Documents Decisions of the World Heritage Committee Decisions adopted at the 37th session (Phnom Penh, 16-27 of June, 2013)

Virgin Komi Forests (Russian Federation) (N 719)

Decision: 37 COM 7B.24

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC- 13/37. COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.24, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Taking note of the information recently received from the State Party that confirms major progress made in preparation of a proposal for significant modifications of the boundaries of the property aiming to clarify the legal status of all the components of the property and its extension of the property by 215 000 ha of unique virgin forests and also takes note of the intention of the State Party to submit the proposal for the significant boundary modification by 1 February 2014;
  4. Further takes note of the statement made by the State Party that no gold mining exploitation within the “Chudnoe” deposit is being implemented;
  5. Expresses its concern that the State Party is carrying out gold mining exploration within the property and has not reversed the boundary changes which removed the legal protection of four areas within the property, including the 19.9 square km gold mining concession, and notes that maps submitted with the nomination clearly show that no areas inside the property have been excluded and hence, that these four areas are well within the boundaries of the property as inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1995;
  6. Considers that these issues clearly constitute an ascertained danger to the property’s Outstanding Universal Value, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Requests the State Party to implement the following measures:
    1. a) Revoke or freeze the exploration and exploitation licenses already granted,
    2. b) Reverse the boundary changes made to Yugyd Va National Park;
  8. Recalls that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status, which is supported by the International Council o f Mining and Metals’ (ICMM) international position statement of not undertaking such activities within World Heritage properties, calls upon the mining companies concerned not to proceed with gold mining within the property, and the financial institutions supporting the mining operation to withdraw their financial support;
  9. Also recalls that any proposed changes to the boundaries of a World Heritage property are subject to official procedures at least as rigorous as those involved in the nomination of the property, and should be considered through the procedure for major modifications of boundaries, as required under Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines;
  10. Also requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for examination by the World Heritage Committee;
  11. Recommends to the State Party to invite an IUCN advisory mission;
  12. Further 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 and on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.