East Rennell (Solomon Islands) (N 854)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1998
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Over-exploitation of coconut crab and other marine resources
Legislation, management planning and administration of the property
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective measures identified
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Not yet identified
Previous Committee Decisions see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/854/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 56,335
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/854/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
March – April 2005: UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission; October 2012: IUCN reactive monitoring mission;
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Commercial fishing (issue resolved)
- Invasive species
- Over-exploitation of coconut crab and other marine resources
- Legislation, management planning and administration of the property
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/854/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014
On 1 February 2014, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/854/documents/, including a field report dated January 2014 of a project to assess the state of conservation of the property. The State Party reports the following:
- Logging operations require development consent under the Environment Act 1998 and must be conducted according to the national Code of Logging Practice. It is acknowledged that logging operations in West Rennell could pose a serious threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property because of the inherent need to maintain the integrity of the forest throughout the entire island. There are four existing logging leases on West Rennell, and an additional one is planned.
- Black ship rat Rattus rattus is confirmed present on Rennell Island, where they pose a significant threat to the endemic avifauna and land snails in West Rennell, and therefore to the OUV of the property.
- There is a strong possibility that the Giant African Land Snail, which is well established in the port of Honiara, will soon be detected on Rennell Island due to the lack of biosecurity measures. The State Party notes its intention to seek support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), but notes that it will be important to engage the community and that this will require finance and technical support.
- Continuing efforts are being made to provide communities with better management practices to address the over-exploitation of coconut crab and other marine resources, and these are addressed in a revised management plan for the property, currently under preparation.
- Climate-induced sea level rise is affecting the insular Lake Tegano, including flooding and water logging of the lake margins, increased salinity, reduced freshwater supply and food shortages. The Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Environment will work with the Provincial Government on climate change adaptation and mitigation methods.
- The State Party acknowledges that the property should be declared under the Protected Areas Act 2010, but this requires the consent of the customary land owners. A community awareness campaign is being conducted to promote this.
- No information is provided relating to required
improvements in the administration of the property.
- There are plans to commence bauxite mining in West Rennell during 2014.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
Progress has been made in addressing the recommendations of the Committee and the 2012 IUCN reactive monitoring mission. However, continuing and potential new logging operations on West Rennell and the confirmed introduction of rats present major threats to the integrity of the property. The likelihood of the introduction of Giant African Land Snail to Rennell Island in the absence of biosecurity measures remains a significant concern as it is virtually impossible to eradicate this species once it becomes established. Combating invasive rats and snails will require the provision of technical expertise along with financial support to ensure the necessary engagement of the local community.
Reports of plans to commence bauxite mining in West Rennell in 2014 are cause for significant concern. Although the total area is small the mining sites are widely scattered. The potential impacts on the property are similar to those of logging, and involve forest clearance, loss of wildlife habitat, introduction of alien species from barges using the logging ponds for access, and introduction of soil to replace extracted material. It is recommended that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party not to permit bauxite mining on Rennell Island if it cannot be demonstrated that such activities would not have an impact on the OUV of the property.
It is noted that, while there is Protected Areas legislation available to protect the property from logging, the local communities must resolve to apply for it to be applied to the property. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to continue and strengthen support to the awareness raising process through the provision of additional funding and expertise, in order to strengthen the protection of the property. In the meantime, the finalisation of the Provincial Ordinance prepared in 2009 should be given priority by the Provincial Government, and additional technical assistance sought as required. It is recommended that the Committee also request the State Party to immediately put in place interim measures to mitigate the impacts of existing logging operations, halt new logging operations, and to defer consideration of bauxite mining licence applications until the new management plan has been approved and is being implemented.
Noting the elaboration of a new management plan, including better management practices to address over-exploitation of coconut crab and other marine resources, it is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to finalize the new management plan and submit it to the World Heritage Centre and IUCN for review. The State Party’s intention for an inter-agency and intergovernmental approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation is also noted.
It is considered that the assessment of threats undertaken with support from the Australian Government, and attached to the State Party report, could provide a basis for the development of corrective measures and a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. Successful implementation of these measures will take time, and require additional resources and full support from all levels of government, the local community, other stakeholders of the international community. IUCN, through its Oceania Regional Office (ORO) is in a position to provide further technical advice to the State Party, as required.
Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7A.29
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined document WHC-14/38.COM/7A,
- Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.14, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
- Notes with appreciation that some progress has been achieved in the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee and the 2012 IUCN reactive monitoring mission;
- Welcomes the assessment of threats to the property undertaken with support from the Government of Australia, and considers that the findings and recommendations of this assessment could provide a basis for the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, as well as a set of corrective measures;
- Notes with concern the reported plans to commence bauxite mining in West Rennell in 2014, which is likely to have similar impacts to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property as logging, and requests the State Party to undertake rigorous Environmental Impact Assessments for these plans to demonstrate that they will not have an impact on the property, in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
- Also requests the State Party to urgently put in place interim measures to mitigate the impact of existing logging operations, halt new logging operations, and to defer consideration of bauxite mining licence applications until the new management plan has been approved and is being implemented;
- Further requests the State Party to undertake urgent action to halt the further spread of rats on Rennell Island and prevent them from entering the property, and to put in place the biosecurity controls necessary to prevent further introductions of invasive species to the island, and reiterates its invitation to the State Party to apply for International Assistance to support this work;
- Acknowledges the State Party’s concern of climate induced sea level rise affecting the insular Lake Tegano and notes that the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Environment will work with the Provincial Government on climate change adaptation and mitigation methods to address these concerns;
- Further notes that the State Party acknowledges that the property should be declared under the East Solomon Islands’ Protected Areas Act (2010);
- Urges the State Party to expedite the completion and implementation of the revised management plan for the property, and requests furthermore the State Party to provide an electronic and three printed copies of the draft revised management plan for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;
- Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;
- Decides to retain East Rennell (Solomon Islands) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Adopted: 38 COM 8C.2
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-14/38.COM/7A and WHC-14/38.COM/7A.Add),
- Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
- Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 38 COM 7A.14)
- Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 38 COM 7A.15)
- Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 38 COM 7A.31)
- Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.34)
- Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 38 COM 7A.21)
- Colombia, Los Katíos National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.32)
- Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.35)
- Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.36)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.37)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.38)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.39)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.40)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.41)
- Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 38 COM 7A.1)
- Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.43)
- Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 38 COM 7A.16)
- Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 38 COM 7A.17)
- Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.33)
- Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 38 COM 7A.28)
- Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 38 COM 7A.2)
- Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 38 COM 7A.3)
- Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 38 COM 7A.4)
- Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 38 COM 7A.44)
- Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 38 COM 7A.24)
- Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 38 COM 7A.25)
- Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 38 COM 7A.45)
- Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 38 COM 7A.5)
- Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 38 COM 7A.20)
- Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 38 COM 7A.22)
- Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.46)
- Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 38 COM 7A.18)
- Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 38 COM 7A.29)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 38 COM 7A.26)
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 38 COM 7A.19)
- United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.30)
- Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 38 COM 7A.23)
- Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 38 COM 7A.13)