United nations educational, scientific and cultural organization convention concerning the protection of the world

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27 COM 7A.7

Conservation issues:

As requested by the Committee, the State Party submitted a report in January 2004 prepared by the management authority of the property “Uganda Wildlife Authority” (UWA) addressing recommendations of the IUCN/Centre mission that visited Rwenzori Mountains National Park in 2003 and requesting that the property be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger. In the report, the State Party asserts that the Park is now secure and that the management authority is in full control of the property. The army has moved out of the Park and only carries out sporadic surveillance accompanied by Park staff. It is recalled that the Committee inscribed the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1999 on the ground of lack of resources, suspension of projects and serious security issues because a large part of the property was out of the control of the management authority.

With regard to the specific recommendations of the IUCN/Centre mission, the State Party notes the following.
The Uganda Parliament in May 2002 approved the Protected Areas System Plan, which reconsiders all boundaries of wildlife protected areas managed by the UWA. The boundaries of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park are not altered but in this process, UWA has received greater financial support from the Government of Uganda, as well as funds from the World Bank under the Protected Areas Management for Sustainable Use (PAMSU) project, which includes funds for the marking of boundaries of the property as recommended by the IUCN/Centre mission. At the time of the report, 30% of the 150 km open boundary had been retraced and this activity is expected to be completed by June 2004. Planting of a Eucalyptus tree line to mark the boundary is expected to start in March 2004 and end by December 2004. So far, no map indicating the precise surveyed and marked boundary was transmitted to the Centre.
With regard to the management plan, the report notes that a ten-year General Management Plan to ensure the integrity of Rwenzori Mountains National Park is under preparation. The planning process started in April 2003 with selection of a planning team, which included UWA staff, local Government and local community representatives and non-governmental organizations working in the area. Consultations were carried out with all identified stakeholders including international organizations. Based on issues raised during the consultations proposed strategies and actions for inclusion in the General Management Plan were made. Since the proposals have been discussed at the highest level within UWA and found acceptable, park management has already embarked on their implementation awaiting formal approval, expected in June 2004, by the Board of Trustees, of UWA.
The report also mentions that a monitoring and research plan has been developed by the management authority, which include provisions for monitoring of illegal activities and extraction of natural resources such as poaching, logging and bamboo cutting as well as impacts of tourism, fires and human – wildlife conflicts.
As requested by the mission, a Community Protected Area Institution (CPI), a local community committee which works with UWA to address issues that affect the community/Park relations has been established. Furthermore, in co-operation with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), a project proposal is being prepared that will not only benefit the Park but also local communities surrounding the Park. The project will: reduce the degradation of the lands around the Park by encouraging improved agricultural methods, agro forestry and better land use planning; improve management of the Park through assistance in staff training, provision of technical support and support to infrastructure development; establish effective mechanisms for Park-community communication and co-operation including enhancement of local government capacity for conservation-focused environmental planning; and provide assistance in the initiation and development of regional and trans-boundary processes and tools for the conservation of the Rwenzori Massif.
The State Party also reports on a number of measures it has undertaken to reduce the impact of tourism, and especially climbing expeditions on the property. The condition of the Central Circuit has been improved through re-routing to less steep areas where possible or by using switchbacks, creating steps, ladders and railings in steep rocky areas and the placement of board walks in the most boggy areas. A new policy has been introduced to reduce the numbers of porters accompanying the visitors. Furthermore, new climbing routes are being identified to divert some of the visitors away from the Central Circuit.
On the issue of landmines, the report mentions that UWA is working with security forces to identify areas with landmines and have them removed and that security forces have already drawn up a programme for mapping and de-mining the area. In a recent message to the Centre, the Director-General of the management authority insists that the issue of mines in the Park, is more of an after-war perception, rather than a real danger and that the State Party has the necessary capacity to deal with the issue.
The report does not provide new information on the recommendation by the mission to examine staffing and budgetary deficiencies, but does mention a shortage of management infrastructures, which have been identified as a priority for improvement in the General Management Plan. It states that the PAMSU project has set aside funds for the construction of offices, staff accommodation and outposts but that these funds are insufficient to cover all infrastructure needs of the Park. The report also contains no new information on the transboundary co-operation with the management of Virunga National Park that was encouraged by the mission.

Draft Decision: 28 COM 15A.8
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Congratulates the State Party for successfully addressing most of the recommendations of the IUCN/Centre mission and for the work undertaken to maintain the integrity of the property despite the difficult socio-economic and political situation faced by the country in recent years;
2. Requests the State Party to submit to the Centre a copy of the General Management Plan as soon as it is approved by the Board of Trustees of Uganda Wildlife Authority and a map indicating the precise surveyed and marked boundary as soon as the activity to retrace and delineate the border is completed;
3. Requests the State Party to submit a report by 1 February, 2005 on the progress in the implementation of the General Management Plan, the preparation and implementation of a Tourism Strategy for the property, the demarcation of the boundaries, the removal of mines from the property and measures taken to enhance the human and financial resources required for the effective management of the property;
4. Encourages the State Party to work with UNESCO, IUCN and the DRC protected area authority to develop trans-boundary co-operation with the Virunga National Park and World Heritage property of the Democratic Republic of Congo;
5. Decides to remove Rwenzori Mountains National Park from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

9. Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia) (N 8)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List: 1980

Year of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger: 1996

Criteria: N (iv)

Previous International Assistance:

Total amount provided for the property: US$100,000 (US$50,000 for technical support and training activities and US$50,000 as emergency assistance in 2002)

Previous Bureau/Committee Deliberations:

27 COM 7A.8

26 COM 21 (a) 6

Conservation issues:

A monitoring report « Le suivi scientifique au Parc national de l’Ichkeul, Année 2002-2003 » was received in March 2004 from the management authority “Agence Nationale de Protection de l’Environnement (ANPE)”. The report provides a detailed description of the current state of conservation of the property and describes the progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the workshop held in January 2003 to identify indicators and benchmarks in order to monitor the recovery of the property.

The winter season of 2002-2003 was marked by very different climatic conditions compared to previous years and this has had a positive impact on Lake Ichkeul. In particular, the report from ANPE notes:

  1. The amount of water flowing into the lake was greater than the average amount supplied before the dams were built. Nearly 500 million cubic metres of water were supplied, some of it from natural precipitation and run-off; an additional 290 million cubic metres through releases from the dams upstream in 2002/2003, much greater than the annual average of between 80 and 120 million cubic metres recommended for the protection of Ichkeul;

  1. Salinity decreased from a very high level of 80 g/l in September 2002, to a low of 8.4 g/l in May 2003; as is usual in summer, salinity levels then increased, but only to a low figure of 15.6 g/l in August 2003; first indications are that salinity levels in midwinter 2003/04 were down to normal winter levels of
    5-6 g/l and

  1. The entire area of the marshes of Ichkeul was flooded, including the higher areas of the Joumine marsh, while lower areas remained flooded for a significant period during springtime.

The general ecological restoration due to favourable climatic conditions at the property was followed by the natural regeneration of some of the vegetation, including the stands of Scirpus rushes throughout the marshes, which continued through the spring and the reappearance of pondweeds (Potamogeton pectinatus) for the first time in ten years in the lake, although to a lesser extent than in 1993 before the dams were built.

IUCN believes that the decrease in freshwater inflow caused partly by dam filling and partly by a succession of drier than average winters, has resulted in backflow of saline water from the sea into the lake. In this regard the unusually wet winter, the wettest for twenty years, has been enough to flush out all the accumulated salt, creating for the first time in 10 years suitable conditions for the germination of pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatus). This vegetation is very important for a high number of bird species.
These observations show that, despite successive dry years, the ecosystem maintains the capacity to regenerate as soon as favourable conditions are restored, as was the case in 2002-2003. The preliminary observations of 2003-2004 also foresee a second consecutive year of favourable conditions, which will hopefully confirm the continuing rehabilitation of the ecosystem.
In line with the recommendations from the IUCN/Centre/Ramsar mission of February-March 2000, work was carried out in 2002-2003 to rehabilitate the sluice (installation of automatic sluice gates), which is now close to completion and is an essential element in the management of water in Ichkeul. Work was also carried out on bathymetric surveys of the lake bottom and topographic surveys of the marshes.
Notwithstanding the irregular nature of the hydrology in the past few seasons, IUCN notes the continued need for the State Party to ensure adequate and sustained environmental water inflows into the Lake Ichkeul ecosystem.

The State Party Report only covers monitoring issues, since this is ANPE’s principal responsibility. IUCN would therefore seek the assurances from the State Party that the development of a new management plan for the property is satisfactorily progressing to ensure a proper management regime for the Park.

Draft Decision: 28 COM 15A.9

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Commends the State Party for the dynamic way in which it has begun the implementation of the 2003 workshop recommendations, in particular monitoring, restoration of the water control structures and releases of fresh water from the dams;

2. Reiterates its request to the State Party to acknowledge that the Ichkeul National Park is considered as a “net consumer of water” and to confirm its commitment to an average annual release of 80 to 120 million cubic metres of water into the lake depending on the need as determined through the monitoring programme;

3. Requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2005, a report on the progress achieved in the preparation of the Management Plan and in the implementation of the monitoring programme for the property, for examination by the Committee at its 29th session in 2005;

4. Decides to retain the Ichkeul National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

10. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) (N 338)
Year inscription on the World Heritage List: 1985

Year of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger: 1992

Criteria: N (ii) (iii) (iv)
Previous International Assistance:

Total amount provided to the property: US$165,000 (for equipment purchases, rehabilitation of infrastructure and community activities). In 1997 the Committee approved a rehabilitation plan prepared by the Government of India and agreed to provide, in principle and in a phased manner, a maximum of US$235,000 for its implementation.

Previous Bureau/Committee Deliberations:

27 COM 7A.9

26 COM 21 (a) 4
Conservation issues:

Since the late ‘80s Bodo militants have restricted staff movements to effectively protect Manas. The Head of IUCN’s Protected Areas Programme for Asia informed a panel at the IUCN Asia Pacific meeting held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in December 2003, that the Government of India and the Bodo people had signed an agreement on 6 December. Other unconfirmed reports received in December 2003 indicated that the Governments of India and Bhutan were taking consolidated actions to curtail militancy in order to security conditions for conservation action in and around the transborder Manas ecosystem.

By letter of 31 October 2003, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) requested authorization for changes in the use of funds available for the rehabilitation of Manas. The Chief Warden of Manas had proposed that the US$20,000 remaining unspent from the US$165,000 provided so far, and originally foreseen for buying two fiber-glass boats and 400 patrolling gears and for setting up an Internet facility be instead used for buying two wooden, mechanized boats with Kirloskar engines and camp equipment like mattresses, torches, first-aid kits, lanterns etc. After obtaining IUCN’s consent, the Centre agreed to these changes.
In the same letter the Ministry had informed the Centre that it wishes to avail itself of the additional US$70,000 from the Fund to fully use the US$ 235,000 that the 1997 Bureau had agreed to grant, in principle, for the rehabilitation of Manas. The State Party wishes to use the US$70,000 for the construction of three bridges at selected locations distributed throughout Manas. IUCN, based on recommendations of its visit to the property in early 2002 suggested that the US$70,000 is better spent on the preparation of a management plan, linked to an operational plan, and for meeting needs of a number of other priorities identified by the 2002 mission e.g. training and capacity building, infrastructure and communications development, conservation education, interpretation and research. The Centre transmitted IUCN suggestions to MOEF and is awaiting a response.
At its last session the Committee noted that the Centre and MOEF were working with UN Foundation (UNF) to raise finances for a World Heritage Biodiversity Programme for India (WHBPI) and requested that the State Party submit a progress report to the Centre, by 1 February 2004. Although no report from the State Party has been received thus far on this subject, UNF informed the Centre, MOEF and other partners on 8 April 2004, that its Board had approved a US$5 million partnership for financing WHBPI. UNF will provide US$2.5 million subject to the Centre, MOEF and others co-operating with UNF mobilizing the other US$2.5 million from third party donors. WHBPI includes several activities benefiting staff and local communities of four of the five World Natural Heritage properties of India, including Manas.
The Centre has been working with UNF to contact and negotiate with other Foundations established by Indian expatriate communities in the US and interest them to contribute to World Heritage conservation. Currently the America India Foundation (AIF) and the Suri Saigal Foundation (SSF) have pledged to mobilize about US$1.5 million to match UNF contributions to WHBPI partnership. The Ford Foundation, through its South Asia Office in New Delhi is studying the possibility to contribute US$400,000 to match an equivalent amount from UNF. All these Foundations wish that their contributions be used to improve livelihood options for communities resident in and around World Heritage properties. UNF’s core contributions of US$2.5 million on the other hand can be used for activities directly benefiting field staff and management capacity building. The Centre, UNF, MOEF and other partners are discussing the feasibility of convening a meeting during May-June 2004 at UNESCO, Paris, to discuss these and other options for financing WHBPI and take steps to begin implementation of site-specific conservation activities in and around Manas as quickly as possible. The outcome of these discussions will be reported at the time of the 28th session of the Committee.
Draft Decision: 28 COM 15A.10
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Congratulates the State Party and welcomes its commitment to co-operate with national and international partners to raise financing for World Heritage conservation in India;
2. Commends the United Nations Foundation (UNF) and its partners for committing financial support for World Heritage conservation in India including support to Manas Wildlife Sanctuary;
3. Recommends the Centre and IUCN to fully co-operate with the State Party, UNF and other national and international partners to begin activities benefiting Manas Wildlife Sanctuary as soon as possible;
4. Requests the State Party to invite a joint IUCN/Centre mission to the property to assess the security situation and ecological conditions and submit recommendations to the 29th session of the Committee;
5. Decides to retain Manas Wildlife Sanctuary on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

11. Everglades National Park

(United States of America) (N 76)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List: 1979

Year of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger: 1993

Criteria: N (i) (ii) (iv)
Previous International Assistance:

Previous Bureau/Committee Deliberations:

27 COM 7A.11

26 COM 21 (a) 7

Conservation issues:

In a letter dated 30 January 2004, the State Party provided an update on the situation of Everglades National Park and requested that the property be retained on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

IUCN noted that the report provides an update on specific accomplishments to address previously identified threats to the resources and integrity of Everglades National Park. These include:

  1. Alterations from the hydrological regime and impacts from adjacent urban growth, including reduced water levels from flood control operations: Government wide appropriations legislation has only recently been passed for the year 2004, and specific allocations are yet to be conveyed to respective agencies and programme management. Funding is provided for further refinement of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and implementation of initial projects. In April two CERP projects, including Southern Golden Gate Estates and the Indian River Lagoon South Restoration Project are expected to go to Congress for final authorization. The report indicates that if all CERP projects are successfully implemented, Everglades National Park, and other protected natural areas in South Florida could be transformed from some of the most threatened units in the National Park System to restore and unique areas of a healthy South Florida. The report asserts that hydrological restoration is a necessary precursor to biological recovery, citing one indicator species – the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow. Counts of Sparrows conducted during the 2003 breeding season showed an estimated total of 3,216 birds, slightly up from 2002 (2,704 birds) and very similar to the 2001 total of 3,264 birds. It however raises concerns about this federally listed endangered species, found in areas of Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Reserve. The once largest subpopulation has decreased by over 90% but has remained relatively constant at approximately 100 birds for the last three years. The report notes that since April 2003, other endangered species in the park are regarded as either stable in number, declining, or their numbers are undetermined.

  1. Increased nutrient pollution from agricultural activities: The report notes that in 2003, the State of Florida revised its Everglades Forever Act. This revision extended the legal deadline for conforming with numerical water quality standards from 2006 to 2116. The State’s Environmental Regulatory Commission adopted the enforceable standard at 10 parts per billion (ppb) of phosphorous. In November 2003, the Commission’s Everglades Phosphorous Rule was challenged by several interests before a Florida Administrative Law Judge. A settlement was reached on one of the challenges, in which the Florida Department of Environmental Protection agreed to changes that will facilitate the enforcement of the 10 ppb phosphorous rule, by providing for measurement of the water quality compliance of effluent from the Everglades Agricultural Area when it first enters the wetland and not at its point of discharge. It is reported that on 1 January 2004 the 10 ppb “default standard” for phosphorous went into effect by operation of the Florida Law and that the US EPA must next approve the new water quality standard.

  1. Impacts on the ecology of the Florida Bay: The report notes that with generally wetter weather conditions in South Florida since 1994, relatively more fresh water has reached Florida Bay in the form of localized rainfall, and through drainage from more northern areas of the park. The result has been a general lowering of water salinity and reductions in the sizes of algal blooms. This suggests that attempts to restore water flows through the extent of the Park, once they are made operational, will be effective in helping to restore the ecological balance of Florida Bay. The current general management planning process is addressing concerns about numbers of boaters in Florida Bay and their impacts on bottomland wilderness, including especially propeller scars from boat groundings.

Draft Decision: 28 COM 15A.11

The World Heritage Committee,
1. Notes the detailed report provided by the State Party and acknowledges the efforts of the State Party to achieve progress on the different programmes to restore and conserve this property;
2. Requests the State Party to submit by 1 February 2005 an updated report on the progress made in the restoration and conservation of the property for examination by the Committee at its 29th session in 2005;
3. Decides to retain Everglades National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

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