V.158 The Bureau was informed that IUCN received a recent report, which again highlights the threats to the site, including lack of management, hunting and gold mining. Bystrinsky Nature Park, one of the five components of this site, continues to be the area most significantly threatened. The Park has no staff. Forest fires are reported to consume significant parts of the Park each year. The Park has been divided into 24 hunting leases, half of which are owned by large businesses outside of the region, and permitted by local authorities and not by the Park’s administration or by local indigenous peoples. Major changes to the boundaries of the site are also under discussion to allow gold mining.
V.159 This recent report also highlighted a new and significant threat to the natural values of the site. A year ago work began on a road to connect Esso, a village inside the Bystrinsky Nature Park, with Palana in the northern half of the Kamchatka region. This road will bisect the Park and will open up large areas to poaching and hunting. It is doubtful that the Parks Service and Forest Service have the capacity to control activities along this road.
V.160 IUCN notes that Bystrinsky Nature Park is one of the four parks in the UNDP/GEF project entitled “Demonstrating sustainable conservation of biological diversity in four protected areas in Russia’a Kamchatka Oblast”. UNDP/GEF has undertaken a one-and-a-half year project development phase, involving many stakeholders, and the project itself, worth US$13 million, is expected to be operational by September 2001. One of the objectives of the project is to assist with the establishment of Bystrinsky Nature Park as a sustainable natural park. IUCN is also working on a project entitled “World Natural Heritage Territories in Russia and Ecological Tourism”.
V.161 A staff member of the UNESCO Office, Moscow, participated in an intersectoral mission to the Kamchatka Peninsula concerning the UNDP/GEF project, which took place from 9 to 19 February 2001. The report points out the urgent need for awareness building among the local government and local populations about World Heritage obligations. It furthermore notes that the newly elected Governor of Kamchatka promotes mining activities as a motor for the Kamchatka economy.
V.162 The Bureau requested the State Party to provide a state of conservation report with particular reference to the problems in the Bystrinsky Nature Park by 15 September 2001. The Bureau noted that any change to the boundaries of this site requires a full analysis of biodiversity issues, ecosystems, migration routes and indigenous people issues. The Bureau requested the Centre to contact the State Party to obtain such an analysis and to make it available for review by IUCN as it may have important implications for the integrity of this site.