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World Heritage Convention

Decision 40 COM 7A.47
Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 199bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 8B.43, 37 COM 7B.7, 38 COM 7B.95, and 39 COM 7A.14, adopted at its 36th (Saint Petersburg, 2012), 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013), 38th (Doha, 2014) and 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party and its international partners for their efforts in addressing the poaching crisis and encourages all involved to consolidate and coordinate these efforts;
  4. Acknowledges the progress made by the State Party to establish the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), noting that further studies are ongoing to address gaps in elephant population data and to enable the establishment of a proposed timeframe for its implementation;
  5. Requests the State Party to undertake an analysis of the current situation of black rhinoceros to estimate the number of rhino left in the property, to inform the response required to secure this population, and to revise the DSOCR accordingly, and also requests the State Party to submit, by 1 December 2017 an updated proposal for the DSOCR, for adoption by the Committee at its 42nd session in 2018;
  6. Urges again the State Party to develop and implement a comprehensive Emergency Action Plan with the objective of halting poaching within the Larger Selous Ecosystem within 12 months, as originally recommended by the 2013 mission;
  7. Welcomes the establishment of the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) and its inauguration in October 2015, and also urges the State Party to ensure its timely and effective operationalization, as well as adequate and reliable resourcing;
  8. Also commends the States Parties of Tanzania, Mozambique and China for the formalization of agreements on the transboundary Niassa-Selous Ecosystem and on wildlife crime prevention, respectively, and strongly encourages all involved States Parties to report to the World Heritage Centre on the activities carried out in the framework of these agreements;
  9. Reiterates its utmost concern about:
    1. the ongoing lack of clarity in terms of the extraction method, water monitoring and disaster preparedness as regards the Mkuju River Project (MRP),
    2. the ongoing Stiegler’s Gorge dam project despite a high likelihood of serious and irreversible damage to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property,
    3. the lack of submission of a complete Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) on the Kidunda dam project, which seems to have been extended in its scope and therefore could have a higher impact on the integrity of the property,
    4. the legal possibility of mineral exploration and exploitation in the property and the overlapping mining and prospecting licenses, despite the commitment made by the State Party to not engage in any mining activity within the property, in line with the established position of the Committee that mining and oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status,
    5. the lack of reported progress in creating opportunities for local communities to participate in decision-making and benefit-sharing, including in Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs);
  10. Reiterates its request to the State Party to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to comprehensively identify the cumulative impacts of mining, the potential Stiegler’s Gorge and planned Kidunda dam projects, agriculture and associated infrastructure, such as road building, both within the property as well as in important wildlife corridors and dispersal areas that are critical for maintaining the OUV of the property, and further urges the State Party to abandon any plans for the different development projects which are incompatible with the World Heritage status of the property;
  11. Also requests the State Party to invite an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, in order to evaluate progress in combating poaching, and to assess the current status and likely impacts of the proposed In Situ Leaching at the Mkuju River Uranium Mine, the Stiegler’s Gorge and Kidunda dam projects, and prospecting licenses overlapping with and adjacent to the property, as well as any other development that might impact the OUV of the property;
  12. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, on the implementation of the above and on the 2013 mission recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  13. Decides to retain Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Code
40 COM 7A.47
Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2016 Selous Game Reserve
Report of the Decisions adopted during the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016)
Context of Decision