Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas (Zimbabwe) (N 302)
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
January 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Oil exploration programme (issue resolved)
- Mining project
- Tourism development
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/302/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016
On 18 December 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/302/documents/. This was additional to a letter received from the Zimbabwe National Commission for UNESCO, on 18 June 2015, which included reports on a visit to the property by some of its members, and a workshop to develop an anti-poaching strategy for the property. Progress on a number of issues raised by the Committee at its previous sessions is reported, including:
- Mitigation measures for environmental impacts are underway at the Mana Pools Lodge at Vine Camp, which is not yet operational;
- National aerial surveys of elephants and other wildlife were carried out in 2014. No specific information on the status of wildlife populations in the property is provided, but a summary of the national results is included in the anti-poaching strategy;
- Efforts to manage poaching will precede the completion of the feasibility study of re-introducing black rhino;
- Policies to focus on improvements to existing facilities and ensuring that any new developments are located in peripheral areas, away from the riverbank, have been adopted;
- Development of a comprehensive management plan for the property is delayed due to a lack of funding;
- Dialogue and collaboration is taking place between the States Parties of Zimbabwe and Zambia through the Joint Operations Command (JOC) meetings, bi-lateral meeting on Mana Pools/Lower Zambezi Trans-frontier conservation area and drafting of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU);
- A Mana Pools anti-poaching strategy and action plan for the property and an elephant management plan for the Zambezi Valley have been developed. Human resources, equipment and patrols have been strengthened, reducing poaching incidents;
- The “no mining in World Heritage properties” policy of the State Party has been reiterated through different initiatives, including a campaign.
In addition, the State Party of Zambia reported on 14 March 2016 that the proposed copper mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park (Zambia) has not been developed following an injunction by the High Court, confirming reports brought to the attention of the Committee at its 38th session (Doha, 2014). A final decision on whether the mine will be allowed is therefore pending court proceedings.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
The implementation of the environmental safeguards identified in the enhanced Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the new Mana Pools Lodge at Vine Camp is welcomed, but the effectiveness of these measures will require effective implementation of the environmental management and monitoring plans after the lodge becomes operational, in particular to assess whether the increased levels of activity at the site affects wildlife movements and use of critical habitat in this riverside location. Further mitigation measures may be necessary. The State Party’s assurance that no other developments are planned for the National Park, as well as the intention to ensure that any future developments will be limited to the periphery of the property and not allowed along the Zambezi shoreline is appreciated.
The 2014 aerial survey recorded a 36% decline in elephant populations in the Zambezi Valley (where the property is located) since 2001, as well as declines in populations of most other mammals. The development of an anti-poaching strategy for the property and a broader elephant management plan for the Zambezi Valley should enable the State Party to address the situation. Both plans clearly need to be fully resourced and effectively implemented. The State Party’s decision to delay plans for a feasibility study on the re-introduction of black rhino on account of the poaching threat is noted.
It is regrettable that completion of the new management plan has been delayed due to lack of funds to support the necessary stakeholder consultations. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to seek International Assistance to enable the completion of the plan.
Appropriate safeguards should also be placed to ensure that any possible impacts of mining activity outside the property are minimised. In particular, it is recommended that the Committee remind the State Party of Zambia of its obligations under Article 6 of the Convention, and request it not to make any decisions related to the mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP) until the potential impacts on the OUV of the property are carefully assessed, in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, even if the outcome of the ongoing judicial process is in favour of this development.
Progress made in the establishment of a trans-frontier conservation area linking the property with Zambia’s LZNP, and the development of a MoU to formally recognize and implement this collaboration is noted. It is recommended that the Committee also reminds the States Parties of its earlier recommendations (Decision 38 COM 7B.97) to consider nominating the LZNP to constitute a joint trans-boundary inscription on the World Heritage List, as envisaged at the time of the property’s inscription.
Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.84
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.97, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
- Welcomes the implementation of the environmental safeguards in the development of the new Mana Pools Lodge at Vine Camp, and the State Party’s assurance that any further developments will be located in more peripheral areas, away from the Zambezi riverfront, and requests the State Party to ensure regular monitoring of the effectiveness of the environmental management and monitoring plans at Vine Camp, and to adopt an adaptive approach to its management;
- Notes with significant concern that the 2014 national aerial survey of key wildlife species has revealed a decline in the Zambezi Valley populations of elephants and other mammals which are key attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and that the threat of poaching is currently too high to consider a feasibility study for a possible reintroduction programme of black rhinoceros;
- Notes the development of an anti-poaching strategy for the property and a broader elephant management plan for the Zambezi Valley, and also requests the State Party to ensure that they are fully resourced and effectively implemented so as to restore and maintain the property’s OUV;
- Regrets that the State Party has not been able to complete the new management plan for the property due to lack of funds and encourages it to apply for International Assistance to support this work;
- Also notes with appreciation the information provided by the State Party of Zambia that the approved open cast copper mine in Lower Zambezi National Park has not been developed due to an injunction by the High Court, and reminds the State Party of Zambia of its obligations under Article 6.3 of the Convention;
- Further requests the State Party of Zambia to ensure, in any case, that the potential impacts of copper mining in Lower Zambezi National Park on the OUV of the property are carefully assessed, in accordance with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, before taking any decisions that may be difficult to reverse;
- Also welcomes progress made by the States Parties of Zimbabwe and Zambia to establish a trans-frontier conservation area linking the property with Zambia’s adjacent Lower Zambezi National Park, and also encourages them to finalize the Memorandum of Understanding and further enhance joint operations to protect and manage the area;
- Reiterates its recommendation to the States Parties to consider nominating the 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 of the property;
- Requests furthermore the State Party of Zambia to keep the World Heritage Centre informed on the status of the decision regarding the Kangaluwi and Chisawa opencast mine in Lower Zambezi National Park and its potential impacts on the property’s OUV;
- Requests moreover the State Party of Zimbabwe to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.