1.         Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) (N 1167)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2004

Criteria  (vii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2011-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2005-2012)
Total amount approved: USD 96,600
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 1,800,000 for the 3-year UNF/UNFIP Project (2005-2007) – Partnership for the Conservation of Sumatra Natural Heritage; USD 35,000 Rapid Response Facility grant (2007); USD 30,000 International Assistance for development of Emergency Action Plan (2012).

Previous monitoring missions

2006: UNESCO/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; 2007: World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; February 2009: World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; April 2011: World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

On 1 February 2013, the State Party submitted a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, including a draft proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger for adoption by the Committee, which was developed jointly with IUCN and its Species Survival Commission. No corrective measures are proposed yet by the State Party for adoption by the Committee.

a)  Road construction

The State Party reports that it has contacted several international donors to raise funds for the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the road network in the Bukit Barisan Mountain Range, as requested by the Committee in Decision 36 COM 7A.13, and that it expects that 600,000 USD will be available in 2013 to start the implementation of the SEA, which will take 18 months to complete. However, the State Party does not provide any information on whether a moratorium has been imposed on the construction of new roads that could negatively impact the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.

b)  Boundary demarcation, law enforcement, and governance

The State Party reports that in 2012, 120 km of the boundary of Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP) have been reconstructed. It also reports continued conflicts with encroachers around Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP), particularly in the Lembah Masurai District, where they remove boundary markers. A solution to this problem is still being sought, and in the meantime park rangers routinely maintain boundary markers (600 km maintained in 2012) and, as a preventive measure, plant fruit trees along the boundary (60 km planted in 2012) which can be harvested by local communities.

The State Party notes that the boundary of Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP) was formally established by decree in 1997 with an area of 1,094,692 ha. In 2000, a new decree reduced the size of GLNP, which continues to cause different interpretations of the park boundaries by the park authorities and the provincial government. The Centre of Forest Boundary Consolidation is currently in the process of clarifying this issue. The State Party emphasizes that the area of GLNP which is inscribed on the List of World Heritage is based on the latter decree. Also on the basis of the latter decree, the entire boundary of GLNP in the Province of North Sumatra (372.55 km) has been reconstructed, while in the Province of Aceh, which includes the larger portion of GLNP, only 159.83 km have so far been reconstructed. The State Party further notes that, as in the case of KSNP, encroachers around GLNP have removed boundary markers, particularly in Southeast Aceh Regency.

The State Party provides detailed information on a number of efforts undertaken in recent years by the authorities (government, park authorities, police, army) to address encroachment, illegal logging and poaching, which have led to the apprehension and prosecution of a modest number of offenders in KSNP. Joint operations in BBSNP to reduce encroachment, with the participation of park staff, police, local government institutions, state attorney offices, state army, NGOs and local communities, have resulted in the voluntary relocation of 1217 households, and the destruction of 866 illegal huts and 12 illegal bridges. Furthermore, several operations conducted by GLNP authorities and police forces resulted in the destruction of 35,000 illegally cultivated rubber trees in approximately 200 ha, as well as the destruction of 10 ha of illegal oil palm and cocoa plantations. The State Party further provides information about arrests on charges of encroachment (7 people) and illegal logging (6 people) in GLNP, indicating the involvement of the Head of the Regional Disaster Management Agency of Southeast Aceh in a 40 ha encroachment, and the involvement of a local division of the army in illegal logging.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note with utmost concern that a recent report in the Jakarta Globe indicating that the Provincial Government of Aceh has proposed a new spatial plan which would convert 1.2 million ha of forests located near the property to mining, plantations, logging concessions and roads. On 2 May 2013, the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party requesting further information about this issue.

c)  Mining

The State Party notes that the overlap between the mining areas of PT. Arustirta and PT. Aspiration Widya Chandra (1773 ha and 161 ha respectively) with GLNP is due to ambiguities of the boundaries of GLNP (see paragraph (b) above), which are defined differently in different ministerial documents.

In relation to concerns raised in 2012 by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN about small scale illegal mining occurring within the property, the State Party notes that any mining within the property, including small scale, is prohibited by law.

d)  Wildlife monitoring

The State Party provides a detailed account of wildlife monitoring activities conducted in recent years in all three components of the serial property, focussed in particular on Sumatran tiger, Sumatran elephant, Sumatran rhino and Sumatran orangutan. It notes that it has set up a new format of baseline data to carry out monitoring for these species, however, it is not clear if the population estimates provided in its report constitute the baseline data, as for most species these estimates cover only parts of the components of the property.

Tigers were recorded in all three parks in 2011 and 2012, with the highest number in KSNP, but does not provide tiger population trend data, nor does it provide information on levels of poaching of any of the key species.

Elephants are also encountered in all three parks, and survey data in BBSNP suggest a population decline in part of their range in 2012 compared to 2010. However, the State Party considers that the perceived decline may be a result of different survey methods. In GLNP, the State Party notes that the elephant population in Langkat Regency has fragmented into two blocks, probably as a result of the rampant illegal logging and encroachment in that area.

The State Party notes that in BBSNP, a 2012 rhino population survey concentrated on the area around the recently upgraded Sanggi – Bengkunat road with the aim to determine, among others, the effect of the road on rhino and other wildlife. Results show that rhino distribution is negatively affected by the road, as rhinos tend to avoid it. Other wildlife appears less affected. In GLNP, a camera trap survey held in early 2012 recorded 5 individual rhinos in one area, which is a significant finding as it is the first photographic evidence of the existence of rhinos in GLNP in 32 years. No rhino has been recorded in KSNP in a 2012 survey. However, the State Party notes that appropriate rhino habitat still remains in KSNP, and further surveys in different areas of the park are planned in 2013 to determine the existence of rhino.

Finally, the natural range of orangutans is restricted to the northern part of Sumatra, hence it is only found in GLNP. A survey conducted in 2011, which included degraded forests and forests up to an altitude of 1,500 metres, estimated the number of orangutans in GLNP at 6684 (4536 - 9861), which is significantly higher than the 2025 orangutans estimated in 2004. However, the State Party notes that this difference does not necessarily reflect an increase in the orangutan population, as previous surveys excluded degraded forests and forests above 900 metres. The 2011 survey further showed that total orangutan abundance is clearly higher in the western (Aceh) part of GLNP than in the eastern (North Sumatra) part.

e)  Ecosystem-based restoration plan and invasive species

The State Party reports that in 2012, forest rehabilitation activities were carried out in KSNP, BBSNP, and GLNP, covering 11,895 ha, 13,500 ha, and 2,500 ha, respectively, by planting at least 26 different indigenous tree species. The activities were carried out by park authorities in cooperation with the army, which provided support in areas with difficult terrain or potential conflict. Further forest rehabilitation activities are planned in KSNP until 2014 included, but no information is provided on further planned activities in GLNP and BBSNP.

In regards to the invasive species Meremia peltata, which occurs in parts of BBSNP, the State Party notes experimental treatments that have taken place in 2012 to identify treatments with minimal environmental impact. Two projects for the removal of invasive species are planned for 2013.

f)  Emergency Action Plan and Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

The State Party notes that after the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee, several workshops were organized at national and local level to further develop the draft Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for the property. Among the outcomes of these workshops was a recommendation to improve the EAP to make sure that it is compatible with the draft Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, while maintaining a focus on nature preservation as well as the prosperity of the people living in the area.

The State Party provided a draft proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, which was developed in cooperation with IUCN and its Species Survival Commission. It is noted that two of the indicators proposed (forest cover and population trend data for key species) will require comprehensive studies to establish baselines, while some indicators need to be further discussed and agreed between the State Party, IUCN and the World Heritage Centre.

g)  Other conservation issues – buffer zone and geothermal energy

The State Party notes that GLNP and KSNP are currently undergoing the process of being designated National Strategic Areas (NSA), while BBSNP will start this process in 2013. The components of the property will form the core zones of these NSAs while the remaining area of the NSA will serve as a buffer zone. It is expected that these NSAs will effectively regulate planned and ongoing development located within their boundaries. It is further expected that the NSAs for all three components of the property will be prepared in time for the 2013 revision of the National Spatial Plan.

 

The State Party notes that due to the recent national energy crisis, it is considering the option of developing geothermal energy within the property, while endeavouring to minimize the resulting forest loss.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that there has been significant investment on the part of the State Party in addressing requests made by the Committee in previous decisions (35 COM 7B.16 and 36 COM 7A.13). The State Party reports a range of activities in terms of identifying and dealing with boundary issues (boundary demarcation, removal of encroaching settlements) and also reports having consulted extensively on its Emergency Action Plan. Though not yet finalized, significant progress has been made on the plan, and on the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.  They recommend that the Committee request the State Party to invite as soon as possible an IUCN reactive monitoring mission to assist the State Party to conclude, through consultation with the relevant institutions, the development of the Emergency Action Plan, the Desired state of conservation, and the Corrective Measures, and provide an agreed version of these documents to the World Heritage Centre by 1 December 2013.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome the information provided by the State Party that funding for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the road network in the Bukit Barisan Mountain Range is expected to be released in 2013. However, they remain concerned that pressure from local governments for the construction of new roads remains high.  They recommend that the Committee urge the State Party again to impose and maintain a moratorium on the construction of new roads that could compromise the outcomes of the SEA, until the SEA has been completed and its results translated into a legal framework to ensure they are applied. They also welcome the reported progress with the designation of the property’s components as National Strategic Areas, and consider that this is an important step towards establishing an appropriate buffer zone and ensuring stronger oversight of spatial and economic planning in areas adjoining the property and support management of the property at a landscape level.

The three component national parks that comprise the property are the most important habitats for critically threatened iconic species explicitly recognized in the property’s Statement of Outstanding Universal Value. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome the renewed investment on the part of the State Party in population monitoring for these species, but note that results obtained so far do not provide a property wide impression on overall trends. 

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN express concern about plans for developing geothermal energy inside the property, and they recommend that the Committee request the State Party to conduct Environmental Impact Assessments of any such plans, including an assessment of their potential direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value, and submit these to the World Heritage Centre before any decisions are taken that are difficult to reverse, in line with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

 

Finally, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7A.14

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.13 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Welcomes progress on several items previously requested by the Committee, but notes that these have not yet been finalized, and urges the State Party to continue its efforts,  namely to:

a)   Finalize the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger in consultation with IUCN and the World Heritage Centre,

b)   Draft corrective measures for consideration by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN,

c)   Complete the Emergency Action Plan, ensuring its complementarity with the Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;

4.  Also welcomes the announcement  that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the road network in the Bukit Barisan Mountain Range is expected to proceed in 2013, and also urges the State Party to impose a moratorium on the construction of new roads that could compromise the outcomes of the SEA, until it has been completed;

5.  Further welcomes the reported progress with the designation of the property’s components as National Strategic Areas and its implications for broader spatial and economic planning beyond the property’s boundaries;

6.  Notes the detailed results obtained from various ecological monitoring efforts, and requests the State Party to continue these efforts, with the objective of developing a property wide understanding of the population trends for key species;

7.  Further urges the State Party to conduct Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) of any plans to develop geothermal energy within the property boundaries, including an assessment of their potential direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value, and submit these EIAs to the World Heritage Centre before any decisions are taken that would be difficult to reverse, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines ;

8.  Urges furthermore the State Party to continue to take measures to address the other main threats noted by the Committee in previous decisions, including encroachment, poaching, and governance issues that complicate the resolution of these threats;

9.  Also requests the State Party to invite an IUCN reactive monitoring mission as soon as possible, in order to conclude through consultation with the relevant institutions, including the World Heritage Centre, the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, the corrective measures, and the Emergency Action Plan, and provide an agreed version of these documents to the World Heritage Centre by 1 December 2013 ;

10.  Further requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , a comprehensive report on the state of conservation of the property, including a report on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

11.  Decides to retain the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-13/37.COM/7A, WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add and WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add.
  2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Documents WHC-13/37.COM/8E and WHC-13/37.COM/8E.Add,

2.  Congratulates States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in their territories;

3.  Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-13/37.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:

4.  Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in priority;

5.  Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

6.  Requests the World Heritage Centre to harmonise all sub-headings in the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value where appropriate and when resources and staff time allow to carry out this work;

7.  Also requests the State Parties, Advisory Bodies and World Heritage Centre to ensure the use of gender-neutral language in the Statements proposed for adoption to the World Heritage Committee;

8.  Further requests the World Heritage Centre to keep the adopted Statements in line with subsequent decisions by the World Heritage Committee concerning name changes of World Heritage properties, and to reflect them throughout the text of the Statements, in consultation with States Parties and Advisory Bodies;

9.  Finally requests the States Parties to provide support to the World Heritage Centre for translation of the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value into English or French respectively, and finally requests the Centre to upload these onto its web-pages.