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World Heritage Convention

Decision 35 COM 7B.22
Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (France) (N 1115)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 8B.10, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Welcomes the efforts of the State Party, in particular the authorities in New Caledonia, customary owners, NGOs and other stakeholders to improve the management of the property, through the establishment of co-management committees and the Conservatory of Natural Areas (Conservatoire des Espaces Naturels - CEN);

4. Expresses its serious concern about the permits granted to the mining company GEOVIC to explore for cobalt in mineral sands in areas adjacent to the property, considers that exploration and mining in these areas could have significant adverse impacts on the property's Outstanding Universal Value, and recalls that mining activities adjacent to World Heritage properties are incompatible with World Heritage status if these affect their Outstanding Universal Value;

5. Requests the State Party to submit Environmental Impact Assessments for the proposed exploration and possible exploitation of cobalt sands to the World Heritage Centre, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, prior to taking a decision on whether to permit these activities;

6. Also requests the State Party to implement the recommendations from the 2011 IUCN monitoring mission, in particular:

a) Maintain technical, financial and administrative support for the operation and members of the co-management committees to implement relevant decisions and recommendations and enforce legislations,

b) Facilitate the finalization and implementation of the co-management plans, and incorporate appropriate climate change considerations with particular attention to planning, monitoring and disaster risk reduction,

c) Evaluate effectiveness of participatory governance and management responsiveness,

d) Ensure timely response to threats identified and concerns raised relating to risks from mining exploration and exploitation and non-compliance of regulations for the protection of the property;

7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including a report on progress achieved by the Conservatory of Natural Areas (CEN) to enhance coordinated management of the entire serial property, progress achieved in the implementation of the IUCN mission recommendations, and an update on the status of GEOVIC's proposals to explore and mine cobalt sands in areas adjacent to the property.

Decisions Adopted by the Word Heritage Committee at its 35th Session (UNESCO, 2011)
Context of Decision