1.         Ngorongoro Conservation Area (United Republic of Tanzania) (C/N 39bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (iv)(vii)(viii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1984-1989

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/39/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1979-2001)
Total amount approved: USD 235,845
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/39/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

$79,000 to date plus $275,000 IUCN support in 1994 (funded by Germany)

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/39/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2001

Previous deliberations:    
Twenty-third session of the Committee –page 93 of Annex VIII
Twenty-fourth session of the Bureau – paragraph IV.41
Twenty-fourth session of the Committee – paragraph VIII.27 / Annex X page 117.

Main issues: Environmental Impact Assessment of proposed routes of access road.

New informationThe Centre received a letter dated 12 April 2001 from the UNESCO Dar es Salaam Office transmitting the Ngorongoro Management Plan (1996), a letter from the Conservator of Ngorongoro dated 5 April 2001, and a “Draft Plan to Control Vehicle Congestion in the Ngorongoro Crater”.  Through the letter from UNESCO Office the State Party requested assistance to undertake a study to evaluate the environmental impact of vehicle pressure in the Ngorongoro Crater and to examine ways of managing vehicle numbers with a view to keeping a balance between protecting the ecosystem and maintaining tourism. There has been 7% annual increase in tourists to Ngorongoro Crater since 1991, and that the Crater attracts over 75% of the visitors with vehicles to Ngorongoro. The State Party is concerned that the number of vehicles on the crater floor has reached excessive levels with recordings of 140 vehicles at one time, and that continuous and excessive vehicle traffic is taking a perceptible toll on the environment.   The report shows that in 1999 there were 122,791 tourists compared to 213,529 in 2000 and that even during the times when the number of visitors is low the number of vehicles is high (vehicles are carrying less visitors).  Two meetings have been held between the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), on follow-up actions of the plan and the local tourist industry (including tour operator’s associations and representatives of leading tour operators and hoteliers operating in Ngorongoro).  Measures have been proposed in the Draft Plan including: encouraging medium sized vehicles; cutting down the number of stay hours by introducing the shift system; reviewing the pricing system; diversification of attractions outside the crater;  and training of tour drivers and guides.

IUCN has received reports of the extensive spread of an invasive alien species, the "Mexican poppy" (Argemone mexicana, Family Papaveraceae) in the wheat fields around Karatu, inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). This plant is also growing on the roadsides within the Ngorongoro Crater floor, as well as along the roads towards Ndutu, Naabi Gate and Loliondo.  The invasive species is a potential threat to the Serengeti ecosystem of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, especially inside the crater floor. In the worst case scenario, it could spread through the grass plains, competing with local species and therefore taking away an important food source of the ungulates. This species is highly toxic to humans and animals. It is important to avoid the spread of this aggressive alien by carefully monitoring all areas, especially the roadsides and by collecting and burning the plants before they set seeds. There have also been reports of other invasive species Gutenbergia (Erlangea) cordifolia and Bidens spp., which have infested up to one-quarter of the Crater floor.

The State Party has noted that it is aware of the situation with these invasive species and has been carrying out some initiatives to eradicate the weeds. The State Party has also noted its willingness to accept assistance in identifying invasive species and setting up an eradication programme. IUCN has been involved in discussions with various parties on the eradication of this species, including the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group and is willing to provide technical assistance as required.

IUCN also remains concerned about the ecological impact of the canal and road works. The 1998 road works deepened and added new branches to the canal that diverts water away from the Gorigor Swamp, the Crater's largest wetland, fed by Tokitok Spring and the Oljoro Nyuki stream, to the lake, which caused the southern third of the swamp to dry up. The canal is maintaining the water level in the lake at an artificially high level and  reducing the lake’s natural salinity . It has been reported to IUCN that water flow studies in 1999 and 2000 show that the northernmost culvert seems to have captured the discharge of Ngoitokitok spring water, and as a result the amount of water being removed from Gorigor in 2000 tripled the amount removed in 1999. This means that what was left of the Gorigor Swamp is kept dry in the dry-season, thus severely impacting on  the wetland habitats.

Action Required

The Bureau requests the State Party to undertake a study on the impact of vehicles in Ngorongoro Conservation Area with view to examining ways for vehicle management in the Area.  Furthermore the Bureau welcomes the recommendations made by  IUCN and  requests a detailed state of conservation report from the State Party on the extent and impact of the invasive species, as well as methods for their control and eradication by 15 September 2001 to be reported to the twenty-fifth extraordinary session of the Bureau.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2001

The Centre and IUCN received a report of extensive and increasing domestic crop cultivation in the Ngorongoro Crater and wider Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), 97% of which constitutes the World Heritage site. A letter from the Centre dated 18 July 2001 was addressed to the Permanent Delegation of the United Republic of Tanzania to UNESCO with a request to verify the situation with the Ngorongoro Conservation Area authorities and to inform the Centre.  The same letter was copied to the Frankfurt Zoological Society that has undertaken projects in NCA. Concerns have been raised over the expansion and the negative impacts on wildlife and the Masaai traditional pastoralism.  Specifically the concerns raised relate to:

·       Cultivation on very steep slopes of 7.5 to 12.5 degrees.  Cultivation was most intense behind Embakai Crater, around Endulen and on the slopes of the Ngorongoro Highland between the Crater and the Serengeti National Park

·       Growing pressure for alternative land use which has reduced most of the Maasai's grazing lands, making Ngorongoro the last sanctuary with intact grazing land for the resident Maasai and the pastoral communities normally situated outside the boundaries of the NCAA.

·       Steady increase in residents in Ngorongoro, mainly through immigration from other areas

·       Changes in the agricultural practices of the Masaai pastoralists, including increased sedentarisation, intensification of livestock production, changing food traditions and introduction of modern housing and development inputs.

 

In response to the above report, the Conservator of Ngorongoro in his letter to the Centre dated 7 August 2001, notes that in 1995 the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority commissioned a team of experts to consider the issue of domestic cultivation.  The study concluded that the cultivation practised by the Masaai pastoralists was not a threat to conservation and pastoralism interests.  It recommended cultivation carried out by non-Masaai pastoralists should be halted as it posed a threat to the integrity of the Conservation Area.  It also noted that increasing numbers of in-migrants who might not abide by Masaai relations and customs, could threaten the functioning of the Masaai’s social institutions which regulate land use.

 

Further, the Conservator of Ngorongoro notes that the following actions have been enforced:

·       Identification of in-migrants and human and livestock census

·       Acquiring alternative land for cultivation outside the Conservation Area for resettling of in-migrants and where domestic cultivation could be carried out

·       Follow up study to the 1995 study

·       Implementation of a DANIDAfunded project aimed at revitalising the livestock- based economy in order to ensure that cultivation remains secondary to livestock

·       Continuing the grain importation scheme to help the resident population gain access to grain at cost price, and therefore discourage crop cultivation

 

In its statement addressed to the Centre dated 27 August 2001, the Frankfurt Zoological  Society express concern that “without a decision from the government, cultivation will continue and threaten not only one of the world’s most famous wildlife areas but also one of the last grazing lands for the Maasai cattle”.

 

An article published in September 2001 by The Guardian newspaper entitled “PM warns Maasai against environmental damage”, reports that:

“The Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mr. Frederick Sumaye, has warned Maasai communities living inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) against tampering with the natural ecosystem and the unique geological set of the NCA which have put Tanzania on top among the World tourist attraction sites”.   The Prime Minister is also recorded as saying to villagers that

“You should not carry out farming activities inside the conservation area because such an activity would interfere with nature and destroy this world heritage site which Tanzania is proud to own”.

 

IUCN notes that the serious encroachment and destruction of the highland forests at the northern edge of the site continues. IUCN notes further that cultivation, even at a very low level, excludes use of the area by larger wildlife species in the long term, and that only a very small percentage of the NCAA is suitable for cultivation because of rainfall, soil and slope conditions.

IUCN notes that:

·       the Ngorongoro Conservation Area was separated from the Serengeti and gazetted as a multi -use conservation area, hence sustainable use such as grazing is allowed

·       Limited subsistence cultivation was allowed in the early nineties due to food shortages, declining livestock and population growth. This alone was not a serious threat.  What has become a serious threat is the commercial farming introduced by immigrant farmers, and this is what needs to be addressed urgently

·       There is some disagreement about the impact of the Masaai practising agriculture within the NCA.  There is the possibility that Masaai agriculture (distinct from traditional pastoralism or livestock rearing), is also negatively impacting on the site

·       The management of the NCA requires more effective scientific guidance

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies

N/A

Decision Adopted: 25 BUR V.98-102

V.98       The Bureau noted that the Centre received a “Draft Plan to Control Vehicle Congestion in the Ngorongoro Crater”.  Through a letter from the UNESCO Office, the State Party requested assistance to undertake a study to evaluate the environmental impact of vehicle pressure in the Ngorongoro Crater and to examine ways of managing vehicle numbers with a view to keeping a balance between protecting the ecosystem and maintaining tourism. There has been a 7% annual increase in tourists to Ngorongoro Crater since 1991, and the Crater attracts over 75% of the visitors with vehicles to Ngorongoro. The State Party is concerned that the number of vehicles on the Crater floor has reached excessive levels with recordings of 140 vehicles at one time, and that continuous and excessive vehicle traffic is taking a perceptible toll on the environment. Measures have been proposed in the Draft Plan including: encouraging medium sized vehicles; cutting down the number of stay hours by introducing a shift system; reviewing the pricing system; diversification of attractions outside the Crater; and training of tour drivers and guides.

V.99       IUCN furthermore received reports of the extensive spread of an invasive alien species, the "Mexican poppy" (Argemone mexicana, Family Papaveraceae) in the wheat fields around Karatu, inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). The invasive species is a potential threat to the Serengeti ecosystem, which is contiguous with the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and to the vegetation in the Crater floor. In the worst case scenario, it could spread through the grass plains, competing with local species and therefore taking away an important food source of the ungulates. This species is highly toxic to humans and animals. It is important to avoid the spread of this aggressive alien by carefully monitoring all areas, especially the roadsides and by collecting and burning the plants before they set seeds. There have also been reports of other invasive species Gutenbergia (Erlangea) cordifolia and Bidens spp., which have infested up to one-quarter of the Crater floor.

V.100     The State Party has noted that it is aware of the situation with regard to these invasive species and has been carrying out some initiatives to eradicate the weeds. It has also indicated its willingness to accept assistance in identifying invasive species and setting up an eradication programme. IUCN has been involved in discussions with various parties on the eradication of these species, including the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group and is willing to provide technical assistance as required. IUCN also remains concerned about the ecological impact of the canal and road works.

V.101     The Observer of Tanzania expressed his appreciation concerning the details of the report and notes that an in-depth analysis of the problems is required. He stated that the State Party would need technical assistance to carry out such information gathering and rapid analysis to be available by September 2001.

V.102     The Bureau requested the State Party to undertake a study on the impact of vehicles in Ngorongoro Conservation Area with view to examining ways for vehicle management.  Furthermore, the Bureau welcomed the recommendations made by IUCN and requested a detailed state of conservation report from the State Party by 15 September, on the extent and impact of the invasive species, as well as on methods for their control and eradication, to be reported to the twenty-fifth extraordinary session of the Bureau.  The technical request was drawn to the attention of the Centre.

Decision Adopted: 25 COM VIII.97

VIII.97 The Committee requested the State Party to provide a report on the encroachment situation in the northern section of the World Heritage site and on the impacts of commercial farming introduced by immigrant farmers on the integrity and values of this World Heritage site by 1 February 2002 for consideration by the twentysixth session of the Committee.