1.         Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) (N 1167)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2004

Criteria  (vii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2005-2005)
Total amount approved: USD 66,600
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 1,800,000 for the 3-year UNF/UNFIP Project (2005-2007) – Partnership for the Conservation of Sumatra Natural Heritage; USD 35,000 Rapid Response Facility grant (2007).

Previous monitoring missions

2006: UNESCO/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; 2007: World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; February 2009: World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; April 2011: World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Road construction

b) Agricultural encroachment

c) Illegal logging

d) Poaching

e) Institutional and governance weaknesses

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 1 February 2011, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, providing information on progress in the implementation of recommendations adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010). From 7 to 16 April 2011, a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission visited the property, as requested by Decision 34 COM 7B.14 (the fourth reactive monitoring mission since 2006). At the time of writing this document, the mission report was not yet finalised. Once completed, the mission report will be made available online at the following web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/35COM. An oral presentation of the mission’s outcomes will therefore be made to the World Heritage Committee. Based on the mission results, a revised draft decision may also be prepared by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN.

The serial property consists of three components, namely Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP), Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP) and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP), all of which face similar conservation issues.

a) Road construction

The State Party notes that in response to severe earthquakes in West Sumatra in 2009 several emergency roads were built through KSNP for the distribution of food and goods, many of which were subsequently closed down as the situation improved. A ministerial decree (S.52/Menhut-IV/2010) was adopted in February 2010 urging protected area authorities in Indonesia to prevent illegal road construction within their jurisdictions. However, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN have received reports, documented in the press, that despite the adoption of this decree, discussions among local governments and stakeholders continue on financing and building four proposed roads through the park’s core zones, for local economic development needs and as evacuation routes in case of natural disasters. These reports suggest that there are existing roads that could meet these needs, but that these are not maintained in good condition. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the proposed roads would significantly fragment Sumatran tiger habitat, one of the property’s key flagship species which forms part of its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) under criterion (x). They recall that the World Heritage Committee in Decision 34 COM 7B.14 had requested the State Party to immediately halt all road construction plans in KSNP, and consider that these road proposals pose a major threat to the property and represent a potential danger to its OUV, including the conditions of integrity, in line with Paragraph 180(b)(ii) of the Operational Guidelines. On 9 May 2011, the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party and urged the authorities to provide the Centre with all relevant documents and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposed road developments within KSNP.

The State Party reports that in BBSNP, the Ministry of Forestry has permitted the improvement of the roads from Sukabumi to Suoh and from Way Heni to Way Hayu, provided that the park authority and the local government can develop agreements on their control and use, including the building of guard posts and the relocation of any settlements along this road, in order to avoid further negative impacts on wildlife. The nature of these improvements is unclear and should be clarified. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the Way Heni – Sukaraja road continues to adversely affect wildlife, particularly rhinos, and the ecological connectivity between the Northern and Southern portions of the property.

The State Party does not mention any plans for road development in GLNP. However, IUCN has received reports which suggest that the Ladia Galaska road development project, located outside the property, would have a significant impact on the larger Leuser Ecosystem, would present a potential danger to the long-term survival of several of the property’s flagship species, including orangutan, tigers, and elephants, which form part of its OUV under criterion (x).

b) Agricultural expansion

The use of satellite imagery has permitted the State Party, in collaboration with UNESCO Jakarta, to determine the deforestation rate in the property caused by illegal logging and encroachment (1200 ha/yr for BBSNP, 2000 ha/yr for KSNP, and 625 ha/yr for GLNP). However, the State Party does not provide time-series satellite imagery of the property for 2006-2010, as requested by the Committee in Decision 34 COM 7B.14. The State Party notes that the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA) has formed an Indonesia-wide Anti-Encroachment Task Force (Kelompok Kerja Penanganan Perambahan, KKPP), which has mapped encroachment areas in GLNP and will do so for the other two components of the property.

IUCN has received NGO reports that agricultural expansion of plantation crops (cocoa, rubber, and oil palm) around GLNP occurs mostly in the lowland forests where most Sumatran orangutans are found. IUCN has also received reports that there appear to be proposals for Commercial Forest Plantations (Hutan Tanaman Industry, HTI) in the Rimba Karya Indah area of the Batang Ulu watershed which has been identified as key watershed forest and important tiger habitat, and which is enclosed on three sides by KSNP. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that, as noted above in section (a), much of the critically important habitat for some key species is located outside the inscribed GLNP, in the surrounding Leuser Ecosystem. They strongly encourage the inclusion of these high biodiversity areas in the property in order to better reflect the OUV for which the property was inscribed, as recommended by IUCN in its evaluation at the time of inscription. They also suggest the inclusion of the Rimba Karya Indah area enclosed by KSNP. The State Party does not provide any information on the establishment of an appropriate buffer zone to secure the conservation of the property, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Decision 34 COM 7B.14). They consider that there remains an urgent need to establish through law an appropriate buffer zone for the entire property.

c) Institutional coordination mechanism

The State Party report notes a number of initiatives to improve cooperation between park managers and other stakeholders in the management of the different components of the property, based on the 2007 Emergency Action Plan (EAP). The State Party gives several examples of the successes achieved under these initiatives, including the signing of Memoradums of Understanding with several institutions to regulate water use in KSNP, the establishment of a community group to assist park rangers in monitoring illegal activities in BBSNP, and the relocation of political refugees from GLNP to South Sumatra Province. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall the World Heritage Committee’s recommendation that a clear insitutional coordination mechanism should be developed to ensure that the large number of activities that are not within the park’s mandate and which are beyond its legal competence are addressed. The initiatives noted above, though welcome, do not comprise such a coordination mechanism.

d) Monitoring system

The State Party reports that regular biological monitoring is undertaken in collaboration with NGOs. It also notes that satellite imagery is used for larger-scale monitoring of the forest ecosystem, which revealed that approximately 7000 ha of forest in BBSNP has been severely impacted by the invasive species Meremia peltata. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall the World Heritage Committee’s recommendation that an effective and prioritized monitoring system should be developed and implemented to assess the status and trends of key factors affecting the OUV of the property, including encroachment, illegal logging, poaching, wildlife trade, invasive species, and any anticipated climate change impacts in all components of the property.

e) Law enforcement

The State Party notes that the park authorities have taken several steps to improve law enforcement in the property, including regular patrolling, prosecuting transgressors, building park staff’s law enforcement capacity, and providing adequate tools and training for park rangers to implement law enforcement. Besides these efforts, park authorities also conduct preventive activities by developing collaboration with stakeholders and environmental education and awareness programmes, among others.

f) Establishment of new provinces, districts and sub-districts

The State Party notes that, in accordance with the central government’s decentralization programme, local governments throughout Indonesia are establishing new districts. The State Party also notes that newly established districts often ignore the existence of protected areas and seek to develop their economies through the exploitation of natural resources. The State Party reports that in the provinces surrounding KSNP, 14 new districts were created, some of which overlap with the property. It states that this situation encourages park authorities to more intensively disseminate conservation information and develop collaboration with stakeholders, which is expected to generate more support for protected area management. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that the establishment of new districts further complicates the management of the property and increases development threats, including from road construction. They recall the World Heritage Committee’s recommendation that the establishment of new provinces, districts and sub-districts should be halted to reduce both the administrative complexity of the property’s management and the multiple development threats.

g) Ecosystem based restoration plan and community development programmes

The State Party report notes that the park authorities have restored degraded lands by planting indigenous plant species. So far, 20.75 ha of GLNP, 1500 ha of BBSNP and 150 ha of KSNP have been planted, and another 6000 ha of BBSNP are scheduled for restoration in 2011, especially in former encroachment areas. The State Party also notes that it is in the process of developing a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme for two national parks, and that if their implementation is successul, similar programmes will be developed for the components of the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that the State Party should expedite the development of a REDD programme in the property as an approach to addressing the multiple threats to its OUV. IUCN recalls its suggestion that the State Party make provision within REDD and the Forest Investment Programme (FIP) on conserving the property’s forest ecosystem, and notes its willingness to assist the State Party in designing and implementing an effective programme in this regard.

The State Party notes that community development programmes are conducted in all three components of the property, with the objective of improving livelihoods, decreasing dependence on and raising awareness of the property’s biodiversity.

h) Illegal mining

The State Party reports that no illegal mining has so far occurred in KSNP and GLNP, but that small scale illegal mining of sand was found in BBSNP. IUCN has received NGO reports that with declining revenues from oil and gas production in Aceh Province, the provincial government is under increasing pressure to expand the mining sector. These reports note that there are plans for coal mining development in the hill forests inland of the Tripa swamps, which are part of the Leuser Ecosystem and adjacent to the property. The exact location of this proposed development should be clarified in relation to potential impacts on the property’s OUV. 

i) Poaching

The State Party report does not provide information on poaching incidents, but the World Heritage Centre and IUCN have received reports that two elephants were shot by poachers in April 2011. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recognize the efforts being made by the State Party to implement the World Heritage Committee’s recommendations, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010). Despite some progress, the property continues to face serious threats including road construction proposals in several of its components, notably Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP), and high levels of encroachment. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that the World Heritage Committee had requested the State Party to immediately halt all road construction plans in KSNP. They highlight that these road proposals and the high levels of encroachment are a serious threat to the property and represent both a potential and ascertained danger to its OUV in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, as confirmed by the findings of three monitoring missions since 2006. Given that the property clearly meets the relevant criteria in the Operational Guidelines, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the World Heritage Committee inscribe the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra on the List of World Heritage in Danger and reiterate its encouragement to the State Party to fully support this inscription as its purpose is to strengthen international cooperation efforts and promote rapid conservation action to safeguard the property. They also recommend that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to accompany the inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger by a one-year programme to develop a plan of action, facilitated through International Assistance, which should include exploration of options to seek support from the international community including key donors to the property and surrounding areas.

They note that the results of the 2011 World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission report will be presented orally to the 35th session of the World Heritage Committee and that a revised draft decision may also be prepared by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to reflect its recommendations and the proposed corrective measures.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note reports of planned coal mining adjacent to Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP). They recommend that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to provide additional information on this mining proposal to the World Heritage Centre, including a map showing its exact location and an EIA of its likely impacts on the property’s OUV, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.16

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.14, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Notes with appreciation the State Party's efforts to implement the World Heritage Committee's recommendations adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), and encourages the State Party to continue and further intensify these efforts;

4. Expresses its utmost concern that road development plans and agricultural encroachment continue to pose a major threat to the property, and considers that these threats represent both a potential and ascertained danger to its Outstanding Universal Value in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, as confirmed by three monitoring missions since 2006;

5. Requests the State Party to conduct a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the cumulative effects of all road development plans in the Bukit Barisan mountain range area, where the serial property is located, in order to identify transport options for the region that do not adversely impact the property's Outstanding Universal Value, including improved maintenance of existing legal roads, and to submit this assessment to the World Heritage Centre for review;

6. Decides to inscribe the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

7. Takes note that a proposed set of correctives measures is being developed following the 2011 World Heritage Centre/IUCN joint reactive monitoring mission, in collaboration with the State Party, taking account of the corrective measures already agreed for the property at the 34th session of the World Heritage Committee;

8. Also requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre additional information on the coal mining proposal adjacent to Gunung Leuser National Park, including a map showing its exact location and an Environmental Impact Assessment of its likely impacts on the property's Outstanding Universal Value, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

9. Invites the State Party to apply for International Assistance in order to develop an action plan that would enable the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, and calls upon the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to provide technical support to the development of this action plan;

10. Further requests the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012;

11. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including confirmation that all road development proposals within the property have been halted, and on the progress achieved in addressing the other points raised above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8C.1

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List (WHC-11/35.COM/7B, WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add and WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add.2) and of proposals for inscription of properties on the World Heritage List (WHC-11/35.COM/8B, WHC-11/35.COM/8B.Add),

2. Decides to inscribe the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: