Decision : 29 COM 7B.a
Threats to World Heritage Properties

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev and the Draft Decision 29 COM 7B.a.Rev,

2. Recognizing the work being undertaken within the framework of the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and the need for a proper coordination of such work with the activities under the Convention,

3. Takes note of the four petitions seeking to have Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal), Huascaran National Park (Peru), the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) and the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) included on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

4. Appreciates the genuine concerns raised by the various organizations and individuals supporting these petitions relating to threats to natural World Heritage properties that are or may be the result of climate change;

5. Further notes that the impacts of climate change are affecting many and are likely to affect many more World Heritage properties, both natural and cultural in the years to come;

6. Encourages all States Parties to seriously consider the potential impacts of climate change within their management planning, in particular with monitoring, and risk preparedness strategies, and to take early action in response to these potential impacts;

7. Requests the World Heritage Centre, in collaboration with the Advisory Bodies, interested States Parties and petitioners, to establish a broad working group of experts to: a) review the nature and scale of the risks posed to World Heritage properties arising specifically from climate change; and b) jointly develop a strategy to assist States Parties to implement appropriate management responses;

8. Welcomes the offer by the State Party of the United Kingdom to host a meeting of such working group of experts;

9. Requests that the working group of experts, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre, the Advisory Bodies and other relevant UN bodies, prepare a joint report on “Predicting and managing the effects of climate change on World Heritage”, to be examined by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);

10. Strongly encourages States Parties and the Advisory Bodies to use the network of World Heritage properties to highlight the threats posed by climate change to natural and cultural heritage, start identifying the properties under most serious threats, and also use the network to demonstrate management actions that need to be taken to meet such threats, both within the properties and in their wider context;

11. Also encourages UNESCO to do its utmost to ensure that the results about climate change affecting World Heritage properties reach the public at large, in order to mobilize political support for activities against climate change and to safeguard in this way the livelihood of the poorest people of our planet.