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Decision 39 COM 7B.25
Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve (Russian Federation) (N 1023rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.20, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Expresses its concern that the construction of a military base appears to have started within the property, with potential to impact significantly on its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), regrets that the State Party did not provide any information on this matter, as required by Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, nor a response to requests from the World Heritage Centre, and urges the State Party to immediately halt any construction works within the property until the potential impacts are fully assessed and suitable measures to avoid deterioration of the OUV of the property are in place;
  4. Notes with serious concern the reported oil exploration activities undertaken by Rosneft in the vicinity of the property, and that one of the exploration ships is reported to have repeatedly entered the property, reiterates its position that oil exploration or exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, which is supported by the commitments made by industry leaders not to undertake such activities within World Heritage properties and requests the State Party to urgently ensure that no oil exploration or exploitation activities occur within the property, nor are permitted in its vicinity if they could have negative impacts on the property, taking into account the high sensitivity of the property’s Arctic ecosystem;
  5. Also requests the State Party to undertake Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) of the abovementioned activities, including an assessment of potential direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on the OUV of the property, in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and to submit these EIAs to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN;
  6. Further requests the State Party of the United States of America to ensure that no development proceeds before the potential impacts of the oil exploration planned by Shell Oil on the OUV of the property have been fully assessed and to submit these EIAs to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, prior to any approval of permits for exploration activities, in order to ensure that any oil exploration or exploitation in the Chukchi Sea will not have negative impacts on the property;
  7. Requests furthermore the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property and evaluate current and potential impacts from the construction of the military base within the property and from the oil exploration activities undertaken by Rosneft and/or others, as well as other planned activities in the area and their cumulative impacts;
  8. Reiterates its request to the State Party to develop and implement an effective plan for tourism use within the property, taking into account the particular sensitivity of the tundra ecosystem, conduct an EIA for the planned tourism infrastructure development, in line with IUCN World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and submit these documents to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN;
  9. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.
Documents
WHC-15/39.COM/19
Decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015)
Context of Decision
WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add
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