Curonian Spit not likely to be put on danger list

  • 2005-01-19
  • By The Baltic Times
VILNIUS 's Politicians said that the Curonian Spit, Lithuania's unique geographical formation and vacation hotspot, may not be included on UNESCO's danger list in February, as many have been hoping.

Social Liberal MP Gediminas Jakavonis told reporters on Tuesday that Russia has handed over an agreement on a joint evaluation on the environment aspects of the D-6 oil project, located just 22 kilometers from the Curonian Spit. Including the spit on UNESCO's World Heritage in Danger list in February had been contingent on Russia's refusal to do so.

Last year UNESCO's World Heritage Committee expressed concern over crude extraction at the D-6 oil field by Russia's Lukoil-Kaliningradmorneft before a joint evaluation of the field's environmental affects was made. The committee ruled that if a Lithuanian-Russian agreement on such an evaluation was not signed, the spit would be included in the danger list as of Feb. 1 this year.

Jakavonis told the Baltic News Service that the environmental impact evaluation, a draft of which has been arranged by Lithuanian specialists, would be carried out by June this year. "The evaluation process, which would have to involve UNESCO experts, could start as early as January," he said.

In Jakavonis' words, since Russia has signed the said agreement, the Curonian Spit will most probably not be included in UNESCO's danger list.

An expert meeting on the D-6 deposit was held at the Council of Europe's committee on the environment, agriculture and local and regional affairs of the Parliamentary Assembly on Tuesday. Jakavonis, a member of Lithuania's parliamentary committee on environmental protection who partook in the meeting, said that the issue of compensation for damages was not stipulated in the draft agreement on D-6, since neither Lithuania nor Russia have joined the Lugansk Convention.

Lithuanian environmentalists are concerned that a possible oil spill at D-6 would destroy the Curonian Spit's ecosystem.