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East Rennell

Solomon Islands
Factors affecting the property in 2012*
  • Commercial hunting
  • Fishing/collecting aquatic resources
  • Forestry /wood production
  • Invasive/alien terrestrial species
  • Mining
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Mining;

b) Logging;

c) Over-exploitation of coconut crab and marine resources;

d) Invasive species. 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2012
Requests approved: 2 (from 2006-2012)
Total amount approved : 56,335 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

A report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party on 2 February 2012. This report addresses all previous Committee decisions since 2005. Copies of the Protected Areas Act (2010), the draft Lake Tegano Natural Heritage Park Ordinance (2009), the East Rennell World Heritage Site Management Plan (2007), the Constitution of the Lake Tegano World Heritage Site Association (2009), and the Environmental Assessment and Audit Report for logging operations on Tehakamagoku Customary Land in West Rennell (2012) are annexed to the report.

a) Logging

The State Party report notes that a logging licence was granted to a logging company, Amos Company (SI) Limited, by the Commissioner of Forests in July 2008, for the 6,900 hectares Tehakamagoku concession area in West Rennell. Infrastructure such as roads, a logging pond, wharf and campsite were constructed and logging operations commenced. This licence had not been subject to the required environmental impact assessment and this led to the Ministry of Environment declaring a stop on logging, which was ignored by the logging company and not enforced. In January 2012 an assessment of the logging operation was conducted under environmental monitoring and auditing procedures of the Environment Act 1998, the report of which is annexed to the State Party report. This assessment acknowledges that flora and fauna habitat destruction is a major environmental impact of the logging. The World Heritage property was not considered to be directly affected by the logging operations because it is located well away (apporixametely 12km) from the concession area, but it was accepted that indirectly the property would suffer from loss of the island’s biodiversity and from visual impacts for visitors. Nevertheless, the assessment recommended that a development consent be granted under the Act.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are mindful of the likely impact of logging operations on the integrity and Outstanding Universal Value of the property. They note that the Management Plan for the property recognises that communities in East Rennell are trying to attract logging in areas outside the property, and includes policies preventing large-scale timber extraction in the property. Reports received by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN indicate that at least six shipments of logs have removed some 60,000 cubic metres of timber from the Tehakamagoku concession, and that another licence was granted in 2008 for logging the Magaone & Aga’eha forests in West Rennell. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also received a copy of an application for timber rights over the Agapogabu forest within the property, and advice from the Provincial Secretary that a hearing on these timber rights is scheduled to be held in April 2012. On 29 February 2012 the IUCN Oceania office wrote to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment requesting information on the application, offering its assistance, noting that the proposal to establish palm oil plantations in the logged areas would directly affect the values for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List and compromise the integrity of the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN would also like to highlight that the construction of wharves, establishment of staging and loading areas, and the increase in activity by logging vessels could all threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of the substantial marine component of the property. IUCN notes that the Regional Director of its Oceania office had a meeting with senior leaders in the Solomon Islands in April 2012 to discuss these issues. On 21 March 2012, the Director of the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party requesting clarification of the reports regarding the proposed logging withing the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines. No response has been received to date.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN have also received reports that a national NGO and representatives from the Ministry of the Environment and the Provincial Government conducted forestry awareness activities with villagers, warning of the threats from logging, explaining the Code of Logging Practice, outlining the financial disadvantages of logging (e.g land owners receive only 5% of logging export earnings) and the disruptive social impacts for the community. The delegation report notes that the majority of the residents are opposed to logging, favour the development of sustainable livelihood enterprises, such as ecotourism, support World Heritage and are concerned about possible de-listing of the property. The report further notes that the Provincial Government wishes to ban logging for the sake of World Heritage and its deleterious impacts on the lives of residents, and will endeavour to have the property adequately recognised in the Provincial Ordinance being drafted at present.

b) Invasive species associated with illegal logging

IUCN has received reports that rats and the invasive African snail have been introduced to the island with the onset of logging operations. This could have extremely serious consequences for the biota of the property. The IUCN evaluation report at the time of inscription of the property highlighted the absence from Rennell Island of invasive predators such as rats and alien land snails, which have decimated the fauna of many other oceanic islands in the Pacific. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that at the time of inscription of the property questions arose about confining the property to only a portion of the island where the extent of forest is insufficient to ensure long-term survival of the endemic bird population, in particular. Any disturbance of the forest ecosystem through logging in West Rennell could, therefore, severely impact the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property. They consider that the situation should be assessed promptly and appropriate control or eradication measures implemented.

c) Legislation, Management Planning and administration of the property

The State Party notes that a national Protected Areas Act 2010, which applies only to conservation of biological diversity, includes provision for gazettal and management of protected areas over areas that merit protection under the World Heritage Convention. National legislation for cultural protection, including heritage sites and cultural landscapes, is at draft stage, and the Rennell-Bellona Province Lake Tegano Natural Heritage Park Ordinance will move forward in 2012 with assistance from the Australian Government and WWF. The State Party reports that a Management Plan for the property was produced in January 2007 with support from the World Heritage Fund. The report also notes that the Solomon Islands National Commission for UNESCO established a World Heritage Sub-Commission in 2011 with focal points in key Government agencies. A representative East Rennell World Heritage Site Association was established in 2008, and replaced in 2009 by the Lake Tegano World Heritage Site Association with financial support from the Australian Government. This support continues in partnership with the NGO Live and Learn Environmental Education to strengthen the governance of the property and enhance the livelihood of the customary owners.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome these developments. However, they note the need to strengthen provisions in the Management Plan to address threats from logging and from over-exploitation of coconut crab and marine resources, in particular, and welcome the intention of the State Party to prepare a proposal for international assistance under the World Heritage Fund in 2012.

d) Over-exploitation of coconut crab and marine resources

The Management Plan notes that coconut crab are harvested for subsistence use and are important for income generation, and that the potential for localised extinction of the species is growing. The plan also notes that overharvesting of crayfish, trochus, beche-de-mer and clamshells is the most serious threat to marine resources at present. Localised declines in trochus and beche-de-mer stocks are noted. 

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that an immediate assessment of coconut crab and commercially exploited marine resources should be conducted to determine the impacts of current harvesting practices and establish appropriate conservation measures.

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

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that the scale of commercial resource extraction taking place both within the property (coconut crabs, other marine species) and outside (large scale commercial logging), particularly in the context of a small island ecosystem is likely not sustainable and may have significant negative impacts on the OUV and on the longer term subsistence prospects for residents. They wish to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that an application for commercial logging within the property is reported to be under consideration by the State Party. If permitted, such a licence inside the property would constitute a clear basis for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. They therefore recommend that the Committee request the State Party to immediately refrain from considering any further logging operations on Rennell Island. They further recommend that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property, in order to assess its current state of conservation, particularly in relation to the threat of logging operations on Rennell Island, the associated threat of invasive species, and the over-exploitation of Coconut Crab and marine resources, as well as other relevant conservation issues. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2012
36 COM 7B.15
East Rennell (Solomon Island) (N 854)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.17, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3.  Commends the State Party for its work to rectify deficiencies in the protection legislation, Management Planning and administration of the property, that have been the subject of Committee concerns since 2003;

4.  Expresses its serious concern that applications for commercial logging rights within the property are being considered by the State Party, which if granted would represent an ascertained danger to the property in line with Paragraph 180 of the Opertational Guidelines, and also over the impacts of large scale commercial logging operations in West Rennell on the property;

5.  Requests the State Party to immediately ban all commercial logging from Rennell Island to avoid loss of integrity and the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and to assess the possible associated introduction of rats and invasive land snails, and institute the necessary control measures, and also calls upon companies applying for licences which could impact the property to not proceed further with those applications;

6.  Urges the State Party to make an immediate assessment of the over-exploitation of Coconut Crab and other marine resources;

7.  Also requests the State Party to invite an IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property, to assess its current state of conservation, particularly in relation to the threat of logging operations on Rennell Island, the associated threat of invasive species, and the over-exploitation of Coconut Crab and marine resources, as well as other relevant conservation issues;

Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, including a report on the outcome of an assessment of over-exploitation of resources and the possible introduction of invasive species, and on the imposition of a ban on logging operations on Rennell Island that might impact the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, for examination by the Committee at its 37th session in 2013, with a view to considering possible inscription of the property on the World Heritage List in Danger. 

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 Decison: 36 COM 7B.15

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.17, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Commends the State Party for its work to rectify deficiencies in the protection legislation, Management Planning and administration of the property, that have been the subject of Committee concerns since 2003;

4. Expresses its serious concern that applications for commercial logging rights within the property are being considered by the State Party, which if granted would represent an ascertained danger to the property in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, and also over the impacts of large scale commercial logging operations in West Rennell on the property;

5. Requests the State Party to immediately ban all commercial logging from Rennell Island to avoid loss of integrity and the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and to assess the possible associated introduction of rats and invasive land snails, and institute the necessary control measures, and also calls upon companies applying for licences which could impact the property to not proceed further with those applications;

6. Urges the State Party to make an immediate assessment of the over-exploitation of Coconut Crab and other marine resources;

7. Also requests the State Party to invite an IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property, to assess its current state of conservation, particularly in relation to the threat of logging operations on Rennell Island, the associated threat of invasive species, and the over-exploitation of Coconut Crab and marine resources, as well as other relevant conservation issues;

8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, including a report on the outcome of an assessment of over-exploitation of resources and the possible introduction of invasive species, and on the imposition of a ban on logging operations on Rennell Island that might impact the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, for examination by the Committee at its 37th session in 2013. 

Report year: 2012
Solomon Islands
Date of Inscription: 1998
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)
Danger List (dates): 2013-present
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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