1.         East Rennell (Solomon Islands) (N 854)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1998

Criteria  (ix)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2013-present

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

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

In progress

Corrective measures identified

In progress 

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet identified

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/854/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2006-2012)
Total amount approved: USD 56,335
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/854/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 56,000, Netherlands Funds-In-Trust: Technical Support to East Rennell

Previous monitoring missions

March – April 2005: UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring mission; October 2012: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2015: World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/854/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

The State Party did not submit a report on the state of conservation of the property.  With the support of the Government of Flanders, a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission visited the property in November 2015 and assisted the State Party with the development of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR). While a proposal for the DSOCR was prepared in consultation with the local stakeholders and sent to the State Party for consideration, it was not officially submitted by the State Party and therefore is not presented for adoption by the World Heritage Committee. A copy of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a bauxite mining project in West Rennell was received during the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission.

In February 2016, a technical workshop was organized by the International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage under the auspices of UNESCO (HIST, China) with financial support from the Netherlands Funds-In-Trust and with participation of the State Party representatives and the World Heritage Centre. The main objective of the meeting was to gather and analyse satellite images of Rennell Island to identify the changes in forest and vegetation cover within the property and on the entire Rennell Island.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

In the absence of a report on the state of conservation of the property, progress achieved by the State Party towards the implementation of the Committee’s requests and the recommendations of the 2012 Reactive Monitoring mission cannot be evaluated. It is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its requests to the State Party with regards to threats arising from logging and invasive species, as well as the revision of the management plan for the property.

It is noted that an EIA for one of the proposed bauxite mining projects has been provided to the Advisory mission in 2015. However, it should be recalled that the Committee requested the State Party to undertake EIAs for all plans for bauxite mining. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide detailed information on all proposed bauxite mining projects on Rennell Island, including the EIAs of each project, as well as an assessment of their potential cumulative impacts on the OUV of the property. It is further recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to defer consideration of bauxite mining license applications until the new management plan for the property has been approved and is being implemented.

The technical workshop organised by HIST is welcomed and its conclusions are noted, in particular that unspoiled forest cover remains at 95% of land area within the property and at 90% in other parts of Rennell Island and that no logging has occurred within the property. The results obtained will enable the establishment of baseline data on forest and vegetation cover within the property which can be used to monitor this indicator in the future, including within the framework of the DSOCR. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to draw on the results of the Advisory mission and the technical workshop to finalize the DSOCR and to submit it to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, for adoption by the Committee at its 41st session.

It should be further noted that without a short-term development of alternative income generating mechanisms that derive benefits from the conservation of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), bauxite mining and selective logging will remain the most important potential sources of income for local communities on East Rennell. It is therefore recommended that the Committee recommend the State Party to develop an Action Plan which would prioritize alternative income generating mechanisms for local communities and to attract international partners and support to protect the OUV of the property.

It is finally recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7A.49

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.16, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Regrets that the State Party did not submit a report on the state of conservation of the property, as requested by the Committee;
  4. Takes note that a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission visited the property to meet the customary owners and to assist the State Party in the preparation of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), but also regrets that the State Party did not submit a proposal for the DSOCR and requests the State Party to submit it by 1 February 2017, for adoption by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  5. Encourages the State Party to develop an Action Plan which would prioritize local communities and alternative income generating mechanisms that derive benefits from the conservation of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  6. Urges the State Party to expedite the completion and implementation of the revised Management Plan for the property and also requests the State Party to submit an electronic and three printed copies of the draft revised Management Plan to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN;
  7. Further requests the State Party to provide detailed information on all proposed bauxite mining projects on Rennell Island, including the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) of each project, as well as an assessment of their potential cumulative impacts on the OUV of the property, in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  8. Reiterates its requests to the State Party to:
    1. Defer consideration of bauxite mining license applications until the new management plan for the property has been approved and is being implemented,
    2. Put in place interim measures to mitigate the impact of existing logging operations and halt new logging operations until the new management plan has been approved and is being implemented,
    3. Undertake urgent action to halt the further spread of rats on Rennell Island and prevent them from entering the property, to put in place the biosecurity controls necessary to prevent further introductions of invasive species to the island;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  10. Decides to retain East Rennell (Solomon Islands) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/16/40.COM/7A, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: