1.         Volcanoes of Kamchatka (Russian Federation) (N 765bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1996

Criteria  (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)

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/765/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/765/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

1997: IUCN fact-finding mission; 2004: World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Illegal salmon fishing;

b) Gold mining;

c) Gas pipeline;

d) Development of a geothermal power station;

e) Forest fires;

f) Boundary changes;

g) Construction of the Esso-Palana road.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/765/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

The State Party submitted its report on the state of conservation of the property on 15 February 2008.

From 30 August to 7 September 2007 a joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring mission visited the property as requested by the World Heritage Committee in its Decision 30 COM 7B.25, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006). The mission met State Party representatives, a variety of stakeholders and protected area staff and was able to visit four of the six components of the serial property, the Kronotsky Biosphere Reserve, a federal protected area, and South Kamchatka, Bystrinsky and Nalychevo Nature Parks, which are regional protected areas. The mission report is available online at https://whc.unesco.org/archive/2008

The mission team found that the outstanding universal value of the property is still present and not subject to immediate threat. Nevertheless, the mission identified some important issues, which, if not addressed within the next 2-3 years, may jeopardize its outstanding universal value in the future and the fulfilment of the condition of integrity. The main concerns relate to the legal protection and management of the property, potential threats from possible mining development and salmon poaching.

a) Legal protection and Management

The mission considered that the protection status of the Nature Parks is insufficient to guarantee an optimal conservation of the biodiversity values of the property.

Ownership over the federal lands in the Nature Parks has not been transferred to the regional administration, and they are subject to a complex jurisdiction, resulting in different federal agencies being in charge of different natural resources in the parks. The mission considered that current management arrangements prevent the Nature Park agencies managing the property in accordance with their conservation objectives and this is a major obstacle to the effective management of the property.

The mission noted substantive progress since the previous mission in 2004 in increasing the staffing and budget of the four Nature Parks within the property, but that the budget of the two federal protected areas had decreased slightly and was not adequate to meet the management requirements of the property.

b) Mining

While the mission was satisfied with the assurance given by the State Party that no mining exploitation is currently planned within the property, plans for future mining development remain of concern. During the mission, State Party representatives explained that if important mineral, oil and gas deposits were found in one of the parks, it might decide in the future to seek an approval of a boundary change of the property by the World Heritage Committee but emphasized that for the moment this was not under discussion. The recent State Party report affirmed no exploration or mining activities are carried out within the property. However, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN received information that, shortly after the mission, the regional administration decided to alter the regulations of Bystrinsky Nature Park to allow for geological prospecting in two districts where gold deposits are located in the park. However, at the time of preparation of this report, the World Heritage Centre had not received any official confirmation from the State Party on these issues.

c) Salmon poaching

The mission further noted continued reports on declining salmon populations as a result of poaching, but was unable to evaluate its impact on the outstanding universal value, due to a lack of data. The mission requested the State Party to report on salmon populations in Kamchatka as a whole and in particular as they relate to the property. In response, the State Party report notes that no salmon fishing is allowed in the two federal protected areas, but that increased poaching activities have been observed in the South-Kamchatka Wildlife Refuge, the major spawning area for the sockeye salmon. In response, protection measures have been strengthened. However, the report states that salmon populations are stable in both protected areas. In the Nature Parks, commercial fishing is allowed in designated fishing areas under license and is limited by quota. In particular South Kamchatka and Nalychevo Nature parks include important spawning rivers, but the report notes that salmon populations in both parks are satisfactory. However, no detailed scientific data on the status of salmon populations is provided.

d) Other issues

The mission assessed the specific effects of a massive landslide of June 2007 in the Valley of Geysers in Kronotsky Biosphere Reserve and concluded that this is a normal phenomenon in the natural geological and ecological dynamics of the property, and thus intrinsically part of its outstanding universal value. A policy of non-intervention is recommended to allow the natural restoration process to take its course.

The mission noted concerns by indigenous people over the decline of populations of snow sheep and sable and a lack of transparency in the attribution of hunting blocks in some parts of the property, in particular Bystrinsky Nature Park. It commended efforts to rationalize bear hunting quotas for the Kamchatka peninsula.

The mission also reviewed the issues of logging and forest fires and the construction of the Mutnovsky geothermal power plant but concluded that these had no significant impact on the outstanding universal value and integrity of the property. The planned construction of the gas pipeline, which will not cross the property, will also have no direct impacts on the property, but as it is crossing several salmon spawning areas, might affect salmon populations in the peninsula.

The mission developed a number of recommendations to strengthen the management of the World Heritage property, and the most important are included in the relevant sections of the proposed draft decision.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7B.23

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decisions 30 COM 7B.25 and 31 COM 7B.26 adopted at its 30th (Vilnius, 2006) and 31st (Christchurch, 2007) sessions respectively,

3. Also recalling Decision 24 COM VIII.44-49 (Cairns, 2000) on World Heritage and mining and the subsequent commitment by major stakeholders in the mining industry (International Council on Minerals and Metals,2003) not to mine in World Heritage properties,

4. Notes that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property remains intact and is not subject to immediate threat but that important issues related to the integrity and management of the property exist which, if not addressed, could jeopardize its Outstanding Universal Value and integrity;

5. Urges the State Party to implement the following recommendations of the 2007 mission in order to strengthen the protection and management of the property:

a) upgrade the protection regime of the regional Nature Parks, either by upgrading them to National Park status, as originally foreseen by the State Party, or by revising their zoning to better conserve the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and in particular its biodiversity values;

b) establish a management structure and institutional strategy for the property, which can ensure that all resources in the property are managed with the objective of conserving the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and its integrity;

c) develop an integrated management plan for the entire property, defining its management objectives based on its Outstanding Universal Value and associated conditions of integrity, setting common standards for management to maintain the World Heritage values across the property and define planning and management responsibilities for the different management entities;

d) develop or revise the management plans for each of the six components of the property as part of the integrated management plan that detail how each will be managed to maintain the values for which the whole property was inscribed as well as how these plans will be resourced to ensure their implementation;

e) precisely set the boundaries of the property within the management plan, by translating the boundaries identified at the time of inscription into geographical coordinates;

6. Requests the State Party to implement the other recommendations of the 2007 mission to address key conservation issues, in particular:

a) submit to the World Heritage Committee, the Environmental Impact Assessments for existing and planned mineral mining, geothermal exploitation as well as exploration projects situated near the boundaries of the property;

b) monitor closely on-going mining, gas pipeline, and mineral or geothermal exploration activities close to the boundaries of the property to avoid adverse impacts on the property and to ensure that the highest environmental standards are met;

c) submit an additional scientific report on the state of conservation of the salmon populations in the property, showing the trends since the time of inscription;

d) as part of an overall management framework, establish an access policy for the entire property, based on establishing an overall framework for access control and limiting accessibility;

7. Also urges the State Party to provide, by 1 November 2008, information on the alleged changes in the regulations of Bystrinsky Nature Park to allow geological prospecting and reported plans to change the boundaries of the park to accommodate mining activities;

8. Invites the State Party to consider addressing the issue of joint management plans, management frameworks and management standards for all natural World Heritage properties in the Russian Federation composed of federal and regional protected areas through a national law for the management of natural World Heritage properties that meets the State Party's obligations to the Convention;

9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.