1.         Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 199bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1982

Criteria  (ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2014-present

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

Poaching and the ensuing dramatic declines in elephant populations, and the effects thereof on the ecosystem

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

In progress

Corrective measures identified

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

In progress

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/199/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1984-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 67,980
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/199/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

June 2007, November 2008 and December 2013: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions. February 2017: IUCN Reactive Monitoring Mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/199/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 6 February 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property. An IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property took place between 8 and 15 February 2017. Both reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/199/documents/. Progress in addressing previous Committee decisions is provided in the State Party report as follows:

A draft proposal for a Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), and a draft two-year Emergency Action Plan (EAP) were submitted to the World Heritage Centre in preparation for the mission. They have been developed with the aim to significantly reduce poaching and initiate recovery of populations of key wildlife species by July 2018. The DSOCR and EAP are expected to be revised and re-submitted by December 2017.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN were informed of an oil and gas prospecting concession called Kito-1 in the Kilombero Valley Floodplain Ramsar site, upstream of the property. The World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party on 22 March 2017 requesting information on this matter.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

Commendable efforts have continued to be made by the State Party, including through the full operationalization of TAWA, international support to target poaching and collaboration with Mozambique for conservation of the trans-boundary Niassa-Selous ecosystem. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit the SECAD project plan, and the action plan with the State Party of Mozambique to the World Heritage Centre, and report on progress of implementation. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.47, it is also recommended that the Committee request the States Parties of Tanzania and China to report on their activities in the framework of their agreement to prevent wildlife crime.

It is appreciated that a draft DSOCR and the EAP have now been developed, albeit with a significant shortfall in the budget to implement the plan. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit the revised DSOCR to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN as soon as it is available to ensure adequate resources for implementation of the Action Plan, and to report on any progress.

Noting the findings and recommendations of the 2017 mission, the project design for Kidunda Dam should firstly attempt to avoid any inundation of the property. If this is not possible, its acceptability would need to be determined. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to include a model for the flooding regime within the ESIA and to submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN.

The findings of the mission indicate that ISL is only one of many extraction methods being tested at the Mkuju River Project. Depending on the outcomes of these tests, an ESIA is needed to assess the potential impacts of all methods, and it should include details of measures to avoid and mitigate impacts.

The mission was informed that the Stiegler’s Gorge Dam project is still at its conceptual stage, whereas the State Party report indicates that Odebrecht has been already allowed to proceed with an EIA. The project is also included in the updated 2016 national Power System Master Plan. The status of the project remains therefore unclear. In light of the Committee’s concern over the high likelihood of serious and irreversible damage to the OUV, and in line with the Committee’s position that the construction of dams with large reservoirs within World Heritage properties is incompatible with their World Heritage status (Decision 40 COM 7), it is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to permanently abandon this project.

The mission noted with concern the oil and gas prospecting concession of Kito-1 in the Kilombero Valley Floodplain Ramsar site, which also supplies two-thirds of the Rufiji River’s waters and may therefore lead to potential downstream impacts on the property. According to the project operator, Swala Oil and Gas plc, drilling is expected to start in the third quarter of 2017. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to not permit drilling until a specialist study on the hydrological regime of the floodplain has been undertaken, subsequently informing the EIA, which should include a specific assessment of potential downstream impacts on the OUV, and both are submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN.

The mission additionally identified the emerging threat posed by increasing and intensifying livestock grazing, mainly in the northern section of the property. Although the threat is limited at present, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to proactively develop, as part of the overall management framework, a strategic plan and interventions to secure a sustainable solution to mitigate the impacts of livestock grazing on the OUV.

It is further recommended that the Committee request the State Party to implement all of the recommendations of the 2017 mission.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7A.17

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.5, 36 COM 8B.43, 40 COM 7 and 40 COM 7A.47, adopted at its 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) session respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party and its international partners for their on-going efforts to address poaching, and requests the State Party to submit the Selous Ecosystem Conservation and Development (SECAD) project plan to the World Heritage Centre and to report on progress of its implementation;
  4. Welcoming the development of a draft Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and the Emergency Action Plan, also requests the State Party to submit the revised DSOCR to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN as soon as it is available, and to ensure adequate resources are available for the implementation of the Action Plan, and to report on progress made;
  5. Notes with appreciation the development of a draft Action Plan by the States Parties of Tanzania and Mozambique to strengthen their collaboration to protect the Selous-Niassa corridor, and further requests the States Parties of Tanzania and Mozambique to submit the Action Plan to the World Heritage Centre and to report on progress of its implementation;
  6. Reiterates its request to the States Parties of Tanzania and China to report on the activities carried out in the framework of their agreement to prevent wildlife crime;
  7. Considering the high likelihood of serious and irreversible damage to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property resulting from the Stiegler’s Gorge Hydropower project, and noting the inclusion of the project in the updated 2016 national Power System Master Plan, strongly urges the State Party to conduct a comprehensive ESIA/HIA for this project before deciding to proceed with the construction of the project and submit to the World Heritage Centre for review in accordance with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and requests the State Party to consider alternative options to the Stiegler’s Gorge Hydropower project ;
  8. Requests furthermore the State Party to fully implement all of the recommendations of the 2017 mission, in particular:
    1. To consider a project design of the Kidunda Dam that will not inundate any part of the property at full supply level, to include a model for the flooding regime in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the project, and to submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN,
    2. To develop an ESIA for the InSitu Leaching (ISL) method and any other method selected at the Mkuju River Project (MRP), should the project proceed to this stage,
    3. To propose an additional valuable wildlife forest area as an extension of the property as requested by the Committee in Decision 36 COM 8B.43;
  9. Notes with concern the Kito-1 oil and gas prospecting concession located in the Kilombero Valley Floodplain Ramsar site, where drilling is expected to start in the third quarter of 2017, which may impact on the OUV of the property, and also urges the State Party to not permit drilling to proceed until a specialist study on the hydrological regime of the floodplain and a comprehensive EIA informed by the specialist study, have been undertaken and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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;
  11. Decides to retain Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 41 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/17/41.COM/7A, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add and WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: