land Management, successfully transferred marine mega-fauna, trapped behind the levee, to open marine waters. IUCN had received a report on the state of conservation of this site from ACIUCN, and is in the process of reviewing that report. The Bureau requested the Centre to transmit the report of ACIUCN to the State Party for review and recommended that IUCN provide an up-to-date state of conservation report on this site for the twenty-third session of the Bureau.

IUCN informed the Centre that it has received information indicating that potential threats due to existing and proposed mining activities, such as shell mining, expansion of salt extraction, gypsum leases and mineral sands mining are key concerns for the conservation of this area. Other concerns include: inappropriate tourism development, visitor access to environmentally sensitive locations and the need to finalise an overall management plan for the site. ACIUCN has established a process involving key stakeholders to finalise its report on the conservation status for the Shark Bay World Heritage site.

The Bureau requested IUCN to submit an up-to-date state of conservation report on this site to its twenty-third extraordinary session in November 1999.

Decision Adopted: 23 COM X.B.28

X.28 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-99/CONF.209/6) included as Annex VIII to this report. Additional observations made during the Committee session are reflected below.

Shark Bay, Western Australia (Australia)

Wet Tropics of Queensland (Australia)

Heard and McDonald Islands (Australia)

The Delegate of Australia thanked IUCN for the consultative process started, which could be a model for other State Parties. He also informed the Committee that the area of marine protection around Macquerie Island had been extended and now comprises 16 million ha, the world's largest highly protected marine zone.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)

Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon)

Los Katios National Park (Colombia)

The Delegate of Colombia informed the Committee that a visit by a delegation from the Ministry for Environment to Los Katios was recently carried out. The visit included areas that were previously not accessible. He emphasized that the proposal to grant collective land ownership over 100,000ha would be outside the Park in the buffer zone. He commented that his Government would be pleased to receive the visit of the monitoring mission to this site in 2000. The Colombian authorities have enhanced transboundary co-operation with Darien National Park (Panama) and strengthened the protected area system.

Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Dominica)

Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

The Observer of the United States underlined his Government's role in safeguarding Galapagos Islands and congratulated the Government of Ecuador on progress made. He noted the landmark decision of the Galapagos Law and questioned whether it had been implemented, in particular concerning the forty-mile zone. The Secretariat informed the Committee that some threats related to illegal fishing have been reported. IUCN noted the implementation of this pioneering legislation is vital and specific regulations need to be developed and implemented as soon as possible. The Delegate of Ecuador provided information from the Ministry of Environment noting progress concerning control of introduced species and general improvements in relation to biodiversity conservation at the site. Concerning the control of the 40-mile zone, she stated that the law has not yet been implemented, but that the basis for the conservation and environmental control is there. She thanked the Committee for all its efforts to safeguard the Galapagos.

Kaziranga National Park (India)

Komodo National Park (Indonesia)

Mount Kenya National Park (Kenya)

Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal)

The Observer of Nepal expressed his gratitude for the international support for the important project on tourism carried out at Sagarmatha National Park. The Observer of the United Kingdom noted that it is a ground-breaking project.

Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand (New Zealand)

Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)

The Delegate of Thailand noted the raised serious concerns raised by the Bureau regarding the management of this site, given the decline in numbers of the Arabian Oryx and the fact that the boundary marking and management planning is long overdue for completion. He recalled that the Committee inscribed the site without legislation and management plan in December 1994. He highlighted the Operational Guidelines in relation to the deletion of properties. The Delegate of Benin noted that rigour was not always applied in the past years and that a number of sites would not have been accepted if they were presented today. Concerning the question of deletion, a site would be put first on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Delegate of Thailand made it clear that he had not proposed the deletion of the site from the World Heritage List and that he was totally aware of the modalities in that respect. The Observer of the United Kingdom noted that similar problems concerned a number of sites and that these issues would certainly be dealt with by the periodic reporting process. IUCN pointed out that it had consistently raised concerns about this site. IUCN noted that legislation does not have effect if there is not sufficient resources for its implementation. The Chairperson reminded the Committee members about the rarity of Arab natural sites on the List. In concluding, the Chairperson thanked the Committee for the debate and noted that awareness needs to be raised in countries about the World Heritage Convention, its obligations and World Heritage values to be preserved for future generations, in particular among decision-makers. He thanked the Delegate of Thailand for his statement and encouraged the Committee to further reflect on how to enhance the protection of World Heritage sites.

Huascaran National Park (Peru)

Lake Baikal (Russian Federation)

The Observer of Russia requested that the information provided during the adoption of the report of the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau on this site be included in the Bureau report.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda)

Gough Island (United Kingdom)

Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania)

Canaima National Park (Venezuela)

Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)

Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)