Case study: Ujung Kulon

This national park, located in the extreme south-western tip of Java on the Sunda shelf, includes the Ujung Kulon peninsula and several offshore islands and encompasses the natural reserve of Krakatoa. In addition to its natural beauty and geological interest, it contains the largest remaining area of lowland rainforests in the Java plain. Several species of endangered plants and animals can be found there, the Javan rhinoceros being the most seriously under threat.

1. Raising Awareness

The World Heritage site manager of Ujung Kulon National Park (UKNP), Awriya Ibrahim, had this to say about the designation;

"Awareness of World Heritage status at local level has been a challenge in Ujung Kulon National Park. This is due to the fact that local people, and often even local government, lack knowledge and understanding of World Heritage status. In addition to this they did not perceive direct benefit of obtaining the status"

To improve this situation a programme was initiated on conservation education. This campaign is partly funded by the United Nations Foundation (UNF) in collaboration with the UNESCO-World Heritage Centre (WHC) and an environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) named Rare. The intention of this conservation education campaign is to foster a greater sense of pride and awareness among park staff and community members in the important natural resources found in Ujung Kulon. Implementing Rare’s ‘Pride Campaign’ methods in Ujung Kulon, the aim is to generate pride in the community so that they will want to conserve the biodiversity of the park in their daily lives.

"With the help of the World Heritage Centre and Rare we hope to build a stronger conservation constituency in support of the park and its efforts to promote conservation. In addition this will help to protect against the threats of unsustainable resource use, population expansion, uncontrolled tourism and other forms of unregulated development." - Awriya Ibrahim

The property’s World Heritage values are also communicated to residents, visitors and the public through leaflets, booklets, pictures, posters at the information centre, and through the extension activities especially aimed at elementary schools.

2. Increasing Protection

For Ujung Kulon’s management team, a noticeable effect of World Heritage status is the adding of weight or influence to political decision-making, which in turn reduces the threat to the site from being used for extractive purposes or being reduced in size.

"As Ujung Kulon National Park manager, in any meeting or workshop I use the Park’s World Heritage status to draw the attention of all of the park’s stakeholders to protect the site more genuinely. Local and central government have supported every policy that came from UKNP management authority to help the protection and conservation in UKNP, because they know the importance of UKNP as a World Heritage site." - Awriya Ibrahim

3. Enhancing Funding

In general, the funding for Ujung Kulon National Park comes from central government’s budget and there is little difference in park funding from this source in the few years either side of World Heritage designation.

The funds channelled into the park have increased but this is largely through the World Heritage/UNF/UN Environment Programme/Rare projects implemented there. The World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) is also a close partner to the park and its commitment to protect the remaining 50-60 Javan Rhinos has concurrently increased park funding and capacity.

"The WWF and the UKNP managers, in any meeting or proposal, use World Heritage status to increase the enthusiasm of donors to help fund their projects in UKNP. There is also a high level of willingness to give financial support to conservation programs in UKNP amongst many park stakeholders. They have awareness and pride in the value of the park’s natural resources and its importance as a World Heritage site." – Awriya Ibrahim

4. Improving Management

The changing of site manager for this World Heritage site is in the hands of the central government in Jakarta. There is no specific training related to WH for a new manager and he or she has to learn individually about the site including its World Heritage status.

To improve this situation, and contribute generally to management capacity-building, regular meetings on World Heritage sites are carried out by the UNESCO Jakarta office. By attending these meetings, the site managers can exchange their experiences, discuss their problems, and try to solve them together.

Asked about the potential benefits of exchange of experience and networking between World Heritage sites Awriya stated;

"Increased networking and exchange between sites can improve management further especially between protected areas outside the country." - Awriya Ibrahim

5. Harnessing Tourism

The UNESCO/UN Foundation/UN Environmental Programme/Rare project in Ujung Kulon is concerned with Public Use Planning (PUP). The PUP program is designed to assist the Ujung Kulon National Park management authority to plan for itself. The project then builds the capacity of UKNP management to carry out the plans by providing the vision and direction for how tourism, specifically visitor products and services, are developed and managed in the park.

"Through this important planning tool, we hope to build the capacity within the park staff to plan for and manage existing tourism. We will also explore the potential of using sustainable tourism as a tool in the future to achieve greater biodiversity conservation in the park and to protect against the possibility of unplanned tourism development extending down the coastline." - Awriya Ibrahim

Finally Awriya gave his overall impression of the effects of WH inscription;

"The inscription of the site as a Natural WH increases the value of the park itself to the visitor. People are more interested to visit the site, knowing the important value that has been recognized through nomination and listing as a Natural WH Site, they appreciate it."

Future Projects

The Ujung Kulon Coastal Patrol was set up as a complement to the existing terrestrial patrol units in the National Park. The need for the coastal patrol was based on the idea of preventing illegal entries to rhinoceros’ habitat from the sea in the peninsula of Ujung Kulon. Since the initial implementation in 2002, the coastal patrol has been able to prevent and apprehend several violators, including cyanide and bomb fishermen. The presence of five units of Ujung Kulon coastal patrol has also shown impacts on recovery and re-colonization of coral reefs in certain areas within Ujung Kulon marine territories. However this operation is working on a very slender budget and now requires additional financial support to operate fully.