1.         Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) (N 338)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1985

Criteria  (vii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1992-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-1997)
Total amount approved: USD 165,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

IUCN missions in 1992 and 2002.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Insurgency related threats resulting in destruction to park infrastructure and depletion of forest habitat and wildlife populations.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

As requested by the Committee at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004), an IUCN/WHC mission visited the property in April 2005. A detailed report will be available for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session.

 The mission noted:

a) that on ground conservation action has commenced after the signing of an agreement between the Bodo people and the Government of India and the formation of the Bodoland Territorial Council. Specifically, action has recently commenced in rebuilding guard posts and infrastructure in the park. The mission inspected an ecotourism initiative being developed by the Bodo villagers of Kokilabari on the eastern fringe of the Manas World Heritage property, in co-operation with the Silguri based Help Tourism and Ashoka Holidays. This is a very positive initiative that aims to involve villagers in park management and specifically the control of poaching, but requires close coordination with and supervision by the park authorities. It is noted that nearly 150 poachers surrendered their gaziman (handmade guns) recently to take up forest conservation and tourism activities;

b) the insurgency appears to have had significant impacts on the forests and the wildlife populations of the park, particularly rhino, tiger and swamp deer populations. However this will need to be verified through a comprehensive baseline survey;

c) the level of control of the park is significantly less in the western part of the park (Panbari Range) and impacts from the removal of timber were noted;

d) that concerns still exist regarding the timely release of funds from the Assam State Government, although it is anticipated that this will be addressed by a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of India that funding must be released by the State Government within 15 days of its receipt from the Central Government.

The mission underscored the need for the State Party to initiate a dialogue with the Royal Government of Bhutan to progress the possibility of a transboundary World Heritage property, especially as Bhutan has ratified the Convention in 2001. It was noted that the approval of the UNF supported World Heritage Biodiversity Programme for India (WHBPI) was in its final stages which would contribute to enhancing the conservation status of the property, as several recommendations of the Committee have been taken into account in the preparation of this programme.

The mission also established a number of recommendations to accelerate the recovery of the property, of which the most crucial are detailed in the draft decision and which can be used as benchmarks to measure progress for eventual consideration for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7A.9

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7A,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15A.10, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Welcomes the cessation of conflict at this property and the positive measures undertaken by the State Party of India to improve its state of conservation, including ecotourism initiatives in Kokilabari which involve the Bodo people and the re-building of park infrastructure;

4. Notes that the impacts of the conflict still exist, in particular in relation to wildlife populations (rhino, tiger and swamp deer) and timber removal in the Panbari Range;

5. Urges the State Party of India, in view of the possible removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, to meet the following benchmarks identified by the monitoring mission:

a) accelerate efforts to re-build park infrastructure;

b) take prompt measures to fill vacant positions within the park;

c) ensure timely release of funds to the park, in compliance with the recent Supreme Court ruling of the State Party; and

d) undertake a comprehensive wildlife survey in the park, which could act as a future baseline for monitoring recovery of the property;

6. Requests the State Party to work with the Royal Government of Bhutan to have the contiguous Royal Manas National Park inscribed on the World Heritage List as a transboundary property; and to expedite its approval of the World Heritage Biodiversity Programme of India that has provision for crucial support for conservation of the property;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit by 1 February 2006 a report on progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2005 monitoring mission and in particular on the results of the status survey of wildlife in the park and progress in re-building park infrastructure, including a time-table for its completion, for examination by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);

8. Decides to retain Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 29 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined the of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-05/29.COM/7A and WHC-05/29.COM/7A.Add),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: