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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.188
Chitwan National Park (Nepal) (N 284)

Decision: 44 COM 7B.188

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.11, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Welcomes the ongoing efforts to combat rhinoceros poaching, but notes with concern the recent poaching of four rhinoceros as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic impacts on surveillance and urges the State Party to actively continue its efforts to address poaching and illegal trafficking;
  4. Also welcomes the continued confirmation by the State Party that the alternative alignment of the East-West Electrified Railroad will be located outside the property, and that Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) will be completed, requests the State Party to provide a detailed map of the alignment when it is available, and reiterates its request that the State Party ensure that all potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are fully assessed by the EIA, in line with the IUCN Advice Note on Environmental Assessments;
  5. Further welcomes the confirmation that the recommendations of the 2016 IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission regarding the Thori-Madi-Bharatpur road have also been implemented outside the property, and also requests the State Party to continue this implementation in line with the mission recommendations;
  6. Reiterates its concern that other infrastructure projects continue to pose a threat to the property, including the proposed Terai Hulaki Highway, the China-India Trade Links of Province-3 (now Bagmati Province) and Province-4 (now Gandaki Province), the Madi-Balmiki Ashram road and the Malekhu-Thori road; acknowledges the decision to halt the construction of a seven-kilometer stretch of the proposed alignment of the Terai Hulaki Highway that would cross the buffer zone and further requests the State Party to confirm that any potential impact of the highway on the OUV of the property has been appropriately assessed before taking any decision to proceed;
  7. Also notes that no decision has been taken regarding the China-India Trade Links of Province-3 (now Bagmati Province) and Province-4 (now Gandaki Province), the Madi-Balmiki Ashram road and the Malekhu-Thori road and also reiterates its request to the State Party not to approve any other new roads or the reopening/upgrading of old roads passing through the property;
  8. Reiterates its position that, if any of the aforementioned road and railway developments was to proceed through the property, it would represent a potential danger to the OUV of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, and thus form a clear basis for the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  9. Also recalling its request to the State Party to provide clarification regarding the report that Gajendra Dham is no longer located within the boundaries of Chitwan National Park, following a revision of boundaries in 2016 and its demarcation on the ground, also notes with concern the reported transfer of 1.818 ha from the Gajendra Mokchhya Dham of Tribeni into the buffer zone and of 2,063 ha from the Padampur site in the buffer zone into the national park, and further recalling that any proposed change to the boundaries of a property must first be submitted to the World Heritage Centre through a boundary modification process in line with Paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines, requests furthermore the State Party to:
    1. Provide detailed information on the legal protection status of the property, including provisions for visitor management at Gajendra Dham, and the implementation of the recommendations of the 2016 mission, and notably to develop, in collaboration with the Chitwan National Park Office and the responsible authorities at Gajendra Dham, develop a management plan for Gajendra Dham which should include:
      1. An appropriate zonation scheme to set aside areas for spiritual practices and for nature conservation,
      2. Appropriate limits on any further construction of facilities, beyond the normal maintenance works, and
      3. Adequate measures to minimize impacts from the large number of pilgrims visiting the site annually, including a waste management plan and provisions to allow only daytime ritual activities under the observation of the Chitwan National Park Office,
    2. Submit a proposal for a boundary modification to the World Heritage Centre in line with the Operational Guidelines, if it wishes to amend the boundaries of the property;
  10. Notes with concern the alleged human rights abuses related to Chitwan National Park raised by UNESCO and through the Independent Panel report on human rights commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund International, and requests moreover the State Party to provide a full response regarding its considerations of the findings of this report and to implement actions to address the issues raised, in conformity with relevant international norms and the 2015 Policy Document for the Integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective into the Processes of the World Heritage Convention;
  11. Finally requests 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.188
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2021 Chitwan National Park
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision