Decision : CONF 204 IV.B.48
Tasmanian Wilderness (Australia)
At its twenty-second session (June 1998), the Bureau noted that the Tasmanian Regional Forestry Agreement (RFA) signed by the Commonwealth and the Tasmanian Governments on 8 November 1997, has enabled: (i) the establishment of a significantly increased reserve system for Tasmania’s Forest Estate; (ii) participation by the signatories in further World Heritage assessment of relevant Australia-wide themes; and (iii) initiation of discussions between the signatories on possibilities for further World Heritage nominations or additions to the present World Heritage site. The twenty-second session of the Bureau requested the State Party to keep the Centre informed of any potential boundary extensions that may be foreseen for the Tasmanian Wilderness and to provide a timetable for the implementation of the Regional Forestry Agreement. At its twenty-second extraordinary session (November 1998), the Bureau learned that negotiations between the Tasmanian and the Commonwealth Governments for setting a timetable, potentially involving the extension of the boundaries of the World Heritage site, were underway and the Australian authorities had agreed to provide the timetable when the two parties reach an agreement. The twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau recommended that the Centre and IUCN maintain contact with the Australian authorities to obtain information on the timetable and requested the Centre to transmit a report from the Australian NGOs to the State Party concerning the Tasmanian Wilderness for review.
IUCN has informed the Centre that the Australian Committee for IUCN (ACIUCN) proposes to complete an assessment on the state of conservation of the Tasmanian Wilderness, based on inputs from NGOs, Government agencies and other interested parties in 2000. In principle, IUCN supports the Regional Forest Assessment (RFA) process as it represents a significant step towards a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system. IUCN considers that elements of the dedicated RFA reserve system may be relevant to identifying suitable extensions to the World Heritage site and believes that the RFA cements relations between state and federal governments on matters affecting the World Heritage site such as policy, management and funding. However, IUCN remains concerned about the RFA possibly excluding from the reserve system important forest areas, already identified as of potential World Heritage value. Threats posed by logging, sanctioned by the RFA, to forest catchments that may be represented within the World Heritage site, are also a matter of concern to IUCN.
The Bureau wishes to request ACIUCN to complete its review process on the state of conservation of the Tasmanian Wilderness, including specific concerns it has noted, and submit an up-to-date report to the twenty fourth-session on the Bureau in 2000.
To enable ACIUCN to undertake its assessment of the state of conservation of this site, the Bureau invites the State Party to inform the Centre by 15 September 1999 of the following: (i) any potential boundary extensions that may be foreseen together with a timetable for the implementation of the Regional Forestry Agreement (RFA), (ii) its assessment of the implications of the RFA on other areas identified as having World Heritage value and (iii) the potential impacts on forest catchments in the World Heritage site of other areas which may be logged under the RFA.