1.         Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest (Kenya) (N 800bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1997

Criteria  (vii)(ix)

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/800/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2000-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 25,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/800/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

January 2003: joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/800/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003


At its 25th Session held in December 2001 in Helsinki the World Heritage Committee requested the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission to the site. The mission was undertaken from 13 to 17 January 2003. The prime objective of the mission was to report on the state of conservation of the Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest. The second objective was to make proposals for future developments at the site and for networking among mountain World Heritage Sites in Eastern Africa using an Italian Funds-in-Trust contribution to UNESCO for an "African Network for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development of Mountain World Heritage sites".

The mission made the following observations:

- The mission team was provided with the copy of the “Preliminary Findings of Changes in Mt. Kenya Forests Between 2000 and 2002”, dated December 2002. The study was carried out by UNEP, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forest Working Group (KFWG) and the Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology – University of Kent. The satellite images presented in the report show substantial regeneration of vegetation cover within the site. In comparison to 1999, the report shows a large decrease in the amount of illegally logged timber such as camphor (reduction of 94%), cedar (reduction of 73%) and other indigenous trees (reduction of 92%), reduction of existing charcoal kilns (reduction of 62%) and marijuana fields (reduction of 81%).

- The State Party has made significant changes to the management of Mount Kenya since 1999. In July 2000, the Forest Reserve was gazetted as a National Reserve under the Wildlife Act and the responsibility of KWS. The Forest Reserve was not formally degazetted and this led to confusion and disagreement between Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Forest Department over the management responsibilities. This situation was not resolved at the time of the mission. Two weeks before the mission, a new government took office and the responsibility over KWS was moved to the Ministry of Environment.

- KWS and FD are currently preparing a new draft Management Plan 2002-2007 for the site. The mission was informed that local communities have not been fully consulted in the preparation of the draft Management Plan. This draft was not available to the mission.

- In 1999, KWS in cooperation with UNEP made an aerial survey of the destruction of Mount Kenya, Imenti and Ngare Ndare forest reserves. Although most of the forest damage was outside the World Heritage site, the result of the survey nonetheless demonstrated critical threats to the entire ecosystem. After the National Reserve was gazetted, KWS acted to prevent these illegal activities and to apprehend those responsible. A sample follow-up aerial survey in 2002, other monitoring and the mission observation flights confirmed a much-improved situation. Two threats remain significant. Charcoal burning is still widespread on the fringes of the forest (outside the World Heritage site itself)Marijuana cultivation although greatly reduced in scale was still occurring at a few sites high in bamboo forest well within the World Heritage site

- A number of electric fences are in operation, or under construction, or planned to be erected, in order to protect villages and cultivated areas from elephants. While the mission encouraged judicious use of fencing to reduce conflicts, it stressed the importance of leaving key migration corridors to prevent genetic isolation of the Mount Kenya elephant population.

- Rural poverty and population growth lead to higher pressure on the Mount Kenya forests. The mission was pleased to learn about the many donor and NGO/CBO (spell out the first time please) activities in and around Mount Kenya and about the coordination and leadership being given by the Mount Kenya donor/partner forum chaired by UNDP. A number of community projects have benefited from grants from the GEF-United Nations Foundation COMPACT (Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation) initiative, which assigned US$750,000 in support of Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest World Heritage site. Rural development in the watersheds to the south and east of the mountain will benefit from the US$24 million IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) project. Support has also been provided to Mount Kenya by: German Development Agency for Agricultural issues; Swiss Embassy for Water issues and the Ford Foundation is expected to joint soon for Cultural sites development. European Union and UNDP have provided support for biodiversity conservation and the World Heritage Fund for preparing a site Management Plan. Private Sector support to Mount Kenya is provided by: Mount Kenya Bill Woodley Trust for fencing some areas and for miscellaneous projects and Willian Holden Wildlife Foundation for the conservation of wildlife and for energy issues; The corporate sector such as the Kenya airways provide support for advertising the site in the media; and, Alliance and Serena chain Hotels for forestation activities. - On 8 April 2003, the United Nations Foundation (UNF) informed the Centre that it is discussing with UNDP-GEF Small Grants programme a project for mountain bongo reintroduction to Mount Kenya, in which UNF would contribute US$100,000 from core resources with US$200,000 as matching funds that UNF will mobilize. The headline above says “the mission made following observations”, therefore this should not be included here.

There is potential to continue and reinforce these initiatives and to encourage appropriate tourism development. The mission identified networking and development needs and suggested where could the proposed networking among mountain World Heritage sites in East Africa assist.


The monitoring mission was undertaken by the Centre and IUCN and the report and the conclusions of the mission were drawn jointly. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN


Decision Adopted: 27 COM 7B.4

The World Heritage Committee [2],

1. Noting the results of the report provided by the UNESCO and IUCN mission to the property and the existing number of positive actions that have been carried out by the State Party to improve the management of the property and the protection of the World Heritage value of the property,;

2. Commends the State Party for positive actions undertaken so far for the conservation of the property, particularly in relation to the control of illegal logging, charcoal kilns and marijuana fields;

3. Urges the State Party to clarify jurisdiction arrangements over the plantation zone between the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Forest Department and confirm that this zone will be managed either by the Forest Department or in close co-operation with it;

4. Also Urges the State Party to finalize the Mount Kenya National Park Management Plan;

5. Further Urges the State Party to redouble its efforts to ensure the integrity and value of the property. These actions should include:

(a) the importance of leaving key migration corridors to prevent genetic isolation of the Mount Kenya elephant stock,

(b) undertaking further surveillance and enforcement to eradicate illegal activities around the property for the long-term conservation,

(c) undertaking further work on the plan and a new round of community consultations in order to produce a management plan that will effectively guide the long-term conservation of the property;

6. Acknowledges the financial support provided to the property by the Mount Kenya donor/partner forum chaired by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Foundation Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation (COMPACT) initiative, United Nations Foundation (UNF), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and further acknowledges the contribution of the Italian Government under the Italian Funds- in- Trust agreement with UNESCO;

7. Requests the State Party to submit a report to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2004, addressing the recommendations from the UNESCO/IUCN mission in order that the World Heritage Committee can examine the state of conservation of the property at its 28th session in 2004;

8. Encourages the State Party to undertake further work for the planning of a new round of community consultations in order to produce a management plan that will effectively guide the long-term conservation of the property.

[2]  Decision adopted without discussion