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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.185
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) (N 338)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7A.13, 36 COM 7B.10, 41 COM 8B.36 and 43 COM 7B.7, adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 36th (Saint Petersburg, 2012), 41st (Krakow, 2017) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party for its continued efforts against poaching and the absence of any reported rhino poaching since 2017, and notes with satisfaction that the rhino population continues to grow;
  4. Notes with concern that poaching and other wildlife crime still persist within the property, and requests the State Party to continue implementing anti-poaching measures and scaling up such efforts, where possible and necessary;
  5. Reiterates its concern that agricultural encroachment remains a serious threat to the integrity of the property, despite the State Party’s actions, and also requests the State Party to strengthen its efforts to identify long-term solutions to address this issue and respect the social, economic and cultural rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and improve their livelihoods, in line with the 2015 Policy Document on the Integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective into the Processes of the World Heritage Convention;
  6. Welcomes the progress made by the State Party towards the finalization of an Action Plan for sustainable management of the grassland-woodland ecosystems and the implementation of a scientific habitat management protocol on the ground, and urges the State Party to finalize and implement the Action Plan as soon as possible in order to prevent further spread of invasive species, as noted by the Committee in Decision 43 COM 7B.7;
  7. Also commends the States Parties of India and Bhutan for their enhanced cooperation to better protect flagship species moving across national boundaries between the property and the adjacent Royal Manas National Park, and further requests the States Parties to further strengthen their cooperation;
  8. Reiterates the importance of the conservation of the larger landscape for the integrity and long-term viability of the property, notably to increase its adaptability to climate change, and reiterates its encouragement to the State Party to:
    1. Submit a revised proposal for the extension of the property that does not include any established cropland or permanently encroached areas within the nominated property and to include full details on the relationships with stakeholders and/or rights-holders related to the cropland areas within Manas National Park,
    2. Conduct, with the State Party of Bhutan, a joint feasibility study on a possible transboundary extension of the property, in line with the aforementioned decisions;
  9. Deeply regrets that, despite its repeated requests since 2012, the State Party of Bhutan has not provided information on the status of the Mangdechhu hydroelectric project nor submitted a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to address the project’s potentially significant impact on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), notes with utmost concern that the project has already been completed, and also deeply regrets that the State Party of India did not inform the Committee of the project prior to its implementation, despite the provisions of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  10. Also urges the States Parties of India and Bhutan to:
    1. Submit as soon as possible a copy of the EIA for the Mangdechhu hydroelectric project to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, which should include an assessment of the project’s impact on the property’s OUV, notably its integrity,
    2. Provide details on the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and the measures taken to ensure that any impact on the OUV is being avoided, for review by IUCN,
    3. Report on the implementation of the EMP and the monitoring of potential impacts on the OUV of the property;
  11. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session.
Decision Code
44 COM 7B.185
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
2021 Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision