State of Conservation (SOC)
Białowieża Forest (Belarus,Poland)
Factors affecting the property in 2001*
- Forestry /wood production
- Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Logging operations;
- Need for a management plan
International Assistance granted to the property until 2001
Requests Approved: 0
Total Amount Approved: 0USD
Missions to the property until 2001**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2001
Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – paragraph IV.26
Twenty-fourth session of the Committee – paragraph III.24 / Annex X page112.
Main issues: transboundary management, logging;
New information: IUCN has received reports in relation to the Bialowieza Forest, Poland, which state that the Government has abandoned its plans to enlarge the park due to the lack of funds, and that funding for the existing park remains at minimal levels. There are also disturbing reports about a doubling of cutting rates in the commercially-managed part of the Forest outside the World Heritage site, and lobbying to cut areas of old growth forest. While this information does not pertain to the part of the Forest designated as the World Heritage site it can be expected that the integrity of the site may be affected should much of the surrounding forest be cut.
While there are no plans to change the current status of Bialowieza Forest World Heritage site as a strictly protected area, IUCN and the World Heritage Bureau have urged the State Party to expedite the enlargement of the National Park to include the entire Polish side of the Bialowieza National Park. This option will be lost if the logging goes ahead.
Action RequiredThe Bureau notes with concern the information concerning the cutting rates in the forest outside the World Heritage area and requests the authorities to provide a report on these issues by 15 September 2001.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2001
The State Party submitted a copy of “Background to Management Guidelines for Bialowieza Forest” to the Centre dated 18 September 2001, which was transmitted to IUCN for review. It is an outcome of the Technical Working Group (TWG) created within the framework of the Bialowieza Forest Project. IUCN notes that the Guidelines document is the result of a trial process for establishing a decision-making procedure concerning the future of the Forest, its social functions, and the protection of natural values of primeval forests. The TWG is the only forum assembled to date that has included representatives of a wide range of stakeholders and has involved intensive consultations within the communities affected by management of the Forest. The Bialowieza Forest Project, supervised by the Ministry of Environment and supported by Danish Co-operation for the Environment in Eastern Europe (DANCEE), aims to elaborate and agree upon a proposal for management of Bialowieza Forest. The objective of the Project is to achieve a participatory, coherent and sustainable approach to the management of the Forest, ensuring the protection of natural values and supporting development of local communities.
The Guidelines document makes several recommendations. Keys amongst these are to:
· create a system of strict protection covering the whole of the Bialowieza Forest, with 12,000 ha as a final, recommended area. Proposals for the precise location of the strictly protected territory require further consultation
· establish a Forest Board within the Powiat authority to coordinate management of the Bialowieza Forest and resolve conflicts. The Forest Board as proposed includes representatives of State Forests, Bialowieza Forest management, local authorities, the tourism sector and the Bialowieza National Park Board
· accord the Forest a special legal status, ie: pass a Bialowieza Forest Act that supports it as a unique area of regional, national and international significance while also taking account of specific natural conditions and the development of the local community
· establish one administrative unit for the Bialowieza Forest, which will enable rationalisation of decision making, management, financial organisation and implementation of projects and allow easier access to financial resources
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2001
Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)
V.142 IUCN received reports in relation to the Bialowieza Forest, Poland, which state that the Government has abandoned its plans to enlarge the Park due to the lack of funds, and that funding for the existing Park remains at minimal levels. There are also disturbing reports about a doubling of cutting rates in the commercially-managed part of the Forest outside the World Heritage site, and lobbying to cut areas of old growth forest. While this information does not pertain to the part of the Forest designated as the World Heritage site, it can be expected that the integrity of the site may be affected should much of the surrounding Forest be cut.
V.143 While there are no plans to change the current status of Bialowieza Forest World Heritage site as a strictly protected area, IUCN and the World Heritage Bureau have urged the State Party to expedite the enlargement of the National Park to include the entire Polish side of the Bialowieza National Park. This option will be lost if the logging goes ahead.
V.144 The Centre informed the Bureau that a meeting with the site manager had taken place on 21 June 2001 which confirmed that logging was taking place only outside the World Heritage area.
V.145 The Bureau noted with concern the information regarding the cutting rates in the Forest outside the World Heritage area and requested the authorities to provide a report on these issues by 15 September 2001.
Reports on SOC of natural properties inscribed noted by the Committee
Reports on the state of conservation of natural properties inscribed on the World Heritage List noted by the Committee
Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
Fraser Island (Australia)
The Sundarbans (Bangladesh)
Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)
Gros Morne National Park (Canada)
Nahanni National Park (Canada)
Los Katios National Park (Colombia)
Caves of the Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (Hungary/Slovakia)
The Committee noted that the issues raised concern only the Slovak part of this transboundary site.
Sundarbans National Park (India)
The Delegate of India informed the Committee that there is no National Waterways Project that is planned or likely to impact this site.
Kaziranga National Park (India)
Komodo National Park (Indonesia)
Lorentz National Park (Indonesia)
The Observer of Indonesia thanked the Australian authorities for their financial assistance. He informed the Committee that it would be difficult to comply with the deadline of 1 February and that a report could be provided by the end of March 2002.
Aeolian Islands (Italy)
The Observer of Italy confirmed that there was a court decision on 4 December 2001, which is not yet public, but that it is hoped to be available soon. She informed the Committee that the collaboration between the autonomous regional Government and the central Government has commenced and that a meeting will take place to find a solution.
Banc d'Arguin National Park (Mauritania)
The Delegate of Egypt brought to the attention of the Committee the importance of protecting the wetlands, which are known to be important rest places for the migratory birds along their routes. He suggested that the World Heritage Centre should have a plan defining the wetlands, which are important for the birds and to use this information for establishing "satellite" World Heritage sites. IUCN informed of the co-operation between the World Heritage Centre and the Ramsar Convention as well as with Bird Life International for the protection of the wetlands. He also highlighted the importance of the surrounding areas to the World Heritage sites and the links with the Man and Biosphere programme for the protection of the sites. The Secretariat informed of the on-going discussions with the Secretariat of the Convention of Migratory Species to establish a Memorandum of Understanding between these two Conventions.
Gunung Mulu National Park (Malaysia)
Sian Ka'an (Mexico)
The Delegate of Mexico informed that the confirmation of the Ecological Land-Use Plan is in its final phase and consequently she asked that the deadline for the report requested by the Bureau be set for 15 May 2002 for examination at the twenty-sixth session of the Committee in June.
Royal Chitwan National Park (Nepal)
Western Caucasus (Russian Federation)
Golden Mountains of Altai (Russian Federation)
Doñana National Park (Spain)
Sinharaja Forest Reserve (Sri Lanka)
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast (United Kingdom)
St Kilda (United Kingdom)
Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (United States of America)
Canaima National Park (Venezuela)
The Bureau may wish to adopt the following decision:
“The Bureau notes IUCN’s support for the key recommendations as noted above. It commends the efforts of the TWG and the Bialowieza Forest Project to bring all stakeholders together to create a common vision for the World Heritage site. The Bureau requests the State Party to provide regular progress reports in relation to the implementation of this project.”
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”).