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World Heritage Convention

Decision 40 COM 7B.98
Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve (Russian Federation) (N 1023rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.25, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Regrets that the State Party did not invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property and reiterates its request to the State Party to invite this mission, as a matter of urgency;
  4. Welcomes the information that activities aimed at the removal of garbage from past human presence have been undertaken and that further activities are planned in that regard for 2016-2017;
  5. Expresses its utmost concern over the ongoing construction of facilities within the property and the associated increased human presence on the island and the potential impacts thereof on the sensitive arctic environment of Wrangel Island, and considers that this poses a potential danger to the property, in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Urges the State Party to halt the construction of facilities and any associated activities until their impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property have been assessed through rigorous Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), and requests the State Party to submit these EIAs to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN;
  7. Notes confirmation that oil exploration and exploitation are prohibited within the property and that in the past, seismic exploration vessels incidentally entered the waters of the property only in order to seek shelter from storms, but also regrets that no information was provided on the current status of the oil exploration projects that are planned or ongoing in the vicinity of the property, nor any EIAs were submitted to the World Hersitage Centre;
  8. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to provide detailed information on the current status of any ongoing and planned oil exploration projects in the vicinity of the property and to submit EIAs for such projects, including specific assessment of their potential impacts on the OUV of the property, in line with IUCN’s Advice Note of Environmental Assessment;
  9. Notes with concern that additional tourism infrastructure is planned within the property and also requests the State Party to provide detailed information on any planned tourism infrastructure, including EIAs of any such projects;
  10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017, with a view to consider, in the case of a lack of significant progress in addressing the above-mentioned issues, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Code
40 COM 7B.98
Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger, Reports
State of conservation reports
2016 Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve
Report of the Decisions adopted during the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016)
Context of Decision