1.         Vredefort Dome (South Africa) (N 1162)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2005

Criteria  (viii)

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/1162/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1162/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

April 2008 and September 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring missions 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1162/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

On 31 January 2013 a report on the state of conservation of Vredefort Dome was submitted by the State Party. The report gives an overview of the continued implementation of the 2008 reactive monitoring mission recommendations but did not report on some of the additional recommendations provided by the 2010 mission.

a)  Proclamation of the property under National Legislation and establishment of a Management Authority

The State Party advises of important progress since its previous report in 2011. The University of Stellenbosch led mediation process between the Ministery for Water and Environmental Affairs and private Landowners has reached agreement for the national proclamation of the World Heritage property to proceed, resulting in the signatory of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). The State Party advises that documents have been drafted and the proclamation will be gazetted shortly.

The State Party recalls that the establishment of the Management Authority is linked to the proclamation of the property under national legislation and could not be finalized before the MoA was signed. Progress is reported in setting up the authority: land for a Management Authority office has been set aside and a business plan and Regulations are being established. The report further notes that in the meantime the management of the property is ensured by the Free State and North West Provinces and that an integrated management approach of the property is facilitated through the establishment of an interim Governmental Steering Committee, involving all relevant departments.

b)  Definition and on-the-ground demarcation of the legal boundaries of the three satellite sites

The State Party notes that it has decided not to clearly mark the boundaries of the serial sites in order to better protect them, as it states that their excellent condition is due to their exact locations not being generally known. The State Party does not provide information on whether the boundaries of the three serial sites have been legally defined. It also notes that in relation to the alignment of the boundaries of the buffer zone with existing farm cadastres, it intends to submit in future a proposal for a minor boundary modification.

c)  Other issues: pollution of the Vaal River and tourism developments

The State Party advises that a river health assessment, monitoring and work on the upgrading of the Ngwathe Waste Water treatment works and Parys Wastewater treatment works have been implemented as a basis for improving the water quality of the Vaal River.

 

An Environmental Management Framework (a spatial planning tool) has been commenced that will provide landuse control for the property and surrounding lands, and which is expected to help protect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. Land use including tourism facilities will need to be compliant with the Framework. In addition, the State Party is developing Regulations that will provide for the management of land-use, permissible activities and developments within the site. Surveillance by state authorities has been increased in order to control illegal tourism developments.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the Committee commend the State Party for the important progress achieved in establishing the legal protection of the property and in reaching agreement with all stakeholders for the proclamation of the World Heritage property under National Legislation. They recommend that the Committee encourages the State Party to finalize this process as a priority, and to inform the Committee when this is achieved.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.6

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decisions 33 COM 7B.5 and 35 COM 7B.5 , adopted at its 33rd (Seville, 2009) and 35th (UNESCO, 2011) sessions respectively,

3.  Commends the State Party for the progress achieved in securing the support of all stakeholders for the proclamation of the property under national legislation, and requests the State Party to complete the proclamation process as soon as possible and to notify the World Heritage Centre when this has been completed;

4.  Takes note of the efforts undertaken by the State Party to respond to the previous requests of this Committee and in particular the progress achieved in relation to land use planning controls, the establishment of the Management Authority, and the preparation of Regulations and guidance material for the effective on-ground management by the Authority and also requests the State Party to finalise work associated with previous requests as early as possible;

5.  Further requests the State Party to implement the other recommendations of the 2010 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission, in particular in relation to the presentation of the World Heritage property to visitors, the alignment of the boundaries of the buffer zone with existing farm cadastres, visitor access and associated site protection mechanisms;

6.  Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2015, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above.