Reactive Monitoring Mission to The Sundarbans World Heritage property (Bangladesh)
As requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015 (Bonn, Germany), a joint Reactive Monitoring Mission involving the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will take place from 22 to 28 March 2016 to assess the overall state of conservation of the property.
The mission will focus on issues that could seriously threaten its Outstanding Universal Value, and especially the planned development of a coal-fired thermal power plant in the immediate vicinity of the property. The mission will also assist the national authorities with the preparation of better management and conservation policies by developing, in close collaboration with all relevant authorities, a set of recommendations with short- and mid-term priority actions.
Together with the state of conservation report due for submission by the State Party in December 2016, the mission’s findings will provide the basis for the working documents for the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee in 2017, at which the property’s state of conservation is scheduled to be reviewed.
For more information on the property, please visit here.
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.64, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
- Notes that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the dredging of the Pashur River, adjacent to the property, did not include a specific assessment of the potential impacts on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre an assessment of potential impacts on OUV, in accordance with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and to ensure activities are not conducted before the revised EIA is submitted to the World Heritage Centre and reviewed by IUCN;
- Reiterates its request to the State Party to undertake a comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in order to assess the indirect and cumulative impacts from the power plants and other developments in the vicinity of the property, including a specific assessment of potential impacts on its OUV;
- Also requests the State Party to provide further details on the mitigation measures taken for the power plant project, which should fully consider the findings of the SEA;
- Regrets that the ecological monitoring data for the property requested by the Committee in Decision 35 COM 7B.11 has not been provided, and urges the State Party to submit the results of the ecological monitoring programme for the property without delay, to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, ensuring that the impact of climate change on the OUV is documented, as initially requested in Decision 33 COM 7B.12;
- Further requests the State Party to continue monitoring the effects of the December 2014 oil spill on the aquatic environment, and to take measures to prevent such accidents, drawing on the lessons learned so as to strengthen its oil spill preparedness and response capacity, in particular in view of the anticipated increases in river navigation related to the power plant developments upstream;
- Requests furthermore the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to review the state of conservation of the property, and the potential impacts of the thermal power plant development and dredging of Pashur River;
- Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.