1.         Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas (China) (N 1083bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2003

Criteria  (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)

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/1083/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1083/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

April 2006: World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

 a) Proposed development of network of dams;

b) Large copper mine adjacent to property;

c) Boundary modifications;

d) Future tourism development;

e) Encroachment.

 

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1083/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2010

On 29 January 2010 a report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party. This responds to the requests made by the World Heritage Committee in its Decision 32 COM 7B.11 in relation to planned dam building, plans for mining and plans and justifications for modification of boundaries. The State Party report also includes information about progress on management measures, and contains a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for the property.

 

a) Issues related to planned dam building

 

The State Party reports that there has been no further progress on hydro-electric dam planning since the last report to the World Heritage Committee, and that all projects are at a standstill. The report notes that the different dam projects mentioned in the previous Committee decision are still under investigation by the proposing companies, that none is inside the property, and that none has a Government approval. Thus none of the requested studies is available to be sent to the World Heritage Committee. The State Party notes that plans will promptly be submitted to the World Heritage Committee for review and evaluation should approval be granted.

 

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note the report of the State Party, and remain concerned that any plans for dam building in the areas within and around the property, including the specific areas previously noted, should be carefully considered in relation to possible impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. To ensure this takes place, the State Party should submit any further Environmental Impact Assessments and any other new planning documents to the World Heritage Centre for review, before any approval is granted to proceed, and ensure the findings of any review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies is considered fully.

 

b) Mining issues

 

The State Party reports that large-medium scale mineral deposits have been found within and adjacent to the property. The report notes that the State Party has not approved any mineral development since inscription of the property, and further notes that there are “some small-scale mineral exploration and illegal mining left in the heritage site”. The report states that national and local departments have closed all illegal mining sites.

 

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that additional information is provided by the State Party in relation to a proposed boundary modification (see below). This notes that there are a number of legally operating mines, as well as licensed exploration areas for mining within the boundaries of the Hongshan sub-unit, a cluster of component parts in the north-east of the property. These areas appear to predate the inscription of the property on the World Heritage List but were not detected by the State Party in its nomination process, nor during the evaluation. IUCN was able to visit some of these mines during a visit to Yunnan in October 2009, and could verify that they are locally extensive, established, and have a significant environmental impact within the property and adjacent to it. Mining issues will be considered in relation to the proposed minor boundary modification that is currently under evaluation, and are highly challenging. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall the clearly stated policy that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status, as recognised by the International Council on Mining and Metals and other industry lead bodies, and endorsed by the World Heritage Committee. Thus the State Party should ensure that no mining takes place in the property.

 

c) Modification of boundaries

 

The State Party has submitted a proposed minor boundary modification, separately to its State of Conservation report. This includes a range of different proposals including both extension to and reductions to some components of the property, creation of additional buffer zones, and establishment of wildlife corridors. IUCN is currently evaluating this proposal which will be considered by the World Heritage Committee under a separate item during its 34th session. However, it is important to consider the conservation issues noted in Document WHC-10/34.COM/8D on the evaluation of the proposed minor boundary modification in the context of this state of conservation report.  

 

d) Statement of Outstanding Universal Value

 

The State Party includes a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (SoOUV) for the property. This will be reviewed by IUCN, with a view to submitting an agreed revised SoOUV for consideration at the 35th session of the World Heritage Committee.

 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 34 COM 7B.12

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.11, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Committee fully informed on any developments in plans for dams, as noted in Decision 32 COM 7B.11, and to ensure that any completed Environmental Impact Assessment for any dam on the Nujiang, Lancang and Jinsha Rivers, and on any water course within or adjacent to the property, be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for assessment, prior to the consideration of any approval for such developments;

4. Also requests the State Party to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property be considered as an explicit factor in the Environmental Impact Assessments for any dam or other developments that could affect the property;

5. Notes with great concern that legal mining that predates the inscription of the property is taking place within the Hongshan sub-unit of the property, and that additional areas are subject to mining licenses, and further requests the State Party to take all necessary steps to ensure that mining does not take place within the boundaries of the property, and to not permit any further expansion of mining production in the property;

6. Notes the State Party's submission of a proposed boundary modification for the property, and a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee;

7. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including the status of any dam related projects and the removal of mining threats from the property, and to take into account, in the same report, any revisions to the property agreed through the minor boundary modification proposal.

Decision Adopted: 34 COM 8B.44

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-10/34.COM/8B and WHC-10/34.COM/INF.8B2,

2. Approves the minor modifications within the areas referred to as the Gaoligongshan, Baima-Meili Snow Mountains, Laowo Mountain, Yunling Mountain, Laojun Mountain, Qianhu Mountain, Haba Snow Mountain and Hongshan Mountain, component parts of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, China;

3. Does not approve the addition of the three proposed "influencing areas" to the property;

4. Welcomes the commitment of the State Party to increase the staff and resources for the property and to complete, approve and implement all of the management plans for the property and urges the State Party to implement these commitments at the earliest opportunity within all of the sub-units where minor modifications are approved and the boundaries are fully clarified, and to also establish without delay effective protection and management for all components and buffer zones of the property, and to reinforce the overall management of the property;

5. Notes with regret the apparent inadvertent inscription of legal mining areas that were operational prior to the nomination, in the inscribed property, and reiterates that active mining is not compatible with World Heritage Site status. The Committee reminds States Parties to ensure that mining areas are not nominated inappropriately to the World Heritage List, and requests IUCN to give particular consideration to possible mining conflicts in relation to its evaluation and monitoring processes;

6. Requests the State Party to take all necessary steps to ensure that the mining operations that have already become established adjacent to the property and its buffer zone conform to appropriate international standards regarding the risk to the environment including human health;

7. Also requests the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, in collaboration with the State Party, to expedite the agreement of a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for the property, based on the draft submitted by the State Party, for approval by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th Session in 2011;

8. Further requests the State Party to also take note of the above recommendations in relation to any requested actions decided by the World Heritage Committee in relation to the State of Conservation of the existing property.