Property: Western Caucasus
Id. N°: 900
State Party: Russian Federation
Criteria: N (ii) (iv)
The Western Caucasus has a remarkable diversity of geology, ecosystems and species. It is of global significance as a centre of plant diversity. Along with the Virgin Komi World Heritage site, it is the only large mountain area in Europe that has not experienced significant human impact, containing extensive tracts of undisturbed mountain forests unique on the European scale.
The twenty-third session of the Bureau could not study this nomination because the requested field mission was delayed for climatic reasons, and thus there was no report for the nominated site. The twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau decided to refer this nomination to the Committee, as proposed by the Delegate of Hungary, the original proposal of IUCN having been to defer this property.
The Delegate of Thailand underlined paragraph 65 of the Operational Guidelines and stated that this nomination was the case for deferral and could not be amended to referral because the conditions for deferral and referral were specifically provided for by the Operational Guidelines. Also, the nomination could not be considered by this session of the Committee. He registered his dissent with the decision of the Committee.
The Observer of the United Kingdom pointed out that this nomination was a specific case and could not be considered as a precedent. The Delegate of Belgium underlined that the site had not been reviewed by the twenty-third session of the Bureau as the mission had been delayed for climatic reasons.
The Committee decided to inscribe the site on the World Heritage List under criteria (ii) and (iv): The site includes: The territory of the Caucasus State Biosphere Reserve (CSBR) with the exception of the Khosta Yew-Box Grove but including the entire Lagonaki plateau. IUCN noted that previous concerns relating to the integrated management of this area and the status of the Lagonaki-Dragomys road had been adequately addressed by the State Party. IUCN recommended that the State Party elaborate a master management plan for all the protected areas included in the nomination.
The Observer of the Russian Federation, in thanking the Committee, stated that nature conservation is being taken into account in the protection of this property and all future measures for its extension. He noted the interest of the State Committee for the Environment in the enlargement of the territory of the nomination by means of incorporation of the strict conservation zone of the Sochi National Park in the near future.