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: ICOMOS monitoring mission; November 2003: World Heritage Centre mission; July 2009: ICOMOS/IUCN Technical Advisory mission (invited by Lithuania); December 2010: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; January 2015: ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring 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 2018

On 20 November 2017, the State Party of Lithuania submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property; followed on 1 December 2017 by a report from the Russian Federation, which are both available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/994/documents/. These reports outline progress made in relation to the requests of the Committee:

Lithuania:

Russian Federation:

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

The reports indicate that the States Parties have continued efforts to address the property’s current conservation issues.

The State Party of Lithuania will complete the EIA regarding the deepening of the navigation canal and a reconstruction of Klaipėda Port by the end of 2018 and has confirmed that there is no formal proposal for construction of a suspension bridge from Klaipéda across the Lagoon to the Spit. The State Party of Lithuania should submit the General Plan of Klaipeda Port to the World Heritage Centre for review, prior to its formal adoption.

The Reactive Monitoring mission of January 2015 concluded that the proposed construction of a deep sea port has potential to impact upon the attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. However, if the enlargement of the existing channel area does not exceed the current port borders, the project may be consistent with the OUV of the property. Therefore, potential impacts should be thoroughly addressed through EIAs and Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for World Heritage Cultural Properties and with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment. They should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before any decision is made.

The State Party of Lithuania reports briefly on a planned new construction of the Sea Therapy Centre within the property, plans to start designing works for the small boats and yacht harbor in Juodkrantė, as well as a high-voltage line-cabling project. An independent HIA is necessary before any planning provision is finalized and building permit issued for these projects.

In response to their different legal systems and institutions, the States Parties of Lithuania and the Russian Federation are considering developing two separate interrelated Management Plans (with similar content and measures) in which the management of the Curonian Spit, the actions for the preservation of the OUV of the property and responsible institutions are defined, and means of information exchange are provided.  While it is understood that the management systems in the two countries are different, as this is a trans-boundary property with shared attributes, an agreed formal over-arching management approach is necessary.  It is recommended that the States Parties agree on a suite of shared strategies to guide both separate Management Plans, agree to undertake HIAs on the OUV of the whole property, not just national components, and agree to the formation of a system of inter-institutional and international (transboundary) cooperation in order to oversee the coordinated implementation of shared strategies. There are a number of matters raised in the conclusions of the 2015 Reactive Monitoring mission report which are yet to be addressed.  These include, for example, preparation of a capacity development strategy for the national parks administrations and municipalities’ staff, a construction policy for the shores and fore dunes, improved processes for resolving conflicts between the national parks and the municipalities, identification and regulation of appropriate buffer zones and development of an education and information strategy. These matters should appropriately be addressed through the integrated trans-boundary Management Plan.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.25

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.53, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul, 2016),
  3. Welcomes the two States Parties’ efforts in addressing the property’s current conservation issues;
  4. Taking note of the commitment of the State Party of Lithuania concerning the completion the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the deepening of the navigation canal and a reconstruction of Klaipèda Port by the end of 2018;
  5. Reminding the State Party of Lithuania that the Reactive Monitoring mission of January 2015 concluded that the proposed construction of a deep sea port has the potential to impact upon the attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, considers that if the enlargement of the existing channel area does not exceed the current port borders, the project may be consistent with the OUV of the property; and requests the State Party to address all potential impacts through EIAs and Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage Properties and with IUCN World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, with a specific section focusing on the potential impact of the project on the OUV of the property, which should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before any decision is made;
  6. Also requests the State Party of Lithuania to submit the General Plan of Klaipėda Port territory to the World Heritage Centre before it is adopted and any irreversible decisions are made regarding its implementation, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Further requests that HIAs are undertaken for a new construction of the Sea Therapy Centre, designing works for the small boats and yacht harbor in Juodkrantė, as well as a high-voltage line-cabling project before any decisions are taken, in order to clearly define potential impacts on the attributes of OUV;
  8. Requests furthermore the two States Parties to address any remaining recommendations of the 2015 Reactive Monitoring mission, particularly, preparation of a capacity development strategy, a construction policy for the shores and fore dunes, improved processes for conflict resolution, consideration of appropriate buffer zones and development of an education and information strategy;
  9. Notes with satisfaction that there is currently no proposal for the construction of a suspension bridge from Klaipėda across the lagoon to the Spit;
  10. Although noting the two States Parties wish to prepare two separate Management Plans to reflect different management systems, nevertheless urges the States Parties to integrate these plans with agreed over-arching strategies, to undertake HIAs on the OUV of the whole property, not just national components, and to establish a system of inter-institutional and international (transboundary) cooperation in order to oversee the coordinated implementation of shared strategies;
  11. Finally requests the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, a joint updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies.