1.         Keoladeo National Park (India) (N 340)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1985

Criteria  (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/340/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/340/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 80,000 (“Enhancing Our Heritage” project on the assessment of management effectiveness). The property has benefited from the United Nations Foundation-funded World Heritage India programme from 2008 onwards, to enhance management effectiveness and build staff capacity, increase the involvement of local communities in the management of the property and promote their sustainable development, and raise awareness through communications and advocacy

Previous monitoring missions

March 2005: World Heritage Centre site visit; March 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/340/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 1 December 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/340/documents/ and provides the following information:

Based on reports from third parties and media articles, the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party on 18 January 2018, requesting information regarding the disposal of cattle carcasses near the property and any potential impacts on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). The letter expresses concern regarding wildlife health hazards, while media reports point out possible additional human health risks. A response by the State Party remained pending at the time of writing of this report.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The Committee has consistently considered water provision as the crucial overarching issue and concern for the conservation of the property. The time series provided for 2010 to 2016 contains highly appreciated information distinguishing the three main supply sources. While it is encouraging that the overall release of water in 2016 exceeded 550 mcft, it is alarming that, in 4 out of the 7 years reported, the minimum requirement was not met. This is a clear indication that reliable solutions to sustaining adequate water supply remain to be found as a matter of utmost priority. It is fully acknowledged that the enormous inter-annual variability of the seasonal monsoons adds complexity to this challenge.

It is encouraging that the information provided on bird surveys is more detailed than in earlier reporting. It remains unclear which species were included in the census beyond the small number of species listed, and to what degree the collected data relates to past data. It is strongly recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to define a long-term approach and methodology permitting systematic monitoring of bird populations in the property and its satellite sites. The approach should be enshrined in the upcoming revised Management Plan, but ought to be applied beyond the horizon of that Plan.

The continued efforts to control invasive species should be welcomed. However, it would be important to develop a long-term strategy to address this issue as part of the revised Management Plan, including the definition of a systematic approach and measures to assess trends and the effectiveness of management interventions.

The on-going revision of the Management Plan should be used to critically assess the effectiveness of current management responses to address well-known challenges. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN stand ready to provide advice to the State Party as required.

The upcoming formalization of the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) around the property, and in particular consultation with local stakeholders is welcomed. Unfortunately, the information provided by the State Party does not permit a clear understanding of the process. Considering that the relationship with neighbouring villages is singled out as a major challenge in the property’s Statement of OUV, adopted in Decision 36 COM 8E (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), it would be helpful if the State Party could provide additional information on this process. As requested by the Committee in Decision 40 COM 7B.87 (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), the elaboration of a Zonal Master Plan subsequent to the final notification of the ESZ should likewise be based on full stakeholder consultation.

In light of the impending establishment of the ESZ, it is recommended that the Committee also encourage the State Party to consider the subsequent formalization of a World Heritage buffer zone, as per the procedure for a Minor Boundary Modification specified in Paragraphs 107 and 164 and in Annex 11 of the Operational Guidelines.

It is regrettable that a State Party response to the World Heritage Centre letter requesting clarification of the reported disposal of cattle carcasses near the property was not available at the time of reporting. Urgent clarification is required in order to better understand the situation, and notably any potential threats to the OUV of the property.

In view of the Committee’s long-standing concerns over water provision and the impacts of invasive species, it is recommended that the State Party be requested to invite an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess its state of conservation and the progress made by the State Party in addressing these issues.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.68

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.87, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Reiterates its utmost concern that new data shows that, in 4 out of 7 recent years, water provision to the property has remained well below the 550 million cubic feet recommended by the 2008 mission as a minimum to sustain its wetland values, and strongly urges the State Party to identify and implement solutions to sustain adequate and reliable long-term water supply to the property and its satellite sites;
  4. Welcomes the continued efforts to combat invasive species within the property but reiterates its request to develop an adaptive invasive species control and eradication strategy for the property and to integrate this strategy into the revised Management Plan;
  5. Also welcomes the further progress accomplished towards the establishment and issuance of a final notification declaring a 500-metre strip of Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) around the property, and also reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure full stakeholder consultation prior to finalizing the notification, and during the subsequent development of the Zonal Master Plan;
  6. Further welcomes the survey data provided on bird species in the property and its satellite wetlands, and requests the State Party to engage in systematic monitoring of bird populations in the property based on a clearly identified long-term approach and methodology, which should be clearly documented in the pending revised Management Plan;
  7. Also encourages the State Party to use the on-going revision of the Management Plan to assess the effectiveness of current management responses to the well-known challenges the property is facing as a basis for enhanced responses, and to obtain advice from the World Heritage Centre and IUCN as required, and further reiterates its request to the State Party to submit an electronic copy of the draft revised Management Plan to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN;
  8. Also requests the State Party to invite an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess its state of conservation and progress made in addressing issues of water provision and invasive species;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, a written clarification of the current situation regarding the reported disposal of cattle carcasses near the property, including possible impacts on the property’s OUV;
  10. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, 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 44th session in 2020.