Documents Decisions of the World Heritage Committee Decisions adopted at the 32nd Session (Quebec City, 2008)

State of conservation of World Heritage Property Western Caucasus (N900)

Previous Committee Decisions

28 COM 14B.15; 28 COM 14B.16; 31 COM 7B.32

Previous monitoring missions

2008: Joint UNESCO World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission

Main threats identified in previous reports

  1. Lack of management plan;
  2. Weakening of conservation controls and laws;
  3. Impacts of proposed tourism infrastructure development for Olympic Games;
  4. Road construction;


Decision: 32 COM 7B.25

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.32, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),
  3. Notes the current and potential threats to the property from roads, logging and lack of effective management;
  4. Welcomes the recent decision of the State Party to change plans concerning the location of the Sliding Center (luge-bobsleigh), Olympic Mountain Village and the Biathlon Stadium from close proximity to the property and to relocate them to a new location;
  5. Urges the State Party to halt all activities affecting the values and integrity of the property, in particular, the extensive risks to the property from the current plans for the developments for 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and road plans;
  6. Requests the State Party to implement all the recommendations of the 2008 monitoring mission as a matter of urgency, and in particular the following:
    1. halt further construction of the road to Lunnaya Polyana, and ensure it is not enlarged, asphalted and used for recreational use, and the traffic is strictly regulated;
    2. restore the legal protection for the buffer zone of the property and ensure that it is managed fully in accordance with its World Heritage status;
    3. stop illegal logging of forests, rehabilitate the logged areas and monitor their ecological recovery;
    4. abandon plans for recreational use and development in Lagonaki Plateau, Mt. Fisht and Mt. Oshten areas, and ensuring that the use of infrastructure and equipment already existing on site is strictly limited;
    5. ensure that the Biosphere Centre built at Lunnaya Polyana is used for management, research and monitoring, or visitor information purposes only, and not converted into a recreational facility;
    6. prevent construction of facilities and infrastructure related to the 2014 Winter Olympics within or in the proximity of the World Heritage property, especially in very sensitive areas like Grushevy ridge;
    7. identify alternative locations to the proposed locations of the Olympic Mountain Village, the Sliding Center and the Biathlon stadium, as well as associated roads and infrastructure, located in the adjoining Sochi National Park and in the immediate proximity of the Southern boundary of the property. Suitable international biodiversity experts should be involved with this process to enhance transparency and credibility;
    8. Subject all construction projects of the 2014 Winter Olympics facilities and infrastructure to a full and independent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure which explicitly assesses the likely impacts of projects on the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property, as well as on the Sochi National Park;
  7. Requests the Director of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to develop a dialogue with the International Olympic Committee to put in place an agreement regarding Olympics and World Heritage to parallel the ICMM position statement on the prohibition of mining in World Heritage Sites;
  8. Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with copies of all new infrastructure planning and Environmental Impact Assessment documents, to include summary translations in one of the two working languages of the Convention for review as soon as these documents are available and before constructioin begins;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and progress in finding alternative locations for the Olympic Games development and infrastructure, and all the other recommendations of the 2008 monitoring mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.