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Decision 44 COM 7B.86
Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 156)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7B.7, 38 COM 7B.94 and 42 COM 7B.96 adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 38th (Doha, 2014) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. Reiterates its utmost concern about the proposed dam projects upstream of the property in the Mara river basin, which could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Serengeti National Park and Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage properties;
  4. Welcomes the efforts of the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya to start developing a transboundary Joint Water Allocation Plan (JWAP) for the Mara Basin and notes that it is crucial that this plan ensures the permanent character of the Mara River is retained, taking into account potential changes in rainfall patterns in the region including as a result of climate change;
  5. Requests the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya to submit to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible, and before the Reactive Monitoring mission takes place, an update on the status of all dam projects in the Mara River basin and urges them not to make any decisions on infrastructure development that could affect the water flow into the Mara River before the JWAP is agreed and the impacts on the OUV of the property are thoroughly assessed;
  6. Also welcomes the progress made to expand the National Park to include the ecologically important Speke Gulf, and that a boundary modification will be submitted upon completion in line with the provisions in the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Regrets that the State Party did not submit the various documents requested in Decision 42 COM 7B.96 and also urges the State Party to submit the following documents as soon as possible, and before the Reactive Monitoring mission:
    1. The approved 2014-2024 Management Plan for the property, including details of any changes to the zonation of the property,
    2. The Route Option Selection Report and the feasibility study and preliminary design, including a map of the proposed alignments,
    3. The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan;
  8. Takes note that the State Party will maintain the northern road traversing the property as a gravel road under Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) management but also requests the State Party to confirm its previous commitment to reserve the road mainly for tourism and administrative purposes (Decision 35 COM 7B.7) and to abandon the construction of the proposed northern highway (Decision 38 COM 7B.94);
  9. Also takes note of the confirmation by the State Party that no “major infrastructure” is planned in the property until at least 2030, and further requests the State Party to ensure that the cumulative impact of any development, including tourism infrastructure is assessed before they making decisions on individual projects;
  10. Notes with appreciation the invitation from the State Party for a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, and the cooperation of the State Party of Kenya in the organization of the mission, however, also regrets that the mission was postponed due to global pandemic concerns and reiterates its request that the mission, be organized as soon as the sanitary situation allows and:
    1. Ensure it also meets with representatives of the State Party of Kenya to assess threats posed by the dams proposed upstream of the property in Kenya,
    2. Review the 2014-2024 Management Plan,
    3. Analyze the documents and decisions related to the Southern Bypass Road,
    4. Assess any other developments that may impact the property’s OUV;
  11. Encourages continued dialogue between the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya, with the support of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, on the opportunities to extend the property with the contiguous transboundary landscape of “The African Great Rift Valley – The Maasai Mara” (Kenya) on the Tentative List;
  12. 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.86
Themes
Conservation
States Parties 1
Year
2021
State of conservation reports
2021 Serengeti National Park
Documents
WHC/21/44.COM/18
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision
WHC-21/44.COM/7B
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