State of Conservation (SOC)
Chitwan National Park
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee
Main issues: road construction project.
New information: IUCN has been alerted to the planned construction of a road through the centre of Royal Chitwan National Park. A bridge is apparently already under construction at Kasara, over the Rapti River, and is high enough to provide access across the river during the monsoon season. The road is being constructed to provide access to the area south of the Park, especially the Madi village area. Given the large scale of the bridge, it is expected that the road will also be a substantial one. The road will effectively cut the Park in half and may eventually link with India. This would lead to a high level of traffic on the road and lead to better access to the Park, thus leading to illegal use of its resources and the disruption of the ecological integrity of this site. It has also been reported that there is a proposal to put a power-line through the park to Madi Village along the line of the road. IUCN understands that an EIA was prepared for the electricity line but not for the road and bridge. There is clearly the potential for these developments to threaten the integrity of the World Heritage site.
Action RequiredThe Bureau request the State Party to provide a report to the Centre, before 15 September 2001, on the status of the development of road and the power-line construction projects, including information on all environmental impact assessments undertaken, to enable the twenty-fifth extraordinary session of the Bureau to undertake a review of the potential threats to the integrity of the Park.
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Requests Approved: 0
Total Amount Ap proved: 80,000USD
|1989||Public awareness programmes and development of an educational and ...||50,000 USD|
|1988||Consultancy services for the preparation of a plan for Royal ...||30,000 USD|
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Proposed irrigation project to divert the Rapti river (issue resolved)
- Increase in the natural rate of mortality of the rhinoceros (issue resolved)
- Pollution of the Narayani River (issue resolved)
Current conservation issues
In response to the request of the twenty-fifth session of the Bureau in June 2001, the State Party has submitted a report, dated June 2000, entitled: “Environmental Impact Statement (EIA) for the Jagatpur Madi 33 kV Subtransmission Line Project”. The report states that the transmission line will pass through approximately 6km of the Park and World Heritage site between Dhrubaghat and Bankatta, and through 500 metres and 1,000 metres of buffer zone forest at Dhrubaghat and Bankatta, respectively. The project foresees the erection of eleven metres-high concrete poles and the stringing of lines. It will be aligned along the existing Hulaki road and hence require the clearing of a corridor two metres in width. In total 331 trees of endangered species - Shorea robusta; Acacia catechu, Bombax ceiba and Cedrella toona will be removed. The EIA has not yet been approved by the Government of Nepal.
According to the report, loss or alteration of habitat, construction disturbances to wild fauna, likely hunting and poaching by project workers, decline in water quality associated with erosion and silting, pollution from temporary workers camps, and bird deaths from collision with the transmission line are foreseen negative impacts. Mitigation measures proposed include: reforestation of two hectares of community land near the Park with the guidance of the Park authorities; a Community Forest Support Programme in three locations to be implemented in conjunction with Park authorities; an Environmental Awareness forConservation Programme (EAC) to be implemented by NGOs, and a Habitat Management Programme to be implemented by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
The Kasara Bridge is under construction over the Rapti River that constitutes the northern boundary of the Park and World Heritage site. No EIA was conducted for the project. Due to budget uncertainties and restrictions, the road will require a few years for completion. The road will pass through the Park and World Heritage site, but will partly follow the current designated Public Right of Way to Madi Village. The alignment from Kasara Bridge to the public right of way has not been decided. One option is to follow the Park/World Heritage site periphery along the Rapti River for 3-4 km.
IUCN notes that the provision of electricity will help reduce the need for kerosene for lighting and firewood for cooking, the two major sources of the local population, and also a source of fuel for lodges and hotels in the area. This should have a positive impact by reducing the amount of wood collected from the Park. IUCN is concerned about the impacts associated with the construction of the transmission line and road within the World Heritage site and notes that similar proposals have prompted Danger Listing in some cases.
Analysis and Conclusion
Link to the decision
V.126 The Bureau noted that IUCN has been alerted to the planned construction of a road through the centre of Royal Chitwan National Park. A bridge is apparently already under construction at Kasara, over the Rapti River, and is high enough to provide access across the River during the monsoon season. The road is being constructed to provide access to the area south of the Park, especially the Madi Village area. Given the large scale of the bridge, it is expected that the road will also be a substantial one. The road will effectively cut the Park in half and may eventually link with India. This would lead to a heavy flow of traffic and better access to the Park, thus leading to illegal use of its resources and the disruption of the ecological integrity of this site. It has also been reported that there is a proposal to put a power-line through the Park to Madi Village along the line of the road. IUCN understands that an EIA was prepared for the electricity line but not for the road and bridge. There is clearly the potential for these developments to threaten the integrity of the World Heritage site.
V.127 The Bureau requested the State Party to provide a report to the Centre, before 15 September 2001, on the status of the development of the road and the power-line construction projects, including information on all environmental impact assessments undertaken, to enable the twenty-fifth extraordinary session of the Bureau to review the potential threats to the integrity of the Park.
Link to the decision
Reports on the state of conservation of natural properties inscribed on the World Heritage List noted by the Committee
Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
Fraser Island (Australia)
The Sundarbans (Bangladesh)
Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)
Gros Morne National Park (Canada)
Nahanni National Park (Canada)
Los Katios National Park (Colombia)
Caves of the Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (Hungary/Slovakia)
The Committee noted that the issues raised concern only the Slovak part of this transboundary site.
Sundarbans National Park (India)
The Delegate of India informed the Committee that there is no National Waterways Project that is planned or likely to impact this site.
Kaziranga National Park (India)
Komodo National Park (Indonesia)
Lorentz National Park (Indonesia)
The Observer of Indonesia thanked the Australian authorities for their financial assistance. He informed the Committee that it would be difficult to comply with the deadline of 1 February and that a report could be provided by the end of March 2002.
Aeolian Islands (Italy)
The Observer of Italy confirmed that there was a court decision on 4 December 2001, which is not yet public, but that it is hoped to be available soon. She informed the Committee that the collaboration between the autonomous regional Government and the central Government has commenced and that a meeting will take place to find a solution.
Banc d'Arguin National Park (Mauritania)
The Delegate of Egypt brought to the attention of the Committee the importance of protecting the wetlands, which are known to be important rest places for the migratory birds along their routes. He suggested that the World Heritage Centre should have a plan defining the wetlands, which are important for the birds and to use this information for establishing "satellite" World Heritage sites. IUCN informed of the co-operation between the World Heritage Centre and the Ramsar Convention as well as with Bird Life International for the protection of the wetlands. He also highlighted the importance of the surrounding areas to the World Heritage sites and the links with the Man and Biosphere programme for the protection of the sites. The Secretariat informed of the on-going discussions with the Secretariat of the Convention of Migratory Species to establish a Memorandum of Understanding between these two Conventions.
Gunung Mulu National Park (Malaysia)
Sian Ka'an (Mexico)
The Delegate of Mexico informed that the confirmation of the Ecological Land-Use Plan is in its final phase and consequently she asked that the deadline for the report requested by the Bureau be set for 15 May 2002 for examination at the twenty-sixth session of the Committee in June.
Royal Chitwan National Park (Nepal)
Western Caucasus (Russian Federation)
Golden Mountains of Altai (Russian Federation)
Doñana National Park (Spain)
Sinharaja Forest Reserve (Sri Lanka)
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast (United Kingdom)
St Kilda (United Kingdom)
Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (United States of America)
Canaima National Park (Venezuela)
The Bureau may wish to adopt the following:
“The Bureau expresses its serious concerns regarding the construction of the transmission line that will traverse 6km through the Park and an additional 500 to 1000 metres of the buffer zone However noting that the State Party has not yet approved the plan to construct the transmission line through the Park, the Bureau urges the State Party not to proceed with the plan to construct this line, and seek out alternatives that would have minimal impacts on the integrity of the Park. The Bureau notes that the Kasara Bridge and the associated road along the northern periphery of the Park might be a less impacting option to improve transport in the region. The Bureau recommends that the State Party take into due consideration these suggestions and inform the Centre, before 1 February 2001, its decision on the proposed transmission line and the routing of the road and provide a detailed report on the status for the State Party’s consideration of the projects.”
Chitwan National Park
- Ground transport infrastructure
- Major linear utilities
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).