Decision : CONF 204 IV.A.9
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India)
The Bureau noted that the Ministry for Environment and Forests (MOEF) of India, hosted a World Natural Heritage Site Managers' Meeting for South Asia, from 16 to 19 January 1997. The Director of Manas Wildlife Sanctuary presented a report on the state of conservation of Manas at that meeting. A staff member of the World Heritage Centre accompanied the Deputy Inspector General for Wildlife in India on a mission to Manas Wildlife Sanctuary from 20 to 23 January 1997. The mission concluded that:
(i) Militancy of the Bodo people in the early 1990s had damaged the infrastructure for the protection of Manas and demoralized staff, resulting in poachers taking a heavy toll of wildlife populations within Manas Wildlife Santuary. (ii) Since 1993, militant activity has diminished and Manas authorities have been able to improve relationships with surrounding villagers and seek their support for conservation. Peace and order in and around Manas have been re-established and an estimated 8,000 tourists visited Manas in 1996. (iii) Damaged ranger and guard units are in urgent need of repair and/or reconstruction. The poaching threat continues to prevail as the mobility and the communications capability of Manas staff remain limited.
The Bureau was informed of a report on Manas Wildlife Sanctuary from the MOEF transmitted via the Permanent Delegation of India, which notes that "Manas deserves to continue to be in the World Heritage in Danger List", as it helps to draw international attention to the site. The MOEF has also submitted an emergency assistance request for a contribution from the Fund for US$ 235,000 to implement a three-year rehabilitation plan estimated to cost a total sum of US$ 2,135,000.
The Bureau commended the Indian authorities for the report provided and their support for organizing the mission to the site. The Bureau noted that the emergency assistance request in support of the rehabilitation of the site will be discussed under Agenda Item 6 "Requests for international assistance" and recommended that the Committee retain the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger.