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Decision 43 COM 7A.16
Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 199bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.2,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.5, 36 COM 8B.43, 40 COM 7, 40 COM 7A.47, and 42 COM 7A.56 adopted at its 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. While noting the reported reduction in poaching in the property, reiterates its utmost concern about the State Party’s decision to develop the Rufiji Hydropower project (RHPP) within the property and recalls the Committee’s position that the construction of dams with large reservoirs within the boundaries of World Heritage properties is incompatible with their World Heritage status, and the State Party’s commitment as part of the boundary modification in 2012 not to undertake any development activities within the property without prior approval of the Committee;
  4. Takes note of the conclusions of the independent expert review of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the RHPP that the EIA falls considerably short of acceptable standards and that it does not provide a best practice assessment of the potential impacts on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  5. Expresses its utmost concern about reports, confirmed by satellite image analysis, that the site clearance of 91,400 ha of vegetation, including forests, within the future dam area has started, and strongly urges the State Party to immediately halt all activities that will affect the property’s OUV and will be difficult to reverse;
  6. Considers that the deforestation and other cumulative damage to such a large area within the property would likely lead to irreversible damage to its OUV and hence fulfil the conditions for deletion of the property from the World Heritage List, in accordance with Paragraph 192 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Also expresses its utmost concern that the State Party has started the works on the RHPP prior to the completion of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) undertaken to the highest international standards, and its review by IUCN, and without the approval of this project by the Committee in line with previous commitments made by the State Party;
  8. Also strongly urges the State Party to invite the requested joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property without further delay to review the status of the RHPP, to verify the extent of the damage already incurred, and to assess the state of conservation of the property;
  9. Decides therefore to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism to the property;
  10. Referring to the Preamble of the World Heritage Convention, which considers that “deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world”, and to Article 6.3 of the Convention, urges all States Parties that support development projects related to World Heritage sites to observe best environmental practice and to include the Environmental Impact Assessment;
  11. Notes with concern the submission of the updated hydrology report for the Kidunda Dam, which indicates possible inundation of the property, and also reiterates its request to the State Party to submit as soon as possible to the World Heritage Centre the revised EIA for the project;
  12. Notes that the 2016 EIA for the Kito-1 oil and gas exploration project proposed within the Kilombero Valley Ramsar site adjacent to the property will be augmented with the requested study on the hydrological regime of the Kilombero floodplain and a specific assessment of potential downstream impacts on the OUV of the property;
  13. Requests the State Party to submit the results of the 2018 aerial wildlife survey as soon as possible, and to develop a population model to estimate the recovery of the elephant population, assuming poaching has been reduced drastically;
  14. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, 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 44th session in 2020;
  15. Also decides to retain Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Code
43 COM 7A.16
Themes
Conservation
States Parties 1
Properties 1
Year
2019
State of conservation reports
2019 Selous Game Reserve
Documents
WHC/19/43.COM/18
Decisions adopted during the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee (Baku, 2019)
Context of Decision
WHC-19/43.COM/7A.add.2
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