Decision : CONF 204 IV.B.23
Sundarbans National Park (India)
The Bureau was informed that the Sundarbans National Park and World Heritage Area, comprising 1,330 sq.km., forms the core area of the larger Sundarbans Project Tiger Reserve (2,585 sq.km) and the even larger "Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve" which extends over more than 9,000 sq.km of the inter-tidal area of the Sundarbans delta. Although India has not yet formally nominated the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve for inclusion in UNESCO's international network of biosphere reserves, the case illustrated an interesting application of the World Heritage and the Biosphere Reserve concepts of UNESCO within the same ecosystem. Several eco-development activities undertaken in the larger Biosphere Reserve, e.g. fishing, collection of honey, timber harvest etc., have enabled the management to establish a working relationship with the local people and solicit their cooperation for the protection of the "Biosphere Reserve's" core area, i.e. Sundarbans National Park and World Heritage Area. This working relationship between the management and the local people has been particularly useful in minimizing the poaching threat to the world's largest population of the Bengal tiger inhabiting this World Heritage Site. The Bureau noted with interest the harmonious application of UNESCO's World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve concepts in Sundarbans and urged the Secretariat and IUCN to identify similar cases and bring them to the attention of States Parties to the Convention.