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Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Uganda
Factors affecting the property in 1999*
  • Civil unrest
  • Financial resources
  • Human resources
  • Management systems/ management plan
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1999
Requests approved: 2 (from 1995-1996)
Total amount approved : 32,249 USD
Missions to the property until 1999**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1999

New information: IUCN has recently received a report from its Uganda Office confirming that due to continued and worsening rebel activity and insecurity in the districts of Kasese and Bundibugyo, which encompass the Rwenzori Mountains, all Park staff has been withdrawn and temporarily relocated to the Town of Kasese. The Ugandan Project Manager of the WWF Project was killed and the Project has been temporarily halted. Rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces are supposedly based in the Park and frequently descend to kill and kidnap civilians from nearby towns. The Chief Warden of the Park has confirmed these reports, and adds that this situation has not affected Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Action Required

The Bureau may express its serious concerns regarding the worsening security conditions in the site and may invite the State Party to submit to the Centre, before 15 September 1999, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the site. The Bureau may request the Centre and IUCN to analyse that report and submit their findings and recommendations to the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau in November 1999.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Previous deliberations:

Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – Chapter IV. 42

 

New information: The same report that provided information on Bwindi Impenetrable Forest mentioned above points out that the rebels have occupied the site since 1997 and no meaningful conservation activities are being implemented in the site. Rebels continue to use the site as a hiding place from where they occasionally launch attacks on communities and institutions in the districts of Kaesese, Kabarole and Bundibugyo. Some local people living adjacent to the Park have been displaced.  The World Wide Fund (WWF/USAID) Project to implement the Medium Term Operational Plan has been suspended.  The following points are also noted:

·        due to lack of resources, ranger numbers have been trimmed to such a level that they are thin on the ground and ill-equipped.  As a result conservation activities have almost come to a halt.  A few outposts are functional manned by a few people mainly to guard property.  In the absence of patrols, the levels of illegal activities such as pitsawing and encroachment cannot be properly ascertained.

·        Activities related to communities are difficult to implement because people are unsettled as they are constantly under threat resulting from the insurgency of the rebels.

·        Part of the Park Headquarters has temporarily moved to the Kasese town for security reasons.  A contingent of 30 rangers is at Ibanda, the Park Headquarters, where they train and maintain park security with other security or personnel.

Training of rangers and wardens in combat tactics is essential in order to survive in the hostile environment.  This is being arranged in collaboration with other security operations by the defence forces.  The main constraint to this training is supply of equipment which cannot adequately be covered by the Uganda Wildlife Authority budget.  Although there is a heavy deployment of Ugandan Security Forces and training of large numbers of community members to fight the insurgency, it is not clear when the conflict will end.  The long term negative impact of the conflict on the fauna and flora cannot be predicted since most of the Park is not being monitored by Park staff.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1999
23 BUR IV.B.42
Rwenzori Mountains (Uganda)

The Bureau at its twenty-third ordinary session, was informed by the Centre on the continued and worsening rebel activity and insecurity in the districts of Kasese and Bundibugyo, which surround the Rwenzori Mountains. In a letter dated 14 May 1999, the Uganda Wildlife Authority informed the Centre that the Rwenzori Mountains National Park has been insecure since June 1997 and the Park has therefore been closed and no meaningful conservation activities have been taking place. The long term negative impact on the flora and fauna and the general environment cannot be predicted, nor is it possible to predict when the conflict will end.  The Bureau therefore was informed that Rwenzori also needs special efforts of the Centre and IUCN in any campaigns to raise awareness of the needs of biodiversity conservation in times of armed conflict and civil unrest.

The Bureau expressed its serious concerns regarding the worsening security conditions in the site and invited the State Party to submit to the Centre, before 15 September 1999, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the site.  The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to analyse that report and submit their findings and recommendations to the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau in November 1999.

Furthermore, the Bureau in accordance with the wish of the Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, recommended that the World Heritage Committee include the Rwenzori Mountains in the List of World Heritage in Danger at its twenty-third session to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 29 November to 4 December 1999. 

23 COM VIII.1-2
New Inscriptions on the World Heritage List in Danger

VIII.1 Following the review of the state of conservation reports and at the recommendation of the Bureau, the Committee decided to inscribe the following natural and cultural properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

  • Salonga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
  • Rwenzori Mountains National Park (Uganda)
  • Iguaçu National Park (Brazil)
  • Hampi (India)

VIII.2 The Committee did not recommend the deletion of properties from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

23 COM X.B.22
SOC: Rwenzori Mountains (Uganda)

X.22 Rwenzori Mountains (Uganda)

The Committee noted the reports on lack of resources, suspension of projects and serious security issues at the Park and that a greater part of the Park is not monitored by Park staff. The Committee also noted that the Bureau at its twenty-third session, examined the issues and recommended inscription of this property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Committee expressed its serious concerns regarding the security situation at this site. The Committee requested the Centre and IUCN to work closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Communication with conservation NGOs and other international organizations present in the region, to discuss ways and means to publicize the need for all parties involved in the conflict in the region to respect the site's World Heritage status and to develop projects to support site management should be seeked. The Committee decided to inscribe Rwenzori Mountains in the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Bureau may wish to transmit the above report to the Committee for examination and recommends the following for adoption:

“The Committee expresses its serious concerns regarding the security situation at this site and recalls the Bureau’s recommendation (July 1999), that the Committee include this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee requests the Centre and IUCN to communicate with conservation NGOs and other international organizations who have field presence in the region to discuss ways and means to publicize the need for all parties involved in the conflict in the region to respect the site’s World Heritage status and to develop projects to support site management.”

Report year: 1999
Uganda
Date of Inscription: 1994
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1999-2004
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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