State of Conservation (SOC)
Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Identified; proposed for adoption in the Draft Decision below
Threats for Which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
- Road construction,
- Illegal logging,
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
Total amount granted: 1,800,000 USD for the 3-year UNF/UNFIP Project (2005-2007) – Partnership for the Conservation of Sumatra Natural Heritage; 35,000 USD Rapid Response Facility grant (2007); 30,000 USD International Assistance for development of Emergency Action Plan (2012)
International Assistance granted to the property
Requests Approved: 0
Total Amount Ap proved: 96,600USD
|2012||DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIALIZATION OF THE EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN FOR ...||30,000 USD|
|2005||Emergency Assistance for the Rehibilitation of management ...||66,600 USD|
2006: UNESCO/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; 2007: World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; February 2009: World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; April 2011: World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; October 2013: IUCN reactive monitoring mission
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
Institutional and governance weaknesses.
Identified; proposed for adoption in the Draft Decision below
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Identified; proposed for adoption in the Draft Decision below
Current conservation issues
On 29 January 2014, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report for the property, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents. From 24 to 30 October 2013, an IUCN reactive monitoring mission visited Jakarta as requested in Decision 37 COM 7A.14 (Phnom Penh, 2013). The mission report is also available at the above-mentioned web address. The State Party reports the following:
- Road construction: There is no ongoing road construction in Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP), and that road construction activities in Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP) have been suspended. In Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP) the development of the Way Heni – Way Haru road was authorized for the purposes of patrolling and providing the local community access to the enclave village of Way Haru. A proposal for the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) has been submitted in January 2014, but no detail is provided about when it is scheduled to start.
- Boundary demarcation and law enforcement: Issues remain with boundary markers having gone missing at KSNP and GLNP, slowing down boundary reconstruction efforts. In 2013, 120 km of the boundary of BBSNP were reconstructed. In relation to law enforcement, the State Party reports on activities that have taken place to combat illegal use, including the removal of 178 huts on a total of 396.5 hectares of encroachment.
- Wildlife monitoring: The State Party reports on monitoring activities for tiger, elephant and rhino, but no population trend data is provided. Orangutan rehabilitation efforts are also reported.
- Ecosystem restoration and invasive species: The State Party reports that 26,518 ha of KSNP and 10,000 ha of GLNP had been rehabilitated by 2013. Rehabilitation efforts have also been ongoing in BBSNP. The State Party also reports that Meremia peltata in BBSNP is impacting on the habitat of several species, including tiger, elephant and rhino. Ongoing efforts to control this invasive species include experimentation with different eradication methods, building capacity, and raising awareness.
- Other issues: No new information is provided on mining and geothermal energy.
The State Party report summarized the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), which was finalised and agreed upon during the 2013 IUCN reactive monitoring mission.
Analysis and Conclusion
The IUCN reactive monitoring mission was able to confirm that, despite positive action by both the State Party and NGOs, many previously identified threats remain of concern and need to be urgently addressed. The principal threats were noted to be as follows:
- Encroachment: Land-use pressures in many areas surrounding the property are high, including pressure to expand coffee and oil palm plantations. As a result, encroachment remains the most serious threat to the property;
- Road Development: Although no new roads have been allowed within the national parks that comprise the property, the demand to build new routes remains high, as does the pressure to upgrade existing tracks. Following the legalization of an emergency relief road in KSNP in 2011, it has become common practice for new road construction projects to be proposed and justified as evacuation routes. On 17 February 2014, a press release by the Indonesian Parliament states that it has been promoting the possibility of a road construction by downgrading KSNP first from a National Park to a Protected Forest. It should be noted with serious concern that such a downgrade in the level of protection of the property would expose the property not only to the risks of road construction and the associated potential impacts of poaching and encroachment, but also mining and geothermal energy development, which is permitted in Protected Forests according to Indonesian protected areas legislation;
- Mining: The mission confirmed that illegal traditional gold mining is continuing to take place in KSNP. Although government authorities reported that these activities are small-scale and predate the property’s inscription on the World Heritage List, they should be urgently removed and rehabilitated, in line with the Committee’s established position that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status;
- Pressures on the Wider Ecosystem: Critical wildlife habitats lying outside the three national parks (in particular in the Leuser Ecosystem), remain vulnerable to development pressure. Of particular concern is the new Aceh Spatial Plan; although the mission was unable to review a copy of the plan, it received reports that the plan is likely to propose opening up a significant area of forested land, including in the vicinity of the property, for development purposes;
- Geothermal Energy: A new law defining geothermal energy as an “environmental service” and thereby permitting its development within protected areas, including National Narks, is expected to be adopted in 2014. At least one geothermal plant is currently proposed within the property (in BBSNP). Geothermal energy projects would have a significant impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property; the World Heritage Centre and IUCN therefore recommend that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that any development of geothermal energy within the property remains prohibited by law.
Based on extensive discussions with the State Party and a number of NGOs, the DSOCR was finalized and agreed during the reactive monitoring mission. The DSOCR is comprised of seven key indicators, as summarized in the State Party’s report, and further elaborated in the mission report. It is envisioned that a timeframe of five to ten years will be required to achieve these indicators. The corrective measures and Emergency Action Plan were also agreed with the State Party during the mission.
There have been media reports (28 February 2014) that the State Party of Australia has rescinded its existing commitment of 3 million Australian dollars (~2.7 million USD) for the conservation of Sumatran Rhinoceros. Without this funding, it will be a significant challenge for the State Party of Indonesia and its partners to achieve the target of a 3% annual growth rate by 2020 for the Sumatran Rhino population in the property. This growth rate forms part of the DSOCR and is in line with the commitment made by the State Party of Indonesia in the Bandar Lampung Declaration of 3 October 2013. In light of the impact which a lack of funding could have on the State Party of Indonesia’s ability to achieve the DSOCR within the established timeframe, it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party of Australia to continue its previously committed financial support to Sumatran Rhino conservation and call upon the international community to assist the State Party of Indonesia to reach the DSOCR in order to enable a removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
It is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Draft Decision: 38 COM 7A.28
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7A,
2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7A.14, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
3. Commends the State Party for the development of an Emergency Action Plan, which could facilitate the implementation of the corrective measures;
4. Expresses its serious concern about the pressure to downgrade the protection status of Kerinci Seblat National Park to a Protected Forest, which would not only expose the property to the risk of road construction and the associated potential impacts of poaching and encroachment, but would also remove the legal prohibition on mining and geothermal energy development in this component of the property;
5. Notes that the mission confirmed that illegal traditional gold mining is ongoing within the property, and reiterates its position that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status;
6. Requests the State Party to ensure that any development of geothermal energy within the property remains prohibited by law, and urges the State Party to provide information to the World Heritage Centre of any plans to develop geothermal energy in areas adjacent to the property, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and subject any such plans to rigorous Environmental Impact Assessment, in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage advice note on Environmental Assessment;
7. Considers that the indicators that describe the Desired state of conservation, as established by the 2013 IUCN reactive monitoring mission in co-operation with the State Party and UNESCO, must be reached within a timeframe of 5 to 10 years, in order to enable the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
8. Also requests the State Party to implement the following corrective measures as developed during the 2013 mission to restore the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property:
a) Significantly enhance law enforcement capacity by developing and implementing a strategic plan for the control of illegal activities, as a collaborative effort involving National Park authorities, the Natural Resources Conservation Agency, NGOs, local police forces, local government and the prosecutor’s office. The strategic plan should include measures to:
(i) provide law enforcement agencies with adequate resources to expand their activities,
(ii) ensure that reports of illegal activities are quickly and efficiently responded to, and that transgressors are tried on the basis of conservation law (in addition to criminal law),
(iii) identify and prosecute syndicates, networks and businesses involved in illegal activities, in cooperation with the relevant authorities for the eradication of forest crime and corruption,
b) Strengthen property-wide monitoring of key species, including Sumatran Elephant, Tiger, Rhino and Orangutan, by:
(i) enhancing collaboration among government, NGOs and universities,
(ii) agreeing on a common methodological framework for monitoring each species,
(iii) expanding monitoring efforts to address geographical gaps in monitoring activities,
(iv) synchronizing data analyses for all key species to facilitate progress reporting,
c) Strengthen species recovery efforts by implementing habitat improvement and ecosystem restoration programmes, as required, including the control of invasive species,
d) Maintain the policy that prohibits the construction of new roads in National Parks, and conduct a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the road network in the entire Bukit Barisan Mountain Range, in order to identify transport options and technologies for the region that do not adversely impact on the property’s OUV,
e) Ensure that rigorous Environmental Impact Assessments are carried out for all proposed developments within the property (e.g. road improvement projects) and in its vicinity (e.g. mining projects), to ensure that these do not have a negative impact on the OUV of the property,
f) Close and rehabilitate all mines within the property, investigate the existence of any mining concessions and exploration permits that overlap with the property, and revoke any overlapping concessions and/or permits that are identified,
g) In consultation with relevant stakeholders, including local communities, clarify in law the boundaries of each component National Park of the property, and complete the demarcation of these boundaries on the ground,
h) Ensure that all provinces, districts and sub-districts that overlap with the property recognize its World Heritage status and avoid the designation of development zones within its boundaries,
i) Ensure that the World Heritage Working Group under the Coordinating Ministry of People Welfare is taking an active role in promoting strong coordination between different ministries in the protection and management of the property,
j) Ensure that the National Strategic Areas process establishes buffer zones around each National Park in the property and identifies and protects critical wildlife habitats outside the property;
9. Also urges the State Party to rigorously ensure that the Aceh Spatial Plan explicitly recognizes the boundaries of the property, that no land is allocated therein for development purposes either within or immediately adjacent to the property, and that it makes adequate provisions for the identification and conservation of critical wildlife habitats that lie outside the property;
10. Notes with concern the reported decision by the State Party of Australia to rescind its commitment of 3 million Australian dollars for the conservation of Sumatran Rhinoceros, also considers that this is likely to significantly compromise the likelihood of achieving the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger within the above-mentioned timeframe, encourages the State Party of Australia to continue its previously committed financial support to Sumatran Rhino conservation, and calls upon the international community to assist the State Party of Indonesia to reach the Desired state of conservation for the property;
11. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a detailed report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the implementation of the corrective measures and the other points noted above, as well as on progress achieved towards reaching the indicators of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;
12. Decides to retain the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra
- Ground transport infrastructure
- Illegal activities
- Land conversion
- Management systems/ management plan
- Renewable energy facilities
Inscription on the Danger List
Threats to the Site:
a) Road construction;
b) Agricultural encroachment;
c) Illegal logging;
e) Institutional and governance weaknesses.
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”).