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

Western Caucasus (Russian Federation) (N 900)

Decision: 37 COM 7B.23

The World Heritage Committee

  1. Having examined Document WHC-13Z37.COM/7B, 
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.23, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Expresses its concern about the changes In the legal protection of the property which make it possible to develop large scale tourism infrastructure on the Lagonaki Plateau situated within the property boundaries and reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure that no large scale ski or tourism infrastructure is built within the property;
  4. Though the State Party reiterates its commitments not to develop any new capital construction projects that would affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) within the property boundaries, the World Heritage Committee considers that the installation of any such construction on the Lagonaki Plateau including Mount Fisht and Oshten would constitute a case for inscription of the property on the List o f World Heritage in Danger in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines and its previous decisions;
  5. Notes the conclusion of the joint 2012 World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission that anthropogenic pressures on the property are increasing and urges the State Party to implement all its recommendations, in particular to:
    1. Develop an overall sustainable tourism strategy and comprehensive plan for the property and adjacent special protected areas, privileging low impact tourism activities and ensuring that proposed tourism and recreational infrastructure does not impact on the OUV of the property,
    2. Ensure that no areas of high biodiversity and key to the OUV of the property are included within the components of the biosphere polygon of the Caucasus Strict Nature Reserve, which might be used for construction of recreational infrastructure and that no activities are permitted within the polygon which are contrary to the property's integrity,
    3. Urgently clarify the delimitation of the northern buffer zone o f the Caucasus Strict Nature Reserve, which is part of the property, and reinstate its legal protection,
    4. Ensure that the potential impacts of any proposed infrastructure upgrading inside of the property on its OUV are carefully assessed and that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is sent to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before a decision is taken in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines,
    5. Finalize the exact delineation of the boundary of all components of the property, establish a functional buffer zone for the property and submit an updated map of the property and its buffer zone to the World Heritage Centre,
    6. Ensure the implementation of an overall management plan for the property by developing an operational plan and establishing an overall coordination body,
    7. Adapt the "certificates" of the Nature Monuments included in the property to ensure all logging, including sanitary cutting, construction of roads, overpasses, power lines and other communication infrastructure are not allowed and the construction of capital construction projects for recreational use is prohibited,
    8. Halt all construction and/or extension of buildings and facilities in the upper Mzimta Valley within the property boundaries and upgrade the legal protection status of this area;
  6. Takes note o f the intention of the State Party to submit a proposal for a boundary modification by excluding parts of the Lagonaki plateau from the property which are reported to be degraded and by including other parts and recalls that such a proposal has to be clearly justified in terms of the OUV for which the property was inscribed, should be based on reliable scientific data and should be submitted as a new nomination, in accordance with Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Also 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 progress achieved with the implementation of the recommendations made above and by the mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.