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Gunung Mulu National Park

Factors affecting the property in 2001*
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Lack of inclusion of indigenous peoples and their claims in the decision to extend the Park

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2001
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2001

IUCN has brought to the attention of the Centre information concerning a proposal to enlarge Mulu World Heritage site to include Gunung Buda. The proposal however, is raising concern amongst indigenous groups and the wider conservation community because of the reported lack of inclusion of indigenous peoples and their claims in the decision to extend Gunung Mulu.


The recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in Sarawak was upheld by the historical legal decision on Rumah Nor.  On the 12 May 2001 the High Court of Sarawak upheld the customary rights of the Iban village Rumah Nor when it found that the Borneo Paper and Pulp company, which had begun logging the forest claimed by the villagers, did not have the right to destroyRumah Nor's rainforest. 


Following this decision, the people of Gunung Buda lodged a claim with a land tribunal seeking an injunction to rule that they should have a share in the management of the Gunung Buda area. The government argued against this on the grounds that there was no properly surveyed boundary of their claimed lands, and so the claim was denied.  Thus the indigenous peoples are opposing the inclusion of Gunung Buda in the Gunung Mulu World Heritage site.


IUCN notes that the twenty-fourth session of the Bureau, in its recommendations to refer the nomination back to the State Party had sought, amongst others, “…assurance that the new management plan addresses issues relating to local peoples’ use of and benefits from the Park as well as the new contractual arrangements for management of the Park…”. Further, the Committee, when it inscribed the site on the World Heritage List at its last session in Cairns, Australia, had suggested that the “…authorities be encouraged to review additions to the site for their World Heritage potential when the gazetting process is completed”.


In addition to the possibility of extension of the site, IUCN has been advised of three on-going initiatives aimed at enhancing management of Gunung Mulu National Park:

·  Implementation of the Plan for Management of the Park - This plan was reviewed as part of the evaluation of the nomination of the site. Current status includes examination of options for contracting out management of thePark to theprivate sector, while overall regulatory responsibility remains with the Ministry of Forestry, Department of National Parks.  The Plan of Management for the Park has been drafted in a manner that supports this possibility.

·  Community development for areas outside the Park; this initiative aims to develop options for better planning and development around the Park boundaries, particularly in the Mulu area, including issues of land title, planning processes etc.  This initiative could enable locals to manage better, and benefit from, the opportunities that come with World Heritage listing.

·  Preliminary drafting of a project concept to secure international assistance with capacity building for management of the park - to focus on staff capacity and skills development.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2001
Reports on SOC of natural properties inscribed noted by the Committee


Reports on the state of conservation of natural properties inscribed on the World Heritage List noted by the Committee

Great Barrier Reef (Australia)

Fraser Island (Australia)

The Sundarbans (Bangladesh)

Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)

Gros Morne National Park (Canada)

Nahanni National Park (Canada)

Los Katios National Park (Colombia) 

Caves of the Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (Hungary/Slovakia)

The Committee noted that the issues raised concern only the Slovak part of this transboundary site.

Sundarbans National Park (India) 

The Delegate of India informed the Committee that there is no National Waterways Project that is planned or likely to impact this site.

Kaziranga National Park (India)

Komodo National Park (Indonesia)

Lorentz National Park (Indonesia)

The Observer of Indonesia thanked the Australian authorities for their financial assistance. He informed the Committee that it would be difficult to comply with the deadline of 1 February and that a report could be provided by the end of March 2002.

Aeolian Islands (Italy)

The Observer of Italy confirmed that there was a court decision on 4 December 2001, which is not yet public, but that it is hoped to be available soon. She informed the Committee that the collaboration between the autonomous regional Government and the central Government has commenced and that a meeting will take place to find a solution. 

Banc d'Arguin National Park (Mauritania)

The Delegate of Egypt brought to the attention of the Committee the importance of protecting the wetlands, which are known to be important rest places for the migratory birds along their routes. He suggested that the World Heritage Centre should have a plan defining the wetlands, which are important for the birds and to use this information for establishing "satellite" World Heritage sites. IUCN informed of the co-operation between the World Heritage Centre and the Ramsar Convention as well as with Bird Life International for the protection of the wetlands. He also highlighted the importance of the surrounding areas to the World Heritage sites and the links with the Man and Biosphere programme for the protection of the sites. The Secretariat informed of the on-going discussions with the Secretariat of the Convention of Migratory Species to establish a Memorandum of Understanding between these two Conventions.

Gunung Mulu National Park (Malaysia)

Sian Ka'an (Mexico)

The Delegate of Mexico informed that the confirmation of the Ecological Land-Use Plan is in its final phase and consequently she asked that the deadline for the report requested by the Bureau be set for 15 May 2002 for examination at the twenty-sixth session of the Committee in June.

Royal Chitwan National Park (Nepal)

Western Caucasus (Russian Federation)

Golden Mountains of Altai (Russian Federation)

Doñana National Park (Spain)

Sinharaja Forest Reserve (Sri Lanka)

Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)

Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast (United Kingdom)

St Kilda (United Kingdom)

Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (United States of America)

Canaima National Park (Venezuela)


The Bureau may wish to adopt the following:

“The Bureau welcomes the possibility of the extension of the Park and notes with satisfaction the initiatives to improve site-management and staff capacity building. The Bureau however, invites the State Party to give due considerations to the involvement of indigenous peoples and other local communities in planning and implementing decisions regarding the extension of the site, and to seek their full co-operation in the management of the site, including the extensions planned. The Bureau recommends that the State Party provide a report, before 1 February 2002, on the results of its negotiations with indigenous communities for review by its twenty-sixth session in April 2002”

Report year: 2001
Date of Inscription: 2000
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 25COM (2001)

* : 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.