1.         Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal) (N 120)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (vii)

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/120/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1980-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 232,097
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/120/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

IUCN Monitoring Mission, December 2002.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Pressure and degradation from increasing tourism and mountaineering;

b) Airstrip development;

c) Climate change.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/120/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

At the beginning of July 2005, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN received informal reports about the development of a tourist resort, ‘Kongde View Resort’, within the Sagarmatha National Park.

Upon expression of concerns by the World Heritage Centre on 7 July 2005, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), IUCN-Nepal, and WWF-Nepal sent a fact-finding mission to the site at the end of the same month. IUCN received an unofficial translation of the mission report in September 2005, while the State Party submitted a summary of the findings and its official response to IUCN and the World Heritage Centre on 21 March 2006.

The report indicates that construction of the 20-roomed Kongde View Resort started in June 2005 at an altitude of 4200m overlooking Namche Bazaar, Tengboche and the Everest massif. The resort site is inside of the World Heritage property but was believed to be on privately owned land. Written permission for the construction of the resort was provided by the DNPWC following the approval of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by the Ministry of Environment and Population and the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation.

Despite specific recommendations of the EIA to mitigate negative environmental impacts, the fact-finding mission observed a number of adverse environmental impacts including pollution and litter at the construction site, the collection of wood for cooking/heating and landscape modification due to unchecked laying of the foundation. The lodge had, however, been designed incorporating local architecture and natural colours.

The fact-finding mission also noted potential disturbance to musk deer and snow leopard populations, risk of increased poaching and the negative impact of the location of the resort on scenic views from many parts of the World Heritage property. It also found opposition to the resort among the local communities in the area, who were not adequately consulted and who believe the resort will impact negatively on seasonal grazing grounds, tourism trends and biodiversity.

The DNPWC notes that a letter has been issued withdrawing the permission to construct the resort but that the resort developer has filed a petition to repeal the stop order. A Supreme Court hearing on the case is reportedly scheduled for the end of May 2006. In addition, it has been requested that ownership of the land within the World Heritage property be revoked and this process is underway.

The process by which the resort development was permitted and is being executed effectively within the World Heritage property and the consequent negative impacts on the scenic values for which it was inscribed on the World Heritage List is a matter of concern.

It may be recalled that in Decision 29 COM 7B.a the Committee had taken note of the threat that the Sagarmatha National Park inter alia was facing climate change. The impacts of climate change on World Heritage are dealt with in detail in Document
WHC-06/30.COM/7.1 .

In the meanwhile, the State Party submitted, on 13 September 2005 to the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu, a draft management plan for the Sagarmatha National Park, prepared by the Tourism for Rural Poverty Alleviation Programme (TRPAP), which is a task force between the DNPWC, Nepal Tourism Board and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation with financial cooperation of UNDP and the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Comments of IUCN-Nepal had been integrated in this draft and the World Heritage Centre provided further comments in January 2006 for improvement, in particular to stress in the document the identification and conservation of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.15

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Notes with concern the findings of the joint fact-finding mission of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, IUCN-Nepal and WWF-Nepal in relation to the development of the Kongde View Resort within the World Heritage property, the potential negative impacts of this development on the integrity of the property and the lack of adequate consultation;

3. Urges the State Party to:

a) Clarify the ownership of the site of the resort development;

b) Carefully consider the social and environmental impacts of such development on the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property;

c) Carry out proper consultation with relevant stakeholders and an independent environmental impact assessment before any further construction takes place;

4. Further urges the State Party to review the situation with other private land holdings within the World Heritage property to avoid a repetition of this type of issue;

5. Requests the State Party to submit as soon as possible, at the latest before 1 February 2007, to the World Heritage Centre a report on the outcomes of the court case and the steps it plans to take in relation to the Kongde View Resort in the Sagarmatha National Park, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.