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Decision 43 COM 7B.2
Greater Blue Mountains Area (Australia) (N 917)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 28 COM 15B.15, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),
  3. Notes with concern that the State Party recognizes that the proposed raising of the Warragamba Dam wall is expected to increase the frequency and extent of temporary inundation of the property upstream of the dam;
  4. Considers that the inundation of areas within the property resulting from the raising of the dam wall are likely to have an impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, recalls Decision 40 COM 7, in which it considered that the construction of dams with large reservoirs within the boundaries of World Heritage properties is incompatible with their World Heritage status, and urged States Parties to “ensure that the impacts from dams that could affect properties located upstream or downstream within the same river basin are rigorously assessed in order to avoid impacts on the OUV”, and requests the State Party to ensure, in line with its commitment, that the current process to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposal fully assesses all potential impacts on the OUV of the property and its other values, including Aboriginal cultural heritage, and to submit a copy of the EIS to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, prior to taking any final decisions regarding the project;
  5. Also notes with concern that several mining projects exist in the vicinity of or adjacent to the property, and that some mining activities have resulted in impacts on the property, as evidenced by the incident at the Clarence Colliery, and also requests the State Party to undertake an assessment of potential cumulative impacts of all existing and planned mining projects in the vicinity of the property through a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) or a similar mechanism;
  6. Reiterates its position that mineral exploration or exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, which is supported by the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM) Position Statement to not undertake such activities within World Heritage properties;
  7. Notes the information provided by the State Party regarding the Western Sydney Airport proposal and further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre a copy of the EIS for the anticipated airspace and flight path operations, once available, for review by IUCN;
  8. Welcomes the development of a Strategic Management Framework for the property as a new integrated management instrument and requests furthermore the State Party to ensure that potential threats to the property from activities outside its boundaries, particularly mining, are fully considered in the development of this management framework and that the EIS required are carried out in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, with a specific section focusing on the potential impact of the project(s) on the property’s OUV;
  9. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, 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 45th session in 2021.
Decision Code
43 COM 7B.2
Themes
Conservation
States Parties 1
Year
2019
State of conservation reports
2019 Greater Blue Mountains Area
Documents
WHC/19/43.COM/18
Decisions adopted during the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee (Baku, 2019)
Context of Decision
WHC-19/43.COM/7B.Add
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