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Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

India
Factors affecting the property in 1999*
  • Civil unrest
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Other Threats:

    Destruction of Park infrastructures

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Construction of a dam (issue resolved);
  • Bodo people insurgency;
  • Destruction of Park infrastructures; 
  • Illegal removal of vegetation;
  • Poaching
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1999
Requests approved: 2 (from 1997-1997)
Total amount approved : 165,000 USD
Missions to the property until 1999**

January 1997: World Heritage Centre mission

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Summary of previous deliberations: At its last session (Kyoto, 1998), the Committee learned that the implementation of the rehabilitation plan was progressing satisfactorily. The Committee agreed to the use of the savings of US$ 872 from the first grant of US$ 75,000 to support a sitevisit by a staff from the UNESCO Office in New Delhi. The Committee learned that the construction of range posts and staff housing using the second instalment of US$ 90,000 had been delayed due to adverse climatic conditions in the area throughout 1998. The Committee was informed that while security conditions in and around Manas had improved, the threat of insurgency still prevailed and that militants often traversed the Sanctuary. Nevertheless, the Committee noted that conditions for site protection and the relationship with local villagers were gradually improving; the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) had provided US$ 400,000 to strengthen the conservation of Manas during 1997-98, and an additional US$ 100,000 in 1998. MOEF will consider making further contributions as soon as the funds provided so far are utilized in accordance with plans agreed upon by MOEF, the State Government of Assam, site management and the Bureau in 1997. The Committee also requested the Director-General of UNESCO to invite the Government of Bhutan to ratify the World Heritage Convention and to consider nominating the Royal Manas National Park of Bhutan for consideration by the Committee for World Heritage status. The Committee noted that this could help to strengthen the overall protection of the trans-border Manas ecosystem.

New information: A staff from the UNESCO Office, New Delhi, India, undertook a site visit to Manas on 6 and 7 March 1999 and has confirmed that all equipment purchased and delivered using the first installment of US$ 75,000 is now operational and in use. With regard to the use of the second instalment of US$ 90,000, plans for the purchase of two additional wooden fiber boats and 400 units of patrolling gear for US$ 20,000 remain unchanged and are being implemented. The use of the balance of US$ 70,000 for the construction of range posts and staff housing however is being reviewed, due to the fact that not all parts of the Sanctuary are fully secure for staff to be resident. Furthermore, site management seems eager to support selected activities that would benefit local villages and enhance trust-building between management and the local community. Following the site visit, MOEF has submitted to the Centre a revised budget, comprising sixteen activities, for the use of the US$ 70,000. The Centre, after consulting with IUCN, is seeking clarifications from the Indian authorities on conservation benefits expected to derive from six of the sixteen activities that are intended to cater to the needs of local villagers. Upon the receipt of the clarification from MOEF, the revised budget for the use of the US$ 70,000 will be submitted to the Chairperson for authorization as the basis for further project implementation.

The WWF Office of Bhutan, by its letter of 12 April 1999, has informed the Centre of its willingness to assist the Centre in reviewing detailed documentation on the Convention, with a view to advising the Royal Government of Bhutan on the implications of Bhutan’s ratification of the World Heritage Convention and the nomination of the Royal Manas National Park as a World Heritage site. The Centre has transmitted all relevant information to the WWF Office in Bhutan and will continue its cooperation with WWF and other international conservation organizations resident in Bhutan to urge the Royal Government of Bhutan to ratify the Convention as soon as possible.

Action Required

The Bureau may wish to urge the Centre and IUCN to co-operate and finalize revision of the budget for the use of the US$ 70,000 and to expedite the rate of implementation of the rehabilitation plan which appeared to have slowed down during 1998. The Bureau may wish to endorse the efforts of the Centre and IUCN to cooperate with WWF and other partners in encouraging the Government of Bhutan to ratify the Convention, and nominate the Royal Manas National Park as World Heritage as soon as possible. The Bureau may wish to recommend that the Committee retain this site in the List of World heritage in Danger.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1999

International assistance Manas has been granted US$ 165,000 as emergency assistance since June 1997, in two instalments of US$ 75,000 and US$ 90,000 respectively, for the implementation of a 3-year rehabilitation plan approved by the Bureau in June 1997. The total cost of plan-implementation was estimated at US$ 2, 335,000, of which US$ 2,100,000 is provided by the Government of India and the State Government of Assam; the balance of US$ 235,000 was requested from the World Heritage Fund.

As requested by the twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau (5-10 July 1999), IUCN has reviewed the justifications, provided by Indian authorities (letter dated 21 June 1999), to the budgetary revisions for the utilisation of the US$ 70,000 of the US$ 90,000 approved by the twenty-first session of the Committee (Naples, Italy, 1997). The US$ 70,000 was originally intended for the reconstruction of guard camps and staff residential facilities destroyed during the Bodo militancy from 1989 to 1992. The revisions proposed suggested that the construction of guard camps be restricted to parts of the Sanctuary where security conditions had sufficiently improved. The site management had proposed to use the savings made from reducing the number of construction activities foreseen for outreach activities, such as the organisation of veterinary and health camps, repair of existing irrigation facilities etc., that directly benefit villagers. These activities are considered critical by the site management for continuously improving the relationship between staff and local villagers. Hence, the budgetary revisions have been accepted and implementation of activities is currently underway.

Summary of previous deliberations:

Twenty-second session of the Committee – paragraph number VII.9 Twenty-third session of the Bureau – paragraph number IV. 8

New information:                       IUCN reviewed the state of conservation report on this site provided by the State Party as attachment to its letter of 21 June 1999 to the Centre. IUCN has noted several positive developments brought about by the implementation of the rehabilitation plan agreed upon by the State Party and the Bureau in 1997. For example, the Nansbari Range Headquarters as well as the Directorate Headquarters now contain members of the Assam Forest Protection Force who act as a rapid reaction force for patrols and surveillance operations in vulnerable areas. The site has been opened to the public since 1995 and visitor numbers are slowly increasing. Ecological damage to the habitats of the site during the Bodo militancy has been negligible and large mammal populations are expected to return to pre-1989 levels over the next few years. However, the restoration of site infrastructure, i.e. roads, staff accommodation etc., proceeds at a slow pace and staff training needs require attention. The main problem facing the site is the alienation of local villagers. People living in the vicinity of the site are poor and depend on natural resources for their livelihood. The site management is attempting to increase outreach activities but further efforts are needed in this regard. IUCN has reported to the Centre of a recent report that indicates the intention of the Minister for the Environment and Forests to establish an armed police force to protect endangered wildlife from poachers and save forests from timber poachers. IUCN is verifying other unconfirmed reports of the take-over of parts of the Sanctuary by tribal guerillas and the withdrawal of paramilitary forces from those parts.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1999
23 BUR IV.A.8
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India)

The Bureau recalled that the Committee, at its last session (Kyoto, 1998), had learnt that the implementation of the rehabilitation plan was progressing satisfactorily. The Committee also learned that the construction of ranger posts and staff housing using the second instalment of US$ 90,000 had been delayed due to adverse climatic conditions in the area throughout 1998. The Committee was informed that, while security conditions in and around Manas had improved, the threat of insurgency still prevailed and that militants often traversed the Sanctuary. Nevertheless, the Committee noted that conditions for site protection and the relationship with local villagers were gradually improving. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) had provided US$ 400,000 to strengthen the conservation of Manas during 1997-98, and an additional US$ 100,000 in 1998.  MOEF will consider making further contributions as soon as the funds provided so far are utilized in accordance with plans agreed upon by MOEF, the State Government of Assam, site management and the Bureau in 1997. The Committee had also requested the Director-General of UNESCO to invite the Government of Bhutan to ratify the World Heritage Convention and to consider nominating the Royal Manas National Park of Bhutan for consideration by the Committee for World Heritage status. The Committee noted that this could help to strengthen the overall protection of the trans-border Manas ecosystem.

The Bureau was satisfied to receive confirmation from the Centre that all equipment purchased and delivered using the first instalment of US$ 75,000 is now operational and in use. With regard to the use of the second instalment of US$ 90,000, plans for the purchase of two additional wooden fiber boats and 400 units of patrolling gear for US$ 20,000 remain unchanged and are being implemented. The use of the balance of US$ 70,000 for the construction of ranger posts and staff housing, however is being reviewed due to the fact that not all parts of the Sanctuary are fully secure for staff to be resident. Furthermore, site management seems eager to support some activities that would benefit local villages and enhance trust-building between management and the local community. MOEF has submitted to the Centre a revised budget, comprising sixteen activities, for the use of the US$ 70,000. The Centre, after consulting with IUCN, had sought clarification from the Indian authorities on conservation benefits expected to derive from six of the sixteen activities that are intended to cater to the needs of local villagers. The Bureau was informed that MOEF has transmitted via its letter of 21 June 1999, a detailed report on the state of conservation of Manas that included clarifications requested by the Centre. The Bureau requested the Centre to transmit the report to IUCN for review.

The Bureau was informed that the WWF Office of Bhutan has offered the Centre its assistance in reviewing detailed documentation on the Convention, with a view to advising the Royal Government of Bhutan on the implications of Bhutan’s ratification of the World Heritage Convention and the nomination of the Royal Manas National Park as a World Heritage site. The Bureau noted that the Centre has transmitted all relevant information to the WWF Office in Bhutan. The Bureau encouraged the Centre and IUCN to continue their co-operation with WWF and other international conservation organizations resident in Bhutan to urge the Royal Government of Bhutan to ratify the Convention and nominate the Royal Manas National Park for consideration as World Heritage as soon as possible. 

The Bureau urged the Centre and IUCN to finalize the revision of the budget for the use of the US$ 70,000 and expedite the rate of implementation of the rehabilitation plan that appears to have slowed down during 1998. The Bureau recommended that the Committee retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger.

23 COM X.A.9
SOC: Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India)

X.9 Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India)

The Committee was informed that, as requested by the twentythird ordinary session of the Bureau (5-10 July 1999), IUCN has reviewed the justifications, provided by Indian authorities, to the budgetary revisions for the utilization of the US$ 70,000 of the US$ 90,000 approved by the twenty-first session of the Committee (Naples, Italy, 1997). The US$ 70,000 was originally intended for the reconstruction of guard camps and staff residential facilities destroyed during the Bodo militancy from 1989 to 1992. The revisions proposed suggested that the construction of guard camps be restricted to parts of the Sanctuary where security conditions had sufficiently improved. The site management had proposed to use the savings made from reducing the number of construction activities foreseen for outreach activities, such as the organization of veterinary and health camps, repair of existing irrigation facilities etc., that directly benefit villagers. These activities are considered critical by the site management for continuously improving the relationship between staff and local villagers. As advised by IUCN, the Centre has accepted these budgetary revisions and implementation of the project has been accelerated.

IUCN had also reviewed the state of conservation report on this site provided by the State Party as attachment to its letter of 21 June 1999 to the Centre. IUCN has noted several positive developments brought about by the implementation of the rehabilitation plan agreed upon by the State Party and the Bureau in 1997. For example, the Nansbari Range Headquarters as well as the Directorate Headquarters now contain members of the Assam Forest Protection Force who act as a rapid reaction force for patrols and surveillance operations in vulnerable areas. The site has been opened to the public since 1995 and visitor numbers are slowly increasing. Ecological damage to the habitats of the site during the Bodo militancy has been negligible and large mammal populations are expected to return to pre-1989 levels over the next few years. However, the restoration of site infrastructure, i.e. roads, staff accommodation etc., proceeds at a slow pace and staff training requires attention. The main problem facing the site is the alienation of local villagers. People living in the vicinity of the site are poor and depend on natural resources for their livelihood. The site management is attempting to increase outreach activities but further efforts are needed in this regard. IUCN has submitted to the Centre a recent report that indicates the intention of the Minister for the Environment and Forests to establish an armed police force to protect endangered wildlife from poachers and save forests from timber poachers. IUCN is verifying other unconfirmed reports of the take-over of parts of the Sanctuary by tribal guerillas and the withdrawal of paramilitary forces from those parts.

The Committee decided to retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee invited the State Party to cooperate with the Centre and IUCN to prepare a progress report on the implementation of the rehabilitation plan since mid-1997 for submission to the twenty-fourth session of the Committee in 2000. Such a report may include an assessment of the time needed for the satisfactory rehabilitation of the site and for the removal of this site from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Committee may retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee may invite the State Party to co-operate with the Centre and IUCN to prepare a progress report on the implementation of the rehabilitation plan since mid-1997 for submission to the twenty-fourth session of the Committee in 2000. Such a report may include an assessment of further measures needed and provide an indication of the time period required for the removal of this site from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 1999
India
Date of Inscription: 1985
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1992-2011
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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