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Chitwan National Park

Nepal
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Illegal activities
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Proposed irrigation project to divert the Rapti river (issue resolved)
  • Increase in the natural rate of mortality of the rhinoceros (issue resolved)
  • Pollution of the Narayani River (issue resolved)
  • Bridge and road projects (issue resolved)
  • 33kV transmission line project (issue resolved)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 2 (from 1988-1989)
Total amount approved : 80,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**
December 2002: IUCN monitoring mission
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN received information from media reports about plans to construct a road and railway through the property. On 7 February 2014, the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party to request further information about these issues.

The media reports and further information received by IUCN provide the following information:

  • The Ministry of Finance revealed plans for the construction of the East-West Electric Railway and the Tarai Hulaki Highway, both of which would cross the property. Proposed alternative alignments also cut through the property. An alternative alignment following the existing East-West Highway north of and outside the property appears not to be considered, even though it is reported to potentially provide benefits to a larger public;
  • Construction of bridges for the proposed highway has started in the buffer zone of the national park. The railroad is still in its design phase, and the Government of Nepal is reported to be planning a Detailed Project Report for the section running through the property;
  • The Government of India is reported to be providing financial support for the road project;
  • There is much opposition against these projects with their currently proposed alignments, including from international and local NGOs, community groups, Chitwan National Park authority, and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. The Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation of Nepal is also reported to have spoken against development at the expense of the environment;

On 5 February 2014, IUCN was contacted by a consultancy firm tasked by the Government of Nepal to develop a detailed design of the railway alignment and undertake an environmental impact assessment, requesting further guidance on the application of IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment. IUCN replied on 7 February 2014, noting its readiness to provide technical support to the State Party.

On 28 April 2014, the World Heritage Centre received a reply from the State Party confirming the financial support of the Government of India for the road and bridge construction. The State Party also confirmed that the road and railways cross the property, and while the construction of one bridge in the buffer zone has been halted by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, another bridge is planned for further north. The Department of Railways is now undertaking a Detailed Project Report and Environmental Impact Assessment for the railroad where it crosses the property, including consideration of alternative routes.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

There is concern about the reported plans for the construction of the East-West Electric Railway and the Tarai Hulaki Highway through the property. These projects, if implemented as planned through the property, would represent a clear potential danger to its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, including through habitat fragmentation, wildlife disturbance including restricted movement and potentially reduced breeding, and an increased risk of poaching, illegal logging, and encroachment, among other illegal activities. This is of particular concern in light of the global importance of the property’s populations of Tiger and Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, and the conservation successes achieved at the property as exemplified by two recent years of zero poaching of rhino (2011 and 2013) and the strong community support for the conservation of the property recently reported in the media.

It should be noted that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the railway is being undertaken, and the request for further guidance on the application of IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment is welcomed. However, it is not clear whether an EIA has been undertaken for the highway, and the reports of construction of bridges in the buffer zone is a significant concern. It should be recalled that between 2001 and 2004, the Committee noted concern about the construction of the Kasara Bridge across the Rapti River that constitutes the northern boundary of the property, and about the fact that construction of this project had been undertaken without an EIA. The Committee, in Decision 28 COM 15B.11, also recommended “that the World Heritage Centre and IUCN continue to communicate with all concerned donors to fully understand how an infrastructure project impacting World Heritage could have been financed without an EIA and how the recurrence of such practice could be prevented in Nepal and elsewhere in the future”. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to urgently complete all environmental assessments required for these projects, including an assessment of alternative alignments that do not cross the property, before investing in the construction of infrastructure that could preclude the viability of any such alternative alignments.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.69
Chitwan National Park (Nepal) (N 284)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 28 COM 15B.11, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),
  3. Welcomes the reported success of anti-poaching measures as indicated by two recent years of zero rhino poaching (2011 and 2013), as well as the reported strong community support for the conservation of the property;
  4. Notes with concern the reported plans for the East-West Electric Railroad and the Tarai Hulaki Highway crossing the property and that construction of bridges related to the highway project is reported to have started in the buffer zone of the national park, and considers that these projects, if implemented as planned through the property, would represent a clear potential dangerto the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including through habitat fragmentation, wildlife disturbance and an increased risk of poaching and other illegal activities;
  5. Notes with appreciation the advice sought by the State Party’s consultants on the application of IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  6. Requests the State Party to ensure that Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for both projects are completed in conformity with IUCN’s Advice Note, including an assessment of cumulative impacts and alternative alignments that do not cross the property, and also requests the State Party to submit these EIAs and further details on the proposed projects to the World Heritage Centre, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines ;
  7. Further requests the State Party to put on hold any construction of infrastructure that could preclude the viability of alternative alignments that would avoid the property, until the EIA processes for both projects have been completed;
  8. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, on the status of the above infrastructure projects, and on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.
Draft Decision:            38 COM 7B.69

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 28 COM 15B.11, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),
  3. Welcomes the reported success of anti-poaching measures as indicated by two recent years of zero rhino poaching (2011 and 2013), as well as the reported strong community support for the conservation of the property;
  4. Notes with concern the reported plans for the East-West Electric Railroad and the Tarai Hulaki Highway crossing the property and that construction of bridges related to the highway project is reported to have started in the buffer zone of the national park, and considers that these projects, if implemented as planned through the property, would represent a clear potential dangerto the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including through habitat fragmentation, wildlife disturbance and an increased risk of poaching and other illegal activities;
  5. Notes with appreciation the advice sought by the State Party’s consultants on the application of IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  6. Requests the State Party to ensure that Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for both projects are completed in conformity with IUCN’s Advice Note, including an assessment of cumulative impacts and alternative alignments that do not cross the property, and also requests the State Party to submit these EIAs and further details on the proposed projects to the World Heritage Centre, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Further requests the State Party to put on hold any construction of infrastructure that could preclude the viability of alternative alignments that would avoid the property, until the EIA processes for both projects have been completed;
  8. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, on the status of the above infrastructure projects, and on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

 

Report year: 2014
Nepal
Date of Inscription: 1984
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
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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