1.         Ngorongoro Conservation Area (United Republic of Tanzania) (C/N 39bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (iv)(vii)(viii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1984-1989

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/39/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1979-2009)
Total amount approved: USD 270,099
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/39/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

April 1986: IUCN mission; April-May 2007: World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; December 2008: World Heritage Centre /IUCN reactive monitoring mission; February 2011: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Increased human pastoral population;

b) Poaching;

c) Spread of invasive species;

d) Tourism pressure;

e) Encroachment and cultivation.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/39/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

On 2 February 2012, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which addresses the specific issues raised in Committee Decision 35 COM 7B.36 and provides a general update on the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the 2007, 2008 and 2011 reactive monitoring missions to the property.

As requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session, a World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN joint reactive monitoring mission was carried out from 6 to 13 April 2012 to assess the progress made in the implementation of recommendations made by previous missions to the property and on the development of an integrated management plan for both natural and cultural heritage.

a) Management planning

The State Party reports that a General Management Plan (GMP) for the period 2006-16 was approved in 2010 and is currently under implementation. It addresses many of the strategic issues that were the subject of recommendations by recent reactive monitoring missions, including those related to tourism development, human settlements, grazing pressure and invasive alien species. 

Notwithstanding, the mission noted that the revised management plan has yet to be extended to include the cultural attributes that sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and define provisions for the documentation, conservation and management of the cultural resources and the wider landscape in archaeological terms. Limited progress on the recommendations regarding cultural heritage management that were made by the 2011 mission was noted by the mission.

b) Pastoral population, sustainable livelihood development and livestock improvement

Overgrazing and degradation of grazing lands remain a significant threat to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The mission recognizes that this issue cannot be addressed easily and takes note of the efforts of the State Party in this respect. The State Party reports that land has been acquired outside the property (at Oldonyo Sambu) to assist with the voluntary relocation of some people, and further land is being sought. A total of 553 people have been relocated and provided with full community services at Oldonyo Sambu since 2006. It cautions that resettlement must be viewed as a medium-term objective as it is politically sensitive, touches on issues of human rights, and must be carried out on a voluntary basis.

The mission reports that there has been an increased interest in taking advantage of resettlement opportunities since the ban on cultivation within the property was introduced in 2009. It also recommends that incentives to allow for much higher levels of voluntary resettlement be explored.

The State Party recalls that cattle grazing within Ngorongoro Crater has been much reduced by providing water points and salt licks outside the crater. It further notes a number of initiatives aimed at improving the quality of livestock and its productivity within the property to reduce grazing pressures such as the introduction of artificial insemination techniques, provision of free veterinary services, and a proposed demonstration project (known as RAMAT, meaning conservation) involving use of more intensive livestock husbandry techniques. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies take note of these initiatives but consider that that any associated infrastructure developments are preceded by Heritage and Environmental Impact Assessments and no exception is made to the current ban on cultivation.

c) Tourism development and pressures

The State Party reports that tourism pressures have been addressed or form part of ongoing programmes. Tourism developments are now undertaken within the framework of a tourism plan, part of the property’s General Management Plan (GMP). A new Tourism Marketing Strategic Plan (2011-16) has also been developed, which includes detailed plans for diversification and marketing aspects. Under the GMP, no further lodge developments will be undertaken on the crater rim, but one further lodge is envisaged at Empakai Crater, with tented camps elsewhere. In an effort to ensure ‘best practice’ by existing lodge operators, an environmental audit has been requested. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the development of the tourism strategy and the efforts made to address concerns previously raised. However, they would note that the cultural component of this strategy has yet to be fully developed.

Regarding traffic congestion, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) has implemented a high additional charge for each vehicle entering the crater, which has had the effect of encouraging tourism operators to use bigger (and fewer) vehicles. The mission noted that there has been considerable progress in the implementation of the earlier mission recommendations regarding the management of traffic congestion. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies endorse the steps already taken to limit the number of vehicles in the crater and reduce their impact and consider that these limits should be strictly enforced, and encourage the State Party to continue efforts to balance the demands of visitor satisfaction, revenue and resource protection. 

d) Stakeholder involvement in land-use planning

The mission was informed of three ways through which the resident communities participate in decision-making. Despite this involvement, however, the mission noted a degree of suspicion on behalf of community representatives particularly over the proposed study of carrying capacity and its possible implications of involuntary relocation. The mission proposed a participatory workshop, involving the Maasai to address concerns regarding the management of the property and the implications derived from World Heritage listing.

At a wider ecosystem level, management coordination and planning are facilitated through the Serengeti Ecosystem Forum which involves a wide range of stakeholders and meets twice each year.

e) Road and infrastructure development

The State Party report acknowledges the need for a clear road strategy for the entire Serengeti ecosystem, and associated Strategic Environmental Assessment. The mission noted that there are severe limitations on the maintenance imposed by a scarcity of good quality, accessible murram (gravel) and supported the State Party’s view that hard surface options be more fully explored and introduced on a pilot basis.

In respect of other infrastructure, the State Party reports that building codes are in the final stages of development, following extensive consultation with the Pastoral Council. The ongoing programme to provide staff housing outside the property is progressing slowly and may require a further five years for completion.

f) Control of invasive species

The State Party reports that a strategic plan for the control of invasive plant species has been developed and is now being implemented. The mission was able to confirm the eradication of the floating fern Azolla from water bodies in the crater, and reported considerable progress with control of other important weeds species, including Argemone and Datura. A new and potentially devastating weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, has been reported from the property. Given that this weed could potentially significantly degrade the quality of the grass lands, and therefore affect the grazing wildlife species which are the basis for the food chain, as well as the livestock of the pastoralist communities, this issue requires close monitoring and control.

g) Poaching

The mission observed high levels of anti-poaching surveillance, especially around the crater, and commended the vital contribution of the Maasai pastoralists in maintaining the property’s outstanding wildlife resources. Nevertheless, in view of the present upsurge of poaching elsewhere in Africa, the current high level of vigilance should be maintained.

h) State of conservation of the cultural components of the property

The State Party reports that the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NCAA and the Antiquities Division has been circulated and a task force constituted to finalise it by March 2012. It notes that the implementation of the recommendations made by the 2011 mission pertaining to the cultural components are hinged on the finalization of the MoU. Consequently, limited progress has been made in terms of the mapping and the development of the protection and conservation plans for all palaeo-anthropological localities. Regarding research guidelines, it reports that their development and adoption is scheduled to occur in the fiscal year commencing in July 2012.

The State Party also notes that three comprehensive reports on the partial excavation of the Laetoli footprints were submitted to the World Heritage Centre and ICCROM at the end of 2011. It also reports that a series of scientific meetings are planned to identify the potential course of action for the locality. As for the Zinjanthropus site, initial plans have been developed for the improvement and interpretation of the site, which will be submitted for review upon completion.

The mission reiterated that the state of conservation of the cultural components of the property is still a matter of concern. It verified that no progress has been made in the implementation of previous recommendations and urged the finalisation of the MoU, including the establishment of the cultural heritage department within the management structure of the property. As for the Laetoli footprints, the mission noted that the reburial of the trackway, after the partial re-excavation in 2011, was done very well and in consistency with the layout of the previous reburial. As for the three reports submitted, these represent the views of the institutions and individuals that participated in the partial re-excavation and not those of the State Party. Given the conflicting recommendations presented in each report, the mission urged the State Party to convene an international technical committee meeting to examine the potential course of action for the future conservation of the trackway. It also recommended that preventive conservation strategies continue to be implemented while this strategy is defined.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the progress reported by the State Party on the implementation of measures to address previously raised concerns. They underscore progress made regarding the management at the property, noting especially the actions taken to formulate clear strategic plans, address some of the issues related to the livestock improvement and livelihoods of the increasing pastoralist population, and regulate and diversify tourism activities. They also highlight actions which have been taken to protect the property’s outstanding wildlife resources and maintain ecological integrity through concerted efforts to control invasive plant species.

Notwithstanding, they reiterate their concern about the limited attention being paid to the cultural components of the property which sustain its Outstanding Universal Value and by the limited progress made in the implementation of the recommendations for their conservation and management. They recommend that the World Heritage Committee urge the State Party to finalise the Memorandum of Understanding and secure the necessary resources to have a fully operational cultural department within the management structure of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also recommend to the Committee to express its concern about the ecological impact from the growing pastoralist population and recommend that the Committee urge the State Party to continue exploring alternatives to provide some of the resident population with better livelihood opportunities outside the property, so that the rate of voluntary resettlement can be increased. Ecological pressures, particularly the effects of overgrazing by domestic stock, remain a concern, despite efforts at livestock improvement and the proposed RAMAT ‘best practice’ animal husbandry demonstration project. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies suggest that the Committee cautions the State Party to ensure that the RAMAT project complies fully with EIA procedures and other regulations (including the ban on cultivation) within the property, or be relocated to a site outside the property.

Additionally, The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the efforts made by the State Party to find a long-term solution to the maintenance of the road network and recommend that a clear road strategy be developed in collaboration with the Serengeti National Park World Heritage Property and other agencies for the entire ecosystem and to carry out the corresponding Heritage and Environmental Impact Assessments.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7B.35

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.36 adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Welcomes the progress made by the State Party in addressing the recommendations made by the 2007, 2008 and 2011 missions, particularly in relation to tourism management, control of invasive species, control of poaching and the pastoralism strategy;

4.   Urges the State Party to finalize the Memorandum of Understanding and secure the necessary resources to have a fully operational cultural department within the management structure of the property to implement recommendations made regarding the mapping, conservation and management of the cultural components;

5.   Takes note of the results of the 2012 reactive monitoring mission to the property and urges the State Party to implement its recommendations, with particular attention on:

a)  Convene an international technical committee meeting to review the reports from the partial re-excavation of the Laetoli footprints and to identify a potential course of action for its sustainable conservation and management,

b)  Develop the cultural component of the tourism strategy,

c)  Continue to explore alternatives to address pressures derived from growing pastoralism activities, including the improvement of livestock quality and improved livelihoods outside the property, among others,

d)  Carry out a participatory workshop, involving the Maasai, to address concerns regarding the management of the property and the implications derived from World Heritage listing,

e)  Develop a clear road strategy for the entire Serengeti ecosystem in collaboration with the Serengeti National Park World Heritage Property and other agencies and carry out the corresponding Heritage and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and submit these to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines¸ for review prior to implementation,

f)   Maintain the utmost vigilance in addressing threats derived from invasive species and poaching,

g)  Develop and implement a comprehensive monitoring plan for the property, using suitable benchmarks and indicators to evaluate the impact of management interventions and the State of Conservation of the property;

6.   Encourages the State Party to ensure that technical and regulatory documents (including EIAs) through which management of the property is effected be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, preferably in draft form so that any recommended changes can be incorporated before they are finalized;

7.   Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage centre, by 1 February 2014, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, including progress made on the implementation of the above and on the recommendations of the 2012 mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.