State of Conservation (SOC)
Volcanoes of Kamchatka (2000)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:0USD
1997: UICN mission
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
Proposed mining project
Current conservation issues
IUCN has received reports of potential threats to the Volcanoes of Kamchatka World Heritage site. These include: i) salmon poaching; ii) proposals for gold mining; iii) a gas pipeline; and iv) a geothermal power plant.
i) Salmon Poaching: Kamchatka boasts Asia’s biggest salmon spawning run with 1.7 million salmon swimming up-stream to spawn which attracts hundreds of brown bears and rare sea eagles. One third of the world’s Pacific salmon population spawns in the rivers of the Kamchatka Peninsula, including the World Heritage site. However, it is reported that organised illegal gangs of poachers flown in to the region are causing great damage to the salmon population. Rivers are blocked with nets sometimes stripping an entire year’s salmon run. Brown bears are also poached for their organs for the Asian market. Some estimates suggest that the bear population has decreased by fifty percent since the 1960’s due to excessive hunting and poaching.
ii) Gold mining: It has been reported to IUCN that there is interest in altering the boundaries of the Kamchatka World Heritage site and to shift the Park boundary northward by about 50km in order to open up part of the present site to gold mining. The Ministry argues that up to US$600 million could be generated in revenues from a mine in the area. IUCN has been informed of opposition to these proposals from environmental groups and aboriginal people from the Bystrinsky district.
iii) Gas pipeline: IUCN has received reports that the region is planning to spend US$200 million to build a 470km pipeline from gas deposits in Western Kamchatka to the regional capital, following a route near the Bystrinsky Park. According to a UNDP report, this pipeline would cross 83 salmon-spawning rivers and streams and could threaten the region’s salmon population.
iv) Geothermal powerplant: An engineering firm, Geoterm, plans to complete a US$150 million power plant next to the Mutnovsky Volcano at the end of 2001 to provide power for much of the main city of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The specific impacts of this on the World Heritage site are unclear.
IUCN noted the socio-economic difficulties in this region and emphasised the need to link planning of the World Heritage site with development opportunities for local populations. IUCN supported the recommendations of the Project Kamchatka report (reported in IUCN April, 2000 State of Conservation Report), which make a number of practical suggestions to regulators and decision-makers relating to options for conservation, sustainable development and research. IUCN also strongly supported implementation of the UNDP/GEF project to enhance environmental protection in this region.
Analysis and Conclusion
Link to the decision
VIII.27 Volcanoes of Kamchatka (Russian Federation)
The Observer of Russia informed the Committee that the information provided in the Bureau report seemed to relate to the Kamchatka region and not the World Heritage site. He stated that in-depth information would be provided by September 2001.
The Bureau may wish to adopt the following decision and transmit it to the Committee for noting:
“The Bureau notes with concern the reported threats to this site. The Bureau requests the State Party to provide a state of conservation report on this site which addresses the points raised by IUCN in time for the twenty-fifth session of the Bureau.”
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The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).