State of Conservation
Volcanoes of Kamchatka
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
- Fire (widlfires)
- Ground transport infrastructure
- Illegal activities
- Legal framework
- Major linear utilities
- Management systems/ management plan
- Renewable energy facilities
- Other Threats:
Decline in populations of wild reindeer and snow sheep
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Illegal activities (Illegal salmon fishing)
- Mining (gold mining)
- Major linear utilities (Gas pipeline)
- Renewable energy facilities (Development of a geothermal power station)
- Management and institutional factors (Boundary changes)
- Ground transport infrastructure (Construction of the Esso-Palana road)
- Legal framework (Need for the development of a comprehensive national legal framework for the protection and management of natural properties)
- Decline in populations of wild reindeer and snow sheep
- Governance (Lack of management structure and coordination system)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**
February 2001: UNESCO mission; May 2004: UNESCO-IUCN mission; April 2006: IUCN Retrospective Inventory mission; August 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; August 2019: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021
On 2 December 2019, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/765/documents/, providing the following information:
- Anti-poaching activities within the property have been expanded, including the improvement of all-year-round and seasonal patrolling by special anti-poaching task groups, and patrolling vessels within the ‘Kronotsky State Biosphere Reserve’ (KSBR) and ‘South Kamchatka State Wildlife Sanctuary’ (SKWS);
- An agreement has been issued between the KSBR and the ‘Association of Fishery Enterprises of Ozernovsky District’ in order to address potential threats of fish poaching to KSBR coming from outside its boundaries;
- The zoning regime for the nature parks ‘Nalychevo’, ‘Bystrinsky’, ‘Kluchevskoy’ and ‘Southern Kamchatka’ has been submitted including activities permitted in each zone and maps showing the geographical coverage of the zones;
- Information is provided on monitoring and research activities, including of key species. It is confirmed that the reindeer population is severely threatened, while Kamchatka brown bear populations are healthy in spite of increased pressures. Some information is also provided on salmon populations in the different components of the property and the report states that populations of Sockeye salmon are increasing following measures taken to limit their catch;
- An Integrated Management Plan (IMP) has not been developed but each component has its individual management plan. A Coordination Committee has been created to facilitate integrated management;
- No mining activities are being conducted inside boundaries of the property and that mining activities near Bystrinsky and South Kamchatka are not impacting on its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
- In May 2019, the Chinese company Harbin Zhong Ji Guo Neng (HZJGN) confirmed its plan to invest in the construction of the hydro-electric power station in the vicinity of KSBR. The dam project would flood large areas including wintering pastures for the remaining reindeer population and facilitate access to the reserve;
- The revival of a proposal for the construction of a fish channel to link Kronotskoye Lake with the sea constitutes a renewed threat to the property;
- Data are also provided on the surface area and delimitation of the different components of the property.
The joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property took place from 8 to 14 August 2019 and the report is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/765/documents/.
On 17 February 2020, a meeting was held between the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and representatives of the State Party and of the company “Rosa Khutor” who presented plans for a tourism resort and theme park “Three Volcano Park”, which would be partly located in the property. On 31 January 2020, the State Party also submitted a request for a minor boundary modification linked to the resort project.
On 12 and 22 October 2020, the World Heritage Centre sent letters to the State Party conveying information received from third parties regarding a potential pollution event in the marine environment surrounding the property, specifically concerning the KSBR and SKWS components and requesting further information on this issue.
On 1 April 2021, the World Heritage Centre sent an additional letter to the State Party requesting information on the reported signature in June 2020 by the Governor of Kamchatka Region of a resolution changing the boundaries of the South Kamchatka Nature Park. The State Party replied on 14 April 2021, informing that an analysis of the boundaries of the property had been undertaken resulting in the elaboration of a proposal for a Minor Boundary Modification (MBM) submitted by the State Party in February 2020. The boundaries of the South Kamchatka Nature Park have been then adjusted through national procedures based on the provisions of the legislation of the Russian Federation, as the results of the MBM evaluation were not yet available due to the postponement of the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021
The 2019 Reactive Monitoring mission concluded that the threats and management issues to the property, which were identified by the 2007 monitoring mission, have not diminished and that little progress has been achieved in implementing previous mission recommendations. While these threats have not yet impacted the OUV of the property, decisive action is urgent to stop poaching and control and limit tourism, and specific recommendations are included in the 2019 mission report.
In addition, the OUV is increasingly threatened by a number of large-scale projects. Of specific concern is the planned development of the “Three Volcano Park”, which according to the information presented to the mission and during the meeting with the World Heritage Centre would be partially constructed inside the South Kamchatka Nature Park in the property and include a marine terminal for cruise ships in Viluchinskaya Bay, a pristine fjord included in the property; a resort with 1.000 rooms, rope ways and ski slopes as well as a new highway to connect the marine terminal to the resort. The presented project plans, as well as the analysis of the mission, lead to the conclusion that, if this project is allowed to proceed, it would result in a severe deterioration of the natural beauty and scenic value of a part of the property, and therefore constitute an ascertained threat to the OUV of the property in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines and warrant an inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The mission also recalled that any proposal to change the boundaries of the property to accommodate this project would have to be considered as a significant boundary modification in line with Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines, given the potential impacts on the OUV. However, the State Party has submitted it as a minor boundary modification which has been subject to a separate evaluation by IUCN.
The confirmation by the State Party that the boundaries of the South Kamchatka Nature Park have already been modified at national level is of high concern, as this has removed the legal protection of part of the property before the Committee has made a decision on this proposed boundary modification. Protection being one of the pillars of the OUV, such removal of the legal protection of part of the property constitutes a clear potential danger to the property in line with Paragraph 180(b) (i) of the Operational Guidelines. It is therefore recommended that the Committee inscribes the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
A number of other issues also continue be of concern. The 2019 mission did not receive any further details on the proposed construction of a hydro-electric power station in the vicinity of KSBR and it is of outmost concern that the State Party report notes that this project is proceeding. The dam project will flood the winter pasture lands of the already severely threatened reindeer population and therefore directly impact on the OUV of the property. It is recommended that the Committee reiterates its Decision 42 COM 7B.79 and urges the State Party to unequivocally abandon these plans in line with the commitment it previously expressed in its report presented to the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee.
It is also of concern that the State Party report mentions again the possibility of construction of a fish channel in KSBR to connect Kronotskoye Lake with the sea, despite the fact that during the 2019 mission, it was stated that the project would not be pursued. The report by the State Party clearly lays out the negative impacts this project would have by connecting the lake, which has developed a unique ecosystem over a long period of isolation, with the sea, including ecological implications as well as direct physical impacts. It is therefore considered that the channel would also constitute an ascertained danger to the OUV of the property and it is recommended that the Committee urges the State Party to reconfirm the information given to the mission that the project will not proceed.
The new zoning of the different components of the property, as submitted in the State Party report and to the 2019 mission, have greatly diminished the area of the property benefiting from a strict protection regime, in spite of the recommendation of the 2007 mission to increase the strict protection zones. The current zoning does not meet the requirements of the Operational Guidelines with respect to protecting the OUV and needs to be strengthened significantly.
The lack of an integrated management plan covering the property also remains a concern and the need to develop a holistic IMP including a common vision and goals in order to guarantee a harmonization of the management of all components needs to be reiterated again.
The potential pollution of marine waters causing mass mortality amongst benthic organisms in the waters surrounding the property is of concern due to the potential negative impacts on important attributes of the property’s OUV, notably populations of sea otter and Steller’ sea eagle. It is therefore recommended the Committee requests the State Party to provide more information on the issue to be able to evaluate its potential impacts on the property’s OUV.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.109
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
- Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7B.100 and 42 COM 7B.79, adopted respectively at its 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions,
- Notes with concern the conclusions of the 2019 Reactive Monitoring mission that the threats and management issues to the property, which were identified by the 2007 monitoring mission, have not diminished and that little progress has been achieved in implementing previous recommendations and considers that urgent measures are therefore needed to avoid impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
- Expresses its utmost concern about the confirmation by the State Party that the boundaries of the South Kamchatka Nature Park have been modified at national level, thereby removing the legal protection of part of the property, and recalls that such removal of the legal protection of part of the property constitutes a clear potential danger to the property in line with Paragraph 180(b) (i) of the Operational Guidelines and therefore a case for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
- Decides to inscribe Volcanoes of Kamchatka (Russian Federation) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
- Requests the State Party to develop a set of corrective measures and a proposal for a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), focused around restoring the appropriate legal protection regime throughout the entire property and addressing other urgent requests regarding various development projects outlined further below;
- Also expresses its utmost concern about the proposed tourism resort project “Three Volcano Park”, which is planned to be partially constructed inside the South Kamchatka Nature Park component of the property and further considers that if this project is allowed to proceed, it would result in a severe deterioration of the natural beauty and scenic value of part of the property, and therefore also constitute an ascertained threat to the OUV of the property in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
- Further expresses its utmost concern about both the proposed construction of a hydro-electric power station in the vicinity of the Kronotsky State Nature Reserve (KSNR) and the proposed construction of a fish channel in KSNR to connect Kronotskoye Lake with the sea, urges the State Party to unequivocally abandon these projects in line with the confirmation it had previously expressed at the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee and to the 2019 mission, and considers furthermore that both projects would also constitute an ascertained danger to the OUV of the property;
- Notes with concern that the new zoning of the different components of the property has greatly diminished the area of the property benefiting from a strict protection regime and also requests the State Party to reconsider this zoning approach and to substantially increase the area within the property under a strict protection regime in order to meet the requirements of the protection of the OUV, as recommended by the 2019 mission;
- Further requests the State Party to also fully implement all other recommendations of the 2019 mission, including in particular:
- Develop an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) to guarantee a holistic and integrated management approach for the entire property, and ensure that all components have a management plan, including a zoning plan and a buffer zone, which guarantee the protection of the OUV,
- Take immediate measures to address uncontrolled tourism in the property and to better regulate tourism,
- Develop a Tourism Development Master Plan including considerations for alternative areas outside of the property for touristic leisure activities in order to channel the tourist inflow,
- Ensure that all projects planned in or near the property, including potential mining projects, are subject to a rigorous Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and fully assess the potential impacts in relation to the OUV in line with the IUCN World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment and submit these to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN before a decision is taken which is difficult to reverse,
- Further strengthen efforts to combat any form of poaching in the property, including illegal salmon poaching,
- Continue to develop baseline ecological monitoring information on key wildlife populations such as salmon, brown bear, snow sheep and reindeer;
- Also notes with concern the potential pollution event in the marine environment surrounding the property and requests furthermore the State Party to provide more information regarding the issue in order to be able to evaluate its potential impacts on the OUV of the property;
- Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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 45th session in 2022.
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
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”).