1.         Virgin Komi Forests (Russian Federation) (N 719)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1995

Criteria  (vii)(ix)

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/719/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/719/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Proposed gold mining;

b) Boundary issues. 

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/719/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN received information regarding a reported proposal to excise an area in the centre of the Yugyd Va National Park (area 1.9 million hectares, one of two component parts of this serial property) for development. Decision No 11/309911 by the Head of the Inta Urban District Municipality dated 28 November 2008 appears to allocate an area of the national park to a project named “Chudnoye” with an area of about 19,900 square kilometers”. This project is understood to relate to a gold mining prospect.


The World Heritage Centre wrote to the State Party on 22 January 2009 to request a state of conservation report on the property, and to seek further information on this proposal. At the time of the preparation of this document no reply was received.


These issues have previously been considered by the World Heritage Committee. At its 21st extraordinary session (Naples, 1997), the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee expressed its serious concerns over proposed gold mining projects in this property and requested detailed information, including details of any environmental impact studies. At the 22nd session of the World Heritage Committee (Kyoto, 1998), the Observer Delegation of the Russian Federation confirmed that all gold mining activities had been halted and that the areas concerned were under rehabilitation.

Furthermore, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the allocation of an area for mining within a World Heritage property is contrary to the no-go commitment for mining in World Heritage properties, recognizing that mining activities are incompatible with the objectives of World Heritage listing. This commitment is recognised by leading organizations within the extractive industries and also forms the principal policy position of the World Heritage Committee regarding this issue. Proceeding with such an activity would create the situation where the property could be considered for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger


Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN


Decision Adopted: 33 COM 7B.31

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 22 COM VII.27, adopted at its 22nd session (Kyoto, 1998),

3. Expresses its serious concern with regard to the possibility of creating an enclave for mining activities within the Yugyd Va National Park, component of the Virgin Komi Forests World Heritage property and requests the State Party not to proceed with any development that could threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

4. Requests the State Party to comply with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and to inform the World Heritage Centre of any intention to authorize activities which may affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

5. Requests the State Party to ensure and to state unequivocally that no commitment has been made on any mining concessions within the boundaries of the inscribed property;

6. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including the confirmation of the removal of any permission or plans to locate extractive industries within the boundaries of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.