On 31 January and 1 February 2012, the Lithuanian and the Russian States Parties respectively submitted a state of conservation report that outlines joint activities between the two States Parties on the implementation of the recommendations of the joint UNESCO World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission (December 2010), as a follow-up to the World Heritage Committee Decision 35 COM 7B.99.
a) Designation of a New Economic Zone and Proposed new leisure complexes in the Kaliningrad region
The mission reviewed four proposed large Leisure Complexes in the KurshskajaKosaNational Park and recommended that these should not be constructed because of their adverse impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. It also considered that the identification of "The Tourist and Recreational Zone of the Curonian Spit”, established by the Russian Federal Government in February 2007, should be reconsidered as it is not in conformity with the protection of the property.
The States Parties’ report states that the proposed Economic Development Zone in the Kaliningrad region has been suspended and the regional government is considering the creation of an alternative area outside the property boundaries. No details are provided as to the status of the proposed leisure projects.
b) Legal Protection
The mission recommended that, in order to control developement within the National Park (Russia), settlements should be delineated in order to define areas for houses and gardens that do not impact on the landscape. The State Party has reported that this has now been done. Furthermore, the mission recommended that all new construction, except those related to security and information, be forbidden on the fore-dunes and the dunes.
The States Parties’ report states that, in the Lithuanian part of the property, new construction, except related to security and protection, on the fore-dune and the dunes is now strictly controlled and forbidden under the new planning regulations. New regulations for the Curonian Spit National Park (Russia) dated 1 September 2010 and adopted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, forbid building any new constructions on the fore-dunes except structures related to safety (passes) and information (information boards along trekking trails).
c) Need for coordinated management mechanism in line with the requirements of the Operational Guidelines;
The mission recommended that the two States Parties prepare a joint draft Management Plan developing a joint vision and a platform of joint actions, as a precursor to the development of comprehensive joint Management Plan for the Curonian Spit to be prepared by 2013.
The States Parties’ report states that on 29 April 2011 the administration of the two National Parks in Lithuania and the Russian Federation signed an agreement to strengthen management collaboration. In addition a two-year cooperation programme was prepared to cover all fields of collaboration. During 2011, the staff of both institutions organised several meetings and discussed the possibility of a new trans-boundary biosphere reserve and the requests of the World Heritage Committee. In respect of the latter, actions were agreed in relation to preparing a retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, a joint tourism strategy (see below), a joint traffic Management Plan by 31 March 2012, and the structure of a joint Management Plan by 1 April 2012. They are also planning a common workshop in September 2012 with representatives of the World Heritage Centre.
d) Overall tourism strategy
The mission recommended that planning regulations needed to be established in the Russian Federation which might identify appropriate areas for small scale sustainable touristic development. The States Parties’ report states that Zones for development of small scale sustainable tourism were identified during 2011 in the zoning of the CuronianSpitNational Park (Russia). The joint Tourism Strategy will consider the pre-conditions for sustainable tourism and gather data on carrying capacities using work in a small area in Lithuania as a pilot project. In terms of timetable, it is stated that the Tourism Strategy will be presented to the 37th session of the Committee in 2013.
e) Fire Protection
The mission recommended that systems for detection and defence against fires be included in the agreement between the trans-boundary parks in the two parts of the property. The States Parties’ report stated that measures for fire prevention are included in the joint cooperation programme.
f) Management Plan
It is reported that the revision of the Curonian Spit National Park Management Plan (Lithuania) and the new municipal general plan for Neringa municipality were both subject to public consultation. Both these plans considered local socio-economic parameters and were based on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The aim is to approve both these territorial planning documents in March – April 2012. The plan of the boundaries of the CuronianSpitNational Park (Lithuania) entered into force on 30 September 2011.
g) Other matters
The report includes the following: the possibility of a liquefied gas terminal at Klaipeda (for which procedures of Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment including possible impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property will be taken into account by the State Party), work on the delineation of a buffer zone around the National Park (Russia) and within the sea and lagoon on the Lithuanian side; a programme on the study of local cultural heritage on the Lithuanian side; and restoration of the dunes on both parts of the property.