1.         Cultural and Historic Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands (Russian Federation) (C 632)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1992

Criteria  (iv)

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/632/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/632/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/632/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

The World Heritage Centre had requested the State Party in three letters dated 18 January, 23 April and 23 November 2010, to provide the World Heritage Centre with a detailed report on the state of conservation of several World Heritage properties with religious meaning in the Russian Federation, including information on development projects and on the intention to change the management system and use of these World Heritage properties. Concerned by the lack of information on the state of conservation of the property, by the challenges faced due to the change in the management system, and taking into account that a new Federal Law on the transfer of State or Municipal properties of religious origin to religious organizations has been recently approved by the President of the Russian Federation (2010), the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies considered necessary to present a state of conservation report of this property for review by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session and requested the State Party to submit a state of conservation report by 1 March 2011.

The State Party did not submit a state of conservation report as requested. It explained in a letter of 13 April 2011, that in accordance with this new Federal Law on the transfer of State or Municipal properties of religious origin to religious organizations, the procedures for the transfer of the property are currently being developed by representatives of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO and the Patriarchate of Moscow and All-Russia. The State Party provides no further information and states that after the transition period the World Heritage Centre will be informed.

It is to be noted however, that during the international seminar on "The role of religious communities in the management of World Heritage properties" organized in November 2010 by the World Heritage Centre in Kiev, Ukraine, the representatives of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate (DCER) actively participated and informed in a presentation about the elaboration of a special state programme dedicated to the development of this property including the reconstruction of the monastery buildings, the creation of a research centre, the regeneration of the environment, the construction of a tourist centre and modern infrastructure on the island. They also informed that the property, both the monastery complex and the museum-reserve, are presided over by the monastic superior, a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies note the apparent lack of monitoring as the State Party did not provide information on the state of conservation of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies note with concern the information transmitted by the religious representative during the Kyiv Seminar regarding planned reconstruction of the monastery buildings.Furthermore, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, the State Party should inform the World Heritage Centre of any project that may affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of a World Heritage property before irreversible decisions are taken, including those which are part of the special state programme. The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies consider that all project proposals should be accompanied by detailed heritage impact assessments, in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for World Heritage cultural properties and that submitted to the World Heritage Centre in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies further stress the importance of setting up an adequate management system for the property. As for all World Heritage properties of religious meaning in the Russian Federation, the State Party has been invited by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010) to establish a special board, including all stakeholders concerned, including representatives of the Patriarchate of Moscow and All-Russia, in order to develop and implement appropriate legal measures and rules for conservation, restoration and use, a joint management system for the religious World Heritage properties in the Russian Federation, and specific measures appropriate for each religious property.

Due to the huge challenges faced by religious heritage and sacred places world-wide, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to actively participate in the development of a Thematic Programme on Religious and Sacred Heritage. This Programme seeks to create an action plan for the protection of religious and sacred heritage world-wide aiming to enhancing the role of communities and preventing any misunderstandings, tensions or stereotypes. 

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies suggest that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to the property to review the existing management system and decision-making mechanisms, and to assess the overall state of conservation of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also suggest that a special training workshop for the religious representatives involved in the management and use of the World Heritage properties in the Russian Federation be organised by the State Party and the Moscow Patriarchate to take place during this reactive monitoring mission.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.107

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,

2. Regrets that the State Party did not submit a state of conservation report;

3. Expresses its concern about the apparent lack of monitoring mechanisms and adequate management structures and urges the State Party to develop and implement appropriate legal measures and rules for conservation, restoration and management and use of religious World Heritage properties, as well as to develop a joint management system by establishing a special board including all stakeholders, as well as representatives of the Patriarchate of Moscow and All-Russia;

4. Also expresses its concern about the possible reconstruction of the monastery buildings and other major interventions in the sensitive landscape of the property, in terms of impact on its Outstanding Universal Value;

5. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre all project proposals, including those which are part of the special state programme, that may threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and also requests that all new project proposals should be accompanied by heritage impact assessments, in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for World Heritage cultural properties;

6. Further requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to the property to:

a) Review the existing management system and decision-making mechanisms,

b) Assess the overall state of conservation of the property;

7. Invites the State Party and the Moscow Patriarchate to organise a special training workshop, in close coordination with the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, for the religious representatives involved in the management and use of the World Heritage properties in the Russian Federation, to take place during the joint reactive monitoring mission;

8. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.