1.         Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) (N 1167)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2004

Criteria  (vii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2005-2005)
Total amount approved: USD 66,600
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Roads construction; Illegal logging; Large animal poaching; Encroachment by agriculture and settlements; Mining; 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

On 26 December 2004 the tsunami of the Indian Ocean hit the island of Sumatra with devastating effects, especially in Banda Aceh where there was massive loss of life and complete destruction of infrastructure.  Further earthquakes have affected the island since then.  Preliminary reports received by the Secretariat indicated that the natural resources of the World Heritage property were not affected although unfortunately several staff members of the Nature Conservation Unit are reported missing and considerable damages has been caused to its infrastructure at the Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP).  The Nature Conservation Unit’s office in Banda Aceh has disappeared while the offices in Tapak Tuan have been damaged.  The impact of the natural disaster on the coastal areas of the Gunung Lauser National Park remains to be assessed.  Concern is rising in relation to the rebuilding of Aceh since the forests of the property potentially offer the easiest, quickest and cheapest source of timber for future development and housing needs.  The natural disaster certainly makes the field conservation work in GLNP and the surrounding protected areas more challenging.  IUCN has been informed, however, that the new President of Indonesia and his Minister for Forestry are giving a very high priority to addressing the issue of illegal logging throughout the country.

In a letter dated 24 January 2005, the World Heritage Centre offered assistance to the Indonesian authorities and requested them to provide further information concerning the state of conservation of this property.  UNESCO also proposed to send a mission to assess the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami disaster and identify urgent rehabilitation needs for the property.

In response, the Ministry of Forestry of Indonesia submitted on 14 April 2005 an international assistance request to the Secretariat seeking Emergency Assistance from the World Heritage Fund to restore and improve basic management capacities in Gunung Leuser National Park and the Conservation Units located in Banda Aceh and Tapak Tuan.  The major components of the project include human resource development, infrastructure and equipment, impact and management assessments and in particular property monitoring.  This request has been transmitted to IUCN for review and comments. 

At the time of the preparation of this document, only the summary provided in the international assistance request is available and the State Party has not submitted a state of conservation report and emergency action plan to address issues raised by the Committee in its decision adopted at its 28th session. 

Considering the extremely difficult circumstances since 26 December 2004, it is not surprising that no report has been received.  The Secretariat and IUCN expressed their heartfelt sympathies for the loss of life and destruction of infrastructure on the island of Sumatra to the State Party and the people directly affected by the natural disaster.

Both UNESCO and IUCN have set up Tsunami Task Forces which are providing technical support and expertise in relation to environmental management to countries affected by the natural disaster. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN


Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7B.9

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 14B.5, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004);

3. Expresses its deep sympathy to the State Party of Indonesia and the people directly affected by the natural disaster for the loss of life and damage to infrastructure caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004 and subsequent earthquakes;

4. Encourages the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to assist the State Party in preparing the emergency action plan for the property as requested by the Committee at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004);

5. Requests the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and other international partners to support the recovery of basic management capacities at the property by providing appropriate international assistance in collaboration with the competent national authorities;

6. Urges the State Party to ensure that the post-tsunami rehabilitation and infrastructure building activities in Sumatra do not have negative impact on the integrity of the property;

7. Requests the State Party to invite a joint mission of the World Heritage Centre and relevant sectors of UNESCO, with the assistance of IUCN, to assess damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami and identify urgent rehabilitation needs for the property.

8. Further requests the World Heritage Centre to provide by 1 February 2006, on behalf of the State Party, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including the impact of the tsunami and earthquakes as well as the requested emergency action plan and the existing threats for the conservation of the property, for examination by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006).