1.         Volcanoes of Kamchatka (Russian Federation) (N 765bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1996

Criteria  (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)

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/765/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/765/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

1997: IUCN fact-finding mission; May 2004, August 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN reactive monitoring missions.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/765/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

On 1 February 2013, a report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party, providing information on the general conservation status of the two Federal State Reserves and four regional nature parks that are part of the property, as well as on
on-going and planned development projects that might affect the integrity of the property. The report only includes limited information on the implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 reactive monitoring mission.

a)  Conservation status and trends in wildlife populations in Kronotsky Strict Nature Reserve and South Kamchatka Wildlife Reserve

The State Party reports that both reserves are in good conservation state, due to their remoteness, lack of transport infrastructure, the strict limitation on the number of visitors  and the strict conservation regime. The State Party provides data on abundances but no trend data for key mammal species including Brown Bear, Sable, Sea Otter, Harbour Seal and Sea Lion, and assesses these as near the natural carrying capacity. Exceptions are the negative trends of wild Reindeer and Snow Sheep in Kronotsky Reserve. The former is reported to have more than halved in six years to around 900 in 2012, due to natural disasters and poaching as well as disturbance on winter pastures outside the reserve, in particular in the upper reaches of the Zhupanova River. The report also notes that potential threats from activities in adjacent areas are getting more significant every year. The State Party considers that one underlying reason for the observed decreases in some species is that the property only includes parts of the range of these populations. To address this issue, the report notes that the Commission for Rare and Endangered Species of Kamchatka Krai proposed to add 3000 ha to the Reserve as well as the creation of a conservation zone in the upper reaches of the Zhupanova River. The report states that surveys conducted by the Kamchatka Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography show that salmon population trends in Kronotsky Reserve are stable, due to effective conservation management and restrictions on fishing in the rivers leading to the main spawning grounds. Surveys are also reported to show that the Sockeye Salmon population at South Kamchatka Wildlife Reserve is also in good condition, with four million spawning individuals reported from Kurilskoe Lake in 2008-12. However, the State Party reports increasing salmon poaching near the reserve and has increased patrolling intensity in these areas.

b)  Management and conservation status of the nature parks that are managed by “Volcanoes of Kamchatka Natural Park” Regional State Budgetary Institution

The State Party recalls that since 2010 the management of the four regional nature parks (Klyuchevskoy, Bystrinsky, Nalychevo and South Kamchatka Nature Parks) has been brought under a unified management  structure. The State Party considers these parks in satisfactory conservation state and wildlife populations are reported to be stable in spite of allowed sports fishing and hunting. However no data is provided on numbers and trends. The State Party further reports on efforts to strengthen the management system, in particular the geo-referencing of the boundaries and the introduction of a monitoring system for key species.

c)  Plans to develop hydropower stations

The State Party clarifies that no hydropower station is currently planned inside the property, but that construction of a hydropower station on the Zhupanova river near but outside the property is currently under consideration by the Government of Kamchatka Krai. The State Party notes that this construction could affect the integrity of some natural values of the property, such as the wild Reindeer population that uses Zhupanovskaya tundra as winter pasture but notes that a final decision will only be made after an assessment of the ecological risks.

d)  Overall area and boundaries of the nature parks managed by “Volcanoes of Kamchatka Natural Park” Regional State Budgetary Institution

The State Party stresses that the boundaries of the nature parks that form part of the property were not revised in 2010-2012 but that the boundaries were “specified”, without explaining the exact meaning of this term.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that Decision 36 COM 7B.21 refers to a discrepancy between two documents with information from the State Party, namely the Retrospective Inventory (2011) and the report submitted by the State Party in preparation of the 36th session of the Committee (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), which explicitly states that the borders of the Nature Parks were revised in 2010. They note that the State Party did not submit a map showing the current boundaries of the property, as has been requested by the Committee.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the State Party does not include a substantial part of the information requested in previous decisions or the implementation of a number of the recommendations of the 2007 monitoring mission. They note that the State Party reports that potential threats from adjacent areas are getting more significant every year.

They recommend that the World Heritage Committee welcome the information provided by the State Party that there are no plans to develop hydropower stations inside the property. They consider that potential impacts of the construction of a hydropower station on the Zhupanova river, a key wintering area for wild Reindeer, on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) should be systematically assessed through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) prior to any final decision on the project’s implementation, including a specific assessment of impacts on  Outstanding Universal Value, and to submit copies of these EIAs to the World Heritage Centre in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are of the view that, while some information on current wildlife abundance has been provided by the State Party for two out of six component reserves of the property, this is still insufficient to adequately assess the conservation status of the property as a whole. They also note that the current status of wild Reindeer and Snow Sheep remains a cause for serious concern. They support the proposals made to create a conservation zone to better protect the wintering grounds of these species. They note the reported efforts to set up a monitoring system for key species in the natural parks and recommend that the Committee reiterates its request to the State Party to urgently develop and implement a comprehensive monitoring system for the entire property in order to obtain detailed numerical trend data.

According to the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, there is still a need for the State Party to clarify apparent contradictions regarding the overall area of the four regional nature parks that contribute to the property, as the area estimate provided by the State Party in 2012 appears to be smaller by 12,492 ha then the area provided by the State Party in the Retrospective Inventory (2011).

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are of the view that the recommendations of the 2007 mission remain valid. More particularly, there continues to be an urgent need for an effective management structure and overall management plan for all six protected areas comprised in the property, for a revision of their individual management plans, where such plans exist, for the development of a comprehensive tourism management plan, and for adequate legal protection of the areas that now form the “Volcanoes of Kamchatka Natural Park”. 

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.21

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.21 adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Notes with concern that the State Party reports that potential threats on the property from adjacent areas are getting more significant every year and regrets that the State Party does not provide sufficiently detailed information on trends in wildlife populations inside the property, nor on the implementation of several of the recommendations of the 2007 reactive monitoring mission;

4.  Considers that, in the absence of this information, the current state of conservation and management effectiveness of the property cannot be fully assessed;

5.  Also notes with serious concern the decline in populations of wild Reindeer and Snow Sheep, and encourages the State Party to create a conservation zone to better protect the wintering grounds of these species as has been proposed by the Commission for Rare and Endangered Species of Kamchatka Krai;

6.  Welcomes the clarification by the State Party that there are no plans to construct hydropower stations inside the property, and requests the State Party to provide detailed information about possible plans to construct a hydropower station on the Zhupanova river, a key wintering area for wild Reindeer outside the property and their potential impact on Outstanding Universal Value, including copies of Environmental Impact Assessments once these are available, before taking any irreversible decisions, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines ;

7.  Reiterates its request to the State Party to clarify apparent contradictions regarding the overall area of the four regional nature parks that form part of the property, by providing detailed information, including maps, about the boundary “specifications” implemented in 2010 on these four parks, and a detailed map showing the boundaries of all components of the property;

8.  Urges the State Party to fully implement the recommendations of the 2007 reactive monitoring mission, particularly regarding the development and implementation of one integrated management plan and coordination structure, a comprehensive tourism management plan, and the strengthening of the institutional capacity of the administrations of the property, both in terms of human and financial resources;

9.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015 , 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 39th session in 2015.