1.         Gunung Mulu National Park (Malaysia) (N 1013)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

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/1013/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1013/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Dam development

b) Indigenous community marginalisation

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1013/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2010

On 28 January 2010, a report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party. The report provides information on the two issues raised in World Heritage Committee Decision 33 COM 7B.16 regarding land rights issues, the involvement of communities in the management of the property, and proposals for development of dams.

a) Land rights and the involvement of communities

The State Party acknowledges that there have been land-claims by a group of local people, but notes that the land under dispute is outside the boundary of the property, and is owned by a private company. The State Party’s report gives an explanation of the legal basis for land claims and compensation and considers that the claims are tenuous. It notes that the impact of these disputes on the management of the property is not significant.

In relation to the involvement of indigenous communities, the State Party notes that there are community rights pertaining to hunting, fishing and the collection of Non-Timber Forest Products that were accorded at the time of the original creation of the National Park. They report that 84% of the 94 staff of the property are drawn from local communities (mainly the indigenous Berawan and Penan communities). The same communities make up 72% of the guides operating in the Park. In addition, leaders of local communities are members of the Special Park Committee that allows participation in the decision taking regarding the protection and management of the property. A joint management committee, headed by the Sarawak State Secretary and involving various stakeholders monitors the park management body and its budget.

The State Party also outlines further direct and indirect measures that offer community benefits, including the contributions of tourism income to local people, such as through service provision and handicraft products, and the provision of shared amenities such as treated water at no cost. In addition the State Party notes its awareness raising activities with communities. The State Party provides details on the specific names of guides, and the Terms of Reference and membership of the Special Park Committee in support of the above points.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN have received reports of some land disputes in the area, but consider that these appear relatively minor in relation to the overall management of the property. There appear to be appropriate processes in place to deal with these matters, and a good level of dialogue between the site management authorities, community leaders and political representatives. There is direct evidence of involvement of local people in the management of the property, and of the benefits they derive from it. The State Party report contains a good level of detail to substantiate the information provided, which is also supported by other sources of information received by IUCN on the conservation of the property.

b) Plans for development of dams

The State Party report confirms that a total of five potential hydropower sites were identified in the Sungai Tutoh in the 1980s through a technical study of hydropower potential in the area. The study predates inscription of the property on the World Heritage List, but the sites identified include locations that adjoin the World Heritage property. The State Party report states categorically that it has “no plan to develop a hydro power project in the area”. It notes that it would not implement any hydro projects if they are found to jeopardize the status of the property on the World Heritage List, and also note that they are fully aware of the reporting requirements regarding major projects, as noted, inter alia, in Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that the answer provided by the State Party on this matter is clear and fully satisfactory. Development of hydro projects adjoining or affecting the World Heritage property would clearly be of significant concern with respect to potential impacts on its Outstanding Universal Value. However, the State Party provides clear reassurance that the hydropower plans considered in the past are currently not being considered for implementation. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN


Decision Adopted: 34 COM 7B.15

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.16, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Welcomes the report of the State Party regarding the means by which local communities are being involved in the management of the property, through both governance arrangements and within the staffing of the property as well as the State Party's confirmation that it has no plans to implement dam projects that could affect the property;

4. Also welcomes the reassurance of the State Party regarding the resolution of remaining land claims in the area, and notes that these relate to land outside the boundary of the property, and that they do not appear to be adversely impacting on the effective management of the property;

5) Also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed regarding significant developments with respect to the above issues, considering the requirements of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and to give particular attention to these issues in their contribution to the periodic reporting process.