Tasmanian Wilderness (Australia) (C/N 181quinquies)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1982
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/181/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/181/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
March 2008: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2015: joint IUCN/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Forestry / Wood production (Commercial logging in areas adjacent to the property)
- Impacts of tourism / visitation / recreation
- Management systems / management plan
- Mining (Mineral exploration and extraction)
- Plans to permit commercial logging in the property (issue resolved)
- Potential construction of a dam (issue resolved)
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/181/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018
On 15 June 2017, the State Party submitted a literature review and synthesis report on the Aboriginal Heritage of the property. On 28 November 2017, it submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/181/documents/; and on 14 December 2017, a Detailed Plan for a Comprehensive Cultural Assessment of the property. These State Party reports provide the following information:
- A new Management Plan, which applies to all land within the property reserved under Tasmania’s Nature Conservation Act 2002 (over 97% of the property) came into effect in December 2016. All recommendations of the 2015 mission are being implemented through this Plan, including inter alia the prohibition of commercial logging and mining in the whole of the property, provisions for joint management arrangements with Tasmanian Aboriginal people and measures to improve the understanding of Tasmanian Aboriginal cultural heritage;
- The Management Plan includes additional assessment criteria, including consideration of impacts on wilderness values in addition to natural and cultural values, for commercial tourism development proposals within the property and foresees the development of a Tourism Master Plan by 2019 in order to ensure a strategic approach to tourism at the property. This Tourism Master Plan will be based on an analysis of current and future visitor expectations and demand and will include a marketing strategy that would integrate promotion of the property’s values with other Tasmanian tourism strategies;
- The Management Plan reflects the recommendations made by independent reviews of Tasmanian fires which occurred in 2016; AUD 4 million (USD 3.1 million) were committed by the Tasmanian Government over four years for the implementation of key recommendations related to fire management;A review of archaeological research undertaken in the property over the past 40 years was finalised in March 2017 and has been endorsed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Heritage Council. The report will be used to inform the preparation of the Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (rSOUV);
- The Detailed Plan for a Comprehensive Cultural Assessment of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area has been developed with guidance and advice from the Aboriginal Heritage Council. Its limitations are recognized as, for instance, there is no synthesis of known rock art sites within the property. The document thus includes ten work ‘packages’ designed to improve understanding and management of Aboriginal cultural values. One relates to the delivery of a regional rock art recording programme, while another focuses on the need for training in cultural heritage management. The packages will be implemented through a ‘stand-alone Community Engagement Agreement’ as part of the Management Plan ;
- Process to designate Permanent Timber Production Zone Land (PTPZL) and Future Potential Production Forest Land (FPPFL) within the property as reserves is underway, and reserve classes for these areas will be determined following community consultation;
- Efforts to protect endangered orange-bellied parrots (Neophema chrysogaster) are being strengthened inter alia by allocating AUD 3.2 million (USD 2.5 million) to further assist the recovery of the wild population;
- A process to identify a dual name for the property has been initiated in consultation with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies
The ongoing implementation of the recommendations made by the 2015 Reactive Monitoring mission and of the Committee’s previous requests should be welcomed. This especially extends to the implementation of the State Party’s commitment, included in the 2016 Management Plan, to ban commercial logging along with mineral exploration and extraction within the entire property. As requested by the Committee, the recommendations of the independent reviews of the management of the 2016 Tasmanian fires are fully taken into account in the new Management Plan, and the allocation of resources by the Tasmanian Government for their implementation is welcomed.
The inclusion in the Management Plan of additional assessment criteria for commercial tourism proposals and of requirements to consider potential impacts on the wilderness values of the property are also welcomed. However, limited progress has been achieved to date with the development of a Tourism Master Plan for the property. While the timeline for its finalization by December 2019 is noted, it is of concern that this key strategic document is still lacking. Furthermore, some of the provisions in the 2016 Management Plan raise concerns, in particular the rezoning of some areas from “wilderness” to “remote recreation” in order to allow for acceptable tourism opportunities and make provisions for wider aircraft access, which may have impacts on wilderness values of the property. In this regard, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to expedite the development of the Tourism Master Plan in order to ensure that the strategic approach to tourism development within the property retains the protection of the OUV as its primary goal. It is further recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit the draft Tourism Master Plan to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies prior to its finalization.
It is also recommended that the Committee request the State Party to speed up the on-going efforts to designate current PTPZL and FPPFL zones within the property as reserves, in line with the recommendations of the 2015 mission.
Efforts to protect endangered orange-bellied parrots are also welcomed.
The Detailed Plan for a Comprehensive Cultural Assessment of the property and the work carried out to produce a synthesis of archaeological research conducted over the past 40 years are welcomed. The Detailed Plan addresses a request of the Committee first made at its 32nd session in 2008 to research, document, protect and effectively manage archaeological and Aboriginal cultural sites, and marks a major step towards understanding the full value of cultural heritage within the property and towards a much greater involvement of the Aboriginal communities in its management. They will also constitute a basis for the development of the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (rSOUV), as they are a first step to address the lack of detailed documentation for archaeological and rock art sites.
It is recommended that the Committee commend the State Party for the progress made so far with assessing cultural heritage assets and in documenting archaeological and other research undertaken, and that it encourage the State Party to fully implement the ‘work packages’ in order to clearly define both living and archaeological heritage and support the co-management of these resources with the Aboriginal communities.
Finally, the State Party’s continued support of Aboriginal cultural heritage is noted, and it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request that the State Party include cultural heritage specialists amongst its staff, in order to ensure the effective protection and management of cultural sites within the property.
Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.61
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.66 adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
- Welcomes the ongoing implementation of the recommendations of the 2015 mission through the new 2016 Management Plan for the property, particularly the ban on commercial logging along with mineral exploration and extraction within the property and the recommendations related to fire research and management, and encourages the State Party to continue its efforts in this regard;
- Also welcomes the specific inclusion in the Management Plan of additional assessment criteria for commercial tourism proposals and requirements to consider potential impacts on the wilderness values of the property;
- Urges the State Party to expedite the development of the Tourism Master Plan in order to ensure a strategic approach to tourism development within the property, in line with the primary goal of protecting its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and to submit the draft Tourism Master Plan to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies prior to its finalization;
- Requests the State Party to finalize, as a matter of priority, the on-going process to designate Permanent Timber Production Zone Land (PTPZL) and Future Potential Production Forest Land (FPPFL) within the property as reserves;
- Commends the State Party for the progress made with assessing cultural heritage assets by documenting archaeological and other research undertaken over the past 40 years;
- Also encourages the State Party to implement the Detailed Plan for a Comprehensive Cultural Assessment of the property, in order to fully define both living and archaeological heritage and to support co-management of these resources with the Aboriginal communities; and further encourages it to use these data to complete the drafting of a Retrospective Statement of OUV;
- Reiterates its recommendation to the State Party to add cultural heritage specialists to the property staff, in order to ensure the effective protection and management of cultural sites within the property;
- Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.