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Heard and McDonald Islands

Australia
Factors affecting the property in 1999*
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

Need for further documentation on the marine resources surrounding this property

International Assistance: requests for the property until 1999
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 1999**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Summary of previous deliberations:  The Committee, when it inscribed this property on the World Heritage List (Naples, 1997) had requested documentation on the marine resources surrounding this property. The Australian authorities informed the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau (Kyoto, 1998) that the Australian Antarctic Division had granted funding to collate and analyse existing data on the benthic environments surrounding this property, including the territorial sea. In accordance with Australia’s plans to establish a marine protected area in the region, the project aims to assess whether the 12 nautical miles territorial sea provides a representative sample of marine biodiversity in the region. To enable such an assessment, a comprehensive research programme is to be undertaken to clearly identify the marine values of the area. The Bureau had invited the State Party to submit a report, before 15 April 1999, on the findings of the project to establish a marine protected area so as to enable it to review the report at its twenty-third session.

New information: The Australian authorities, via letter dated 12 April 1999, have informed the Centre that the Heard Island and McDonald Island (HIMI) benthic project to establish a marine protected area includes a desktop study and a field survey. The desktop study commenced in January 1999 and is due to be completed in June 1999. It aims to document the distribution and abundance of different types of benthic habitats on the continental shelf around Heard Island, including an evaluation of the differences between benthic habitats in the territorial waters (0-12 nautical miles) and the remainder of the Australian (200 nautical miles) EEZ surrounding the Island. The field survey will examine the effect of trawling on these types of habitats and develop management options to protect environmental values of the benthic environments. The second stage, i.e. the field survey, is intended to be a pilot study to provide indicative results on habitats. Dependent upon the availability of the necessary ship transport, the Australian authorities estimate that the earliest opportunity for beginning the second stage will be in the summer of 2000/2001. The letter of 12 April 1999 from the Australian authorities has been transmitted to IUCN for comments. IUCN has noted that the process to create a marine protected area around HIMI has commenced and commended the proposal to protect marine biodiversity and manage large-scale commercial fishing impacts.

Action Required

The Bureau may wish to recommend that the State Party submit a report on the desktop study, due to be completed in June 1999, to the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau in November 1999.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Previous deliberations:         

Twenty-second session of the Committee – page 93 of Annex IV.

Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – Chapter IV.24

 

New information: The Australian Government informed the Centre in a letter of 15 September 1999 that the major component of the desktop study concerning the establishment of a marine protected area has been completed and that the report is in the process of being finalised. The State Party has indicated that the report of the desktop study will be completed before the end of 1999 and at that time will be submitted to the Centre.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1999
23 BUR IV.B.24
Heard and McDonald Islands (Australia)

The Committee, when it inscribed this property on the World Heritage List (Naples, 1997), had requested documentation on the marine resources surrounding this property. The Australian authorities informed the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau (Kyoto, 1998) that the Australian Antarctic Division had granted funding to collate and analyse existing data on the benthic environments surrounding this property, including the territorial sea. In accordance with Australia’s plans to establish a marine protected area in the region, the project aims to assess whether the 12 nautical miles territorial sea provides a representative sample of marine biodiversity in the region. To enable such an assessment, a comprehensive research programme is to be undertaken to clearly identify the marine values of the area. The Bureau had invited the State Party to submit a report, before 15 April 1999, on the findings of the project to establish a marine protected area so as to enable it to review the report at its twenty-third session.

The Australian authorities had informed the Centre that the Heard Island and McDonald Island (HIMI) benthic project to establish a marine protected area includes a desktop study and a field survey. The desktop study commenced in January 1999 and was due to be completed in June 1999. It aims to document the distribution and abundance of different types of benthic habitats on the continental shelf around Heard Island, including an evaluation of the differences between benthic habitats in the territorial waters (0-12 nautical miles) and the remainder of the Australian (200 nautical miles) EEZ surrounding the Island. The field survey will examine the effect of trawling on these types of habitats and develop management options to protect environmental values of the benthic environments. The second stage, i.e. the field survey, is intended to be a pilot study to provide indicative results on habitats. Dependent upon the availability of the necessary ship transport, the Australian authorities estimate that the earliest opportunity for beginning the second stage will be in the summer of 2000/2001. The letter of 12 April 1999 from the Australian authorities has been transmitted to IUCN for comments.

IUCN commended the process to create a marine protected area around HIMI which it saw as essential to more effectively protect marine biodiversity.

The Bureau recommended that the State Party submits a report on the desktop study, due to be completed in June 1999, to the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau in November 1999.  The Australian Observer informed the Bureau that the report of the desktop study is being finalised and will be submitted to the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau.

23 COM X.B.28
State of conservation reports of natural properties noted by the Committee

X.28 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-99/CONF.209/6) included as Annex VIII to this report. Additional observations made during the Committee session are reflected below.

Shark Bay, Western Australia (Australia)

Wet Tropics of Queensland (Australia)

Heard and McDonald Islands (Australia)

The Delegate of Australia thanked IUCN for the consultative process started, which could be a model for other State Parties. He also informed the Committee that the area of marine protection around Macquerie Island had been extended and now comprises 16 million ha, the world's largest highly protected marine zone.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)

Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon)

Los Katios National Park (Colombia)

The Delegate of Colombia informed the Committee that a visit by a delegation from the Ministry for Environment to Los Katios was recently carried out. The visit included areas that were previously not accessible. He emphasized that the proposal to grant collective land ownership over 100,000ha would be outside the Park in the buffer zone. He commented that his Government would be pleased to receive the visit of the monitoring mission to this site in 2000. The Colombian authorities have enhanced transboundary co-operation with Darien National Park (Panama) and strengthened the protected area system.

Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Dominica)

Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

The Observer of the United States underlined his Government's role in safeguarding Galapagos Islands and congratulated the Government of Ecuador on progress made. He noted the landmark decision of the Galapagos Law and questioned whether it had been implemented, in particular concerning the forty-mile zone. The Secretariat informed the Committee that some threats related to illegal fishing have been reported. IUCN noted the implementation of this pioneering legislation is vital and specific regulations need to be developed and implemented as soon as possible. The Delegate of Ecuador provided information from the Ministry of Environment noting progress concerning control of introduced species and general improvements in relation to biodiversity conservation at the site. Concerning the control of the 40-mile zone, she stated that the law has not yet been implemented, but that the basis for the conservation and environmental control is there. She thanked the Committee for all its efforts to safeguard the Galapagos.

Kaziranga National Park (India)

Komodo National Park (Indonesia)

Mount Kenya National Park (Kenya)

Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal)

The Observer of Nepal expressed his gratitude for the international support for the important project on tourism carried out at Sagarmatha National Park. The Observer of the United Kingdom noted that it is a ground-breaking project.

Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand (New Zealand)

Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)

The Delegate of Thailand noted the raised serious concerns raised by the Bureau regarding the management of this site, given the decline in numbers of the Arabian Oryx and the fact that the boundary marking and management planning is long overdue for completion. He recalled that the Committee inscribed the site without legislation and management plan in December 1994. He highlighted the Operational Guidelines in relation to the deletion of properties. The Delegate of Benin noted that rigour was not always applied in the past years and that a number of sites would not have been accepted if they were presented today. Concerning the question of deletion, a site would be put first on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Delegate of Thailand made it clear that he had not proposed the deletion of the site from the World Heritage List and that he was totally aware of the modalities in that respect. The Observer of the United Kingdom noted that similar problems concerned a number of sites and that these issues would certainly be dealt with by the periodic reporting process. IUCN pointed out that it had consistently raised concerns about this site. IUCN noted that legislation does not have effect if there is not sufficient resources for its implementation. The Chairperson reminded the Committee members about the rarity of Arab natural sites on the List. In concluding, the Chairperson thanked the Committee for the debate and noted that awareness needs to be raised in countries about the World Heritage Convention, its obligations and World Heritage values to be preserved for future generations, in particular among decision-makers. He thanked the Delegate of Thailand for his statement and encouraged the Committee to further reflect on how to enhance the protection of World Heritage sites.

Huascaran National Park (Peru)

Lake Baikal (Russian Federation)

The Observer of Russia requested that the information provided during the adoption of the report of the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau on this site be included in the Bureau report.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda)

Gough Island (United Kingdom)

Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania)

Canaima National Park (Venezuela)

Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)

Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)

The Bureau may wish to adopt the following text and transmit it to the Committee for noting: 

"The Bureau requests the Centre and IUCN to review the desktop study report concerning the establishment of a marine protected area surrounding the Heard and McDonald Islands, due to be completed and submitted to the Centre before the end of 1999, and report their findings to the twenty-fourth ordinary session of the Bureau in the year 2000."

Report year: 1999
Australia
Date of Inscription: 1997
Category: Natural
Criteria: (viii)(ix)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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