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 1979-2004)
Total amount approved: USD 255,139
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/39/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

IUCN mission 21-24 April 1986; World Heritage Centre-IUCN mission 28 April to 4 May 2007

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Increased human pastoral population;

b) Immigration; 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 2007

On 8 January 2007, the World Heritage Centre received a report from the State Party on the state of conservation of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The State Party reported on progress in addressing the threats to the property, in particular from tourism and encroachment. As requested by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006) and on the invitation of the State Party, a joint World Heritage Centre - IUCN mission visited the property from 28 April to 4 May 2007. The detailed findings and recommendations of the mission are contained in the report of the mission, which is available for reference on the website of the Wold Heritage Centre, and are summarised below:

a) Visitor management and infrastructure development:

The Mission noted that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been completed for the proposed Kempinski Lodge, to be located on the rim of the crater. The EIA is currently (3 May 2007) with the Minister for Environment in the Vice-President’s Secretariat for approval, but no final decision has been made at this stage. It is understood that the EIA has recommended that the lodge should not be built on the crater rim and that this is also the position of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) Board. However, the hotel group is already advertising the proposed lodge. The Mission notes that this Lodge is expected to have a capacity of 120 beds, and has potential for major direct and indirect impact on the conservation area, including increased use of water, electricity and associated services like waste disposal. There is also a potential impact on visual integrity, which is particularly relevant as the property has been inscribed under criteria (vii), relating to outstanding scenic and aesthetic values. Finally the development of such a lodge would set a precedent for future additional development within the rim of the crater. In view of these factors, the Mission Team supports the position of the EIA and the NCAA Board and recommends that the Kempinski Lodge should not be approved on the rim of the crater.It is the opinion of the mission team that there may be the potential for Danger Listing of this property should the Lodge be constructed on the rim of the crater.

The General Management Plan (GMP) of the property, which was approved for implementation by the Board of the NCAA on 15 April 2006, provides for the continuation of the 4 existing lodges but no further development within the rim of the crater (500m from the crater rim), considering the limited water supply and the already existing total bed capacity of 620. It is also noted that there are proposals to renovate the existing Rhino Lodge, with the addition of an extra 20 beds, as a joint venture by the Pastoral Council and an external developer. This has been approved by the previous NCAA Board.

The NCAA has completed the Environmental Impact Assessment of the traffic management within the crater, which makes a number of recommendations, including: (1) using vehicles with a higher passenger capacity and, in particular, ensuring all vehicles have 12 seat capacity as against 4 seats currently; (2) reducing the length of crater tours from the current full-day tour to a half-day tour and monitoring the time spent in the crater by time-punching machines at entry and descent points; (3) limiting vehicles to 100 in one day (as against some 300 per day currently), and maintaining a distance of 3 km between vehicles; (4) cementing the main ascent (7 km) and descent (4 km) roads into and from the crater and upgrading certain roads within the crater itself by gravelling up to 10 cm thickness; (5) increasing user fees for visitors to the crater to US$ 200 per vehicle; (6) initiating a code of conduct, covering speed limits of 25 to 30 km/hour within the crater (to be enforced by speed cameras), and off-road driving; (7) considering options for joint venture development where the NCAA would operate the crater tours jointly with tour operators; and (8) developing alternatives, including the promotion of viewing wildlife in other areas (Olmoti and Empakaai Craters), as well as the development of nature trails within the conservation area, a platform for wildlife viewing on the crater rim, and a visitor information centre.

The Mission Team noted two gravel pits within the property, one close to the Sopa Lodge to the east of the crater, which is currently active, and the other within the crater, which is reportedly being closed down, and these are used to source gravel for maintenance of roads. The sourcing of gravel from outside the conservation area was reported to increase the likelihood of invasive species.

b) Encroachment:

The revised General Management Plan, approved in April 2006, established a new zoning plan, defining the Northern Highland Forest Reserve and the Ngorongoro Crater as the core zone where human activities are highly restricted. There are daily patrols to monitor and control illegal activities such as collecting timber and firewood.

The policy of the NCAA Board has included banning of cultivation within the conservation area, which has been phased out over a period of time, and also voluntarily relocating immigrant populations outside the conservation area. In relation to the voluntary relocation of the immigrant population, the NCAA has encouraged and facilitated this process by the provision of infrastructure outside of the conservation area (at Oldonyo Sambo, about 70 km north from the NCA boundary), including the building of a school, dispensary, police station, and a road from the conservation area, and the provision of land (around 2 acres per individual) for cultivation. As at April, 2007, 223 out of a total of 1,725 immigrants have moved out voluntarily, and the balance is waiting for infrastructure outside the conservation area to be completed. The resettlement will reportedly be finalised after the infrastructure development is completed (by June 2008).

In relation to the Maasai population the carrying capacity of the property will be assessed in terms of the current and future numbers of Maasai that the area can sustain. The study will also address issues such as how to increase productivity through, for example, introducing improved breeds of cattle. This study will be undertaken in close consultation with the Maasai population and District Authorities adjacent to the conservation area. The NCAA is currently (May 2007) in the process of identifying a suitable consultant to undertake this carrying capacity study.

The Mission Team noted some soil erosion associated with cattle access into the crater. Access for cattle grazing has been a traditional right granted to the Maasai people for an agreed number of Bomas (Maasai settlements) and is valued, particularly for access to “salt licks” on the floor of the crater and also as a source of water in the dry season. This right of access is recognized within the General Management Plan and is mainly used by the villages closest to the crater. The NCAA have provided alternative sources of salt to the Maasai on the implicit understanding that, if the salt can be supplied separately, the Maasai will not take their cattle down into the crater or, alternatively, will go less frequently. However this is an on-going and sensitive issue and will need further attention and discussion with the Maasai to identify and implement viable alternatives. It was reported that currently some 500 cattle from 10 Bomas enter the crater each day.

In the dry season the Maasai are allowed to graze in certain parts of the northern highland forest reserve, subject to restrictions locally agreed upon by the NCAA and the Maasai. The Mission Team was advised that the NCAA has addressed illegal logging in the northern highland forest reserve. The Team over flew the northern highland forest and their conclusion is that significant erosion as a consequence of grazing was not apparent in this area. The Mission Team also noted activities to encourage alternatives to the use of timber from the northern forests, specifically by the NGO HIMAKU, based in Karatu, which is developing alternatives, more fuel efficient stoves for cooking and also alternative techniques for making bricks.

The mission team notes there is currently a major infrastructure development project to relocate the accommodation for all NCA and lodge staff from their current location within the property. The site of the relocation (Kamyn Estate) covers an area of 435 acres and is approximately 5 km from the Lodoare Gate. This relocation will involve approximately 360 NCA families (in total about 3,000 persons), and staff working within existing lodges (approximately 2,000 persons) over a 4 to 5 year period. Construction has already commenced and it is anticipated that accommodation for NCA staff will be completed by June 2008, while the lodge management will have the responsibility to develop infrastructure for their staff.

c) Invasive species:

The Mission Team noted that the NCA management has made major efforts to control invasive species (both alien and indigenous), particularly within the crater. Twenty (20) full time staff are currently working on the control of invasive species and this number is doubled in times of specific operations such as controlled burning. Priority areas are identified as (in descending order): crater floor; the crater rim; the northern highland forest reserve; the populated – human settlement areas; and then other areas. Priority species are identified as (in descending order): Mauritius thorn; black wattle, Azolla filiculoides (red water fern); eucalyptus species; Mexican poppy; and then other invasive and alien species.

Control methods have included burning, and mowing has also been applied in some areas. The development of invasive species control approaches has drawn on external experts and missions to other countries to assess control methods. The Mission Team noted that Mexican Poppy and Datura has been largely controlled within the crater but that the control of red water fern, which has invaded all fresh-water bodies in the crater remains a problem. The management reported that a study tour of some NCA staff to Benin will be implemented to learn the technique for control and eradication of the red water fern. Efforts are also being made to involve local communities in the control of invasive species, including through the involvement of schools in removing weeds in their local area, through the initiation of tree planting campaigns of native species, and giving free saplings of native species in exchange for alien species.

d) Management and resourcing:

Currently the monitoring of wildlife includes a census undertaken during wet and dry seasons each year to determine trends in wildlife population. Burnt areas are also monitored for composition of plant species.

The Mission Team noted a number of positive management activities within the crater, including the establishment of gabions to regulate water flow to ensure better management of species, habitats and the crater ecosystem. Roads are also closed-off periodically to rehabilitate overused areas.

The NCAA will reportedly purchase a helicopter in the coming financial year at a cost of 2.6 billion Tanzanian Shilling (TS) to facilitate management activities, like patrolling, fire protection, and rapid response.

The ability of the NCAA to generate and keep its own revenue is a significant factor in its success, which provides the flexibility to respond effectively to the different management challenges that are faced by the Authority. The Mission Team was advised that annual income from tourism currently generates 60 % of the total budget for NCAA (in 2006/07 this was reported to be about 27 billion TS: USD 1 = 1260 TS), with the balance of income (12 billion TS in 2006/07) coming from investments, fines, concession fees and services provided to lodges, such as the provision of water and electricity. Expenditure is largely on the provision of services to local communities, including roads and the development of infrastructure. The NCAA is examining a range of options for innovative financing, such as the development of a corporate bond (USD 50 million) to fund activities within the conservation area.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1.Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B.Add;

2.Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.2, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);

3.Commends the State Party for measures already taken and requests the implementation of the following recommendations of the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission undertaken in April-May 2007:

     a)The process for encouraging voluntary relocation of the identified immigrant population to areas outside the property should be continued and completed by June 2008;.

     b)The census and study of carrying capacity within the conservation area be implemented as quickly as possible, and completed by no later than June 2008, and should be based on both the needs of the Maasai population and an assessment of the ecological impact of human populations on the ecology of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area;

     c)The recommendations of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) relating to traffic congestion within the crater should be implemented, as quickly as possible, and their effectiveness be carefully monitored and assessed with regard to the impact on the ecology of the crater and also the impact on visitor satisfaction, which should be assessed through appropriate visitor surveys;

     d)All existing gravel pits used to source material for road maintenance within the conservation area, including the one within the Ngorongoro crater, be closed and rehabilitated as soon as possible and that gravel material be sourced from outside the property, under the supervision of NCA staff to avoid the spread of invasive species;

     e)A freeze on any new lodge development within the conservation area, particularly on the crater rim. As recommended by the EIA report, the proposal for a new Kempinski Lodge on the rim of the crater should not be approved, in view of its adverse impact on the outstanding universal value and integrity of the property and the potential for the property to be included in the List of World Heritage in Danger;

     f)All existing Lodges within the conservation area should provide exemplary models of best practice in relation to protection and appreciation of the environment, and they should undertake an environmental audit to ensure they are conforming to and exceeding international best practice in relation to environmental management, including strategies to reduce the consumption of water and electricity;

     g)Continue the existing programmes for the control of invasive species and particular emphasis should now be placed on the eradication of Azolla filiculoides (red water fern) from all fresh-water bodies within the crater and the conservation area;

     h)The program to relocate NCA and lodge staff outside the conservation area at the Kamyn Estate site should be implemented and completed as quickly as possible, and other major infrastructure (such as the shops) should also be progressively relocated outside the conservation area;

     i)A high level technical forum should be established involving staff from the NCAA, the Serengeti National Park (TANAPA), and the relevant Wildlife Management Areas (Wildlife Department) to ensure better cooperation in relation to the joint management of the Ngorongoro-Serengeti ecosystem;

4.Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission in April 2009 to assess the state of conservation of the property, with special reference to implementing the recommendations of the 2007 mission;

5.Also requests the State Party to implement the above recommendations of the 2007 monitoring mission and to report on progress in their implementation by 1 February 2009, for examination by the Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.