Following its ratification of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 2016, South Sudan is now preparing its Tentative List of World Heritage sites, which includes Boma National Park.
The Netherlands Funds-in-Trust to UNESCO has granted USD 32,000 to the Republic of South Sudan to support the development and finalisation of a conservation and management plan for Boma National Park in view of its future inclusion on South Sudan’s Tentative List as well as its potential future World Heritage listing together with Badingilo National Park as Boma-Bandingilo Migratory Landscape.
The project runs from July 2017 through October 2018 and involves training and capacity-building as well as finalisation of a conservation and management plan, which aims to safeguard the potential World Heritage values (“Outstanding Universal Values”) of the Boma-Bandingilo National Park.
UNESCO is working closely with the South Sudan Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism as well as its Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports for the implementation of this project. Collaborations are also being sought with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Protected Areas Specialist Group, the Wildlife Conservation Society South Sudan Program, and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)—the latter is an Advisory Body to the World Heritage Committee on issues pertaining to conservation and management of World Heritage properties.
Boma National Park was established in 1986. The Republic of South Sudan became an independent state in 2011, and ratified the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in January 2016. It is the newest African State Party to the World Heritage Convention. Boma National Park is one of three sites that the Government of South Sudan intends to include on its national Tentative List, which it aims to submit before the end of this year.
The Boma-Badingilo Migratory Landscape stretches out across 37,500 km2. The landscape consists of Boma and Badingilo National Parks at either sides of a large expanse of savanna habitat. The parks are connected by an unprotected corridor of habitat that allows wildlife to range between the two areas. The landscape encompasses various grassland and woodland savannas along a belt of natural wilderness between the White Nile (or ‘Bahr el Jebel’) and the Ethiopian border. The landscape falls across the “Sudd-Sahelian Flooded Grasslands and Savannas” and “East Sudanian Savannas”, which are already labeled as World Wildlife Foundation Global 200 eco-regions. It is home to the annual white-eared kob migration, when 1 million animals move in herds, consisting of thousands of individuals, between Boma and Badingilo National Parks. The site also faces severe risks of poaching for bush meat and hunting, which are threatening wildlife populations.
The World Heritage Resource Manual on Management of Natural Heritage properties will be used as a guide for this project. An expert is currently being recruited from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Protected Areas Specialist Group to work hand in hand with the local and national authoriies on the project implementation.