Media Statement on the outcome of the 36th Session of the World Heritage Committee Discussion: “South Africa retains its credibility in the conservation of its World Heritage Site”
29 Jun 2012
On 28 June 2012 the World Heritage Committee considered the state of conservation of the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site during its 36th Session held in St Petersburg, Russian Federation.
This follows the decision of the previous committee meetings which, among other things, noted the process that South Africa had initiated towards undertaking a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) in respect of the site according to international best practice and requested the State Party to submit a State of Conservation Report which includes the outcome of the HIA for consideration by the Committee at its 36th Session.
The HIA was commissioned and concluded in November 2011. Its outcome was shared with and considered by the Joint United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Centre/International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Reactive Monitoring Mission in January 2012. South Africa subsequently submitted the required State of Conservation Report.
The Heritage Impact Assessment submitted as per the WHC request has concluded that the mining activity will have no direct impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Property.
Issues raised during current discussions by Committee members of the World Heritage Committee included the confusion that exists in relation to the boundaries of the buffer of the inscribed site, the clarification regarding maps that South Africa has submitted to the World Heritage Centre (Secretariat to the Committee), the proximity of the mining activity to the property, the impact of the mining activity on the Outstanding Universal Value of the site as well as the jurisdiction of the World Heritage Convention.
The South African delegation clarified the issue of the buffer zone in terms of the properties included in the nomination dossier as forming part of the buffer zone when the site was declared.
On the basis of the Committee deliberations and submissions by other State Parties, the Committee has requested South Africa to submit additional information clarifying the site boundaries (including the buffer zone) by no later than 1 February 2013. The Committee further requested the country to ensure that any mining activities do not affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the site.
South Africa remains committed to working with the World Heritage Committee in ensuring effective implementation of the Convention, and will be co-operating to provide further information as requested.
Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
29 Jun 2012
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