1.         Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands) (Italy) (N 908)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (viii)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/908/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/908/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of overall management plan;

b) Excessive tourism development;

c) Pumice-pit mining.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/908/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

The State Party of Italy submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property on 9 March 2006 indicating that it had requested the two Sicilian authorities concerned for official statements regarding the mining activities on Lipari Island. Both authorities (l’Assessorat à l’Industrie et l’Assessorat aux Biens Culturels et Environnementaux et de l’Instruction Publique de la Région Sicile) confirmed that any further extension or expansion of the pumice-pit mining is illegal and against the Landscape Territorial Plan in place. The State Party also reports that the latter has requested the communes of the Aeolian Islands to speed up the preparation of a general management plan. The authority had also informed the communes that, in case of their continued inactivity, it would take over the responsibility to prepare the general management plan.

The State Party did, however, not provide any information on the proposed hotel development on Lipari Island that sparked national and international media coverage and criticism in late 2004. In its Decision 28 COM 15B.26, the Committee urged the State Party to seek long-term solutions towards a closure of the existing pumice quarries and to stop all mining activities in the World Heritage property. Whereas mining activities seem to have stopped on six of the seven islands, mining activities continue in the Lipari Island World Heritage property. On Lipari Island, the mining of pumice stone was authorized, as reported in 2004, by a regional law, originally until 31 May 2005. From 2004 to 2006, the Centre and IUCN received regular reports from concerned NGOs and individuals indicating that the mining activities continue and are proposed to continue on Lipari Island. Since the inscription of the Aeolian Islands on the World Heritage List in 2000, the extraction of pumice pit has allegedly been doubled. Moreover, a second pumice quarry reopened, and an old pier used to load pumice stone on big vessels was revamped. According to accompanying photographic and audiovisual material, the northeast side of the island is totally devastated by the continuing operation of the pumice pits. Finally, the crater of Mount Pelato has, allegedly, become unstable.

There is conflicting information regarding the authorization of these mining activities. Media reports indicated that the Sicilian authority in charge of mining concessions has twice declared to the public that all mining activities on Lipari Island will be stopped, at the latest by 30 June 2005. But following demonstrations in Messina, a further extension was granted to Pumex and Italpomice, the two companies operating on the island, until 31 December 2005. These companies have, backed up by the Mayor and council of the town of Lipari, requested the Sicilian Parliament to also grant an extension for at least another five years. Legambiente Sicilia, an environmental NGO, has in the meantime decided to take the Mayor of the town of Lipari to court for abuse of authority. At present, it is unclear whether or not the mining activities continue and for how long. Based on the available information, IUCN and the Centre are very concerned that the ongoing mining activities continue to have major adverse impacts on the integrity of the World Heritage property. Several studies indicated the possibility of immediate reemployment of all pumice workers, even following a complete stop of all mining activities in the World Heritage property.

IUCN has also received information on a proposal to develop an airport on Lipari Island. But no further information is available at present. There is also no further information available on the implementation of the Landscape Territorial Plan that should help to resolve planning and management issues. Considering the continued reports from concerned NGOs and individuals, and the available photographic and audiovisual material, a joint UNESCO/IUCN mission is required to assess the state of conservation of the property, and in particular progress made in seeking the above mentioned long-term solutions with regard to mining activities in the property. The State Party had previously offered to invite such a mission to the World Heritage property as indicated in its 2004 report.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.23

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decisions 27 COM 7B.18 and 28 COM 15B.26, adopted at its 27th (Paris, 2003) and 28th (Suzhou, 2004) sessions respectively,

3. Notes with great concern that the mining activities continue to have major adverse impacts on the integrity of the property;

4. Regrets that little progress is made in relation to the requested stop of all mining activities in the World Heritage property;

5. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission to assess the state of conservation of the property, in particular the impacts of the mining activities, proposed hotel development and the implementation of the Landscape Territorial Plan;

6. Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2007 on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.