TWSC Statement on the UNESCO State of conservation of the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site

During their 45th session, 10-25 September 2023, the World Heritage Committee adopted an assessment on the state of conservation (SoC) of the Wadden Sea prepared by the World Heritage Centre and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This report, part of the so-called reactive monitoring process - a statutory process under the World Heritage Convention, was prepared based on information provided by the States Parties and stakeholders to the World Heritage Centre regarding projects and developments which could have the potential to negatively impact the Wadden Sea's Outstanding Universal Value.

By adopting the report and decision proposals, the World Heritage Committee expressed its concerns about different human activities within, nearby or beneath the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site, including mineral extraction and infrastructure for renewable energy. Therefore, it requested the State Parties of Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands to provide further and comprehensive information to get an overview on potential impacts on the whole of the transboundary World Heritage Site. This also includes the preparation of a strategic environmental impact assessment study regarding cumulative effects of future plans and projects on the Site's Outstanding Universal Value.

This information, which will also encompass the various protective measures put in place in the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site, will be used to update the report on the state of conservation. It will enable the World Heritage Committee to review the assessment of the conservation status and, eventually, to decide on the necessity of adopting specific measures next year. The Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands supported by the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat is preparing a joint report to address the World Heritage Committee’s requests and to respond to the raised concerns.

The World Heritage Committee is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, which seeks to identify and protect cultural and natural heritage sites of universal value. The Committee is composed of representatives of 21 States Parties to the Convention elected by the General Assembly of States Parties.

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