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World Heritage Convention

Decision 45 COM 7B.83
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) (N 338)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.10, 41 COM 8B.36, 43 COM 7B.7 and 44 COM 7B.185 adopted at its 36th (Saint Petersburg, 2012), 41st (Krakow, 2017), 43rd (Baku, 2019) and extended 44th (Fuzhou/online, 2021) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the reported increase in the Indian rhinoceros population in the property, and notes with appreciation the upscaled efforts against poaching and the subsequent reduction in wildlife-related offences and the generation of baseline data for keynote species in Manas for the first time, with a view to institutionalising holistic and state-of-the-art wildlife monitoring, and requests the State Party to provide these baseline population data as part of its next report on the state of conservation of the property;
  4. Commends the ongoing efforts to mobilize additional funding for the conservation of the property, including through REDD+ carbon financing, and encourages the State Party to report on how the carbon finance initiative benefits the property, so that lessons learnt could be shared widely, and also welcomes activities undertaken by the State Party aiming to benefit local communities, notably through the revitalization of Eco-Development Committees and eco-tourism initiatives;
  5. Notes with concern that the impacts of agricultural encroachment on the property remain unresolved, and therefore also requests the State Party to continue ensuring that no further expansion of encroachment occurs within the property, while strengthening efforts to address the issue at a political level with due respect to the social, economic and cultural rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, and respecting all relevant international norms;
  6. Notes that habitat management of the property is guided by the Manas Tiger Conservation Plan, but regrets that the State Party did not provide a clear update regarding the finalisation and implementation of an Action Plan for sustainable management of the grassland-woodland ecosystem, despite its earlier requests, and reiterates its request to the State Party to provide an update on the implementation of the Action Plan on the ground, including on the implementation of control measures against the spread of invasive plant species, notably Chromolaena odorata and Mikania micrantha;
  7. Also notes with appreciation the continued transboundary cooperation between the States Parties of India and Bhutan at a field level and also encourages the State Party to continue the reflection on the possible preparation of a revised proposal for the extension of the property and engage in dialogue with the State Party of Bhutan on a possible transboundary extension of the property, in line with the previous Committee decisions; let go of
  8. Reiterates its serious concern about the potential impacts of the Mangdechhu hydroelectric project on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and noting that this project is reported to have been jointly inaugurated by the Government of India and the Royal Government of Bhutan in August 2019, deeply regrets that neither State Party has provided any information about the project, nor its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) despite continued requests by the Committee since 2012;
  9. Urges again the States Parties of India and Bhutan to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, by 1 February 2024:
    1. A copy of the EIA for the Mangdechhu hydroelectric project, which should include an assessment of the project’s impact on the property’s OUV, including its integrity,
    2. Details on the EMP and a report of its implementation, including confirmation of effective measures taken to ensure that any impact on the OUV is being avoided;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2024, 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
45 COM 7B.83
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
2023 Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
Context of Decision