1.         Central Highlands of Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka) (N 1203)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2010

Criteria  (ix)(x)

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/1203/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2006-2006)
Total amount approved: USD 28,100
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1203/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1203/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

As of 5 May 2011, the State Party did not submit a report on the state of conservation of the property which was requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), and thus limited information is available regarding the implementation of the World Heritage Committee’s recommendations.

a) Management framework

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that the World Heritage Committee, at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), requested the State Party to establish an overall management framework for the serial property, as well as completed and effective management plans for each of the component parts of the property and a fully effective management and monitoring framework for tourism, within twelve months of the property’s inscription on the List of World Heritage. They also recall that the State Party had included an explanatory note in the nomination which stated that a revised management system would be developed and implemented within two years of the property’s inscription. They consider that the World Heritage Committee request has not been complied with, and that, without a progress report from the State Party, it is impossible to assess whether the proposed time frame of two years for the development and implementation of a revised management system is realistic. They also consider that an overall management system for the serial property should be developed and implemented as a priority, in order to meet the requirements set out in the Operational Guidelines, as well as completed and effective management plans for each of the component parts of the property.

b) Boundaries and buffer zones

At its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), the World Heritage Committee requested the State Party to establish, within 12 months of the property’s inscription and in consultation with local stakeholders, effectively functioning buffer zones for the property in order to ensure its protection from threats arising from outside its boundaries. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that, in its evaluation of the property, IUCN had identified the need to better delineate the entire boundary of all three components in the field. They note that there are no indications of progress in the implementation of the World Heritage Committee’s request, nor in the delineation of boundaries in the field.

c) Other conservation issues – threats identified at the time of the property’s inscription

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that a number of existing and potential threats identified during IUCN’s evaluation of the property (including illicit gem mining, invasive species, forest die-back, tourism pressure and cardamom cultivation) were being addressed by the State Party. The World Heritage Centre received additional reports of such activities taking place, particularly in the Knuckles Conservation Forest. A letter was sent to the State Party on 17 December 2010, requesting information on these reports, but no response was received. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that, without a progress report from the State Party, and in the absence of any response to letters to the State Party, it is impossible to assess the current status of these threats. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the World Heritage Committee express its regret that no evidence of progress has been demonstrated in the implementation of its recommendations, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), including the principal requirement to submit a report to the Committee. They consider that an overall management system for the serial property should be developed and implemented as a priority, in order to meet the requirements set out in the Operational Guidelines, as well as completed and effective management plans for each of the component parts of the property. They note that the delineation of the entire boundary of all three components in the field needs to be improved and effectively functioning buffer zones established. 

IUCN notes that the Advisory Bodies had recommended referral of the property to allow these aspects to be addressed prior to inscription, and the World Heritage Committee took the decision to inscribe the property following the clear reassurance from the State Party to the World Heritage Committee that these matters would be addressed. IUCN also notes that this is a clear illustration of the importance of the referral option within the World Heritage Committee’s decision taking options, and the workload and credibility issues that may result when properties that do not fully meet the requirements of the Operational Guidelines are inscribed. 

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.18

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 8B.9, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Regrets that the State Party did not submit a report on the state of conservation of the property, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at the time of inscription of the property at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010);

4. Notes with regret that there appears to have been limited progress in the implementation of the recommendations adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session, despite the clear undertaking of the State Party to fulfil the requests of the World Heritage Committee at the time of inscription on the World Heritage List;

5. Reiterates its request that the State Party establishes, as a priority:

a) An overall management framework for the serial property, as required in the Operational Guidelines, as well as completed and effective management plans for each of the component parts of the property,

b) Effectively functioning buffer zones for each of the components of the property, in consultation with local stakeholders, to ensure the protection of the property from threats arising outside its boundaries,

c) A fully effective management and monitoring framework for tourism;

6. Requests the State Party to provide three printed and electronic copies of the draft revised management system and management plans mentioned above for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including a report on the current status of existing and new threats to the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.