The World Heritage Committee, since its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), has requested the State Party to begin immediately necessary repair and restoration works for the Church of Transfiguration, and to confirm arrangements delegation of authority for these restoration works, as well as their funding. The World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008) requestedthat the State Party provide a detailed progress report on the restoration works, and the draft integrated management plan for Kizhi Pogost including a tourism strategy, risk preparedness measures and maps indicating the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone, all for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009, with a view to considering, in the absence of substantial progress, the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The State Party report, received on 30 January 2009, provides a comprehensive summary of activities which have taken place on the property during 2008. This report highlights the following positive actions undertaken by the State Party to benefit the property:
· Decree № 1633-p (7 November 2008) The Schedule of Measures on Preserving Kizhi Ensemble and developing infrastructure of the “Kizhi” Museum aimed at preservation (restoration, conservation and integral protection) of the monuments on Kizhi including those in the World Heritage property, including spending provisions to improve reliability of the Island’s power supply;
· Order № 282 (December 2008) concerning the preservation of the Kizhi Pogost architectural ensemble and development of infrastructure for the “Kizhi” Museum”;
· The report claims that these documents provide a basis for a plan for museum management including strategies of tourism development, risk preparedness and determination of the buffer zone borders, all now being realized;
· A Republic of Karelia Executive Order (to be approved in 2009) regulates the protected area borders, conditions for building use and management within the protected zone limits in order to protect the territory adjacent to the monuments from illegal activity.
The report also notes the following work carried out at Kizhi Pogost monuments in 2008:
Church of the Intercession: Weatherproofing of the octahedron and shingles, heat treatment of the damaged parts of the framework in the cellar and the refectory attic of the church, and improvements to the ventilation system in the attic;
Bell Tower: Heat treatment of the elements damaged by wood-borers, repair of the northern porch, and the cleaning of the space between two log frameworks to improve ventilation and prevent biodeterioration.
Church of the Transfiguration: Improving attention to monitoring and risk preparedness (fire control) equipment and systems, including creation of a working group focused on risk management, charged with preparation of a Disaster Risk management plan for Kizhi Pogost.
The report also makes reference to the publication of a set of guidelines (“Maintenance of wooden architectural monuments”), summarizing site experiences in adoption of the monitoring system and maintenance of wooden architectural monuments, and increasing attention given to exposing site news through all forms of local media.
However, as with reports submitted in previous years, this report prepared only by the site’s local management authority without any involvement of the national authorities, does not respond to the concerns and issues raised by the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008).
The suggestion in the State Party report that the late 2008 Executive Order and Decree of the Russian Federation provide a basis for development of the requested integrated management plan illustrates that as in past years, the State Party has not understood the nature of the management instrument requested by the World Heritage Committee, nor the urgent need to prepare a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value to ensure management decision-making and planning is rooted in respect for the site’s World Heritage values.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are very concerned that the Federal authorities are still not involved in the process concerning the preparation and implementation of a comprehensive management plan for this property, which should include tourism development, an overall vision for the property as well as clear boundary and buffer zone definition (including the potential revision).
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies underline that the State Party did not established a Special State Group requested by the World Heritage Committee and remind the importance of the participation of all stakeholders concerned at all levels to the process of the safeguarding, protection and management of the property, as well as the preparation of the state of conservation reports requested by the World Heritage Committee.
Given the ongoing severe structural deterioration, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies believe that it is of the utmost urgency that the State Party launches the necessary restoration works requested by the World Heritage Committee for more than a decade.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the values recognized in this property at its inscription are threatened by the lack of restoration actions and that this property should be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.