1.         Volcanoes of Kamchatka (Russian Federation) (N 765bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1996

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/765/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/765/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

1997: IUCN fact-finding mission; 2004: World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission; 2007: World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Illegal salmon fishing;

b) Gold mining;

c) Gas pipeline;

d) Development of a geothermal power station;

e) Forest fires;

f) Boundary changes;

g) Construction of the Esso-Palana road.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/765/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2010

The State Party submitted a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property dated 1 March 2010. This report provides an update on the implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 World Heritage Centre / IUCN reactive monitoring mission, particularly those aimed at strengthening the protection and management of the property, as well as clarification on the status of geological prospecting and mining within Bystrinsky National Park, a component of the serial property, as requested by Decision 32 COM 7B.23.

The serial property is comprised of six protected areas, including two federal Nature Parks (Kronotsky State Biosphere Reserve and South-Kamchatka Sanctuary) and four National Parks (Nalychevo, Bystrinsky, Klyuchevskoy and South-Kamchatka).

 

a) Legal protection and management

The State Party reports on the implementation of the 2007 monitoring mission recommendation relating to protection and management of the property as follows:

i) Establish an effective management structure for the entire property. The report notes that previously four Terrestrial State Institutions (TSIs) managed the four regionally administered Naturel Parks. These have been merged into a single ‘Volcanoes of Kamchatka’ TSI. The report also indicates that new Volcanoes of Kamchatka Regulations are being produced to improve the level of environmental protection of the property. According to the report this centralized management structure for the regionally administered components of the property will enhance their conservation and effective management and allow for the setting up of an improved monitoring structure.

The report also announces the approval of new ‘Volcanoes of Kamchatka’ Regulations, which fix their specific protection and land use regime and regulates resource use restrictions for the 4 regionally administered nature parks. The report unfortunately provides no further details but IUCN has received information from other sources that the new regulations permit certain development activities which were previously banned, including geological prospecting and mining. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are concerned by this information and recommend to request the State Party to submit copy of these regulations, in one of the working languages, to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible. They note that the 2007 mission concluded that the protection status of the nature parks was not sufficient to protect their integrity and could allow certain activities that are incompatible with World Heritage status. Therefore the 2007 mission recommended to upgrade them to National Parks, as originally foreseen in the nomination, or to revise their zoning, foreseeing adequate integrally protected zones to ensure conservation of the Outstanding Universal Value. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that this issue needs to be addressed urgently. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome the establishment of the centralized management structure for the 4 regional components of the property but reiterate the need to set up an overall coordination structure for the entire property, covering the two federal administered and the four regional administered components.

ii)  Develop an integrated management plan for the entire property. The report notes that an integrated management plan for the property is currently being drafted with the support of the UNDP/GEF project ”Demonstrating Sustainable Conservation of Biodiversity in Four Protected Areas in Russia’s Kamchatka Oblast” but is not yet finalised. However, it is not clear from the report if this plan will consider all 6 components of the property or only the 4 Nature Parks. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN reiterate that an overall management plan for the entire property is necessary, with management objectives based on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

iii)  Develop or revise the management plans for each of the component parks. The State Party reports that the management plans for all the component parks of the property have been updated. However, it is unclear whether the plans define their management objectives based on the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property, as recommended by the 2007 mission nor how they will be resourced to ensure their implementation. It is also unclear whether the recently updated management plans for these parks include a revision of their zonation to better conserve their biodiversity values, as recommended by the 2007 mission. No information was provided on the recommendation of the 2007 mission to establish an access policy for the nature parks as part of their management plans.

iv)  Precisely set all boundaries for the property within the management plan through geo-referencing. The boundaries identified at the time of inscription were geo-referenced in 2009, as recommended by the 2007 mission. While no boundaries were changed, geo-referencing revealed that most of the property’s components are larger than originally indicated at the time of inscription: The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome this work and recommend the State Party to submit updated detailed maps of the entire property as soon as possible.

v)  Staffing and budgets of the property.The report provides information on the staffing of the property and the budgets of the 4 Nature Parks. The report notes that ranger numbers continue to be insufficient in relation to the size of the property. This is in particular the case for the nature parks. The report notes that to address this issue anti-poaching brigades were set up at the regional level, drawing on staff of other control agencies. Budgets of both the Federal and Regional components of the site also remain inadequate to meet management needs.

b) Mining

In 2009, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN noted NGO reports concerning plans to change the regulations of Bystrinsky National Park to allow geological prospecting, as well as plans to alter park boundaries in order to accommodate mining. The State Party confirms that no mining or geothermal projects is taking place in the property and that no geological prospecting has taken place in any of the component sites, nor is it foreseen in the future. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome this confirmation but remain concerned about the new ‘Volcanoes of Kamchatka’ Regulations which according to information received by IUCN would permit geological prospecting within the Nature Parks.

c) Salmon poaching

While the State Party has not submitted a scientific report on the state of conservation of the salmon population across the property, information is provided on the current status of these populations and the impact of poaching. While salmon fishing is prohibited in the two federal protected areas, regulated commercial, sport and indigenous fishing are permitted in the Nature Parksin line with set quotas established by the Federal Fishing Agency (and not by the administration of the Nature Parks) at specific fishing sites. The following specific information is provided:

i) Kronotsky State Biosphere Reserve. Kronotsky Reserve has one of the largest salmon spawning populations and populations are stable and not adversely affected by over-fishing or poaching.

ii) South-Kamchatka Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is located on the largest red salmon spawning area in Asia and the report notes that the annual fish spawning run exceeds 2 million salmon but that poaching pressure is high. The Reserve management has tightened control over the southern boundary of the park.

iii) Nalychevo Nature Park. The park’s rivers are easily accessible by road, which facilitates high levels of poaching. 2008 data from the Kamchatka Fisheries Institute for the Nalychevo River indicate that the volume of poached salmon is between 77% and 93% of the total spawning run. The red salmon population, with 93% illegally poached in 2008, is at greatest risk. The State Party reports that actions implemented to address poaching include prohibition of net fisheries, delegation of power to anti-poaching patrols, and creation of a buffer zone to the west of the Nalychevo river estuary.

iv) Bystrinsky Nature Park & Klyuchevskoy Nature Park. No commercial fishing is undertaken apart from subsistence salmon fishing by indigenous communities to meet their needs. The report indicates that no poaching has been detected in these areas.

v) South-KamchatkaNature Park: While in 2009, official salmon catches were relatively low, there are high-levels of red caviar poaching ongoing in the north of the park, and ranger patrols have reported abandoned poaching camps on the eastern coast of the park. Overall, the Kamchatka Fisheries Institute is reported to consider the state of salmon populations in this park relatively satisfactory, despite important poaching levels.

The State Party reports that the number of anti-poaching brigades patrolling the four Nature Parks have increased significantly, and that a range of other measures are being implemented to address poaching, including eliminating the conditions promoting commercial poaching, and deploying additional checkpoints on key roads during the poaching season.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome the data provided on the salmon populations but note that the report does not show salmon population trends since the time of inscription. However, the data provided indicate the important pressure from salmon poaching in three components of the property. This is an issue of major concern and efforts are needed to further increase the number and frequency of anti-poaching brigades and road checkpoints in these areas. IUCN notes that the anti-poaching brigades were created in part with the financial support of the UNDP/ GEF project scheduled to end in 2010 and WWF. The State Party should be requested to ensure that adequate financing is provided to anti-poaching brigades, in case external funding is running out.

IUCN also received information about the approval of a 2010 driftnet fishing season, with quotas set at approximately 48.5 million pounds of salmon for Russian and Japanese vessels in the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone (including the Kamchatka peninsula and the Bering Sea). This is of concern as it may affect the viability of the salmon populations which return to the property’s watercourses to spawn. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN request the State Party to provide information on the likely impacts of driftnet fishing on the salmon populations of the property.

d) Poaching of wildlife

The State Party report provides figures on the current populations of selected species within Kronotsky State Biosphere Reserve, but no data on population trends of key wildlife species across the entire property. IUCN has received information from experts working on site that there have been significant declines in the population of certain species. Apart from salmon, species that show worrying declines include wild reindeer and bighorn sheep. IUCN has received reports that the wild reindeer population within the property, which had remained stable over the last 10 years fell significantly in 2009 and that big horn sheep populations has fallen by up to a factor of three over the last seven years. A current hunting ban for bighorn is due to end in 2010, and IUCN considers that a more integrated approach, backed by adequate financing, is necessary to address the decline of the bighorn population within the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN reiterate the need to undertake regular monitoring of key wildlife species through aerial and terrestrial surveying and to provide information on results from these.

In conclusion, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome the progress made in the implementation of some of the recommendations of the 2007 mission. However, they express concern about the marked decline of several key wildlife species within the property and the increased salmon poaching. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN reiterate the urgency of strengthening the management and protection of the property, in particular by developing an overall management plan and coordination structure for the property and measures to upgrade the protection status of the nature parks. They are concerned about reports that the new Volcanoes of Kamchatka Regulations would allow development activities that are incompatible with World Heritage status including mining and geological prospecting.

 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 34 COM 7B.23

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.23 adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Welcomes the State Party's efforts to improve the management and protection of the property, including the ongoing work on the development of a draft integrated management plan and the clarification of the boundaries of the property;

4. Requests the State Party to submit as soon as possible a detailed updated map of the property, as well as a copy of the integrated management plan;

5. Expresses its concern about the reported continued decline of several key wildlife species within the property, including pacific salmon populations, which demonstrates the urgency of further strengthening the management and protection of the property, as recommended by the 2007 World Heritage Centre/ IUCN reactive monitoring mission;

6. Further expresses concern about the reported weakening of the legal protection of the property through the enactment of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka Regulations and also requests the State Party to submit a copy of these Regulations to the World Heritage Centre in one of the working languages of the Convention before 1 November 2010;

7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to fully implement the recommendations of the 2007 reactive monitoring mission, particularly the need to strengthen the protection of the four regional Nature Parks and the development of an overall management plan and coordination structure;

8. Recalls its invitation to the State Party to consider enacting a national law for the management of all natural World Heritage properties in order to address the issue of joint management plans, frameworks, standards and funding allocation for all natural properties composed of both federal and regional protected areas;

9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including data on trends of the populations of the major wildlife species within the property since its inscription and on progress in the implementation of all the recommendations of the 2007 mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.