In their draft recommendations to the World Heritage Committee, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) supported inscription of Pimachiowin Aki on the World Heritage List (see Draft Decision 40 COM 8B.18, extracted from the full WHC Decision document for the 40th session).
In the draft recommendation, the World Heritage Committee:
Expresses its appreciation for the combined efforts of the State Party and First Nations, and all the stakeholders in the site, and for the joint dialogue undertaken with IUCN and ICOMOS, in deepening the understanding of nature-culture connections in the context of the World Heritage Convention, and for presenting a revised nomination which is a landmark for properties nominated through the commitment of indigenous peoples and to demonstrate how the indissoluble bonds that exist in some places between culture and nature can be recognized on the World Heritage
However, shortly before the Committee meeting, Pikangikum First Nation decided to withdraw from the Pimachiowin Aki project, citing concerns for the evaluation process, including errors in evaluation reports (see the Pimachiowin Aki website). As a result, Parks Canada, as the representative for Canada, requested the Committee decide to refer the Pimachiowin Aki nomination back to the State Party (i.e. Canada) “to allow it to work with the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation to identify and implement appropriate actions to ensure effective governance and management of the nominated property”. In essence, a decision to refer a nomination requires the State Party to clarify issues for the World Heritage Committee within three years, after which a new nomination is required.
The Pimachiowin Aki Corporation has been working on developing a detailed response to the deferral, including by explaining the implication of a revised boundary for the nominated area, which now excludes the protected areas associated with Pikangikum First Nation’s planning area (i.e. the Whitefeather Forest). The earliest opportunity to be reconsidered for inscription will be the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee in Kraków, Poland, 2–12 July 2017.