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Serengeti National Park

United Republic of Tanzania
Factors affecting the property in 2012*
  • Drought
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Illegal activities
  • Major linear utilities
  • Water (extraction)
  • Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Potential impacts of a hydro-electric project in Kenya;

b) Poaching;

c) Reduced and degraded water resources;

d) Potential impact of optical cables’ installation;

e) Proposed road crossing the northern part of the Property 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2012
Requests approved: 4 (from 1989-1999)
Total amount approved : 59,500 USD
Missions to the property until 2012**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

At the 35th session of the World Heritage Committee (UNESCO, 2011), the State Party announced its decision to reconsider the North Road and to maintain the stretch of 53 km from Kleins Gate to Tabora B traversing the northern wilderness area of the property as a gravel road under the management of the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and reserved for tourism and administrative purposes. This decision was welcomed by the World Heritage Committee, who called upon the international community and the donor agencies to consider providing support for the construction of a southern alignment, which avoids Serengeti National Park.

On 1 February 2012, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property. This report includes an update on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the North Road proposal and on the implementation of the 2011 World Heritage Centre/ IUCN reactive monitoring mission recommendations, as requested by the Committee at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011).

a) North Road and railway proposals

The State Party reports that following the Government’s decision to abandon the part of the road project initially planned to traverse the property, the finalization of the ESIA for the revised North Road proposal has been slowed down. It notes that to conduct the larger Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SEA) for the northern Tanzanian road network recommended by the Committee, the State Party is looking for outside funding. The report does not provide information on the plans for the southern alignment.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that in December 2011, Uganda and Tanzania entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a China-based company for the development of three ports and a railway line linking the coast via Musoma to Kampala. The MoU enables the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company to conduct a feasibility study for the proposed railway route, which forms part of the East African Cooperation transport strategy and regional road sector development programme. Following press reports that the planned railway could traverse the north of the Serengeti, Government and East African Cooperation officials have stated that the route will go south of the property and will not traverse it.

They also note that on 15 March 2012 the East African Court of Justice ruled that a legal case against the North Road proposal across the Serengeti will proceed to a full trial. The suit seeks to permanently restrain the construction of a trunk road or highway across the property and to prevent de-gazettement of the property for the purpose of road construction, among other points.

b) Poaching

The State Party reports a rise in elephant poaching in recent years, with 33 elephants poached in 2011 compared to 12 in 2010 but notes that long-term data over 20 years indicate a demographically healthy and increasing elephant population of over 3000. No case of rhino poaching was recorded in 2011. Another 19 mammal species, including wildebeest, are stable or increasing. The State Party notes that about 40% of the park’s budget is normally spent on anti-poaching efforts, and that in 2011 the Department of Law Enforcement was allocated 42% of the budget, with a separate budget committed to protecting rhinos. Forty-three new rangers were employed during 2011 and the ranger force now constitutes 57% of the total 422 staff. Overall, the State Party considers that its anti-poaching commitment is adequate to respond to the recent rise in elephant poaching. The report also highlights the active involvement of Tanzania in different international and regional agreements to combat illegal harvesting and trafficking of wildlife resources and notes the launch of a new Elephant Management Plan 2010-1015. The State Party also reports that alternative livelihoods have been promoted and supported since 1992, with mixed results, through the Park’s Community Conservation Programme. During 2011 a total of 180,350 USD was allocated to community support. However, the State Party considers that it is difficult to determine whether community support is helping to reduce poaching.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that populations of key species have been stable and are currently not threatened but also note that subsistence poaching, poaching for commercial meat markets, and high-value poaching for ivory and rhino horn within the property have all increased in recent years. IUCN notes that there may be opportunities for park management to collaborate with private concessionaires of neighbouring game reserves on law enforcement.

c) Management of the Mara River Basin

The State Party reports that the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) is undertaking studies to determine the most effective options for implementing the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) for the Sustainable Management of the Mara River in a transboundary context (Kenya/Tanzania). Based on these studies, detailed action plans and budgets will be developed.

d) Implementation of other recommendations

The State Party report also provides details on progress in the ongoing implementation of the mission’s recommendations in relation to managing human-wildlife conflict, controlling the spread of alien invasive species, dialogue with communities in Speke Gulf, determining the maximum carrying capacity of water use in the property and to developing a comprehensive plan to address water shortage issues,  evaluating options to improve the road from Naabi Hill to Seronera, strengthening funding for the General Management Plan, and re-activating the Serengeti Ecosystem Forum. 

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2012

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall the State Party’s announcement at the 35th session to reconsider the North Road, but note that the current report does not provide any details on concrete plans to develop the southern alignment. They welcome the commitment of the State Party to seek funding for a Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment of the northern Tanzania road network. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also take note of the announcement by the State Party that the route of a planned railway connection linking the coast to Musoma will go south of the property and will not traverse it.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN further note that the State Party has made susbtantial efforts to implement Decision 35 COM 7B.7 and some of the recommendations of the 2011 mission and consider that the World Heritage Committee might encourage the State Party to continue its efforts to fully implement them.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN wish to highlight the rise in poaching within the property and recommend that the Committee request the State Party to continue strengthening its anti-poaching efforts, by increasing the resources allocated and by improving their efficiency. They request the State Party to provide poaching statistics in its next state of conservation report.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note the worrying reports received by IUCN of ongoing deforestation of the Mau catchment area of the Mara River and other rivers vital to the northern Serengeti ecosystem and recall that substantial progress has been achieved by the State Party of Tanzania in addressing water management in the Mara Basin, in cooperation with the State Party of Kenya. They consider that the timely implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) for the Sustainable Management of the Mara River is key to address this threat. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2012
36 COM 7B.6
Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 156)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.7, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.  Welcomes the substantial efforts made by the State Party to implement the recommendations of the 2010 mission as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session, and encourages the State Party to continue its efforts to fully implement them;

4.  Notes the commitment of the State Party to solicit funding for a Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SEA) for the northern Tanzanian road and calls on donors to provide funding for this study as well as for the construction of a southern alignment, which will avoid Serengeti National Park;

5.  Also welcomes the announcement by the State Party that the planned railway linking the coast via Musoma to Kampala will not traverse the property but will go south of it;

6.  Remains concerned by the rise in poaching within the property, and requests the State Party to continue strengthening its anti-poaching efforts and to provide specific information on the extent and impact of poaching in its next report;

7.  Takes note of reports of on-going deforestation of the Mau catchment area of the Mara River and other rivers in Kenya vital to the northern Serengeti ecosystem, and also requests the State Parties of Tanzania and Kenya, via the Lake Victoria Basin Commission to step up their efforts to implement the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) for the Sustainable Management of the Mara River to address this;

8.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, a report on the state of conservation of the property, in particular on progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2010 mission as well as detailed information on the evolution of poaching in the property, for examination by the World heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014. 

36 COM 8E
Adoption of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/8E,

2.   Congratulates States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in their territories;

3.   Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-12/36.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:

    • Australia:  Great Barrier Reef; Lord Howe Island Group; Gondwana Rainforests of Australia; Wet Tropics of Queensland; Fraser Island; Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh / Naracoorte); Heard and McDonald Islands; Macquarie Island; Purnululu National Park;
    • Bangladesh: Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat;
    • Cambodia: Angkor;
    • China: Mount Taishan; The Great Wall; Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang; Mogao Caves; Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian; Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area; Temple and Cemetery of Confucius, and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu; Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains; Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa; Lushan National Park; Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area; Old Town of Lijiang; Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing; Mount Wuyi; Dazu Rock Carvings; Mount Qincheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System; Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom; Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries – Wolong, Mt Siguniang and Jiajin Mountains;
    • Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea: Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve;
    • Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Complex of Koguryo Tombs;
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo: Virunga National Park; Garamba National Park; Kahuzi-Biega National Park; Salonga National Park;
    • Egypt: Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley);
    • Estonia: Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn;
    • Ethiopia: Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela; Lower Valley of the Awash; Lower Valley of the Omo; Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town;
    • Gambia: Kunta Kinteh Island and Related Sites;
    • Gambia and Senegal: Stone Circles of Senegambia;
    • Ghana: Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions; Asante Traditional Buildings;
    • India: Taj Mahal; Keoladeo National Park; Sundarbans National Park; Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks;
    • Indonesia: Borobudur Temple Compounds; Prambanan Temple Compounds;
    • Islamic Republic of Iran: Bam and its Cultural Landscape;
    • Kazakhstan: Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi; Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly;
    • Madagascar: Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve; Royal Hill of Ambohimanga;
    • Malaysia: Gunung Mulu National Park;
    • Mali: Timbuktu; Cliff of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons); Tomb of Askia;
    • Mongolia: Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape;
    • Nepal: Sagarmatha National Park; Kathmandu Valley; Chitwan National Park; Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha;
    • New Zealand: Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand; New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands;
    • Nigeria: Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove;
    • Pakistan: Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro;
    • Philippines: Baroque Churches of the Philippines; Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park;
    • Republic of Korea: Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple; Haeinsa Temple Janggyeong Pangeon, the Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks; Jongmyo Shrine; Changdeokgung Palace Complex; Hwaseong Fortress; Gyeongju Historic Areas; Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites;
    • Solomon Islands: East Rennell;
    • Thailand: Historic City of Ayutthaya;
    • Turkmenistan: State Historical and Cultural Park “Ancient Merv”; Kunya-Urgench;
    • United Republic of Tanzania: Serengeti National Park; Kondoa Rock-Art Sites; 
    • Uzbekistan: Historic Centre of Bukhara; Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz; Samarkand – Crossroad of Cultures;
    • Viet Nam: Ha Long Bay; My Son Sanctuary; Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park;
    • Zambia and Zimbabwe: Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls;
    • Zimbabwe: Great Zimbabwe National Monument; Khami Ruins National Monument; Matobo Hills;

4.   Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in priority;

5.   Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

    • World Heritage properties in the Arab States;
    • World Heritage properties in Africa;
    • World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific;
    • World Heritage properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;
    • World Heritage properties in Europe and North America. 
Draft Decision: 36 COM 7B.6

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.7, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3. Welcomes the substantial efforts made by the State Party to implement the recommendations of the 2010 mission as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session, and encourages the State Party to continue its efforts to fully implement them;

4. Notes the commitment of the State Party to solicit funding for a Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SEA) for the northern Tanzanian road and calls on donors to provide funding for this study as well as for the construction of a southern alignment, which will avoid Serengeti National Park;

5. Also welcomes the announcement by the State Party that the planned railway linking the coast via Musoma to Kampala will not traverse the property but will go south of it;

6. Remains concerned by the rise in poaching within the property, and requests the State Party to continue strengthening its anti-poaching efforts and to provide specific information on the extent and impact of poaching in its next report;

7. Takes note of reports of on-going deforestation of the Mau catchment area of the Mara River and other rivers in Kenya vital to the northern Serengeti ecosystem, and also requests the State Parties of Tanzania and Kenya, via the Lake Victoria Basin Commission to step up their efforts to implement the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) for the Sustainable Management of the Mara River to address this;

8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, a report on the state of conservation of the property, in particular on progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2010 mission as well as detailed information on the evolution of poaching in the property, for examination by the World heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014. 

Report year: 2012
United Republic of Tanzania
Date of Inscription: 1981
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 36COM (2012)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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