1.         Curonian Spit (Lithuania,Russian Federation) (C 994)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (v)

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/994/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 85,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/994/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

August 2001: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN mission; November 2003: World Heritage Centre mission; July 2009: ICOMOS/IUCN Technical Advisory Mission (invited by Lithuania); December 2010: WHC/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; March 2013: ICOMOS Advisory Mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/994/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

On 31 January 2014, a state of conservation report was submitted by the State Party of the Russian Federation, and on 6 February 2014, a state of conservation report was submitted by the State Party of Lithuania; both are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/994/documents/. These reports respond to the some of the requests of the Committee at its 36th session in 2012 and include updates on improvements as well as proposed developments:

On 7 April 2014, the State Party of the Russian Federation submitted a letter to the World Heritage Centre expressing concern at the potential negative impacts that the proposed bridge project could have on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. The World Heritage Centre requested information from the State Party of Lithuania on 14 April 2014, but no response has been received at the time of writing this document. Further information on the bridge project is available on the Port of Klaipėda website at: http://www.portofklaipeda.lt/news/9962/577/Representatives-of-Chinese-company-China-Road-and-Bridge-Corporation-visited-Klaipeda-port/d,archyveand http://www.portofklaipeda.lt/outer-deep-sea-port. These websites outline proposals for a deep sea port to the north of the property and for a large suspension bridge linking the mainland with the Spit, and presumably with the new port.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The continuing active collaboration between the two National Parks is welcomed, in particular the agreement to work on an overall management plan for the transnational property and to pursue other outcomes of the joint seminar held in March 2013.The successful measures taken in Lithuania to reverse illegal building permissions must also be commended, including the demolition of structures such as the highly visible restaurant at Juodkrantė.

A new framework has been agreed for the Russian National Park and will regulate social and economic activity within the park. This should pre-empt further major, inappropriate development proposals and instead encourage sustainable development. The inclusion of the three villages within the park boundaries will also strengthen the links between the local community and the landscape.

The apparent lack of dialogue on proposals to develop a new port and bridge at Klaipėda is a source of concern, particularly as information in the public domain suggests that such schemes have been considered over several years. The apparent haste with which approval in principle for the bridge appears to have been given, before any impact assessments or plans have been submitted for review, is also deeply concerning. It is therefore recommended that the Committee should request the State Party to invite a reactive monitoring mission to the property, to be organised as soon as possible.

While the proposed bridge is within the property and the proposed port would be immediately outside the boundary, both could have major impacts on the highly sensitive Spit, and not only in visual terms. The bridge could allow unregulated access to the Spit, while the port might impact on sea currents and wave motions that could further destabilize the dunes. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to suspend work on both projects until a full assessment of the overall development of Klaipėda in relation to the property has been undertaken.

It is also noted that work on the liquefied gas terminal has commenced despite the fact that none of the impact assessments requested by the Committee were conducted. Together, the development of these projects would appear to indicate that the management of the Klaipėda part of the property is not aligned with the positive management that now prevails within the two National Parks, an issue that ought to be addressed during a reactive monitoring mission.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.28

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.78 adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Welcomes the continuing collaboration between the two national parks and the commitment to produce a transnational Management Plan for the property, as well as the recently strengthened regulations within the Russian National Park that should support sustainable development within the property;
  4. Also welcomes the significant progress made within Lithuania to contain and reverse illegal development;
  5. Expresses its concern however that work on the liquefied gas terminal outside Klaipėda has been approved and commenced although no impact assessments were provided, despite its earlier requests and reiterates its request to the State Party of Lithuania to undertake full impact assessments (Strategic Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessments) in order to consider the potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property; these assessments should be provided to the World Heritage Centre, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines ;
  6. Expresses its strong concern that approval in principle has apparently been given for the construction of a large suspension bridge from Klaipėda across the lagoon to the Spit, as this structure could have severe adverse visual impacts and affect traffic management along the Spit;
  7. Understands that the bridge could be part of a larger project to develop a deep sea port at Klaipėda, which could have an impact on the stability of the dunes, and notes with regret that no details of either project have been submitted to the World Heritage Centre, as required by Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines ;
  8. Requests the State Party of Lithuania to halt further development of both projects until full details have been provided, including detailed impact assessments (Strategic Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessments), in order to allow an evaluation of potential impact on the property;
  9. Also requests the State Party of Lithuania to invite an ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the property in 2014 to consider the proposed bridge and port projects as well as the liquefied gas terminal project;
  10. Further requests the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a progress report on the implementation of the above and, by 1 December 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 40th session in 2016, both reports including a 1-page executive summary.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E,
  2. Congratulates the States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in their territories;
  3. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC:

    EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA:

    LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARRIBBEANS:

    4.  Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in priority;
    5.  Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

    6.  Takes note that the World Heritage Centre is in the process of harmonising all sub-headings in the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value and, as appropriate, reflects name changes of World Heritage properties throughout the text of the Statements as requested by the Committee at its 37th session, and requests the World Heritage Centre to also update the size of the property and/or its buffer zone, as appropriate, following subsequent Decisions of the World Heritage Committee concerning Minor Boundary Modifications.
    7.  Requests the States Parties to provide support to the World Heritage Centre for translation of the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value into English or French respectively, and finally requests the Centre to upload the two language versions on its website.