1.         Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas (China) (N 1083bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2003

Criteria  (vii)(viii)(ix)(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/1083/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1083/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

2006 UNESCO/IUCN joint mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Dams;

b) Boundary modifications;

c) Mining;

d) Signage.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1083/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 31 January 2011, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property. This report provides an overview of the status of dam related projects and the removal of mining threats from the property, as requested in Committee Decision 32 COM 7B.11.

a) Issues related to planned dam building

The State Party reports that the planning and approval of dams and hydropower plants on the Nujiang, Jinsha and Lancang river basins was suspended in 2008. However, a dam was approved outside the property in the middle reaches of the Jinsha River, between Yulong County and Ninglang County, about 30 km from the buffer zone of the Haba Snow Mountain sub-unit of the property. The Government of China emphasizes that plans and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for approved dams will be submitted to the World Heritage Committee for review and evaluation.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN reiterate the potential serious cumulative impact of the many proposed dams on the property, and recall that 9 of the 13 dams proposed for the Nu River are located close to its boundaries. IUCN notes that there are serious seismic risks in this region: the Nu River itself sits on an active fault line which could experience severe earthquakes. The construction of dams in this area could also lead to more frequent mudslides, which could have negative impacts on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), as noted in the report on the ‘Risks of intensification of hydropower development in south-western China: urgent issues to be addressed’ submitted. Moreover, the relocation of villages uphill from dam sites could also increase human pressures on the property’s biodiversity values.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that in January 2011, the Deputy Head of the New Energy and Renewal Energy Division of China’s national energy administration publicly declared dam development on the Nu River “a must”, which strongly suggests that these dams are likely to go ahead. IUCN has received reports concerning unapproved construction at the Liuku dam on the Nu River (outside the property), which appears to have resulted in the displacement of the Lisu people and the construction of new roads adjacent to the property. Media reports also indicate that surveying for four projects - Maji, Yabilou, Liuku and Saige – is underway, including drilling and road construction. IUCN has also received reports that there are active applications for dams at Ludila and Longkiakou on the Jinsha River. To date, the World Heritage Centre has not received notification from the State Party on any dam related projects and no Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) have been submitted. The Wold Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State party on 15 April 2011 requesting further information on the above. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN strongly recommend that a Strategic Environmental Assessment be carried out of all proposed dams, and ancillary development, which could affect the property in order to inform decision-making and identify and avoid any adverse effects on the property’s OUV.

b) Mining

The State Party reports that following the World Heritage Committee’s approval of a minor boundary modification in Decision 34 COM 8B.44, the mining areas in the Hongshan sub-unit have been excluded from the property and that, at present, there are no existing mining operations within the property. The State Party commits to not approving any new mining operations within the property or its buffer zone, and to enforcing strict control of existing mining operations in areas adjacent to the property and in its buffer zones. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that mining operations adjacent to the property remain a significant threat to its OUV and recommend the same level of assessment for mining projects as for the proposed dams.

c) Management Planning

The State Party reports that it is securing funding to revise the master plan for the property in order to better coordinate the protection and management of its serial components, which include both national scenic areas and nature reserves. It is also currently reviewing and approving a number of management plans for subunits whose boundaries were adjusted. The State Party in its report clearly notes its intention to scientifically assess the proposed dam projects adjacent to the property in order to ensure that they do not have a negative impact on the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN commend this intention and recommend that this assessment take the form of a Strategic Environmental Assessment and consider the potential cumulative impacts of the proposed dams, and any ancillary development, on the property, as noted in section a) above.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN conclude that the key issue affecting the property remains the potential impacts of the many proposed dams adjacent to the property. They recall that 9 of the 13 dams proposed for the Nu River are located adjacent to the property. Cumulatively, these dams could constitute a potential danger to the property’s OUV as defined in Paragraph 180(b)(ii) of the Operational Guidelines. Though a holistic approach to assessing dam proposals in the Three Parallel Rivers area is welcome, they reiterate their recommendation that this assessment take the form of Strategic Environmental Assessment of all planned and potential dams, including an evaluation of the potential cumulative impacts of these dams and any ancillary development on the property’s OUV. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN underline the importance of obtaining a detailed list and map of all proposed dams that could affect the property, and to promptly submit EIAs on active proposals prior to their approval, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.12

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32COM 7B.11, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes with concern reports that unapproved construction has begun at the Liuku dam on the Nu River outside the property, which appears to have resulted in the displacement of the Lisu people and the construction of new roads adjacent to its boundaries, and notes reports that surveying for four projects - Maji, Yabilou, Liuku and Saige, outside the boundary - is underway, including drilling and road construction;

4. Also notes the State Party's report that a dam has been approved outside the property on the Jinsha River, 30 km from the buffer zone of the Haba Snow Mountain sub-unit, as well as reports of active applications for dams at Ludila and Longkiakou on the Jinsha River, and regrets that no Environmental Impact Assessment has been submitted to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

5. Considers that the many proposed dams could cumulatively constitute a potential danger to the property's Outstanding Universal Value, as defined in Paragraph 180(b)(ii) of the Operational Guidelines;

6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2012 a detailed list and map of all proposed dams and mines that could affect the property, and to submit to the World Heritage Centre the Environmental Impact Assessments for any such dam and mining proposals, prior to their approval, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the progress made in undertaking a Strategic Environmental Assessment of all the proposed dams and ancillary development that could potentially affect the property's Outstanding Universal Value, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/8E,

2. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex I of Document WHC-11/35.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:

- Afghanistan: Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam; Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley;

- Bahrain: Qal'at al-Bahrain - Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun;

- Benin: Royal Palaces of Abomey;

- Botswana: Tsodilo;

- Cameroon: Dja Faunal Reserve;

- Central African Republic: Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park;

- China: Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas;

- Germany: Upper Middle Rhine Valley;

- India: Manas Wildlife Sanctuary;

- Kenya: Lake Turkana National Parks; Lamu Old Town;

- Malawi: Chongoni Rock-Art Area;

- Mali: Old Towns of Djenné;

- Pakistan: Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore;

- Peru: Chan Chan Archaeological Zone;

- Philippines: Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras;

- Senegal: Island of Saint-Louis;

- South Africa: iSimangaliso Wetland Park; Robben Island; Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape; Cape Floral Region Protected Areas; Vredefort Dome;

- Togo: Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba;

- Turkey: Historic Areas of Istanbul;

- Uganda: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; Rwenzori Mountains National Park;

- United Republic of Tanzania: Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara;

- Yemen: Old Walled City of Shibam; Old City of Sana'a;

- Zimbabwe: Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas;

3. Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed in priority;

4. Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

- World Heritage properties in the Arab States;

- World Heritage properties in Africa;

- World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific;

- World Heritage properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;

- World Heritage properties in Europe and North America.