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Decision 42 COM 7B.77
Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve (Russian Federation) (N 1023rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 39 COM 7B.25, 40 COM 7B.98, and 41 COM 7B.7, adopted at its 39th (Bonn, 2015), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions respectively,
  3. Taking note of the conclusions of the 2017 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission, expresses its serious concern on the reported threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and requests the State Party to fully implement all the recommendations of the mission;
  4. Welcomes the continued efforts for the removal of garbage from Wrangel Island, but regrets that many thousands of tons of garbage remain on the island 13 years following its inscription and also requests the State Party to provide a timetabled programme to strengthen these efforts in order to complete the removal of garbage and clean-up of associated contaminants within the targeted deadline of five years, and to regularly report on progress made in implementing these activities, and to submit, by 1 February 2023, a final report to confirm whether the island is free of garbage and associated contaminants;
  5. Also regrets that the State Party has not provided information regarding military facilities and associated activities within the property as repeatedly requested by the Committee, therefore not enabling an assessment of their impacts on the property, and strongly urges the State Party to:
    1. Provide more detailed information on current and potential impacts of military facilities and associated activities on the property’s OUV,
    2. Immediately halt any activities that may negatively affect the OUV,
    3. Implement appropriate measures to avoid and minimize impacts and mitigate any residual impacts of military facilities and activities on the OUV of the property, as recommended by the mission,
    4. Submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, a report on the impacts from military facilities and activities and the effectiveness of mitigation measures;
  6. Also welcomes the confirmation of the State Party that no hydrocarbon exploration or exploitation activities are allowed within the property, but expresses its utmost concern that potential future hydrocarbon exploitation could still take place in the waters near the property, and also urges the State Party to conduct a detailed EIA that assesses the possible impacts on the OUV of the property before permitting any hydrocarbon drilling activities in the Yuzhno-Chukotski, Severo-Vrangelski-1 and -2 blocks, and to submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN;
  7. Also takes note of the missions’ conclusion that the property’s inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger could be justified in case of:
    1. Absence of proof that the military presence within the boundaries of the property does not constitute an ascertained danger to its OUV,
      or in the case that
    2. hydrocarbon exploitation is pursued without prior EIA in line with International Finance Corporation (IFC) 2012 performance standards and a rigorous assessment of the impacts on the property, in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  8. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the implementation of the above, including on the implementation of the mission recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019.
Decisions adopted during the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee (Manama, 2018)
Context of Decision