The Bureau recalled that at, twenty-second extraordinary session, it was informed of IUCN's review of the "Scoping Report: Potential impacts associated with the proposed development of the Mosi-oa-Tunya Hotel Complex", commissioned by Sun International, the company that would like to develop this hotel complex on the Zambian side of this transborder site. IUCN had raised the following key issues of concern:
(a) the proposed development site is within the World Heritage area and particularly close to the river banks;
(b) institutional support to be provided by the Zambian Government to address environmental problems is not defined; and
(c) the Government of Zambia needs to discuss the project with the Government of Zimbabwe to seek the latter's agreement on implementation policies, procedures and schedules. The Zimbabwean Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management (ZDNPWLM) had emphasised the need to preserve the World Heritage site as a global asset and stressed that any development proposal should be subject to EIA procedures that invite full public involvement. Since it lacked detailed information on the hotel development proposal, ZDNPWLM had been unable to make specific and constructive comments or endorse the development proposal.
The Bureau had requested the Centre to co-operate with the IUCN Regional Office for Southern Africa bringing representatives from the Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe together in a bi-national meeting. This meeting was to be designed and organised in such a manner as to clarify issues concerning this development project in accordance with the joint responsibility of the two States Parties to conserve and properly manage this transborder World Heritage property. The Bureau supported the ZDNPWLM's position to preserve the site as a global asset and to subject any development proposal to EIA procedures with full public involvement. The response of ZDNPWLM was included in Annex IV of the twenty-second session of the Committee (Kyoto 1998) in which the Delegate of Zimbabwe stressed that the bi-national meeting be organised within the existing framework for co-operation between the Governments of the two countries.
At its twenty-third session, the Bureau was informed by the Centre that a bi-national meeting was being planned. A mission to review the situation at the Victoria Falls site recommended that the bilateral meeting be preceded by individual country meetings with the aim of establishing a basis for improved joint management of the site. The Delegate of Zimbabwe informed the Bureau that the Regional Office of IUCN had assisted the States Parties concerned and that a bilateral meeting will be held on 28 July 1999.
The Bureau invited the two States Parties to fully co-operate with IUCN and the Centre to organize the proposed bi-national meeting and report on the findings and recommendations to the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau.