1.         Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal) (N 120)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (vii)

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/120/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1980-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 232,097
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/120/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

December 2002: IUCN Monitoring mission; May 2016: IUCN Advisory mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/120/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 28 December 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/120/documents/ and reports the following:

The State Party also reports that waste management is a major challenge, and that climate change and increasing incidences of forest fires pose significant threats to the property. It is additionally noted that there is an increasing number of people illegally collecting wood from inside the property and its buffer zone.

The State Party further reports that a UNDP funded “Community Based Flood and Glacial Lake Outburst Risk Reduction project” has been initiated, which aims to reduce the possible risk of a glacial lake outburst flood on the biodiversity of the property and on local communities living downstream in the buffer zone.

From 1 to 10 May 2016, an IUCN Advisory mission visited the property to provide technical advice on its overall state of conservation and in particular in relation to the Kongde View Resort, waste management, and tourism. The report is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/120/documents.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

It is recommended that the Committee reiterates its continued concern over the previously identified threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. The issue of the Kongde View Resort inside the property since 2006 (Decision 30 COM 7B.15) remains unresolved, and the clarification that the Resort has been permitted to continue its operation is of concern. It is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to take urgent measures to ensure that any impacts on the OUV of the property from the continued operation of the Kongde View Resort are adequately mitigated.

The progress achieved with the development of the draft 2016-2020 Management Plan for Sagarmatha National Park and its buffer zone is welcome. It is noted that the State Party has requested IUCN to provide a review of the plan. The State Party’s concern regarding waste management in the property is also discussed in the Management Plan, which additionally notes an increase in water pollution. On the other hand, the State Party’s concern regarding illegal wood collection inside the property and its buffer zone does not appear to be adequately reflected in the Management Plan. The 2016 Advisory mission also noted that research on fire ecology needs to be integrated into the management plan, taking into account contemporary scientific principles. In relation to tourism the Advisory mission observed a number of impacts caused by increasing visitation, including a growth in accommodation facilities, poorly regulated use of donkeys to transport goods leading to localized impacts from grazing, and noise and visual impacts caused by uncontrolled and unregulated helicopter use beyond the justified use of helicopters for emergency situations. Solid waste management also continues to be a significant challenge. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to include in the Management Plan adequate measures to address these issues, based on the recommendations of the Advisory mission and additional assessments of their impacts on the OUV of the property, as required. The finalized management plan should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN.

The initiation of the UNDP funded project to reduce the risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) is welcome, especially considering that this threat is likely to increase as a result of climate change. The Advisory mission noted that the Letter of Agreement for this project, which is implemented in collaboration with the Nepalese Army, include strong environmental compliance measures which if professionally implemented would ensure that the construction work would have minimal impact on the OUV of the property. However, the mission considered that project proponents should increase coordination with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), including by providing financial resources to enable monitoring of compliance with environmental measures. It was also noted that local communities expressed their concerns that cultural and spiritual values were not adequately respected by the Nepalese Army during the construction works. It is therefore recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to ensure that the implementation of this project is closely monitored to ensure compliance with environmental measures and in cooperation with local communities to ensure respect of their cultural and spiritual values and practices.   

It is noted that the State Party intends to submit a revised park zonation map to the World Heritage Centre once completed, and it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its encouragement to the State Party to submit a minor boundary modification to formally recognise the buffer zone of the park as a buffer zone to the property, consistent with the requirements of the Operational Guidelines.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.89

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.68, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the initiation of the UNDP funded “Community Based Flood and Glacial Lake Outburst Risk Reduction project”, especially considering the potential threat arising from climate change, and urges the State Party to ensure that the implementation of this project is closely monitored to ensure compliance with environmental measures and in cooperation with local communities to ensure respect of their cultural and spiritual values and practices;
  4. Also welcomes the progress made by the State Party with the development of the draft 2016-2020 Management Plan for Sagarmatha National Park and its buffer zone, which was reviewed by the IUCN Advisory mission, and encourages the State Party to reflect the findings of the Advisory mission in the Management Plan and submit the completed plan (in English) to the World Heritage Centre by 1 December 2017, for review by IUCN;
  5. Reiterates its concern that no verdict of the Supreme Court of Nepal has yet been made with respect to the Kongde View Resort to determine whether or not it is located inside the property, notes with concern that the resort is permitted to continue to operate until the verdict is issued, and also urges the State Party to take urgent measures to ensure that any impacts from the continued operation of the Kongde View Resort on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are adequately mitigated;
  6. Also notes with concern the reported increase in illegal wood collection from the property and its buffer zone, the continued challenge of solid waste management and other reported impacts from increasing visitation, including noise and visual impacts from uncontrolled and unregulated helicopter use, and also requests the State Party to include in the Management Plan adequate measures to address these issues, based on the recommendations of the Advisory mission and, where necessary, additional assessments of impacts on the OUV of the property;
  7. Appreciates the State Party’s intention to submit a park zonation map to the World Heritage Centre once completed, and reiterates its encouragement to the State Party to submit a minor boundary modification to formally recognize the buffer zone of Sagarmatha National Park as a buffer zone to the property, consistent with the Operational Guidelines;
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 42nd session in 2018.