Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1984
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/302/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 51,854
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/302/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/302/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011
On 31 January 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party of Zimbabwe. Although a joint report was also requested, there was no input to the report from the neighbouring State Party of Zambia. From 9-15 January 2011, a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission visited the property, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010). The mission looked into the potential impact of reported mining and tourism infrastructure developments and reviewed briefly other conservation issues in and around the property. The mission report is available online at the following web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/35COM.
The mission confirmed that exploration permits were granted in the past for mineral exploration in the Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP) and the Chiawa Game Management Area (CGMA) in Zambia for copper, uranium and gold. While these areas are not part of the property, the Committee expressed concern in the past that such mining operations could affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the World Heritage property situated in Zimbabwe, across the Zambezi River. The State Party of Zimbabwe reports that the State Party of Zambia has decided not to approve these proposed mining operations. While at present, there are no active mining or exploration in these areas that might impinge upon the property, the mission notes that there are permits for uranium mining developments in areas situated 100 to 200 km upstream from Mana Pools, by Dennison Mines near Siavonga (upstream of Chirundu in the Zambezi Valley on the edge of Lake Kariba) and by the African Energy Corporation at Gwembe (further west) and Siavonga areas as well as near Chirundu (Gwabe and Njame).
The mission considers that regulations related to mining in Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) managed protected areas (CGMA and LZNP) should be complied with and the compliance monitored by ZAWA and special regulations and requirements developed to ensure that overburden and drainage from the mine activities can, in no way, enter the drainage systems that lead to the Zambezi River and affect the overall river system. The Zambezi River waters should be monitored at strategic points to ensure that any appearances of pollutants related to the mining operations are detected and the mining operations charged with removing same and the sources thereof.
Furthermore, the mission recommends that mining outside of ZAWA areas but in the catchment of the Lower Zambezi must be required to be extra sensitive to water issues, runoff and sub-surface water disposal, and precautionary measures taken to ensure that no mining pollution of the Lower Zambezi Rivers waters will take place. There should be regular monitoring for pollutants originating from mining operations in the Zambezi upstream of the property. The mission recommends that the significance of exploration and mining in the Lower Zambezi catchment to the World Heritage site in Zimbabwe should be the subject of an analysis in terms of drainage, river flows and possibilities for pollution.
The mission also recalls the World Heritage Committee’s clear position that mineral exploration and mining in World Heritage Sites is incompatible with World Heritage status and that any mining taking place in areas adjacent to the property should ensure that the OUV of the property is not impacted. This position has been endorsed by the International Council for Mining and Metals (ICMM).
b) Tourism development
The State Party of Zimbabwe reports that there are currently no pressures from tourism developments within the property. However, there is a proposal by Protea Hotels to build a large tourist facility in the eastern (least developed) area of the CGMA in Zambia, near the river bank directly facing the property. The initial proposal was for a set of buildings to accommodate 144 beds, and led to a number of objections from a grouping of Zimbabwean tourism operators, from the Zambezi Society, and from a Zambian tour operator. The mission notes that the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) did not assess the potential impacts of the proposal on the property’s OUV. The mission was also informed that this initial proposal was not permitted to go ahead but that a revised set of requirements had been given to the Protea Hotels developers for a facility that is smaller and less visible from the river. The mission notes, however, that since the issuance of these conditions, the Protea Hotel Group may be reconsidering the project and may not go ahead with it.
The mission recommends that controls on levels of tourism and other uses of facilities should be strictly maintained and monitored to reduce traffic and disturbance in the CGMA and impacts on local people, biodiversity and the World Heritage site across the Zambezi River - in adherence to ZAWA, Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) and other regulations.The principles of low density but high quality tourism with minimal impact on the biodiversity should continue as a leading policy for all protected areas of the Zambezi Valley in eastern Zambia and Zimbabwe (National Parks, the World Heritage property, game management and other wildlife areas), given the unique nature and importance of this riverine system in tropical Africa.
c) Management and transboundary cooperation
The State Party reports that the draft management plan for Mana Pools NP does not cover the entire World Heritage property (it currently excludes the Chewore and Sapi areas), and has not yet been finalised due to pending decisions regarding planned tourism infrastructure developments. The mission recommends that the draft management plan be finalised and extended to the entire property in consultation with all relevant stakeholders and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review. The State Party report notes that the lack of financial resources and field equipment (vehicles, field patrol equipment) is seriously hampering management activities such as monitoring, conservation work, fire management and the maintenance of road infrastructure. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN wish to draw the Committee’s attention to the lack of adequate resources to manage the property, which, if not addressed, could affect the OUV of the property.
The State Party also reports that plans are underway to designate the property and the Lower Zambezi NP in Zambia as a Transfrontier Conservation Area, which is expected to strengthen the transboundary management of the entire area and harmonize regulations related to fishing, tourism, river traffic, hunting and wildlife management. The mission was informed that a draft Memorandum of Understanding has been developed, but that approval of the respective management plans for Mana Pools NP and Lower Zambezi NP is necessary to progress this initiative. The mission recommends that efforts be increased to develop a joint management plan for the Lower Zambezi valley, informed by a process of Strategic Environmental Assessment, assessing environmental and socio-economic parameters, including the potential impacts of mineral exploration and mining in the Lower Zambezi catchment on the property. The mission also recommends that the Zambian authorities consider nominating the adjacent Lower Zambezi National Park in order to eventually constitute a joint (trans-boundary) inscription on the World Heritage List, in line with the World Heritage Committee’s recommendation at the time of the property’s inscription on the World Heritage List.
d) Status of wildlife populations
The mission notes that based on the available monitoring reports from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), it appears that regular wildlife monitoring was undertaken until 2005 but has not been maintained; although specific surveys on Nile Crocodiles (2007) and Lions (2009) have been reported. The mission notes that it is possible that poaching figures may be lowered due to the reported low monitoring capacity.
The States Parties note that while there is no serious poaching within the property, commercial poaching of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) occurred in the past. With the relocation of the ten remaining rhinos to an Intensive Protection Zone in 1994, the species dissapeared from the property. The mission notes that the 2009 IUCN report on the status of African and Asian rhinos indicates that while black and white rhino numbers were stable between 2000 and 2007, a marked decline had been observed since 2007 due to poaching, with 235 illegally killed rhinos between 2006 and 2009. The mission notes that estimates for elephant and buffalo populations from the 2003 African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) aerial survey of large herbivores in the Zambezi heartland are 10,654 buffalos and 10,586 elephants, which are similar to the figures provided at the time of inscription in 1983, and in reports obtained from ZPWMA for 1995. A survey for the Nile crocodile in 2007 obtained an estimate of 627 adults between Ruchomechi and Kanyemba. Surveys of the hippo population indicate a population growth between 1.5 and 4.5% since 1968, with current estimates around 3,000 for the Mana Pools shoreline. However, all survey data predate Zimbabwe socio-economic crisis since 2007, so it was not possible for the mission to determine if this impacted the populations.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that at the time of its inscription in 1984, the property (particularly Chewore Safari Area) contained one of the numerically most significant populations of black rhinoceros in Africa. They recommend that a feasibility study for a possible reintroduction of black rhinoceros is conducted. In addition they note the importance of conducting a new survey of key wildlife species to assert that the populations have not been impacted since the 2007 economic crisis and that regular wildlife monitoring is reinstated.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are of the view that the OUV of the property is currently being maintained. They note that the property’s OUV also relies on the condition that the waters of the Zambezi River in its eastern stretches in Zambia and Zimbabwe are kept free from the downstream impacts of mining. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note the importance of the UNESCO/IUCN mission’s recommendations that the State Party of Zimbabwe, with the cooperation of the State Party of Zambia, ensures that any individual mining exploration and exploitation project in the Lower Zambezi Catchment is subject to the highest standards of environmental assessment. This should also include an assessment of the potential impacts on the property’s OUV, and undertake a strategic analysis of the potential impacts of mineral exploration and mining in the Lower Zambezi catchment area, in terms of drainage, river flows and possibilities for pollution, on the property.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN finally note that a large tourist and conference facility could compromise the property’s wilderness values, which form part of its OUV, and welcome the decision by the State Party of Zambia not to permit the implementation of the project. They consider that any development, even when smaller and set further away from the river banks should be subject to an EIA which should include an assessment of the facility’s potential impacts on the property’s OUV, in accordance with Article 6 of the Convention.
Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.8
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,
2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.7, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),
3. Welcomes the decision of the State Party of Zambia not to approve the proposed mining operations in Chiawa Game Management Area and Lower Zambezi National Park nor the original proposal for a tourist and conference facility in the Chiawa Game Management Area across the river from the property, which could have impacted the property's Outstanding Universal Value;
4. Notes that mining exploration is on-going in other parts of the Lower Zambezi Catchment, and considers that mining exploration and exploitation in the catchment could adversely affect the property if not strictly regulated;
5. Encourages the State Party of Zambia to consider nominating the adjacent Lower Zambezi National Park in order to eventually constitute a joint trans-boundary inscription on the World Heritage List, in line with the World Heritage Committee's recommendation at the time of inscription;
6. Requests the State Party of Zambia to :
a) Ensure that any redesigned tourist and conference facility in the Chiawa Game Management Area across the river from the property be subject to a new Environmental Impact Assessment which should include an assessment of the impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, in accordance with Article 6 of the Convention,
b) Submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a report on progress in implementing the mission recommendations concerning mineral exploration and mining and tourism development and on the status of the mining activities and tourism developments which could affect the property;
7. Also requests the State Party of Zimbabwe to :
a) Conduct a new survey of key wildlife species to assert that the populations have not been impacted since the 2007 economic crisis, to re-instate regular wildlife monitoring and to conduct a feasibility study for a possible reintroduction programme of black rhinoceros, which disappeared from the property due to commercial poaching in the 1980's,
b) Submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including progress in implementing the mission recommendations;
8. Further requests both States Parties of Zambia and Zimbabwe to :
a) Inform the World Heritage Centre of any planned developments in, or adjacent to, the property, in accordance with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to conduct environmental impact assessments for any such planned developments and submit the results to the World Heritage Centre,
b) Implement the recommendations of the joint reactive monitoring mission, with particular attention to the recommendations concerning mineral exploration and mining and tourism development.
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:
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: