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Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls

Zambia, Zimbabwe
Factors affecting the property in 1999*
  • Financial resources
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Project to construct a dam across the gorge (issue resolved)
  • Proposed hotel complex on the Zambian side of this trans-border World Heritage site

 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 1999
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 1999**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Summary of previous deliberations: At its twenty-second extraordinary session, the Bureau was informed of IUCN’s review of the “Scoping Report: Potential impacts associated with the proposed development of the Mosi-Oa-Tunya Hotel Complex”. This report was commissioned by Sun International, the company that would like to develop this hotel complex on the Zambian side of this trans-border site. IUCN had raised the following key issues of concern: (a) the proposed development site is within the World Heritage area and particularly close to the river banks; (b) institutional support to be provided by the Zambian Government to address environmental problems is not defined; and (c) the Government of Zambia needs to discuss the project with the Government of Zimbabwe to seek the latter’s agreement on implementation policies, procedures and schedules. The Zimbabwean Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management (ZDNPWLM) had emphasised the need to preserve the World Heritage site as a global asset and stressed that any development proposal should be subject to EIA procedures that invite full public involvement. Since it lacked detailed information on the hotel development proposal, ZDNPWLM had been unable to make specific and constructive comments or endorse the development proposal.

The Bureau requested the Centre to co-operate with the IUCN Regional Office for Southern Africa to bring representatives from the Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe together. The bi-national meeting should be designed and organised in such a manner so as to clarify issues concerning this development project in accordance with the joint responsibility of the two States Parties to conserve and properly manage this trans-border World Heritage property. The Bureau supported the ZDNPWLM’s position to preserve the site as a global asset and to subject any development proposal to EIA procedures with full public involvement. The response of ZDNPWLM was included in Annex IV of the twenty-second session of the Committee (Kyoto, 1998) where the Delegate of Zimbabwe stressed that the bi-national meeting be organised within the existing framework for co-operation between the Governments of the two countries.

New information: The bi-national meeting is being planned to discuss the threat of inappropriate tourism development and improvement of co-ordination and consistency between site management of the two countries. A mission to review the situation at the Victoria Falls site recommended that the bilateral meeting be preceded by individual country meetings with the aim of establishing a basis for improved joint management of the site. Each country would prepare concise position statements to act as a basis for improved joint management of the site. IUCN has been requested by the two countries and the Centre to facilitate the bilateral meeting. The Centre and the IUCN Regional Office in South Africa are in contact with the Parties for the planning of the bi-national meeting.

Action Required

The Bureau may invite the two State Parties to fully co-operate with IUCN and the Centre to organize the bi-national meeting in the latter half of 1999 and report on the findings and recommendations of the meeting to the twenty third session of the Committee.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Previous deliberations:

Twenty-second session of the Committee – Chapter VII.27

Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – Chapter IV. 46 

 

New information: IUCN’s Regional Office for Southern Africa was intending to organise a bilateral meeting for 28 July 1999 but it was not held because of lack of funding.  IUCN recommends that a formal request be submitted by the State Parties to fund this meeting in 2000.

The Zimbabwean Department of Physical Planning informed IUCN’s Regional Office for Southern Africa, i.e. IUCN/ROSA on the status of the Victoria Falls Environmental Capacity Enhancement and Master Plan.  CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) has pledged to provide financial and technical support for the implementation of this Master Plan Project.  A Memorandum of Understanding between CIDA and the Government of Zimbabwe is to be signed in mid-October.  The Canadian Executing Agency has been contracted and the inception phase of the project has begun.  IUCN/ROSA and other agencies have been invited to a preliminary meeting, scheduled for October, to discuss project implementation arrangements and progress to date.  IUCN/ROSA has been co-opted on to the Project Steering Committee for the Master Plan Project, specifically to represent interests of the Zambia/Zimbabwe Joint Commission, formed at the time of the Victoria Falls Strategic Environmental Study.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1999
23 BUR IV.B.46
Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)

The Bureau recalled that at, twenty-second extraordinary session, it was informed of IUCN's review of the "Scoping Report:  Potential impacts associated with the proposed development of the Mosi-oa-Tunya Hotel Complex", commissioned by Sun International, the company that would like to develop this hotel complex on the Zambian side of this transborder site.  IUCN had raised the following key issues of concern:

(a) the proposed development site is within the World Heritage area and particularly close to the river banks;

(b) institutional support to be provided by the Zambian Government to address environmental problems is not defined; and

(c) the Government of Zambia needs to discuss the  project with the Government of Zimbabwe to seek the latter's agreement on implementation policies, procedures and schedules. The Zimbabwean Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management (ZDNPWLM) had emphasised the need to preserve the World Heritage site as a global asset and stressed that any development proposal should be subject to EIA procedures that invite full public involvement.  Since it lacked detailed information on the hotel development proposal, ZDNPWLM had been unable to make specific and constructive comments or endorse the development proposal.

The Bureau had requested the Centre to co-operate with the IUCN Regional Office for Southern Africa bringing representatives from the Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe together in a bi-national meeting.  This meeting was to be designed and organised in such a manner as to clarify issues concerning this development project in accordance with the joint responsibility of the two States Parties to conserve and properly manage this transborder World Heritage property.  The Bureau supported the ZDNPWLM's position to preserve the site as a global asset and to subject any development proposal to EIA procedures with full public involvement.  The response of ZDNPWLM was included in Annex IV of the twenty-second session of the Committee (Kyoto 1998) in which the Delegate of Zimbabwe stressed that the bi-national meeting be organised within the existing framework for co-operation between the Governments of the two countries.

At its twenty-third session, the Bureau was informed by the Centre that a bi-national meeting was being planned.  A mission to review the situation at the Victoria Falls site recommended that the bilateral meeting be preceded by individual country meetings with the aim of establishing a basis for improved joint management of the site. The Delegate of Zimbabwe informed the Bureau that the Regional Office of IUCN had assisted the States Parties concerned and that a bilateral meeting will be held on 28 July 1999.

The Bureau invited the two States Parties to fully co-operate with IUCN and the Centre to organize the proposed bi-national meeting and report on the findings and recommendations to the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau.

23 COM X.B.28
State of conservation reports of natural properties noted by the Committee

X.28 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-99/CONF.209/6) included as Annex VIII to this report. Additional observations made during the Committee session are reflected below.

Shark Bay, Western Australia (Australia)

Wet Tropics of Queensland (Australia)

Heard and McDonald Islands (Australia)

The Delegate of Australia thanked IUCN for the consultative process started, which could be a model for other State Parties. He also informed the Committee that the area of marine protection around Macquerie Island had been extended and now comprises 16 million ha, the world's largest highly protected marine zone.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)

Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon)

Los Katios National Park (Colombia)

The Delegate of Colombia informed the Committee that a visit by a delegation from the Ministry for Environment to Los Katios was recently carried out. The visit included areas that were previously not accessible. He emphasized that the proposal to grant collective land ownership over 100,000ha would be outside the Park in the buffer zone. He commented that his Government would be pleased to receive the visit of the monitoring mission to this site in 2000. The Colombian authorities have enhanced transboundary co-operation with Darien National Park (Panama) and strengthened the protected area system.

Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Dominica)

Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

The Observer of the United States underlined his Government's role in safeguarding Galapagos Islands and congratulated the Government of Ecuador on progress made. He noted the landmark decision of the Galapagos Law and questioned whether it had been implemented, in particular concerning the forty-mile zone. The Secretariat informed the Committee that some threats related to illegal fishing have been reported. IUCN noted the implementation of this pioneering legislation is vital and specific regulations need to be developed and implemented as soon as possible. The Delegate of Ecuador provided information from the Ministry of Environment noting progress concerning control of introduced species and general improvements in relation to biodiversity conservation at the site. Concerning the control of the 40-mile zone, she stated that the law has not yet been implemented, but that the basis for the conservation and environmental control is there. She thanked the Committee for all its efforts to safeguard the Galapagos.

Kaziranga National Park (India)

Komodo National Park (Indonesia)

Mount Kenya National Park (Kenya)

Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal)

The Observer of Nepal expressed his gratitude for the international support for the important project on tourism carried out at Sagarmatha National Park. The Observer of the United Kingdom noted that it is a ground-breaking project.

Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand (New Zealand)

Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)

The Delegate of Thailand noted the raised serious concerns raised by the Bureau regarding the management of this site, given the decline in numbers of the Arabian Oryx and the fact that the boundary marking and management planning is long overdue for completion. He recalled that the Committee inscribed the site without legislation and management plan in December 1994. He highlighted the Operational Guidelines in relation to the deletion of properties. The Delegate of Benin noted that rigour was not always applied in the past years and that a number of sites would not have been accepted if they were presented today. Concerning the question of deletion, a site would be put first on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Delegate of Thailand made it clear that he had not proposed the deletion of the site from the World Heritage List and that he was totally aware of the modalities in that respect. The Observer of the United Kingdom noted that similar problems concerned a number of sites and that these issues would certainly be dealt with by the periodic reporting process. IUCN pointed out that it had consistently raised concerns about this site. IUCN noted that legislation does not have effect if there is not sufficient resources for its implementation. The Chairperson reminded the Committee members about the rarity of Arab natural sites on the List. In concluding, the Chairperson thanked the Committee for the debate and noted that awareness needs to be raised in countries about the World Heritage Convention, its obligations and World Heritage values to be preserved for future generations, in particular among decision-makers. He thanked the Delegate of Thailand for his statement and encouraged the Committee to further reflect on how to enhance the protection of World Heritage sites.

Huascaran National Park (Peru)

Lake Baikal (Russian Federation)

The Observer of Russia requested that the information provided during the adoption of the report of the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau on this site be included in the Bureau report.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda)

Gough Island (United Kingdom)

Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania)

Canaima National Park (Venezuela)

Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)

Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)

The Bureau may wish to adopt the following text and transmit it to the Committee for noting:

“The Bureau invites the States Parties to expedite the organisation of the bilateral meeting as soon as possible in 2000 in order to report the outcome of the meeting to the twenty-fourth session of the Bureau in mid-2000. The Bureau urges the two States Parties to submit a joint request for financial support for the organisation of the meeting to the consideration of the Chairperson for approval.”

Report year: 1999
Zambia Zimbabwe
Date of Inscription: 1989
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)
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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