1.         Robben Island (South Africa) (C 916)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1999

Criteria  (iii)(vi)

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/916/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/916/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

Joint ICOMOS/ICCROM/IUCN mission 6 to 12 February 2004.

Joint ICOMOS-IUCN mission 1 to 5 December 2005

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Visitor pressure;

b) Lack of comprehensive Conservation Management Plan;

c) Lack of specific annual plans of operation;

d) Lack of human resources;

e) Difficulties with operational aspects of maintenance and conservation implementation including lack of preventive maintenance funding and programming;

f) Lack of appropriate conservation of the built heritage;

g) Lack of proactive management of tourism pressure;

h) Lack of integration of natural values in management of site.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/916/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

A first joint IUCN/ICOMOS/ICCROM mission was undertaken to Robben Island World Heritage site in South Africa from 6 to 12 February 2004. The results of the mission was reported to the Committee at its Twenty-eighth session held in Suzhou, China from 28 June – 7 July 2004 ( Ref. report WHC-04/28.COM/16 dated 15 April 2004 and Committee Decision 28 COM 15A.40). In its decision, the Committee, among others, requested the State Party to implement the nineteen recommendations contained in the report of the mission and to submit a detailed progress report on the implementation of these recommendations by 1 February 2005.

A second ICOMOS-IUCN mission to the property took place from 1 to 5 December 2005. The purpose of the second mission was to follow up on progress made in meeting the recommendations of the 2004 joint mission, and also to review progress in developing the Integrated Conservation Management Plan (ICMP). At the time, the mission team found little visible progress in advancing the ICMP. They also found existing staff questioning the value of more studies and more concerned with creating documents, which could guide day to day decision making. The mission was also concerned with high rates of staff turnover and ensuing loss of corporate memory. As a result, the purpose of the mission was altered and the team in collaboration with RIM staff agreed to develop a work plan to facilitate early completion of the ICMP.

A five step action plan for this purpose was created to: 1. Define the site to be covered by the ICMP; 2. Establish a table of contents for the ICMP structure; 3. Nominate Task force members; 4. Assign strategic priorities; and 5. Monitor Progress towards the ICMP against an agreed timetable. In January 2006, RIM notified the mission members that internal discussion using the methods proposed by the mission had yielded a selection of nine key priority strategic objectives, intended to be used to guide completion of the ICMP.

The December 2005 mission report then reviewed progress made in responding to the 19 recommendations of the 2004 mission. While the report of the 2005 mission notes that the appointment of a site CEO has improved the situation, it also draws attention to the need to quickly move to fill the other key vacant positions. Further it noted that completion of the ICMP was lagging badly and addressed this with the 5 step action plan noted above. The mission report also noted among others that many components of the ICMP have not yet been integrated into the process (e.g., the Phase I Tourism Development Plan of 2001) and that other key components (the Visitor Management Plan and the Interpretation Plan) have not yet been developed. The report noted that the MOU with the National Public Works Department has yet to be formalised, and noted with satisfaction the signing of an MOU with SAHRa which has meant the secondment of expert personnel to assist with site management.

The mission concluded with a proposal that the State Party contact the World Heritage Centre to seek to orchestrate the submission of the ICMP at the end of April 2006, and Advisory Body response to this plan to be forwarded to the Committee in time for discussion during its 30th session. It was anticipated that the two members of the December 2005 mission would return on March 6-7 to carry out a further workshop to support finalisation of the ICMP.

A progress report on the state of conservation of Robben Island World Heritage site was received by the World Heritage Centre on 7 February 2006. The report was provided by the State Party in response to the Committee Decision 29 COM 7B.39 which urged the State Party and the Robben Island Museum to “set priorities for the implementation of all (nineteen) recommendations made by the joint ICOMOS/ICCROM/IUCN mission” undertaken to the site in 2004, and “to submit a progress report by 1 February 2006”.

The State Party report recaps the degree to which it has accepted the 2004 mission recommendations, and made efforts to address these over the last year.

The State Party report details progress made in rationalizing, consolidating and integrating the management structure of the Robben Island Museum, in filling staff vacancies in the emerging structure, and in managing the natural environment. In addition, the report positively describes progress in developing an MOU to improve management of capital works and maintenance. A number of the recommendations touch issues meant to be taken up in development of the Integrated Conservation Management Plan (ICMP) including the need to improve risk preparedness, to improve collections management, to integrate within it the Robben Island Tourism and Management Plan and the designation of the Robben Island Museum Council as the ultimate management authority for the World Heritage property.

The Committee at its 29th session also “encouraged the State Party and the Robben Island Museum to continue the ongoing development of an integrated management plan.” A report on progress in developing an integrated conservation and management plan for Robben Island was received by the World Heritage Centre on 31st March 2006 and reviewed by both the ICOMOS and ICCROM.

ICOMOS notes that the ICMP is the result of a series of staff workshops, various consultancies and the amalgamation of a range of pre-existing material, and that while the draft ICMP is still described by RIM as ‘a work in motion’, it now contains the essential frameworks within which operations and more detailed planning can proceed.

ICCROM notes that while the objectives set out in the ICMP may be a step in the right direction, they need to be reviewed with the aim of trying to make them more realistic and achievable. ICOMOS notes that while the ICMP synthesizes much valuable existing material, there are several critical sections as yet without content. The ICMP includes an outline of a framework for the development of a Visitor Management Plan and a framework for the development of an Interpretation Plan.

The workshop carried out on March 6, 7, 2006 provided the Advisory Bodies a chance to update their understanding of progress made by the State Party in responding to other recommendations of the 2004 mission, and to provide a further report in this regard.

Concerning the need for efforts to integrate the management of cultural, landscape and environmental values, IUCN noted that progress had been made concerning the removal of alien plants, in improving fire management efforts, in maintaining representative populations of herbivores present when the Island was used as a prison, in removing alien cats, European rabbits and black rats, in reducing marine poaching, in reducing vehicle use of the island, in developing policies to reduce littering, and in removing solid waste and marine litter, reducing use of gravel roads and access points to limestone quarries, improving compliance with environmental impact regulations, improved management of the desalination plant, and improved contacts with regional conservation bodies,,

Concerning recommendations to develop an MOU with the Department of Public Works to improve preventative maintenance programming work on Robben Island, ICOMOS noted that while an agreement has been successfully negotiated with NDPW, the island’s deferred maintenance needs, and the lack of forward planning and security of funds will continue to cause the site fabric to deteriorate. ICOMOS noted that while several capital works projects were funded this year, once again, no ongoing protective maintenance funding had been reported.

Concerning other elements of the recommendations of the 2004 mission, ICOMOS noted the following: