3. Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5. Factors affecting properties
3.5.10. Climate change and severe weather events

Case Law

Extract

Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

At site-level, the World Heritage Committee recommends to monitor the impacts of global climate change and to develop adaptive management strategies and mitigation and adaptation measures to ensure the long-term protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the properties in response to climate and other environmental change (based on Case law further to decisions on the State of Conservation).
Date year: 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Threats:  Changes to oceanic waters Desertification Drought Flooding Other climate change impacts Storms Temperature change
See for examples Decisions (8)
Code: 38 COM 7A.29

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined document WHC-14/38.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.14, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Notes with appreciation that some progress has been achieved in the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee and the 2012 IUCN reactive monitoring mission;
  4. Welcomes the assessment of threats to the property undertaken with support from the Government of Australia, and considers that the findings and recommendations of this assessment could provide a basis for the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, as well as a set of corrective measures;
  5. Notes with concern the reported plans to commence bauxite mining in West Rennell in 2014, which is likely to have similar impacts to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property as logging, and requests the State Party to undertake rigorous Environmental Impact Assessments for these plans to demonstrate that they will not have an impact on the property, in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  6. Also requests the State Party to urgently put in place interim measures to mitigate the impact of existing logging operations, halt new logging operations, and to defer consideration of bauxite mining licence applications until the new management plan has been approved and is being implemented;
  7. Further requests the State Party to undertake urgent action to halt the further spread of rats on Rennell Island and prevent them from entering the property, and to put in place the biosecurity controls necessary to prevent further introductions of invasive species to the island, and reiterates its invitation to the State Party to apply for International Assistance to support this work;
  8. Acknowledges the State Party’s concern of climate induced sea level rise affecting the insular Lake Tegano and notes that the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Environment will work with the Provincial Government on climate change adaptation and mitigation methods to address these concerns;
  9. Further notes that the State Party acknowledges that the property should be declared under the East Solomon Islands’ Protected Areas Act (2010);
  10. Urges the State Party to expedite the completion and implementation of the revised management plan for the property, and requests furthermore the State Party to provide an electronic and three printed copies of the draft revised management plan for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;
  11. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;
  12. Decides to retain East Rennell (Solomon Islands) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

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Code: 37 COM 7B.14

The World Heritage Committee,

1.         Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B,

2.         Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.15, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.         Commends the State Party for passing the Protected Areas Act 2010 and for drafting the 2009 Rennell-Bellona Province Lake Tegano Heritage Park Ordinance, and urges the State Party to apply both of these instruments to the East Rennell property as soon as possible to ensure full and strict legal protection of the property;

4.         Reiterates its request to the State Party to immediately ban all commercial logging from East Rennell to avoid loss of  the property’s Outstanding Universal Value;

5.         Also reiterates its request to the State Party to urgently undertake an assessment of the impact of invasive species, especially of associated introduction of rats  and invasive snails, to institute control and eradication measures as a matter of utmost priority, and to assess the feasibility of a long-term biosecurity programme to prevent reinvasion, and encourages the State Party to apply for International Assistance to support these actions;

6.         Requests the State Party to address the over-exploitation of coconut crab and other marine resources and to apply harvesting regimes based on traditional resource management practices, and including the restrictions recommended by the mission;

7.         Also requests the State Party to take full account of the impacts of climate change on the property and the livelihoods of the East Rennell community, and make provisions in the Management Plan for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures;

8.         Further requests the State Party to undertake an assessment to ascertain whether on-going logging of forests in West Rennell could have severe adverse impacts on the forests within the property, the fact that the property is not strictly protected against logging, and the introduction of invasive species represent a clear ascertained and potential danger respectively to the ecological integrity of the property and its Outstanding Universal Value, in conformity with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;

9.         Decides to inscribe East Rennell (Solomon Islands) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

10.      Requests furthermore the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN and with both in-country and other international partners’ support, to develop and implement an Emergency Action Plan to remove the threats and provide support to the customary owners to enable them to protect the property to World Heritage standards and in accordance with traditional management practices;

11.      Requests moreover the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and a set of corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

12.      Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, including a report on the progress made in the implementation of the above recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.

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Code: 36 COM 7B.4

1.  Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.7, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3.  Welcomes the progress made by the State Party in engaging local communities in the conservation of the property;

4.  Reiterates its request to the State Party to continue its efforts to establish a sustainable financing strategy and business plan for the property, and calls on the international donor community to strengthen its support for the management of the property;

5.  Also welcomes the transboundary collaboration between the States Parties of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in coordinating protection activities in the border areas between the two adjoining properties of Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Virunga National Park, and encourages the States Parties to further strengthen this collaboration through the development of a formal protocol to address unresolved challenges such as communication barriers and cross-border movement restrictions;

6.  Recognizes the efforts made by the State Party to monitor the impacts of climate change and initiate mitigation and adaptation measures, and also encourages the State Party to consult with the Mountains Specialist Group of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and other experts, in order to identify and implement further measures to safeguard the property’s Outstanding Universal Value over the long term;

7.  Notes with concern the damage caused by the recent wild fire in the property, indicating that park management is not adequately equipped to respond to high-altitude wild fires, and urges the State Party to implement the recommendations from the management report, as well as to ensure that adequate fire fighting equipment is made available;

8.  Reiterates its request to the State Party to revoke any existing licenses for mining within the property and ensure that no further mining licenses are issued within the property, in line with the Committee’s established position that mineral exploration and mining are incompatible with World Heritage status and the international policy statement of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) of not undertaking these activities in World Heritage properties;

9.  Requests the State Party to confirm the permanent cessation of mining activities and licenses within the property, and to submit a copy of the park’s ecological monitoring plan to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2014, together with additional information on the location and extent of the 14 new resource harvesting zones, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014. 

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Code: 35 COM 7B.22

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.

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Code: 34 COM 7B.14

The World Heritage Committee;

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.15, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Notes with utmost concern that the property continues to face intense pressure from illegal activities, including road construction, encroachment, logging, poaching and mining prospecting, which are a major threat to its Outstanding Universal Value, including the conditions for integrity, and represent both an ascertained and potential danger in relation to the provisions of Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, as confirmed by three monitoring missions since 2004;

4. Also notes that since the time of inscription, the World Heritage Committee has been advised to place the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger as a result of continuing and aggravated threats to its values and integrity;

5. Requests the State Party to implement the following corrective measures:

a) Immediately halt all road construction plans within Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP), clarify in law that no roads shall be built through the parks comprising the property, close all existing illegal roads, and develop appropriate regulations and infrastructure on existing legal public roads to reduce the negative impacts of traffic on wildlife and to ensure ecological connectivity,

b) Establish a clear institutional coordination mechanism to ensure that the large number of Emergency Action Plan (EAP) activities that are not within the park's mandate, and which are beyond its legal competence, including many of the activities intended to address encroachment, illegal logging and poaching, are successfully implemented through a cross-sectoral approach, and with the participation of all stakeholders,

c) Develop and implement an effective and prioritized monitoring system to assess the status and trends of key factors affecting the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including encroachment, illegal logging, poaching, wildlife trade, invasive species, and any anticipated climate change impacts in all components of the property,

d) Provide law enforcement agencies with adequate resources to expand their law enforcement activities with regards to illegal activities affecting the property, including encroachment, logging, poaching, and the wildlife trade,

e) Halt the establishment of new provinces, districts and sub-districts in the property in order to reduce both the administrative complexity of the property's management and the multiple development threats,

f) Establish through law an appropriate buffer zone to secure the conservation of the property,

g) Develop and implement an ecosystem-based restoration plan of the degraded forests in the property and neighbouring landscapes,

6. Also requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35 session in 2011;

7. Strongly encourages the State Party to consider alternative approaches to addressing the multiple threats affecting the property by making explicit provision within their Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradiations (REDD) national strategy, and specifically the Forest Investment Programme (FIP), for prioritizing the conservation of the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra forest ecosystem, and notes IUCN's willingness to assist the State Party in designing an effective programme for the property;

8. Reiterates its position that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status, in line with the International policy statement of the International Council of Minerals and Metals (ICMM) of not undertaking these activities in World Heritage properties, and urges the State Party to ensure that the Department of Mining formally consults the management authorities of all of the different Protected Areas that form the components of the property (Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP), Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP), and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP)) in the event of mining exploration in areas within or adjacent to the World Heritage property;

9. Invites the State Party to submit an International Assistance request to provide support for the Emergency Action Plan workshop planned for 2010; 

10. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a report, including periodic satellite imagery over the period 2006-2010, which demonstrates that concerns raised in previous monitoring missions such as illegal logging, agricultural encroachment, mining and illegal road construction, have ceased impacting the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

11. Requests furthermore the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property in 2011 to evaluate the implementation of the recommendations of the 2009 mission and the progression of the threats, notably the logging and illegal activities including poaching, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011, with a view, in the absence of substantial progress, to considering the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

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Code: 33 COM 7B.7

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.9, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes with satisfaction the progress made by the State Party in addressing threats and management issues in the property;

4. Encourages the State Party to continue its efforts to establish a sustainable financing strategy for the property and calls on the international donor community to continue its support for the management of the property;

5. Urges the State Party to take the necessary steps to ensure that all licences for mining within the property are eliminated, and that no further mining licenses are issued within the property, in line with the international policy statement of the International Council of Minerals and Metals (ICMM) of not undertaking these activities in World Heritage properties;

6. Welcomes the development of an ecological monitoring plan to monitor the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property and requests the State Party to submit a copy to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2010, together with copies of any more specific monitoring reports that have been completed on the values of the property as referred to in the State Party report;

7. Invites the State Party to exchange experiences with other States Parties and experts, including experts of the IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), on mountain World Heritage conservation and climate change, to explore appropriate and practical adaptation and mitigation strategies for maintaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in the long term;

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including confirmation of the permanent elimination of mining concessions, a detailed ecological monitoring report, and progress on the provision of adequate funding for the management of the property and the other issues noted above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.

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Code: 33 COM 7B.11

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.6, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes the State Party's efforts to manage sustainably the marine resources of the property; and establish a fund to ensure sustainable financing for the property;

4. Also notes the significant international support of International Banc d'Arguin Foundation (FIBA) and international partners and welcomes the partnerships being developed on remote sensing;

5. Urges the State Party to complete the «Plan d'Intervention en cas d'Ecoulement d'hydrocarbures et de substance chimiques dangereuses » (POLMAR) and to provide a copy to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible and preferably before 1 February 2010;

6. Further notes with concern that threats from ongoing low rainfall are contributing to a decline in terrestrial habitats and wildlife; and encourages the State Party to assess adaptation measures to respond to climate change and other environmental phenomena with assistance from the international community;

7. Also encourages the State Party to continue and enhance its efforts against poaching and wood harvesting, which have degraded the terrestrial portion of the property, and to establish a thorough terrestrial monitoring programme which includes wildlife populations, vegetation cover, and threats to the property;

8. Requests the State Party to pursue its efforts to designate a 'particularly sensitive sea area' (PSSA) in and near the property, in recognition of risks from the international West African shipping lane;

9. Also requests the State Party to provide three printed and electronic copies of the new management plan to the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;

10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the progress made in addressing the threats to the terrestrial portion of the property and in implementing the previous decisions of the World Heritage Committee;

11. Request the State Party to work with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to strengthen cooperation on management and research activities in conserving migratory species along the East Atlantic Flyway.

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Code: 33 COM 7B.23

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.28, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes the improved legal protection through the Executive Order of 15 June 2007 and the completion of the management plan 2009-2014 in 2008 and requests the national, regional and local authorities to ensure their implementation;

4. Requests the State Party to collaborate with other States Parties whose World Heritage properties contain glaciers to monitor the impacts on those properties of global climate change, and to develop adaptive management strategies to ensure the long-term protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the properties in response to climate and other environmental change.

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