1.         Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) (N 338)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1985

Criteria  (vii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1992-2011

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Corrective measures identified

See Committee Decisions 28 COM 15A.10; 32 COM 7A.12

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-1997)
Total amount approved: USD 165,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: as of 2008, the property is benefiting from the UNF funded World Heritage India programme. Project interventions include: enhancing management effectiveness and building staff capacity; increasing the involvement of local communities in the management of the property and promoting their sustainable development; and raising awareness through communication and advocacy.

Previous monitoring missions

1992: IUCN mission; 1997: UNESCO mission; February 2002: IUCN monitoring mission; April 2005, February 2008, January 2011: World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring missions.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Forced evacuation of Park staff;

b) Poaching and logging;

c) Illegal cultivation;

d) Slow release of funds;

e) Invasive species;

f) Uncontrolled infrastructure development by local tourism groups;

g) Attempts by paramilitary group Sashastra Seema Bal to set up base camps in the property.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

From 24 to 31 January 2011, a joint World Heritage Centre/ IUCN monitoring mission visited the property, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010). The mission report is available online at the following Web address: http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/35COM. A report on the state of conservation of the property was provided by the State Party on 24 January 2011, outlining current conservation issues and containing information on the progress made in the implementation of the corrective measures.

a) Urgently conduct a baseline survey on recovery of wildlife populations and set up a full monitoring system which will allow monitoring and documenting the recovery of flagship species

The joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission notes that baseline surveys were carried out in 2008 and 2009 for most of the key species of the property, and a population survey for tiger using camera-trap technology is currently ongoing. It also notes that regular monitoring is conducted by front-line staff and results are compiled in patrolling registers annually, including sightings by tourists, researchers and other visitors. The State Party reports that these monitoring reports indicate that populations of key animal species are increasing. The mission found that there is currently no mechanism by which these reports are consolidated and analysed to determine the status of the park system as a whole, and considers that monitoring activities would greatly benefit from an integrated approach which includes analysis and synthesis of information from various taxa of flora and fauna found in the property, and which could serve as an early warning system for Park Management. On 17 March 2011, the State Party submitted to the World Heritage Centre and IUCN a draft framework for ecosystem-based monitoring in the property, which sets out strategies for monitoring of ecosystems, species populations, and effectiveness of protection and management, to be undertaken initially over a period of three years, which when implemented would also help address this corrective measure.

b) Resolve the problem of fund release which did not progress significantly since the last mission

The joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN concluded that the lack of timely release of funds to the property by the State Government remains a serious impediment to the efficient implementation of management objectives, including wildlife monitoring activities. The State Party reports that the Manas Tiger Conservation Foundation was constituted in 2009, and that a proposal for direct fund flow from the central government to the foundation is currently awaiting approval. A letter sent to the UNESCO New Dehli office on 6 April 2011 by the Inspector General of Forests notes that the proposal to allow the direct fund release to the Foundation will in all probability be operational in the current financial year, but this information could not be confirmed at the time of drafting the present report.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that ensuring that adequate financial resources are made available in a timely matter is of vital importance to the management effectiveness and continued recovery of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. Direct release of funds through the newly establised Manas Tiger Conservation Foundation (MTCF) should be secured as soon as possible. They consider that given the indications of the State Party subsequent to the mission there has been significant progress on this issue. They note that funding from the Bodoland Territorial Council and from various projects and NGOs has been provided in a variety of forms in recent years. This implies that whilst not optimal, lack of funding has not prevented activities necessary to allow recovery of the OUV to date. They share the conclusion of the mission team that it would be a much more satisfactory situation if the State Party was able to confirm that the fund release has been fully addressed, with fund flow to the MTCF established. They note that this may be possible, as the State Party has indicated that the fund may be operational in the present financial year. They also consider that the requirement for adequate funding should be the subject of subsequent confirmation via the reactive monitoring process.

 

c) Complete the work for the reconstruction and improvement of park infrastructure

The State Party reports that 16 of the 42 existing ranger posts have been renovated, and all 42 posts are operational and appropriately staffed. An 8 km stretch of electric fencing has been erected along the southern border of the property. The State Party reports that there are 130 km of motorable roads, and another 100 km of foot paths. The mission found the roads and bridges to be in good condition, and that the ongoing renovation of ranger posts is progressing well. The mission considers that this corrective measure is being implemented satisfactorily.

d) Fill the remaining vacant positions in the park by recruiting the best elements of the volunteers, and/or others, into permanent positions

The State Party reports that there are now more permanent forest staff than sanctioned posts, with an almost equal number of positions filled by different categories of manpower, paid and unpaid. The mission considers that this corrective measure has been fully implemented.

e) Strengthen and consolidate park management operations, in particular the efforts for reducing illegal logging and wildlife poaching in the Panbari Range

The State Party reports that the Range Office and seven other anti-poaching camps have been made operational in Panbari Range, and that levels of illegal logging and wildlife poaching are now apparently very low. The mission did not record any obvious incidences during its visit to the property. The mission considers that this corrective measure has been satisfactorily implemented.

f) Continue efforts for the reintroduction of the one-horned rhino and assess the need and feasibility for a restoration programme of the swamp deer

The reintroduction of the greater one-horned rhino is ongoing and initial results indicate that the reintroduced rhinos are adjusting well to their new environment. Funding for this programme is reported to be secure until 2012.

In contrast, the mission found that no significant progress was made towards the initiation and implementation of a swamp deer restoration programme. According to NGO reports, the population of swamp deer in the property is estimated to be 12-16 animals. The mission considers this number too low to guarantee the long term survival of this species in the property, and is of the opinion that a swamp deer restoration programme is of vital importance to address this issue. The mission discussed this issue with the State Party, which on 17 March 2011 submitted to the World Heritage Centre and IUCN a recovery plan for eastern swam deer in the property, to be implemented initially over a period of three years. If implemented this could help address this corrective measure. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that significant progress was made in the reintroduction of the one-horned rhino and that if the current reintroduction programme is continued, a viable population of this key species can be restored in the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also welcome the recovery plan for swamp dear and consider it crucial to implement this plan to allow for a full recovery of the OUV.

g) Other conservation issues – ecotourism development and boundary issues

The mission notes that the local communities living around the property have high expectations for ecotourism as an alternative livelihood. It also notes that the park management, while understanding the local communities’ expectations, is currently focusing on restoring the park ecosystem to its full function. The mission further notes that the property is still fragile and recovering, and not yet ready to accommodate large numbers of visitors.

The mission found that the property is often referred to as Manas National Park. It notes that Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, which was inscribed on the List of World Heritage covering 39,100 hectares, was expanded to 50,000 hectares and designated National Park in 1990. This expansion was never submitted to the Committee for consideration. The mission further notes that the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) is committed to further expand the national park with another 36,000 hectares of intact habitat, which would be an important step towards creating the conditions for conservation of wide ranging animals. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the State Party consider submitting an extension of the property to the Committee  in light of the expansion of Manas National Park, but consider that any extension proposal should take into account its integrity and long-term viability, and sshould not include heavily encroached areas.They also recommend that if and when the expansion proposed by the BTC is approved by the State Party, it be considered for inclusion in the property. Furthermore, noting the strong collaboration between the Indian and Bhutanese officials, they encourage both States Parties to conduct a joint feasibility study for a possible future transboundary extension of the property, which would greatly benefit the survival of its wildlife populations and increase its ability to adapt to climate change.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that significant progress has been achieved by the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures. While noting that the available data on wildlife populations do not allow for an easy comparison of the current status of these populations with their status at the time of inscription, they consider that this data as well as the field observations made by the mission, show important achievements in the reintroduction of the rhino, progress in the restoration of the property’s integrity, and demonstrate that the recovery of the OUV has progressed significantly and is now well under way. They stress the importance of putting in place an appropriate monitoring system to further monitor the recovery of the property’s OUV, and the need to continue the rhino reintroduction programme and implement the newly developed recovery plan for Eastern swamp deer.

They note that the issue of fund release remains a serious management constraint which could hamper further recovery of the OUV in the future if not addressed quickly. They acknowledge the assurances given by the State Party in its letter dated 7 April and suggest the Committee requests the State Party to confirm at its 35th session the status of the MTCF.

On the basis of the significant progress achieved in restoring the OUV of the property, the prospects for further continued recovery, and the clear assurances of the State Party that this progress will be sustained, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the World Heritage Committee remove this property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7A.13

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7A.12, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Welcomes the progress achieved by the State Party in the implementation of most of the corrective measures, including the State Party's rapid response to the 2011 mission recommendations to set up an integrated monitoring system and a swamp deer recovery plan;

4. Considers, based on the findings of the 2011 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission, that the recovery of the Outstanding Universal Value has progressed significantly and is now well under way;

5. Notes that the establishment of sustained finance to the property remains a critical long term requirement to secure its full recovery, and urges the State Party to ensure that the Manas Tiger Conservation Foundation is made operational as soon as possible and that funding for the property from the central government is channeled through the Foundation to avoid future delays in the transfer of funds to the property;

6. Also urges the State Party to implement the following key recommendations of the 2011 joint mission, to ensure the full recovery of the property's Outstanding Universal Value:

a) Ensure the implementation of the Integrated ecosystem-based monitoring system for the property to allow further monitoring of the recovery of the Outstanding Universal Value,

b) Implement the recovery plan for the Eastern swamp deer and complete the reintroduction programme of the greater one-horned rhino,

c) Develop a comprehensive tourism management plan in close cooperation with the local communities;

7. Encourages the State Party to consider the extension of the property in three stages:

a) Extend the boundaries of the property in light of the expansion of Manas National Park in 1990, taking into account its integrity and long-term viability,

b) Extend the property with the 36,000 hectares of intact habitat proposed by the Bodoland Territorial Council as an expansion of the national park, once this has been approved at the State and National level,

c) Conduct a joint feasibility study with the State Party of Bhutan on a possible transboundary extension of the property, in order to increase its ability to adapt to climate change;

8. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report confirming that the Manas Tiger Conservation Foundation is operational and sustainable finance arrangements are in place for the property, and also on the progress achieved in the implementation of the integrated monitoring system and swamp deer recovery plan, as well as a comprehensive tourism management plan, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012;

9. Decides to remove Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8C.3

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-11/35.COM/7A, WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add and WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add.Corr),

2. Decides to remove the following properties from the List of World Heritage in Danger:

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/8E,

2. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex I of Document WHC-11/35.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:

- Afghanistan: Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam; Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley;

- Bahrain: Qal'at al-Bahrain - Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun;

- Benin: Royal Palaces of Abomey;

- Botswana: Tsodilo;

- Cameroon: Dja Faunal Reserve;

- Central African Republic: Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park;

- China: Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas;

- Germany: Upper Middle Rhine Valley;

- India: Manas Wildlife Sanctuary;

- Kenya: Lake Turkana National Parks; Lamu Old Town;

- Malawi: Chongoni Rock-Art Area;

- Mali: Old Towns of Djenné;

- Pakistan: Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore;

- Peru: Chan Chan Archaeological Zone;

- Philippines: Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras;

- Senegal: Island of Saint-Louis;

- South Africa: iSimangaliso Wetland Park; Robben Island; Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape; Cape Floral Region Protected Areas; Vredefort Dome;

- Togo: Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba;

- Turkey: Historic Areas of Istanbul;

- Uganda: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; Rwenzori Mountains National Park;

- United Republic of Tanzania: Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara;

- Yemen: Old Walled City of Shibam; Old City of Sana'a;

- Zimbabwe: Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas;

3. Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed in priority;

4. Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

- World Heritage properties in the Arab States;

- World Heritage properties in Africa;

- World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific;

- World Heritage properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;

- World Heritage properties in Europe and North America.