and observed that moreover some recent improvement works were conducted, inside the Nature Monuments and close to the border of the KSNR.
The mission was also informed by NGO representatives of other road constructions which are on-going around the Lagonaki plateau with funding from the Federal Government and which according to the NGOs, are entering the World Heritage property, more precisely the northern buffer zone, which is part of the property. This concerns the tarmac roads Dakhovskaya village – Lagonaki plateau and Guzeripl settlement – Lagonaki plateau. According to the State Party, road works were stopped at the point where the road enters the property. A power line is reportedly also under construction along the road. The mission overflew part of the Guzeriple road but was unable to evaluate if the road entered the property. In any case, the construction of a tarmac road is a significant investment, and does not seem justified to improve access to the small settlements close to the Reserve.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN remain very concerned about the uncontrolled developments in the Nature Monuments and buffer zone situated in the Adygea Republic and stress the need to address these issues urgently, as recommended by the 2008 mission. A key issue seems to be the low protection status of the Nature Monuments, which allows certain developments which are not in line with their World Heritage status. In addition, as these Monuments are managed by the Government of the Adygea Republic, the Federal authorities have difficulties in enforcing stricter conservation measures. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the State Party considers upgrading the protected status of these areas, for example by including them in KSNR. However, as other World Heritage properties in the Russian Federation, which are also including regionally administered protected areas, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that a solution could be the elaboration of a special legislation for World Heritage sites, ensuring that all components of the properties, whether administered by the federal or regional levels, are under direct supervision of the Ministry for Natural Resources. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that this recommendation was also made following the mission to Volcanoes of Kamchatka World Heritage property in 2007.
Tourism development on Lagonaki plateau, Mt Fisht and Mt Oshten
The State Party confirmed to the mission team that tourism activities in Lagonaki are limited to backpacking along established routes, but that the Adygea Republic continues to develop plans for ski facilities in this area. However, so far these plans have not been approved, as they are situated on the KSNR and its buffer zone. The on-going court cases on the delimitation of the boundary of KSNR seem related to the same issue, and the heavy investment in tarmac access roads to the area could also be explained by these plans for developing ski facilities.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN reiterate that the development of ski and other mass tourism facilities is not consistent with the World Heritage status of this area and therefore plans for these facilities should be abandoned, in line with the recommendations of the 2008 mission. They also note that many projects are currently ongoing to develop different kinds of tourism and recreational facilities in and around the property and that these developments do not seem coordinated and are lacking a strategic vision. They consider that certain low impact tourism activities could be developed, without affecting significantly the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, provided an overall sustainable tourism strategy and comprehensive plan for the property and adjacent protected areas is developed. A similar recommendation was made by the recent UNEP mission, in view of the on-going development of tourism activities across the entire Mzimta valley.
Preparation of an overall management plan
An overall management plan was submitted by the State Party to the World Heritage Centre as requested by the Committee at its 28th session and reviewed by the mission team. While the plan addresses the most important issues related to the property, and sets some clear objectives and expected results, the mission team recommends that in order to facilitate its
State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List
WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 48