1.         Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 156)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (vii)(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/156/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1989-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 59,500
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/156/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

November 2010: 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/156/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 1 December 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/156/documents, with the following information:

On 16 March 2018, the State Party submitted the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the Mugumu airport (dated July 2014) and the proposal for annexing Speke Gulf.

In its letter of 2 May 2017, the World Heritage Centre requested information from the States Parties of Kenya and Tanzania on a series of proposed dams in both countries, upstream of the property, which might affect the Mara River. On 13 February 2018, the State Party of Kenya confirmed that Norera and Mugango Dams on Amala and Nyangores Rivers have preliminary EIAs. An EIA for the Ewaso Ng’iro cascade of dams has been conducted.

On 27 September 2017, the World Heritage Centre sent an IUCN analysis of the project brief for the proposed construction of Belabela tourist lodge inside the property to the project proponent and to the State Party.

On 2 November 2016 and on 15 January 2018, the World Heritage Centre requested comments from the State Party on the bidding process for the construction of the Arusha-Musoma highway traversing the northern part of the property.

On 5 December 2017, the World Heritage Centre requested the State Party to confirm the availability of a new Management Plan for the property, following the expiration of the 2006-2016 General Management Plan and to submit it to the World Heritage Centre.

To date, Tanzania has not yet provided responses to the above-mentioned requests.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The success in addressing the poaching of elephants and rhinos is welcomed. It is of critical importance that effective collaboration with the State Party of Kenya on the Mara basin be further strengthened and that a joint Management Plan for the basin be developed to sustainably manage the water resources that maintain the Serengeti ecosystem and the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). The proposed dams for hydroelectricity generation and irrigation upstream of the property in Kenya are of considerable concern, as they could affect water flow. Potential impacts of the dams on Lake Natron in Tanzania could have indirect impacts on the integrity of the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage property in Kenya. All available preliminary and full EIAs for these dams should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN before any decisions are taken.

Noting that the SEA and the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan have been completed, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request (Decision 40 COM 7B.83) to submit these documents to the World Heritage Centre for review.

The progress made on the feasibility study and a preliminary design for options for the Southern Bypass route is appreciated. The Route Option Selection Report and the feasibility study and preliminary design, including a map of the proposed alignments, should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review as soon as they become available. As construction on the road from Mbo wa Mbu to Loliondo has reportedly started, it is important that the Committee remind the State Party of its commitments made in 2011 to maintain the stretch of 53 km from Kleins Gate to Tabora B traversing the property as a gravel road under Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) management, and reserved mainly for tourism and administrative purposes (Decision 35 COM 7B.7), and in 2014 to abandon the construction of the proposed north road traversing the property (Decision 38 COM 7B.94).

The proposal to build a permanent tourist lodge inside the ‘low-use zone’ of the property close to a wildebeest migration route appears incompatible with the 2006-2016 General Management Plan (GMP), and should be subject to an EIA in line with IUCN Advice Note and submitted for review. The status of the outdated GMP should be confirmed, and the new Management Plan submitted to the World Heritage Centre.

The proposal for annexing Speke Gulf is welcomed as it will add an ecologically important area to the property. Acknowledging the possible socio-economic costs of the extension, proper compensation should be ensured for any affected communities that were legally residing in the proposed area.  The World Heritage Centre should be kept informed on the progress for the extension, which would require a request for boundary modification.

The upgrade of the Mugumu airport has been downsized from the initial plans to construct an international airport and will no longer pose a significant threat to the OUV of the property. Should the project move forward, the State Party should monitor and mitigate any potential indirect impacts on the property.

In light of planned dam projects in the Mara basin, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, which should also meet with representatives of the State Party of Kenya in order to assess threats posed by the series of proposed dams upstream of the property, and any other developments that may have potential impacts on the property. The mission should also follow up on previous decisions and mission recommendations and assess the current management and governance framework of the property.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.96

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7B.7, 38 COM 7B.94 and 40 COM 7B.83 adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 38th (Doha, 2014) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party on its anti-poaching efforts, contributing to further reduced elephant poaching and maintaining zero poaching of rhinos in the property;
  4. Notes with utmost concern that a series of dams have been proposed upstream of the property in Kenya, which could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Serengeti National Park and Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage properties, and requests the State Party of Kenya to submit to the World Heritage Centre, without delay, all available preliminary and full Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) to the World Heritage Centre for review;
  5. Reiterates its request to the States Parties of Tanzania and Kenya to develop and implement a joint management plan for the Mara River basin to sustainably manage water resources, and also requests the State Party of Tanzania to inform the World Heritage Centre on the status of updating the 2006-2016 General Management Plan;
  6. Appreciates that the State Party is undertaking a feasibility study and a preliminary design for two options for the Serengeti Southern Bypass route, and further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre for review as soon as available:
    1. The Route Option Selection Report and the feasibility study and preliminary design, including a map of the proposed alignments, upon completion by the end of September 2018,
    2. The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan;
  7. Requests furthermore the State Party to reaffirm its commitments to maintain the northern road traversing the property as a gravel road under Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) management and reserved mainly for tourism and administrative purposes (Decision 35 COM 7B.7) and to abandon the construction of the proposed northern highway (Decision 38 COM 7B.94);
  8. Considers that the Belabela Lodge proposed within the ‘low-use zone’ of the property close to a wildebeest migration route could pose a potential threat to the property’s OUV, and requests moreover the State Party to undertake an EIA of the proposed lodge, including a specific assessment of potential impacts on OUV in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review;
  9. Welcomes the proposal to include the ecologically important Speke Gulf into the property, which would require a request for boundary modification in line with the appropriate provisions in the Operational Guidelines, and encourages the State Party to ensure compensation for affected communities that were legally residing in the proposed area, and to keep the World Heritage Centre informed;
  10. Notes that based on the submitted EIA the proposed upgrade of the Mugumu airport has been significantly downsized from the initial plans to construct an international airport, also considers that it will no longer pose a significant threat to the property’s OUV, but requests in addition the State Party to monitor and mitigate any potential indirect impacts should the project move forward;
  11. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, which should also meet with representatives of the State Party of Kenya, to assess threats posed by the dams proposed upstream of the property in Kenya, and any other developments that may impact the property’s OUV;
  12. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, a progress report and, 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.