Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2004
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1007/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1007/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1007/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006
Since mid-2005, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN have been receiving information from concerned organisations and individuals indicating that management of the eight conservation areas of the serial World Heritage property suffers from a lack of financial resources, and that essential management activities such as the removal of invasive alien species and controlled burning cannot be carried out as required.
This has allegedly led to an increasingly uncontrolled spread of invasive alien species, including on some of the mountainous sites of the serial World Heritage property. Together with adverse weather conditions, this has in turn led to an increased intensity and frequency of fires in the summer of 2005-2006, claiming lives and livelihoods. In addition, critical water resources are adversely impacted by the spread of invasive alien species, and all this could have adverse impacts on the indigenous biodiversity, especially the Fynbos vegetation, and people in the region.
This information was sent to the State Party for comments on 13 February 2006. No official State Party response has been received at the time of writing this report, but the State Party informed the World Heritage Centre that a response was in progress.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that in January 2006, CapeNature, the Western Cape’s statutory conservation authority, and the Conservation Unit of the Botanical Society of South Africa have sent a joint submission to the provincial treasury requesting an extra Rand 52 million (ca. USD 8 million) a year for essential fire management in the Cape Floristic Region. According to various sources, severe reductions in funding and staffing have depleted CapeNature’s capacity to effectively manage invasive alien species and fire in some of the sites of the serial World Heritage property.
The Boland Mountain Complex, Boosmansbos Wilderness Area and De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape, and the Baviaanskloof Protected Area in the Eastern Cape are allegedly affected by severe infestations of invasive alien species. Recent fires in the Boland Mountain Complex were ecologically destructive because they burnt through 35,000 hectares of mostly young Fynbos vegetation that has not yet had a chance to set seed since being burnt just five years earlier. In the summer of 2005-2006, fires had again affected parts of Table Mountain National Park, which is managed by SANParks (South African National Parks). It is unclear if SANParks’ management capacity to prevent and control such fires is also affected by a lack of financial resources.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN understand that considerable financial resources are necessary for the management of fire and invasive alien species and, in turn, the conservation of critical water resources and the biodiversity in the Cape Floristic Region, including the World Heritage property. The cost of effective management of invasive alien species and fire are, however, thought to be insignificant compared to the potential cost of uncontrolled fires impacting biodiversity, local people, industries and infrastructure. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN believe the extra financial resources necessary for the conservation of the World Heritage property cannot continue to come largely from tourism revenues or international donors.
Considering the potentially severe adverse impacts, both ecologically and economically, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN urge the national and provincial governments concerned to ensure that adequate financial resources are annually allocated to and mobilised for the essential management of invasive alien species and fire in and around the serial World Heritage property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also urge the State Party to further invest in awareness raising, in particular in peak fire season, among key target groups such as international and local visitors to the property and its surroundings. This would assist in preventing fires and fire-related costs.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.5
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,
2. Commends the State Party, SANParks, CapeNature, C.A.P.E. and the Working for Water and Working on Fire programmes for their continued conservation and development efforts in and around the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas;
3. Thanks the international donor community for its substantial support for the continued conservation and development efforts in and around the World Heritage property;
4. Notes with great concern that the important efforts to manage invasive alien species and fire are currently severely impeded by inadequate financial resources;
5. Urges the State Party to ensure that adequate financial resources are allocated and mobilised annually for proactive management of invasive alien species and fire in and around the sites of the serial World Heritage property as well as related awareness raising among visitors to the property and its surroundings;
6. Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with a detailed report before 1 February 2007 on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.