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New Western Caucasus nomination has been submitted for approval to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation

The proposals to significantly modify the boundary of the Western Caucasus property being already on the World Heritage List which, according to Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines, shall be forwarded as if it were a new nomination, have been submitted to the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. This new nomination involves the property extension to include additional 69,828 ha due to incorporation of new unique territories and immediate taking out of the plot with the area of 6,550 ha failing to meet the criteria of integrity and outstanding universal value. The proposed changes will be specifically studied by IUCN experts in the course of 1.5-year evaluation cycle stipulated by the procedure regulations.

The Western Caucasus new nomination (renomination) is intended to settle the following main issues according to the procedure regulations set forth in the Operational Guidelines:

  1. Enlarging the territory of the existing World Heritage property to include additional 68,354 ha due to broad-leaved relict forests, being at present hardly available within the boundaries of the Property, of Sochi National Park and Sochi State Wildlife Sanctuary located on the southern macroslope of the Greater Caucasus forming almost uninterrupted stripe along the southern and south-western boundaries of the Western Caucasus property;
  2. Cutting out of the existing World Heritage property a part of the Lagonaki Plateau with the area of 6,550 ha,  failing to meet the criteria of outstanding universal value and integrity due to significant anthropogenic disturbance of the given territory resulting from intensive cattle pastur­ing in the second half of the XX century and big tourist activity;
  3. Carry out the retrospective inventory with regard to boundaries and territories of the SPAs in the Republic of Adygeya (such natural monuments as the Buinyi Ridge, the upper reaches of Tsitsa River, the upper reaches of Pshekha and Pshekhashkha Rivers, Bolshoi Tkhach Nature Park, protected area of the Caucasus State Biosphere Reserve); obvious mistakes were made when nominating them which can be seen from the nomination file as of 1999;
  4. Preparing the basis and offers for creating a buffer zone for the Western Caucasus property within the new boundaries.

This is the first time in Russian practice of the World Heritage Convention application that the part of the territory is proposed to be excluded from the World Heritage property. Such option is provided in the Operational Guidelines: exception is possible if expert evaluations carried out by advisory body (IUCN), and the World Heritage Committee find out that this part of the property has lost its Outstanding Universal Value.

After obtaining all necessary approvals in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, the nomination will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre. If the nomination is successfully checked for completeness in February 2014, after full year and a half cycle of evaluation it may be submitted for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in summer 2015.

The nomination was prepared by Kh. G. Shaposhnikov Caucasus State Natural Biosphere Reserve,
NABU Kavkaz Non-Government Conservation Center, Caucasus Institute for Applied Ecology and the Natural Heritage Protection Fund.

Nomination Western Caucasus