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World Heritage Convention

Decision 45 COM 7B.25
Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve (Russian Federation) (N 1023rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 42 COM 7B.77 and 43 COM 7B.17 adopted at its 42nd (Manama, 2018) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively,
  3. Regrets the lack of sufficient information provided by the State Party concerning the implementation of the recommendations of the 2017 Reactive Monitoring mission, which makes it difficult to assess the state of conservation of the property, and urges the State Party to implement these recommendations and provide detailed information on the progress towards their implementation;
  4. Requests the State Party to provide an update on the implementation of the 2020-2024 Management Plan for the property, together with a copy of its final version, and ensure the timely development of the next update;
  5. Also requests the State Party to provide more information on the regulations to monitor the number of tourists visiting the property and to clarify whether a carrying capacity study, as recommended by the 2017 Reactive Monitoring mission, has been completed;
  6. Also recalling that the 2017 Reactive Monitoring mission highlighted climate change as a critical threat to the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), further requests the State Party to provide the results of the reported on-going monitoring activities and develop adaptive measures to minimize any negative impacts of climate change on the OUV of the property;
  7. Also welcomes the ongoing removal of garbage from Wrangel Island, but reiterates its request to the State Party to expedite the removal of all garbage and clean-up of associated contaminants, originally envisioned by 2023, and to report on the progress made;
  8. Reiterates its concern that potential future hydrocarbon exploitation could still take place in the waters near the property, and recalls that a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), in line with IFC performance standards and with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context, needs to be developed and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, before any extractive activities are permitted to proceed;
  9. Notes with utmost concern information from third parties that proposed legislative changes to the property would allow infrastructure development, hunting, groundwater extraction, transportation and changes to the hydrological regime and would result in a significant weakening of its protection status, and requests furthermore the State Party to confirm the status of the proposed legislation;
  10. Recalls that a significant weakening of the protection status of the property could create the conditions for its inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  11. Also recalls the conclusion of the 2017 Reactive Monitoring mission, of which the Committee has already taken note, according to which the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger could be justified if it is not proven that the military presence within the boundaries of the property does not constitute an ascertained danger to its OUV;
  12. Requests moreover the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in order to address critical information gaps and review the implementation of the 2017 Reactive Monitoring mission recommendations;
  13. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2024, 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 47th session.
Context of Decision