1.         Wet Tropics of Queensland (Australia) (N 486)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1988

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/486/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/486/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

early 1992: IUCN mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/486/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1998

The Bureau, at its twenty-second ordinary session (June 1998), learnt that the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment had investigated concerns that vegetation clearing may have occurred within this property and determined that World Heritage values were not at risk and that no further action was needed on this matter.

Since the conclusion of the Bureau session in June 1998, the Australian authorities have informed the Centre that the arrangements for the management of this site are now fully effective and meet with the full confidence of the Australian Government.

They have pointed out that the Management Plan, effective as of 1 September 1998, had been prepared with the full involvement of all stakeholders including Aboriginal groups. The Plan provides the Wet Tropics Management Authority with a full suite of powers to act in the interests of the World Heritage values of the property.

IUCN has informed the Centre that it will submit a report on the state of conservation of this site, based on information to be provided by its Australian National Committee, at the time of the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau.

Action Required

Decision required: The Bureau, based on new information that may be made available by IUCN at its twenty-second extraordinary session, may make recommendations as appropriate.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1998

The Bureau, at its twenty-second session (June, 1998) learnt that the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment had investigated concerns that vegetation clearing may have occurred within this property and determined that World Heritage values were not at risk and that no further action was needed on this matter. Since then the Australian authorities have re-affirmed that the arrangements for the management of this site are now fully effective and meet with the full confidence of their Government. They have pointed out that the Management Plan, effective as of 1 September 1998, had been prepared with the full involvement of all stakeholders, including Aboriginal groups. The Plan provides the Wet Tropics Management Authority with a full suite of powers to act in the interests of the World Heritage values of the property.

IUCN informed the Bureau that it had received a report on the state of conservation of this site from its Australian National Committee, and that it is in the process of reviewing that report.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The Bureau requested the Centre to transmit the report from IUCN Australia to the State Party for review. The Bureau furthermore recommended that IUCN provide an up-to-date state of conservation report on this site for the twenty-third session of the Bureau.

Decision Adopted: 22 BUR V.B.20

The Observer of Australia informed the Bureau that based on the concern that clearing may have occurred within the World Heritage property, the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment appointed a senior officer from the Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA) as an inspector under the World Heritage Properties Conservation Act (1983). This official would determine the nature of any vegetation clearance that may have occurred on private properties within the World Heritage area.

The investigator reported three cases of clearing, two of which were within the World Heritage area. Based on the advice of the inspector, the Minister for the Environment determined that World Heritage values were not at risk and that no further action was required in relation to these incidents.

The Bureau was satisfied to note that the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area Plan of Management would come into effect on 1 September 1998. The Plan, by removing the ability of land management agencies like Local Councils and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources to clear vegetation without scrutiny from WTMA, and by developing better co-ordination between actions of agencies, will help to prevent the any future clearings within the World Heritage area.

The Bureau noted IUCN’s acknowledgement that it receives a large volume of reports and statements concerning threats to many of the thirteen World Heritage sites of Australia and that it does not have the capacity at its Headquarters in Switzerland to evaluate all of them. The Bureau welcomed the offer of the Australian Committee of IUCN, made in November 1997, to undertake annual assessments of a selected number of properties and to provide reports to the annual sessions of the Committee.

The Bureau recommended that IUCN in co-operation with its Australian Committee, establish a mechanism for assessing, in a timely manner, the continuous stream of information received by the Centre on the state of conservation of Australian natural World Heritage sites. This would ensure that up-to-date state of conservation reports on the Great Barrier Reef, Shark Bay and the Wet Tropics of Queensland are submitted to the twenty-second session of the Committee.

Decision Adopted: 22 COM VII.27

VII.27 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-98/CONF.203/5) and included in Annex IV on the following properties:

The Committee noted that the Bureau's decision reflected the suggestion to establish an informal contact group on mining and World Heritage and that the IUCN "Draft Policy on Mining and Protected Areas" will be circulated.

The Committee noted the UN official name for the State Party: Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.