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World Heritage Convention

Decision 42 COM 7B.80
Western Caucasus (Russian Federation) (N 900)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41COM 7B.8, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Welcomes the State Party’s statement that the recent legislative changes do not impact on the obligations of the State Party under the Convention to preserve and transfer the heritage object to future generations in an unchanged state, but regrets that no detailed information about these changes has been provided and therefore reiterates its request to the State Party to provide detailed information about all recently adopted legislative changes and measures taken to avoid negative impacts on the property;
  4. Also recalling that the Committee has on several occasions reiterated its position that the installation of construction of large-scale infrastructure on the Lagonaki Plateau, or in any other area inside the property would constitute a case for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, also welcomes the statement of the State Party in its August 2017 letter addressed to the World Heritage Centre that no plans exist for construction of large-scale infrastructure on Lagonaki Plateau, nor any intentions to develop the territory of the property for recreational, tourism or sport purposes;
  5. Reiterates its concern expressed in Decision 40 COM 7B.101 on legislative changes providing for expansion of recreational zones and construction of large-scale tourism infrastructure in the protected areas adjoining the property, which could have negative impacts on its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), including on efforts to reintroduce the Persian leopard to the property, by disrupting the connectivity of its natural habitat;
  6. Expresses serious concern regarding the reported lease of land plots for the development of large-scale investment projects related to sports and recreational activities directly bordering the property and located on the territory of Sochi Federal Wildlife Refuge and Sochi National Park, and requests the State Party not to permit any construction of large-scale infrastructure in areas immediately adjacent to the property, particularly if located on the territory of other protected areas, if such construction could have negative impact on the property’s OUV, which should be assessed as part of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for each proposed project, in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  7. Also regrets that the State Party did not provide information regarding the current status of any existing plans for large-scale tourism and sport infrastructure on the territory of Sochi Federal Wildlife Refuge and Sochi National Park property and also requests the State Party to urgently provide this information;
  8. Notes with utmost concern that part of the Colchic Boxwood forests in the property have been destroyed by the invasive box tree moth, and further requests the State Party to:
    1. Assess the extent of the damage and its impact on the OUV of the property,
    2. Develop in cooperation with relevant specialists, including IUCN’s Invasive Species Specialist Group a set of urgent measures for the restoration of Colchic Boxwood within the property and its surroundings, and to control the box tree moth invasion,
    3. Assess risks posed to the OUV of the property by other potential invasive alien species, which may have also been introduced to the property or the broader region;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019, with a view to considering, in the case of infrastructure projects proceeding to implementation in proximity of the property without prior assessment of impacts on OUV, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Code
42 COM 7B.80
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2018 Western Caucasus
Decisions adopted during the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee (Manama, 2018)
Context of Decision