Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Selous Game Reserve

United Republic of Tanzania
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Financial resources
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Mining
  • Oil and gas
  • Water infrastructure
  • Other Threats:

    Reduction of elephant population

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Significant decline of wildlife populations due to poaching;
  • Insufficient funding and management;
  • Mineral and hydrocarbon prospecting and mining;
  • Tourism management and development;
  • Proposed dam development.
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 3 (from 1984-1999)
Total amount approved : 67,980 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

A joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission visited the property in December 2013. Subsequently, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 1 February 2014. Both reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/199/documents.

The State Party report includes information on the following points:

  • Increasing anti-poaching measures since July 2012, in particular new permanent and temporal staff recruitment, equipment and funding;
  • Receipt by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) of an official notification on the proposed Stiegler's Gorge dam project from the Ministry of Minerals and Energy in March 2013. However, the State Party commits itself to the full consideration of the World Heritage status in the assessment and to refrain from development in case of impacts on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) beyond mitigation;
  • The adding of valuable forestland to the property is hindered by overlapping uranium prospecting licenses;
  • The willingness to conduct the requested Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and ongoing efforts to secure external support are confirmed.

The mission found that the most acute threat to the property is poaching, as demonstrated by the results of the 2013 elephant survey which shows a drop of the elephant population from 70000 in 2005 to 13000, as well as the dramatic decline in the black rhino population, mostly triggered by international demand for ivory and rhino horn. Despite some progress, important further challenges include funding and management, possible impacts and risks related to uranium mining, possible future prospecting and mining and large-scale development projects proposed within and near the property, including the Stiegler’s gorge and Kidunda dam projects.

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

The result of the recent elephant survey shows a drop of close to 90% of the population compared with the time of inscription, and clearly indicates the magnitude of the poaching problem. While the important efforts by the State Party to reconsolidate funding and management of the site are well noted, there is no indication that this poaching crisis has been brought under control. The recent suspension of a major anti-poaching campaign serves as a reminder of severe challenges and a stronger response is urgently needed. The dramatic reduction in populations of key species explicitly referred to in the Statement of OUV is unprecedented. This provides a clear foundation to recommend inscription on the List of World Heritage List in Danger in conformity with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger to fully acknowledge the scale of the challenge, draw political attention and rally support, including at the international level. The development of a Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, as well as a set of corrective measures and a timeframe for their implementation should be used as tools to guide a consolidated management response. The efforts coincide with the imminent updating of the General Management Plan (GMP) of Selous Game Reserve and the processes could ideally be merged. It is clear that the implementation of anti-poaching and overall management requires adequate funding in line with the scale and significance of the property.

Beyond the immediate concerns about poaching, multiple ongoing or proposed development projects within and near the property require increasing attention in terms of direct and indirect impacts on OUV. Careful and comprehensive analysis and decision-making is required at the level of the Larger Selous Ecosystem. This would also provide a framework for involving the communities adjacent to the property in decision-making and benefit-sharing. The legal changes in 2009 permitting the exploration and extraction of uranium, oil and gas in game reserves, and apparently granted licenses overlapping the property, are clearly incompatible with its World Heritage status. The mission also confirmed that adequate water monitoring and risk preparedness remain to be ensured for the Mkuju River uranium mining project (MRP), immediately adjacent to and upstream of the property. The possible application of In-situ Leaching (ISL) at MRP would inevitably prompt a need for additional Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).

The Committee’s position on the incompatibility of the Stiegler’s Gorge dam project with the World Heritage status of the property should be recalled. In addition, there continues to be a need to better understand the potential impacts of the Kidunda dam on the property’s OUV. The Committee may recall the State Party’s commitment to the protection and conservation of the property, as stated in the letter of the State Party received on 1 July 2012, as well as the Committee’s requests to the State Party not to engage in any mining activity within the property after exclusion of the Mkuju River Project, and not to undertake any development activities within the property and its buffer zone without prior approval of the World Heritage Committee.

Given the complexity and cumulative effects of the multiple existing and potential threats, a better understanding beyond individual Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) is needed to guide decision-making. A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) should be conducted as requested by the Committee in Decision 37 COM 7B.7 and as desired by the State Party according to its report.

It is recommended that the Committee call on the international community, and in particular States Parties where there is a high demand for ivory and rhino horn such as China, Thailand and Vietnam, to support the State Party in halting the illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn. In addition, it is recommended that the Committee also call upon the international community to provide technical and financial support to the management of the property.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.95
Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 199bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.5, 36 COM 8B.43 and 37 COM 7B.7, adopted at its 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party for the establishment of the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA), the formulation of a comprehensive National Anti-poaching Strategy, the establishment of the Wildlife Conservation Basket Fund for supporting anti-poaching initiatives, and the mobilisation of human, material and financial resources;
  4. Notes with concern the poaching and the ensuing dramatic declines in elephant populations, as evidenced by the results of the recent aerial elephant survey, and considers that poaching and the effects thereof represent a clear ascertained danger to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  5. Appreciates the State Party’s concurrence with the recommendation of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to include the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  6. Decides to inscribe Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  7. Requests the State Party to collaborate with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, in particular on the formulated National Anti-poaching Strategy, the implementation of which would eradicate this plague in the Larger Selous Ecosystem within 12 months;
  8. Exhorts the international donor community, to provide urgent technical and financial assistance for the implementation of the anti-poaching strategy, and also calls upon the States Parties which are transit and destination countries for ivory and rhino horn, to support the State Party to halt the illegal trade in wildlife and its derivatives, in particular through the implementation of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);
  9. Also requests the State Party to implement the recommendations of the 2013 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission, which build upon earlier mission recommendations, in particular to:
    1. Ensure full disaster preparedness and independent quantitative and qualitative water monitoring related to the Mkuju River Project (MRP) and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the case of consideration of In-Situ Leaching (ISL),
    2. Develop a strategy to manage the property at the wider landscape level of the “Larger Selous Ecosystem” and formalize this landscape level management through the establishment of a buffer zone and potentially strategic additions to the property,
    3. Clarify the status of planning and decision-making of the Stiegler's Gorge Dam project and ensure a comprehensive understanding of the impacts, risks, costs, benefits, and alternatives as a basis for any decision-making regarding the project both in the form of an in-depth EIA and the comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) noted below, taking into account the OUV of the property,
    4. Complete the existing Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Kidunda dam project and fully consider the OUV of the property in all assessments and decision-making,
    5. Take advantage of the upcoming updating of the General Management Plan to fully consider the World Heritage status of the property and to address the emerging issue of alien invasive species,
    6. Further enhance the involvement of, and benefits for, local communities, in particular by consolidating Wildlife Management Areas as a promising entry point and framework;
  10. Reiterates its request to the State Party not to undertake any development activities within Selous Game Reserve and its surrounding areas without prior approval of the World Heritage Committee in accordance with the Operational Guidelines;
  11. Also reiterates its request to the State Party not to engage in any mining activity within the property after exclusion of the Mkuju River Mining site as per Decision 36 COM 8B.43, in line with its established position that mining and oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status;
  12. Welcomes the willingness of the State Party to address the multiple threats to the OUV of the property, and to undertake a SEA for the Larger Selous Ecosystem, and recalls that this SEA should comprehensively identify the cumulative impacts of the various existing and proposed developments both within the property and in important wildlife corridors and dispersal areas that are critical for maintaining the OUV and integrity of the property, including but not limited to the Selous-Niassa Corridor, in conformity with the IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Impact Assessment;
  13. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, including a one-page executive summary and a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, including a timeframe for achieving it, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.
38 COM 8C.1
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (inscribed sites)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List (WHC-14/38.COM/7B, WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add and WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add.Corr) and the proposals for inscription of properties on the World Heritage List (WHC-14/38.COM/8B and WHC-14/38.COM/8B.Add),
  2. Decides to inscribe the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 38 COM 8B.4)
  • Plurinational State of Bolivia, City of Potosi (Decision 38 COM 7B.38)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7B.95)
Draft Decision:   38 COM 7B.95

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.5, 36 COM 8B.43 and 37 COM 7B.7, adopted at its 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions respectively,  

3.  Commends the State Party on progress made towards the establishment of the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) and urges the State Party to conclude the process, while ensuring direct revenue retention and direct re-investment of at least 50% of the revenues in the property;

4.  Expresses its utmost concern about poaching and the ensuing dramatic declines in wildlife populations, as evidenced by the results of the recent aerial wildlife survey, and considers that poaching and the effects thereof represent a clear ascertained danger to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;

5.  Decides to inscribe Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

6.  Requests the State Party to develop in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN and implement as corrective measures, a comprehensive emergency anti-poaching programme with the objective to halt poaching in the Larger Selous Ecosystem within 12 months, and to develop a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, including a timeframe for achieving it, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;

7.  Calls upon the international donor community, to provide urgent technical and financial assistance for the development and implementation of an anti-poaching programme, and also calls upon the States Parties where a high demand for ivory and rhino horn exists, to support the State Party to halt the illegal trade in wildlife and its derivatives in particular through the implementation of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);

8.  Also requests the State Party to implement the recommendations of the 2013 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission, which build upon earlier mission recommendations, in particular to:

a)  Ensure full disaster preparedness and independent quantitative and qualitative water monitoring related to the Mkuju River Project (MRP) and conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the case of consideration of In-Situ Leaching (ISL),

b)  Develop a strategy to manage the property at the wider landscape level of the “Larger Selous Ecosystem” and formalize this landscape level management through the establishment of a buffer zone and potentially strategic additions to the property,

c)  Unambiguously clarify the status of planning and decision-making of the Stiegler's Gorge Dam project and ensure a comprehensive understanding of the impacts, risks, costs, benefits, and alternatives as a basis for any decision-making regarding the project both in the form of an in-depth EIA and the comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) noted below, taking into account the OUV of the property,

d)  Complete the existing Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Kidunda dam project and fully consider the OUV of the property in all assessments and decision-making,

e)  Take advantage of the upcoming updating of the General Management Plan to fully consider the World Heritage status of the property and to address the emerging issue of alien invasive species,

f)  Further enhance the involvement of, and benefits for, local communities, in particular by consolidating Wildlife Management Areas as a promising entry point and framework;

9.  Reiterates its request to the State Party not to undertake any development activities within Selous Game Reserve and its surrounding areas without prior approval of the World Heritage Committee in accordance with the Operational Guidelines;

10.  Also reiterates its request to the State Party not to engage in any mining activity within the property after exclusion of the Mkuju River Mining site as per Decision 36 COM 8B.43, in line with its established position that mining and oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status;

11.  Welcomes the willingness of the State Party to address the multiple threats to the OUV of the property, and to undertake a SEA for the Larger Selous Ecosystem, and recalls that this SEA should comprehensively identify the cumulative impacts of the various existing and proposed developments both within the property and in important wildlife corridors and dispersal areas that are critical for maintaining the OUV and integrity of the property, including but not limited to the Selous -Niassa Corridor, in conformity with the IUCN World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;

12.  Further requests 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 and on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

Report year: 2014
United Republic of Tanzania
Date of Inscription: 1982
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 2014-present
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.


top