State of Conservation (SOC)
Kaziranga National Park (2002)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:50,000USD
|1997||Support to Strengthening Protection of Kaziranga National Park||50,000 USD|
February 2002: joint UNESCO / IUCN monitoring mission
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- 1998 floods (issue resolved)
- Need for long-term measures measures to mitigate future flood damage (issue resolved)
- Elephant-human conflicts
- Rhino poaching
- Illegal encroachment by villagers
- Need for integrated planning and management to incorporate community needs and aspirations
Current conservation issues
An IUCN/Government of India mission to Assam, supported by the Centre and UNESCO, New Delhi, was fielded from 5 to 16 February 2002 and included a two-day visit to Kaziranga. The mission noted the following:
(a) Illegal activities appear to be more or less under control, though the overall situation facing the one-horned rhinoceros – the prime target for poaching – remains serious. Armed confrontations between Park staff and poachers occur from time-to-time. All efforts are undertaken to minimize the number of animals killed each year but total control of all illegal killing of rhinoceros appears impossible as poachers enter the Park from many locations along the Brahmaputra River and are frequently harboured and assisted by some of the numerous subsistence farmers living in the buffer zone and other areas surrounding the Park;
(b) Extreme poverty and high population densities around the Park make the development and implementation of community-based economic alternative for poverty reduction a challenging task and one that is probably beyond the limited capacity and resources of present staff;
(c) There is no approved management plan, however, a draft plan is nearing completion. Lack of data has made it difficult to formulate appropriate management strategies and/or sustainable rural development activities, and the management planning process lacks consultative mechanisms;
(d) The operating budget, infrastructure, equipment and the present management structure are inadequate and, in particular, there are insufficient staff with good experience and training in protected areas management;
(e) Fluctuating and unpredictable levels of financial and technical resources limit the ability of the Director and Park staff to implement management and development programmes in a phased and orderly manner;
(f) Community “eco-development” programs appear to be focused on providing rural development infrastructure; but programme implementation is not effectively linked to engendering support for the Park’s primary objectives of nature conservation and consequently do not adequately contribute to resolving the human induced threats facing the site. In addition there appears to be inadequate attention and resources paid to enhancing relations with the local communities around the Park. Specialized skills for communicating and working with local people may have to be provided to the staff through training activities;
(g) The Park has developed and implemented a wide range of effective anti-poaching measures. These include a ban on fishing as it was found that local fishers were using fishing activities as a cover for other illegal activities including rhino poaching;
(h) Elephant-human conflicts include a complex set of events that involve ecological and social factors. Reports indicate that, annually, an allocation is made to compensate village people for the damage that elephants inflict on crops, houses and property. There do not seem to be any special provisions for compensating for loss of human life resulting from conflicts; and
(i) All of the facilities funded by the US$50,000 emergency assistance grant provided by the Committee in 1997 are completed and operational. A number of the guard posts funded under the grant were inspected and the workmanship of these facilities appears to be of acceptable standard.
The World Heritage Committee,
Link to the decision
1. Commends the National and State Government for having provided adequate resources to establish and maintain control over poaching, encroachment and illegal activities;
2. Notes that the level of on-the-ground staff presence, law enforcement and patrolling mechanisms backed up by relevant communication facilities are satisfactory;
3. Invites the National and State Governments to accelerate the finalization of the management plan, ensure the steady and predictable flow of technical and financial support and recognizes the need to introduce consultative and transparent management planning processes. In this way the needs of local communities would be integrated, while informing and educating them on the Park's local, national and global significance;
4. Urges the authorities concerned to explore ways and means of developing, as part of the management planning process, (a) an outreach and community strategy, (b) conservation education and awareness programmes, (c) a research agenda focusing on key management issues, (d) tourism-related activities and programmes;
5. Urges the Centre to co-operate with the State Party to explore ways and means to increase direct support for the site from the World Heritage Fund, donors such as the UN Foundation and other sources.
The Committee may wish to adopt the following decision:
“The Committee commends the National and State Government for having provided adequate resources to establish and maintain control over poaching, encroachment and illegal activities. The Committee notes that the level of on-the-ground presence of staff, and law enforcement and patrolling mechanisms backed up by relevant communication facilities are satisfactory. The Committee invites the National and State Governments to accelerate the finalization of the management plan, ensure the steady and predictable flow of technical and financial support and recognize the need to introduce consultative and transparent management planning processes. In this way the needs of local communities would be integrated, while informing and educating them on the Park’s local, national and global significance. The Committee urges the authorities concerned to explore ways and means of developing, as part of the management planning process, (i) an outreach and community strategy, (ii) conservation education and awareness programmes, (iii) a research agenda focusing on key management issues, (iv) tourism-related activities and programmes. The Committee urges the Centre to co-operate with the State Party to explore ways and means to increase direct support for the site from the World Heritage Fund, donors like the UN foundation and other sources."
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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”).