1.         Virgin Komi Forests (Russian Federation) (N 719)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1995

Criteria  (vii)(ix)

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/719/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/719/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

2010: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/719/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 29 January 2016, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/719/documents/. The report mentions the significant boundary modification (nomination) which was submitted to the World Heritage Centre in January 2015 and which proposed inclusion of additional areas into the existing property, as well as removal of the areas of Chudnoe gold deposit and Zhelannoye quartz quarry from the territory of the property.

With regards to gold mining, the State Party reports that no exploration or mining is currently being undertaken within the boundaries of the property, but provides no further details.

The State Party also reports on activities aimed at improving tourist trails within the property, as well as monitoring at most popular tourism attractions. In the Pechoro-Ilychskiy State Nature Reserve component of the property, 94 violations of the protection regime associated with illegal presence in the protected area were revealed in 2015. In the Yugyd Va National Park (YNPV), 76 cases of violation of the protection regime were registered. As part of the ongoing monitoring of flora and fauna, special attention was given to the highly frequented areas. The report concludes that so far tourism has only caused some local impacts and does not affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.

On 29 February 2016, the State Party submitted additional information referred to as the Management Plan of the property.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The question of the boundaries of the northern component of the property, the Yugyd Va National Park (YVNP), has been discussed by the World Heritage Committee since 2008. In its last Decision 39 COM 7B.23, the Committee welcomed the latest decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and its Board of Appeal which invalidated the boundary changes made to the YVNP and which confirmed that the Chudnoe gold deposit area forms part of the national park. The Committee also requested the State Party to consider making the necessary changes to the submitted proposal for a significant boundary modification of the property in order to take into account the decision of the Supreme Court. However, no modification to the proposal was made by the State Party.  IUCN’s evaluation of the submitted boundary modification proposal is included in Document WHC/16/40.COM/INF.8B.Add, however, on 19 May 2016 the State Party withdrew the proposed boundary modification, and thus it will now not be considered at the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee.

It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its requests that the State Party ensures that no exploration or gold mining will be permitted within the boundaries of the property as established at the time of inscription and that it revokes the mining licenses granted for the Chudnoe deposit and restores the areas damaged by mining-related activities which were undertaken in 2011 and 2012. 

The information provided by the State Party on the activities aimed at tourist flow monitoring and management is welcomed. However, the reported high numbers of registered violations of the protection regime raise concern. The official website of the Pechoro-Ilychskiy State Nature Reserve also states that two trails to the Manpupuner Plateau – one of the most famous tourist attractions of the property – are closed in 2016 in order to reduce anthropogenic pressure and allow the natural areas to restore. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to continue its efforts in the field of tourism management and to develop a comprehensive sustainable tourism management strategy for the entire property as a matter of urgency.

The additional information submitted by the State Party on 29 February 2016 is noted. However, it only included a brief description of the management system in place in each of the component protected areas that constitute the property, accompanied by individual Business plans for YVNP (from 2011) and Pechoro-Ilychsky State Nature Reserve (from 2010). The information provided cannot be considered as an integrated management plan for the property. Therefore it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to develop an integrated management plan for the property as a whole.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.99

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.23, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Reiterates its established position that mining exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status, and requests the State Party to ensure that no mining exploration or exploitation will be permitted within the boundaries of the property as established at the time of inscription;
  4. Reiterates its requests to the State Party to revoke the mining exploration and exploitation licenses granted for the Chudnoe gold mine and urges the State Party to restore the areas damaged by the mining-related activities, which were undertaken in 2011 and 2012;
  5. Notes the information provided by the State Party regarding the management plan for the property, but considers that the submitted individual business plans prepared for Yugyd Va National Park and Pechoro-Ilychsky State Nature Reserve do not constitute an integrated management plan for the property and also requests the State Party to develop such a plan for the property as a whole and submit it to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN;
  6. Also notes the information on activities undertaken by the State Party in the field of tourism management and monitoring, expresses its concern over the high number of registered violations of the protection regime within the property and also urges the State Party to develop a comprehensive sustainable tourism management strategy for the entire property;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, 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.