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World Heritage Convention

Decision 33 COM 7B.22
Waterton Glacier International Peace Park (Canada / United States of America) (N 354 rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 11A adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005) on the Periodic Report for North America, which noted the continued excellent cooperation between the States Parties of Canada and the United States of America,

3. Noting the information provided by the State Party of Canada during its 33rd session, in particular that there is currently no coal mining or coalbed methane extraction in the property or the adjacent Flathead Valley,

4. Also recalling the conclusions of the1988 International Joint Commission study of a proposed coal mine at Cabin Creek in the Flathead Valley, which determined that the effects of the proposed mine could not be fully mitigated,

5. Notes that the 1994 nomination document indicated that the integrity of the property is inextricably linked with the quality of stewardship of the adjacent areas within the international Crown of the Continent ecosystem and that therefore the protection of the property's Outstanding Universal Value require that it be managed within the context of this greater ecosystem;

6. Notes with concern the potential threat to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property from potential mining and energy development within the Flathead Valley and, in particular, to the continued quantity and quality of water supplies and ecosystem connectivity between the property and important habitats outside its boundaries;

7. Also notes the high level of public concern regarding this potential threat and any effects of climate change on the property;

8. Urges the State Party of Canada not to permit any mining or energy development in the upper Flathead River basin until the relevant Federal and Provincial environmental assessment processes have been completed;

9. Requests the State Party of Canada to provide timely opportunities for the State Party of the United States of America to participate in these environmental assessment processes and to fully consider its contributions;

10. Invites the States Parties to exchange experiences with other States Parties whose properties contain glaciers to explore appropriate and practical adaptation and mitigation strategies to maintain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in the long term;

11. Also requests the States Parties to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission to take place as soon as possible to evaluate and provide recommendations on the requirements for ensuring the protection of the property's Outstanding Universal Value, including, but not limited to, the need for baseline and comparative research on the resources of the broader ecosystem;

12. Further requests the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a joint state of conservation report on the property, including the status of all mining and energy development proposals in the Flathead Valley, as well as on other developments in the broader ecosystem, such as residential, industrial and tourism development, their potential impacts and cumulative effects, and progress in developing climate change adaptation strategies for the management of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.

Final Decisions of the 33rd Session of the World Heritage Committee (Seville, 2009)
Context of Decision