Decision : CONF 208 VIII.A
Inscription: Macquarie Island (Australia)
The Committee recalled that it had referred this nomination back to Australia in order that new material can be assessed. In presenting its revised evaluation, IUCN stated that the nomination had been submitted for its geological and not for its biological values, and that the sixteenth session of the Committee declined the nomination requesting Australia to consider Macquarie Island for its biological values and had noted its potential as part of an international World Heritage site with the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand. Australia reported that it had consulted with New Zealand in 1996 and had found that New Zealand was not ready for a joint nomination. The Committee was informed that New Zealand had subsequently nominated its Subantarctic Islands for review by the twenty-second session of the Bureau. IUCN felt that the basis for the nomination of Macquarie Island was too narrow and recommended deferral of the nomination.
The Committee recalled that the Bureau discussed: (1) geological and biological values; (2) the sovereignty of States Parties to nominate properties and (3) the outstanding universal value of the nominated property, and that the Bureau by consensus decided to recommend the Committee to inscribe the property under criteria (i) and (iii).
The Committee decided that the site provides an unique example of exposure of the ocean crust above the sea level and of geological evidence for sea-floor spreading, and is an exposure of the oceanic plate boundary between the Pacific and Australian/Indian plates, exposed with active faults and ongoing tectonic movements.
The Committee decided to inscribe the site under criteria (i) and (iii) and took note of the reservations expressed by the Delegate of Thailand concerning criterion (iii). The Committee encouraged the Australian authorities to consider for the future a renomination with the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand and to consider adding biological criteria in a future renomination. Australia indicated that the Australian Government was willing to consider both proposals.