Decision : CONF 202 IV.A.3
Srebarna Nature Reserve (Bulgaria)
The Bureau noted that a workshop held from 25 to 27 September 1999 at this site had brought together twenty-eight participants from Government institutions, staff of the Reserve and NGOs. The workshop focused on linking the applications of the World Heritage Convention, Ramsar Convention, Biosphere Reserve concept and other Europe-wide initiatives, such as those of BirdLife Network, Natura 2000 and the European Habitat Directive, to the conservation of Srebarna Nature Reserve. The workshop also explored possibilities to involve the local population in the conservation of the site and to orient management to improve the living standards of the local people resident in and around the Reserve.
The Bureau was informed that investigations conducted by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences on the potential effects of a recent cyanide spill in the River Danube on the conservation of Srebarna had revealed that:
Cyanide levels in Danube water samples near Srebarna were not higher than 0.012 mg/l; such levels are considered to be dangerous only in cases of long-term, chronic pollution;
Srebarna Lake is linked to the River Danube via a channel with two locks which were closed at the time of the cyanide spill; at that time the water level in the Lake was also higher than that in the River, and hence the chances of cyanide seepage into the Lake were further curtailed; and
Pollution due to heavy metals, chlorinated hydrocarbons and other pollutants originating from lands immediately surrounding the Lake are potentially of greater concern than the impact of the cyanide spill to the long-term conservation of Srebarna.
The Bureau noted that monitoring of cyanide levels in the Lake had commenced in February 2000 and suggested that the State Party continue to monitor the impact of the cyanide spill as well as that of other major pollutants entering the Lake. On the overall impact of the cyanide spill, also refer to paragraph IV.45.
The Bureau recommended that the Committee retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Bureau encouraged the State Party and the relevant national authorities to continue their efforts to link the different initiatives at the national, European and international level to mitigate threats to the site. The Bureau requested the State Party to submit a state of conservation report by 15 September 2000, addressing amongst others, effectiveness of the rehabilitation programme currently being implemented by the State Party. The Bureau asked the Centre and IUCN to review that report and propose to the twenty-fourth session of the Committee, a process and a time-table for an assessment of the results of the restoration of Srebarna and its possible removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2001.