Page Top
Link to main body
main body

Press Release

IUCN Evaluation of Nomination of Shiretoko to the World Heritage List

May 31, 2005

It was disclosed in the night of May 30 that the World Conservation Union (IUCN), an advisory body for the World Heritage Committee, submitted its evaluation report to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and recommended that it was appropriate to inscribe nominated Shiretoko on the World Heritage List. The final decision on the inscription on the World Heritage List will be made at the 29th Session of the World Heritage Committee to be held in Durban, South Africa, from July 10 to 17, 2005.

IUCN also recommended to Japan to expedite development of a Marine Management Plan and to invite an evaluation mission to Shiretoko, as arrangements to do after the inscription of Shiretoko.

<Summary of the Evaluations>

The outline of technical evaluation and recommendations by IUCN on measures to be taken after the inscription are as follows.

- Shiretoko locates in the seasonal sea ice area at the lowest latitude in the northern hemisphere. It is significantly influenced by the formation of seasonal sea ice, and provides an outstanding example of the interaction of marine and terrestrial ecosystems as well as extraordinary ecosystem productivity.

- Shiretoko has particular importance for a number of marine and terrestrial species. These include a number of endangered and endemic species, such as the Blackiston's fish owl and the plant species Viola kitamiana.
- Shiretoko is globally important for a number of salmonid species and marine mammals including the Steller's sea lion and cetacean species.
- Shiretoko has the significance as a habitat for globally threatened sea birds and is a globally important area for migratory birds.
Shiretoko's inscription under criteria "scenic beauty" proposed by Japan was deemed to be not meeting the criteria for inscription.

»Recommended measures to be taken after inscription
- When Japan completes the legal procedure for extending the Marine Boundary of the World Heritage Site from 1 km to 3 km off the coastline, maps indicating the extension should be sent to the World Heritage Centre.
- In two years from its inscription, a mission should be invited to Shiretoko to assess progress with the implementation of the marine management plan and its effectiveness in protecting the marine resources.
- Development of a Marine Management Plan should be expedited to be completed by 2008. In the plan, it should clearly identify measures for strengthening marine protection and the possibilities of extending the boundaries of the marine component.
- A Salmonid Management Plan should be developed to identify impacts of dams and strategies to address this impact.
- Other issues including tourism management and scientific research stated in the evaluation report should be addressed.

Japan is highly commended for the nomination process including the public consultation in the preparation of the nomination documents, the preparation of an excellent nomination dossier; and for effectively addressing IUCN recommendations to enhance the conservation and management.

Page Top