1.         Maloti-Drakensberg Park (Lesotho,South Africa) (C/N 985bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (i)(iii)(vii)(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/985/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2014-2014)
Total amount approved: USD 20,736
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/985/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Threats identified at the time of the extension in 2013 (Decision 37 COM 8B.18) included:

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/985/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 28 January 2015, the States Parties submitted a joint state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/985/documents/. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in the report as follows:

The report also notes that the State Party of South Africa is conducting a feasibility study for the proposed cable car near the property.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies

The commitments of the State Party of Lesotho, firstly to the preparation of a credible and comprehensive inventory of rock art, based on thorough research and documentation, and secondly to the forthcoming study on the potential cultural contribution of landscape elements, are both fundamental to understanding the cultural attributes of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). These projects need to be completed expeditiously, to facilitate evaluation of the state of conservation, to ensure effective heritage management and to guide appropriate presentation.

Some progress has been made, and further initiatives are proposed, with respect to training of staff within the Sehlabathebe management base. Staff training has also been included within the terms of reference for the rock art research and inventory project. However, more extensive training is required in the immediate future, so that there will be adequate capacity within the State Party to implement the outcomes and recommendations from the research and inventory work.

Both research projects and the forthcoming training initiatives warrant high priority and expeditious implementation. Adequate resources should continue to be made available until the inventory, landscape elements study and additional training, as well as the implementation processes, which flow from their preparation, are complete.

At this stage, it is appropriate that the moratorium on conservation interventions to any of the rock art sites continues, pending completion of the inventory and provision of additional training.

The development of the Biodiversity Resources Management Bill – a more comprehensive version of the Nature Conservation Bill 2005 – is ongoing as a high priority, which is welcomed. It is also noted with appreciation that any major development projects around the property would be subject to impact assessment and discussions under the trans-boundary coordination structures.

The States Parties’ report does not address issues relating to invasive alien species and fire, in response to the Committee’s request that invasive species and fire management be addressed jointly by Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal (Decision 37 COM 8B.18).

The World Heritage Centre sent a letter dated 14 February 2014 to the States Parties of Lesotho and South Africa, to request clarification on the information received regarding a proposal to construct a cableway in close proximity to the property. In its letter, the World Heritage Centre placed emphasis on the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for all proposals to assess impacts on the OUV of the property, including its integrity. The State Party of South Africa submitted a letter of reply to the World Heritage Centre on 16 April 2014, stating that a feasibility study had been initiated and confirmed that an EIA will be conducted and that the World Heritage Centre would be informed of the EIA findings. The need for the EIA to include a detailed Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) should be noted.

Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.33

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 8B.18, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Welcomes the commencement, by the State Party of Lesotho, of new research and documentation of rock art within Sehlabathebe National Park, building on the Analysis of Rock Art in Lesotho (ARAL) project, as well as the study on the landscape elements, encompassing both ethnographic research and oral history, in order to identify their potential contribution to Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and encourages the State Party of Lesotho to ensure that this essential work receives high priority and adequate ongoing resources, and requests the State Party of Lesotho to submit the outcomes to the World Heritage Centre, for review by ICOMOS;
  4. Notes the State Party of South Africa’s agreement to carry-out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed cableway, and requests that it should include a detailed Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment and ICOMOS’ Guidelines on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties, and also requests the State Party of South Africa to submit a copy of the completed assessment to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  5. Also welcomes the cooperation of both States Parties in updating the Maloti-Drakensberg Joint Management Plan from both a natural and cultural World Heritage perspective, and urges the States Parties to ensure that invasive alien species and fire management are adequately addressed in the Joint Management Plan; including provisions for ensuring the resources required for the implementation of these measures;
  6. Further welcomes the progress regarding transnational collaboration and efforts towards establishment of a buffer zone area to the south of Sehlabathebe National Park, and further requests the States Parties to submit a minor boundary modification to the World Heritage Centre to recognise the buffer zones, as soon as they have been formalized;
  7. Notes with appreciation that some progress has been made, and that further initiatives are proposed, in training of staff within the Sehlabathebe management base, and also encourages further expansion of this training, so as to ensure that suitably qualified staff are available within both the Department of Culture and the Sehlabathebe National Park;
  8. Also notes with appreciation that the two States Parties have commenced updating the cultural heritage management plan, which will incorporate risk preparedness and disaster response plans, and requests furthermore the States Parties to jointly inform the World Heritage Centre as soon as this plan is approved and to provide a copy of it to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  9. Further notes with appreciation that the State Party of Lesotho is developing a Biodiversity Resources Management Bill, as a matter of priority, and requests moreover the State Party of Lesotho to inform the World Heritage Centre, as soon as this Bill is approved, and to provide a copy to the World Heritage Centre;
  10. Finally requests the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, and the related matters set out in Decision 37 COM 8B.18, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.