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Tasmanian Wilderness

Australia
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Forestry /wood production
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Mining
  • Other Threats:

    Biosecurity

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Commercial logging in areas adjacent to the property
  • Plans to permit commercial logging in the property (issue resolved)
  • Potential construction of a dam (issue resolved)
  • Biosecurity
  • Impacts of tourism / visitation / recreation
  • Management systems / management plan
  • Mineral exploration and extraction
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

March 2008: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2015: joint IUCN/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

A joint IUCN/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission visited the property in November 2015 and met with all stakeholders involved in the protection and management of the property, including representatives of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community, environmental NGOs, political parties and governmental institutions, academics, independent consultants and representatives of the tourism and specialty timber sectors. Subsequently, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property on 8 April 2016. Both reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/181/documents. Noting the acceptance by the Governments of Australia and Tasmania of all the mission’s recommendations, the State Party provides the following information:

  • All forms of commercial logging and mining are ruled out in the entire property;
  • Both governments commit to an integrated approach to the protection and management of cultural and natural values of the property, including through the development of joint management arrangements with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community and the provision of adequate resources to this approach and other priority concerns such as fire management, biosecurity and the consideration of the intricate linkages between the property and its terrestrial and marine surroundings;
  • Further commitments include the minimisation of gravel use, Aboriginal representation in the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council (NPWAC) and the granting of reserve status to all public land within the property, subject to consideration by the Tasmanian Parliament and community consultation;
  • A Strategic Management Statement within the draft Management Plan will guide the management of land within the property that legally cannot be subject to management plans;
  • Strict assessment criteria in the draft Management Plan and specific guidance in a separate Tourism Master Plan have been added to ensure that all development proposals, including for tourism, will be assessed against a rigorous framework which considers the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  • The existing terminology, interpretation and zones related to “wilderness” will be retained, while fully acknowledging the Aboriginal past, present and future and providing access for cultural practices;
  • The potential dual naming for the property will be explored in consultation with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community;
  • The need for adequate resourcing and meaningful Aboriginal involvement and leadership, including through the Aboriginal Heritage Council (AHC), as regards the cultural survey requested by the Committee, is acknowledged;
  • The first step in the envisaged multi-stage survey process is the compilation of existing information in a synthesis report by mid-2017, which will also inform a more comprehensive retrospective Statement of OUV. A detailed plan for a major multi-year cultural survey will be provided to the World Heritage Centre by mid-2017 for review by ICOMOS, in consultation with IUCN.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The exemplary commitment of both the Australian and the Tasmanian Governments to consider the property off limits for any commercial resource extraction, to integrate the natural and cultural values of the property in the management approach and to develop joint management arrangements with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community should be strongly welcomed.

The commitment of both Governments to fund and facilitate an in-depth cultural survey, as requested by the Committee, should also be welcomed. The important role of the Aboriginal Heritage Council (AHC) is acknowledged, while noting the need to engage with the diverse Tasmanian Aboriginal Community more comprehensively. The planned synthesis report distilling all available information on known cultural sites will contribute to informing both the management of natural and cultural values of the property and the Retrospective Statement of OUV.

The ongoing revision of the draft management plan for the property is a crucial instrument to reflect past World Heritage Committee decisions and recommendations of the mission. One challenge in the ongoing consultations is the polarisation between and within stakeholder groups. All efforts should be made to build trust among stakeholders, as the basis for future conservation and management. The laudable commitment by the Tasmanian Government to develop joint management arrangements with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community will require the recognition and accommodation of diverse views within that community. Follow-up should fully involve the AHC and a strengthened Aboriginal role in the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council (NPWAC), but also consider indigenous views and aspirations as legitimate and integral elements of the management of the property more broadly. It is hoped that this will result in a more holistic understanding of the cultural and natural heritage of the property, and eventually in a meaningful involvement of the Aboriginal Community in governance and decision-making.

The recent fires in Tasmania are a strong reminder of the need to consider fire as both a natural disturbance factor and a major anthropogenic threat in management planning within and beyond the property. While the State Party reported that the fires have had a low impact on the property, affecting mostly fire-adapted vegetation types which are expected to recover to their original state, and while it has accepted the overall recommendation of the mission to ensure adequate resources for fire research and management, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that the issue of fire management is fully reflected in the revision of the draft Management Plan for the property, including through evaluation of recent experiences with responses to fires. The independent review of the management of the Tasmanian fires of January 2016, submitted by the State Party on 10 May 2016, is also noted. It is recommended that the conclusions and recommendations of the review also be taken into account in the revision of the Management Plan.

The commitment to strict assessment criteria for all tourism development proposals within the property, including additional criteria in the Management Plan, as part of regulations to ensure that commercial tourism proposals do not impact negatively on the property’s OUV is needed and welcome. If elaborated and implemented according to the State Party’s reported intentions, such strengthening of the management plan along with a specific Tourism Master Plan will provide much-needed refined guidance in terms of the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of tourism and visitation. As the mission noted, there is legitimate Aboriginal interest in more meaningful involvement in site interpretation and adequate tourism development, so as to adequately convey the Aboriginal history of the property and to seize employment and income opportunities.

It is recommended that the Committee commend the State Party for the commitments it has expressed with regards to the recommendations made by the mission and request the State Party to fully implement these recommendations, including through provision of necessary human and financial resources.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7B.66
Tasmanian Wilderness (Australia) (C/N 181quinquies)
The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 847 and 39 COM 7B.35, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014) and 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party for its commitment to explicitly rule out all forms of commercial logging and mining in the whole of the property, as well as its other commitments made in response to the recommendations of the 2015 joint IUCN/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission, and requests the State Party to implement all of the mission’s recommendations;
  4. Welcomes the State Party’s commitment to include additional and strict assessment criteria to ensure that commercial tourism proposals do not impact negatively on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and notes that a separate Tourism Master Plan will be elaborated in order to refine the balance between legitimate tourism development and conservation of cultural and natural attributes, based on consultation and negotiation with relevant stakeholders, including the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community;
  5. Notes the information provided by the State Party with regard to the recent fires which affected the property, and also requests the State Party to ensure that fire research and management are fully reflected in the revision of the draft Management Plan for the property, including through the evaluation of recent experiences with fire response and taking into account the conclusions and recommendations made by the independent review of the management of the Tasmanian fires of January 2016;
  6. Encourages the State Party to explore the possibility of dual naming for the property, to reflect its wilderness character, its Aboriginal heritage and the relationship of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community with the property;
  7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by mid-2017, a synthesis report of all available information on cultural sites of the property and a detailed plan for the comprehensive cultural survey, as recommended by the mission, and, by 1 December 2017, 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 42nd session in 2018.
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7B.66

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 847 and 39 COM 7B.35, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014) and 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party for its commitment to explicitly rule out all forms of commercial logging and mining in the whole of the property, as well as its other commitments made in response to the recommendations of the 2015 joint IUCN/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission, and requests the State Party to implement all of the mission’s recommendations;
  4. Welcomes the State Party’s commitment to include additional and strict assessment criteria to ensure that commercial tourism proposals do not impact negatively on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and notes that a separate Tourism Master Plan will be elaborated in order to refine the balance between legitimate tourism development and conservation of cultural and natural attributes, based on consultation and negotiation with relevant stakeholders, including the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community;
  5. Notes the information provided by the State Party with regard to the recent fires which affected the property, and also requests the State Party to ensure that fire research and management are fully reflected in the revision of the draft Management Plan for the property, including through the evaluation of recent experiences with fire response and taking into account the conclusions and recommendations made by the independent review of the management of the Tasmanian fires of January 2016;
  6. Encourages the State Party to explore the possibility of dual naming for the property, to reflect its wilderness character, its Aboriginal heritage and the relationship of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community with the property;
  7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by mid-2017, a synthesis report of all available information on cultural sites of the property and a detailed plan for the comprehensive cultural survey, as recommended by the mission, and, by 1 December 2017, 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 42nd session in 2018.
Report year: 2016
Australia
Date of Inscription: 1982
Category: Mixed
Criteria: (iii)(iv)(vi)(vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2016) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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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