Excerpt pp. 12-14: 'Proceedings of the World Heritage Boreal Zone Workshop' (Held in St. Petersburg, Russia, 10-13 October 2003)

B. The St. Petersburg Statement

Recommendations of the World Heritage
Boreal Zone Workshop

St. Petersburg, Russia
12 October 2003

With support from the World Heritage Centre, IUCN convened a workshop from 9 to 13 October 2003 in St. Petersburg, Russia, bringing together 33 governmental, NGO and academic experts from four boreal countries to discuss priorities in boreal forest conservation and to identify gaps within existing networks of protected areas as well as on the World Heritage List.

The workshop recognized that the boreal zone contains several features of outstanding universal value such as unique forest and wetlands ecosystems and species assemblages, habitats for rare and endangered species, the world's largest intact frontier forests, geologically and geomorphologically unique territories, and areas of superlative natural beauty. The workshop also recognized another feature of outstanding value in the unique cultural heritage representing the diverse lifestyles of several indigenous peoples and ethnic sub-groups that have inhabited the boreal forest regions for thousands of years and maintain their traditional lifestyles. The boreal forests and associated wetlands are also globally important freshwater resources and carbon sinks for the world.

This heritage is currently under great threat of disappearing due to extensive industrial activities and climate change. The workshop emphasized the high urgency to take immediate measures to conserve the natural and cultural heritage contained in the boreal zone.

The workshop noted that within the boreal zone there still are large intact areas of frontier forests to be found. These are the last such large intact areas remaining on earth and therefore the countries with those areas, as well as the international community as a whole, have a great responsibility to protect them. The workshop also determined that the designation of additional sites of universal significance is required as a catalyst to foster international understanding of the global importance of the boreal zone.

Bearing the above in mind, the participants of the workshop endorsed the following recommendations.

To the World Heritage Committee, that it:
To the States Parties with boreal forests, that they:
To site managers, that they:
To IUCN, that it:
To the international community, that it: