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Sagarmatha National Park

Nepal
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Air pollution
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Mining
  • Other climate change impacts
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Pressure and degradation from increasing tourism and mountaineering
  • Development of tourism resort and tourism pressure
  • Climate change
  • Aircraft use
  • Mining
  • Deforestation for firewood
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 7 (from 1980-1999)
Total amount approved : 232,097 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

The State Party submitted a state of conservation report dated 12 April 2014 (available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/120/documents). A number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions are presented in this report, including details of the following:

  • The issue of the Kongde View Resort has not been decided by the Supreme Court of Nepal;
  • There is an on-going preparation of the 5 year management plan of Sagarmatha National Parks (SNP) and its buffer zone (2014-2018);
  • A proposal regarding a minor boundary modification to formally recognize the existing Buffer Zone of SNP as a buffer zone to the property will be prepared and local stakeholders consulted;
  • The report also recognizes the pressure and degradation from increasing tourism and mountaineering as wells as the problems of forest fire, global warming and climate change issue;
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

It is recommended that the Committee express its sincere condolences to the families of the Sherpas killed in the avalanche on 18 April 2014 while they were preparing the route for mountaineers.

It is also recommended that the Committee express its continued concern about the range of conservation issues and threats which are impacting the property.  In particular, the apparent continued operation of the Kongde View Resort within the property and the protracted legal process concerning its future should be noted.  As no final verdict by the Supreme Court has been made, this matter remains unresolved since the construction of the resort in 2005 and legal proceedings have been on-going for more than seven years. The unauthorised operation of this facility at 4,200 masl in the property is most inappropriate and creates an unfortunate precedent for other tourism operators. 

Furthermore, it is unknown when the planned review of the Sagamartha National Park (SNP) Tourism and Management Plan for the period 2014-2018 will be finalized and information received by IUCN asserts that tourism continues to have a significant impact.  Impacts include tourism related waste such as non-biodegradable litter and human waste disposal, a reported increase in the number of trekkers, increasing use of helicopter access, and unsustainable use of park resources in infrastructure construction. IUCN has also received reports suggesting insufficient funding is made available for waste disposal and recycling carried out by a local NGO, the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC). Related to tourism use are also a range of social, cultural and livelihood impacts on Sherpa communities and other ethnic groups.

Additionally, climate change impacts on the high mountain ecosystems of the property remain poorly understood. The threat of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) continues to exist, currently focused on the Imja Tso lake on the Imja Glacier and the threat to downstream Sherpa communities.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are ready to provide assistance to the State Party of its intention to submit a minor boundary modification to formally recognize the existing Buffer Zone of SNP as a buffer zone to the property consistent with the Operational Guidelines.  All the factors affecting the property identified in previous reports continue to be priorities for resolution. Furthermore reported staff reductions and funding shortfalls will make addressing these issues even more challenging.

In light of the above, it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to request international assistance in order to invite an advisory mission to the property drawing upon IUCN’s expertise, particularly that of the Mountains Biome Specialist Group of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and the Theme on Indigenous & Local Communities, Equity and Protected Areas (TILCEPA).  Such a mission could work with the State Party to address the overall state of conservation of the property with particular attention to the impacts of the Kongde View Resort and tourism on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.68
Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal) (N 120)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.14, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the Sherpas killed in the avalanche on 18 April 2014;
  4. Reiterates its concern that the verdict of the Supreme Court of Nepal remains unknown with respect to the Kongde View Resort which is within the property and is reportedly still operating, and urges the State Party to submit the verdict to the World Heritage Centre as soon as it is issued by the court;
  5. Recommends the State Party to consult the Mountains Biome Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN Theme on Indigenous & Local Communities, Equity and Protected Areas (TILCEPA) for technical advice on the overall state of conservation of the property with particular attention to the impacts of the Kongde View Resort and tourism on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and the proposed buffer zone,
  6. Encourages the State Party to invite an IUCN advisory mission to provide advice on these matters and suggests that the State Party request International Assistance in this regard;
  7. Requests the State Party to submit an electronic and three printed copies of the (draft) revised Sagarmatha National Park Tourism and Management Plan for 2014-2018 for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;
  8. Also encourages the State Party to submit a minor boundary modification to formally recognize the existing Buffer Zone of Sagarmatha National Park as a buffer zone to the property consistent with the Operational Guidelines ;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and on the progress with respect to legal proceedings related to the Kongde View Resort, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.
Draft Decision:   38 COM 7B.68

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.14, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the Sherpas killed in the avalanche on 18 April 2014;
  4. Reiterates its concern that the verdict of the Supreme Court of Nepal remains unknown with respect to the Kongde View Resort which is within the property and is reportedly still operating, and urges the State Party to submit the verdict to the World Heritage Centre as soon as it is issued by the court;
  5. Recommends the State Party to consult the Mountains Biome Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN Theme on Indigenous & Local Communities, Equity and Protected Areas (TILCEPA) for technical advice on the overall state of conservation of the property with particular attention to the impacts of the Kongde View Resort and tourism on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and the proposed buffer zone,
  6. Encourages the State Party to invite an IUCN advisory mission to provide advice on these matters and suggests that the State Party request International Assistance in this regard;
  7. Requests the State Party to submit an electronic and three printed copies of the (draft) revised Sagarmatha National Park Tourism and Management Plan for 2014-2018 for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;
  8. Also encourages the State Party to submit a minor boundary modification to formally recognize the existing Buffer Zone of Sagarmatha National Park as a buffer zone to the property consistent with the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and on the progress with respect to legal proceedings related to the Kongde View Resort, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.
Report year: 2014
Nepal
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2014) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
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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