1.         Rwenzori Mountains National Park (Uganda) (N 684)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (vii)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1999-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/684/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1995-1996)
Total amount approved: USD 32,249
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/684/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/684/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2000

Previous deliberations:
Twenty third session of the Committee – paragraph – X.22
Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – paragraph – IV.42

New information:  The Centre received a fax, dated 7April 2000, from the IUCN Regional Councillor for Africa that reported on high risks linked to security conditions in and around this site continue to prevent the implementation of any meaningful conservation actions. The high altitudes of the mountain are occupied by the rebel group, Allied Defence Forces (ADF) and the lower elevations of the mountain are under the control of the Ugandan Government Forces (UPDF). The UPDF is believed to be combing the habitats in the lower elevations to clear them of explosives planted by the ADF. The report further mentioned that the rebel group ADF recently descended from the Rwenzori Mountain National Park and killed one Park Ranger and other persons in Queen Elizabeth National Park, a site adjacent to the World Heritage site and which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The IUCN Regional Councillor observes that it will be some time before one can hope for peace and stability in and around this World Heritage site.

Part of the Park Headquarters continues to be located in the town of Kasese, outside of the Park, due to security considerations. Thirty rangers are in Ibanda, the Park Headquarters, where they try to cooperate with UPDF and other personnel to establish and maintain security. Ugandan Wildlife Authority has reported to IUCN that it has commenced rehabilitation work on tourist tracks in March 2000. However, there are insufficient resources and financial support for such rehabilitation work as well as for surveillance, monitoring, training, communications, personnel and other essential activities.

Action Required

The Bureau recommends that the Committee retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Bureau suggests that the Centre and IUCN explore possibilities to raise international awareness for the conservation of this site. Furthermore, the Bureau recommends that the Centre co-operate with the State Party and concerned UN units in the region to study ways and means to support staff responsible for the protection of the site and minimise threats posed by militant and armed groups that are occupying the site.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2000

In response to the observations and recommendations of the twenty-fourth session of the Bureau, transmitted via the Centre’s letter dated 10 July 2000, the Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UAW), in his letter of 13 September 2000, has stressed that the Rwenzori Mountains National Park (RMNP) should be retained in the List of World Heritage in Danger owing to the following reasons:

·         RMNP is still closed to visitors and effects of insurgency by armed groups continue to affect management, habitats and wildlife;

·         Communities resident around the Park are equally affected and look towards the Park as a major source of resources posing clear threats to habitats and wildlife and in the absence of control and management may adopt unsustainable resource use practices; and

·         The Park lacks basic management tools to meet the challenges of insurgency and community pressure for resources.

The Executive Director has welcomed suggestions of the Bureau to increase international awareness for the conservation of the site and expressed his readiness to work with the Centre and others concerned for raising funds for the protection of the World Heritage site in Danger.

IUCN has observed that the southeastern and northeastern parts of the Park are relatively safe and that UAW has resumed operations in the eatern parts of the Park and is exploring the feasibility of opening that sector to tourists. However, in the western parts of the Park bordering the DRC, security risks prevail and management is facing serious resource shortages needed for ensuring effective management of the Park.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 24 BUR IV.A.13

The Bureau learned that the Centre had been informed by the IUCN Regional Councillor for Africa that high risks linked to security conditions in and around this site continue to prevent the implementation of meaningful conservation actions. The high Mountain altitudes are occupied by the rebel group, Allied Defence Forces (ADF) and the lower elevations of the Mountain are under the control of the Ugandan Government Forces (UPDF).  The UPDF is believed to be combing the habitats in the lower elevations to clear them of explosives planted by the ADF.  The report further mentioned that the rebel group ADF recently descended from the Rwenzori Mountain National Park and killed one Park Ranger and other persons in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, a site adjacent to the World Heritage site that has been declared a Biosphere Reserve.  The IUCN Regional Councillor observed that it will be some time before peace and stability in and around this World Heritage site can be hoped for.

The Bureau noted that the Park Headquarters continue to be located in the town of Kasese, outside of the Park, due to security considerations. Thirty rangers are in Ibanda, the Park Headquarters, where they try to co-operate with UPDF and other personnel to establish and maintain security. The Ugandan Wildlife Authority has reported to IUCN that it commenced rehabilitation work on tourist tracks in March 2000. However, there are insufficient resources and financial support for such rehabilitation work as well as for surveillance, monitoring, training, communications, personnel and other essential activities.

The Delegate of Zimbabwe made the observation that the situation in this site, related to rebel activity and security risks, was similar to the World Heritage sites in Danger in eastern DRC. Hence, the Delegate requested that the Centre, in co-operation with IUCN and others, attempt to initiate support programmes for this site similar to those developed for the sites in the DRC.  He also mentioned the possibility to send a mission to the site.

A representative of IUCN, responding to the question posed by the Delegate of Zimbabwe, noted that information from some of its members in the country indicated that equipment purchased as part of a World Heritage-financed project in the past may not have reached the site. The Bureau expressed its concern regarding the possibility of inappropriate use of the resources of the World Heritage Fund and requested the Centre to contact the concerned authorities in the State Party to verify the status of the equipment purchased as part of the project under consideration and submit a report to the twenty-fourth session of the Committee.

The Bureau recommended that the Committee retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Bureau suggested that the Centre and IUCN explore possibilities to raise international awareness for the conservation of this site. Furthermore, the Bureau recommended that the Centre co-operate with the State Party and concerned UN units in the region to study ways and means, including the development of an international financial assistance package financed by appropriate donors, to support staff responsible for the protection of the site and minimise threats posed by militant and armed groups occupying the site.

Decision Adopted: 24 COM VIII.14

VIII.14 Rwenzori Mountains (Uganda)

The Committee noted that the Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UAW), in his letter of 13 September 2000, has stressed that the Rwenzori Mountains National Park (RMNP) should be retained in the List of World Heritage in Danger, owing to the fact that: (a) RMNP is still closed to visitors and effects of insurgency by armed groups continue to affect management, habitats and wildlife; (b) Communities resident around the Park are equally affected and regard the Park as a major source of resources posing clear threats to habitats and wildlife and, in the absence of control and management, may adopt unsustainable resource use practices; and (c) the Park lacks basic management tools to meet the challenges of insurgency and community pressure for resources. The Executive Director has welcomed suggestions of the twenty-fourth ordinary session of the Bureau to increase international awareness for the conservation of the site and expressed his readiness to work with the Centre and others concerned for raising funds for the protection of the World Heritage site in Danger. The Committee noted that the Centre has initiated communication with the Executive Director to explore possibilities for financing projects and activities to strengthen conservation of the site.

The Committee suggested that the Centre and IUCN continue to explore possibilities to raise international awareness for the conservation of this site, and co-operate with the State Party and concerned UN units in the region to study ways and means, including mobilising necessary financial resources, to support staff responsible for the protection of the site and minimize threats posed by militant and armed groups. The Committee retained the property in the List of World Heritage in Danger.