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

2001: World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS / IUCN mission; November 2003: World Heritage Centre 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 2008

As requested by Decision 31 COM 7B.114, a report was submitted by the Lithuanian authorities dated 2 February 2008 and another was submitted on 15 February 2008 by the Russian Federation. These reports inform that:

a) The Joint “Lithuanian-Russian Post-project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)” of the D-6 oil platform issues were discussed during the 5th meeting of the Joint Lithuanian-Russian Environmental Protection Commission, held on 15 June 2007. The Commission approved the final report on Post-project EIA and agreed that one of the working groups of the Commission would prepare an implementation plan for the recommendations listed in the final report, until the following Commission meeting. A summary of the final report was also transmitted by the Lithuanian authorities on 3 March 2008.

b) The bilateral “Agreement Concerning Co-operation in Case of Pollution accidents, Pollution Prevention, Mitigation and Compensation Measures” and the joint “Lithuanian and Russian Action Plan for Co-operation in Case of Pollution accidents in the Baltic Sea” were also discussed during the meeting mentioned above. Both States Parties agreed on some provisions of the Agreement that had not been agreed upon before. The Intergovernmental Commission of the Republic of Lithuania and the Russian Federation on trade and economy, science and technology, humanitarian and cultural cooperation, held in Svetlogorsk Russian Federation (December 2007) and chaired by the latter, urged both States Parties to accelerate the signing of the Agreement. Both States Parties mentioned in their reports that the Agreement is being approved by the respective national authorities. However, Lithuania expressed its wish that the agreement should be signed as early as possible.

c) The Joint “Lithuanian and Russian Action Plan for Co-operation in Case of Pollution accidents in the Baltic Sea” has been finalised but cannot be signed since the above-mentioned Agreement, which constitutes the legal basis for the Plan, has still not been ratified by the States Parties.

The Russian report further informs that the creation of a joint Environmental Monitoring Programme of the Russian and Lithuanian parts of the Baltic Sea continues. The programme permits the exchange of monitoring results. The results of 2007 monitoring are to be discussed at the forthcoming Joint Commission.

Concerning the sewage spill accident which took place at Klaipeda Water Treatment Station on 18 March 2007, the Lithuanian report informs that the broken treatment system was repaired on 20 March 2007. The report further specifies that only 1000 cubic meters passed to the Curonian Lagoon and that according to the conclusions of the Regional Environmental Protection Agency and marine experts, the impact on the water ecosystems of the Lagoon was minimal and there was no impact on the Curonian Spit. Furthermore, the Russian report noted that the sewage spill did not affect the Russian part of the property.

On other current conservation issues identified, the State Party of Lithuania reports that the most serious problem for this property has been intensive erosion due to the destructive impact of extremely powerful storms and hurricanes during the last decade. At the beginning of the 2007 about 9 hectares of the protected dunes were eroded partially by storms and scarps of 4 to 5 metres high opened in some areas. In those areas priority is given to coastal management measures. Methods such as strengthening the dunes with branches, fences, by grass and shrubs planting have already been successfully applied to other parts the Curonian Spit coasts, including the 9 hectares of the eroded dunes during 2007.

In conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, the State Party of Lithuania reports that due to sporadic occurrence of possibly illegal constructions in the World Heritage property, legal procedures have been initiated to restrict negative impacts and to prevent such constructions in the future. Subsequently, 36 cases have been transmitted to the Klaipda Regional Administrative Court. 10 cases have been examined by the Court and met the complaints of the prosecutor. However, the decisions of this Court were appealed by owners to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania. In one case, the latter decided that the judgement of the Klaipda Court was legitimate. Nine other appeals are due to be reviewed soon. The State Party report further specifies that the decisions of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania are final and not subject to appeal.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7B.98

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.67, 30 COM 7B.87, 31 COM 7B.114, adopted at its 29th (Durban, 2005), 30th (Vilnius, 2006) and 31st (Christchurch, 2007) sessions respectively;

3. Welcomes the continued collaboration between both States Parties and progress made in the Joint Lithuanian-Russian Post-project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the D-6 oil platform, in the bilateral "Agreement Concerning Co-operation in Case of Pollution accidents, Pollution Prevention, Mitigation and Compensation Measures" and in the joint "Lithuanian and Russian Action Plan for Co-operation in Case of Pollution accidents in the Baltic Sea", and encourages them to continue bilateral environmental monitoring;

4. Regrets the delay in signing the above agreements and urges both States Parties to sign the Agreement and Action Plan and to initiate their implementation as a matter of urgency;

5. Notes the additional information provided by the State Party of Lithuania on other current conservation issues identified in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and requests the State Party of Lithuania to take into account the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property when examining cases of possibly illegal construction in Court, and to keep the World Heritage Centre informed on any progress on these issues;

6. Also requests both States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a detailed and updated report, on the issues mentioned above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.