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Selous Game Reserve

United Republic of Tanzania
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Financial resources
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Invasive/alien terrestrial species
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Mining
  • Oil and gas
  • Water infrastructure
  • Other Threats:

    Significant decline of wildlife populations due to poaching

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
  • Operationalizing the uranium mining project
  • Lack of disaster preparedness
  • Need for buffer zone
  • Need for increased involvement of local communities
  • Alien invasive species
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Poaching and the ensuing dramatic declines in elephant populations, and the effects thereof on the ecosystem

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Drafted

Corrective Measures for the property

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Not yet identified
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 3 (from 1984-1999)
Total amount approved : 67,980 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 26 February 2016, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/199/documents, which reports progress in addressing conservation issues previously raised by the Committee as follows:

  • No mining permits were issued in the property, while recalling the legal possibility of prospecting or mining of oil, gas or uranium in all Tanzanian game reserves since 2009;
  • Mobilization of significant support from multilateral, bilateral and NGO sources;
  • Increased capacity and efforts in combating poaching resulting in a stabilization of the situation in the property;
  • Efforts to enhance coordination among governmental agencies, including through the creation of a multi-agency task force to fight environmental and wildlife crimes;
  • Increased bilateral efforts, including an agreement on the transboundary Niassa-Selous Ecosystem signed with Mozambique, as well as efforts to address illegal wildlife trade involving China, in addition to ongoing regional coordination;
  • Establishment of the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) in October 2015;
  • Ongoing stakeholder consultations on the possible addition of new areas to the property at its western boundary and on the creation of a buffer zone;
  • Appointment of an inter-ministerial team to monitor the Mkuju River Project (MRP) uranium mine and efforts to establish baselines for water monitoring;
  • Confirmation that Uranium One envisages In-Situ Leaching (ISL) at MRP and that no approval for ISL has been granted so far. As for disaster preparedness, reference is made to previously provided information contained in an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for MRP;
  • Brazilian construction company Odebrecht has been nominated exclusively to develop the Stiegler’s Gorge Dam project. The company has appointed a local consulting firm to produce an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), jointly with an international expert to be identified. The EIA is reported to start soon and to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre upon completion;
  • Submission of the EIA for the proposed Kidunda Dam to the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) for final processing and subsequent sharing with the World Heritage Centre;

Follow-up to all recommendations of the 2013 Reactive Monitoring mission is ongoing, including the elaboration of a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), which was submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 16 May 2016.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The inauguration of TAWA and the increased overall capacity, including additional external support, represent opportunities to improve the management of the property and its surroundings. It will be critically important to effectively operationalize TAWA without delay and to ensure coordination among partners.

Despite signs that the dramatic past decline of elephants could be halted, a cautious interpretation of the survey data continues to be necessary, as specified in the 2013 mission report. While efforts to cooperate with destination countries of illegal wildlife products indicate an increasingly sophisticated response, much still needs to be done to resolve the poaching crisis in order to achieve a doubling of elephant and buffalo populations as proposed in the DSOCR. Studies are ongoing to fill data gaps on the elephant population and to enable the determination, by 2017, of a proposed timeframe for achieving the DSOCR. It should be recalled that the 2013 mission concluded that in addition to elephant, black rhinoceros has also been severely affected by poaching, and that it recommended that the DSOCR should include clear indicators for both elephant and rhino. It is understood that the current availability of data on the black rhinoceros population in the property does not permit the definition in the DSOCR of a clear indicator for its recovery, and it is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to undertake an analysis of the current situation of the black rhinoceros, in order to estimate the number of rhino left in the property, to inform the response required to secure it, and to update the DSOCR accordingly. It is also recommended that the Committee urge again (Decision 39 COM 7A.14) the State Party to develop and implement a comprehensive emergency Action Plan with the objective of halting poaching within the Larger Selous Ecosystem within 12 months, as originally recommended by the 2013 mission.

The appointment of an inter-ministerial team and reported water monitoring related to the Mkuju River Project uranium mine are welcome. It is important to recall the Committee’s request (Decision 38 COM 7B.95) to conduct independent quantitative and qualitative water monitoring, to undertake a new EIA in case of the application of ISL and to ensure disaster preparedness. More detailed information is needed on progress made in that regard and on the overall project status in order to assess whether these Committee requests have been adequately implemented.

Since 2012 (Decision 36 COM 8B.43), the Committee has been requesting the State Party to not engage in any mining activities inside the property, a commitment which was confirmed by the State Party in 2015. Yet the public cadaster of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (http://portal.mem.go.tz/map/) indicates a major overlap between the property and mining prospecting licenses, a concern raised already by the 2013 mission, some of which have been granted for commodities other than those permitted under the Wildlife Conservation Act No. 5 of 2009 (such as graphite). As many as eight new applications have been lodged in 2016. Licenses adjacent to the property raise further concerns about the Larger Selous Ecosystem, in particular the Selous-Niassa Corridor.

It should be recalled that the Committee, at its 36th (Saint Petersburg, 2012) and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions, expressed its utmost concern that the Stiegler’s Gorge project, if approved, could cause serious and irreversible damage to the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and that the 2013 mission recommended the State Party to, clarify unambiguously and in writing the current status of planning and decision-making regarding the project. However, such clarification has not yet been provided. The status of the Kidunda dam project also remains unclear, with a reported major change in its design from a water retention dam to a combined retention dam/hydropower project, which caused delays in the preparation of an ESIA.

It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request (Decision 37 COM 7B.7) to the State Party to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in order to comprehensively identify the cumulative impacts of mining, the Stiegler’s Gorge and Kidunda dams, agriculture and associated infrastructure, such as road building, both within the property as well as in important wildlife corridors and dispersal areas that are critical for maintaining the OUV of the property.

The scale of the threats facing the property requires significant additional efforts to be adequately addressed. As human pressure increases, an integrated vision and approach beyond the administrative boundaries of the property with opportunities for local communities to participate in decision-making and benefit-sharing, including in Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), become more urgent, yet little progress is reported in that regard.

As the State Party is reportedly making progress towards addressing the threat from poaching, the mining and proposed dam developments are considered to represent significant additional threats to its OUV. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to evaluate progress in combating poaching and to assess the current status and likely impacts of the proposed ISL at the Mkuju River Uranium Mine, the Stiegler’s Gorge and Kidunda dam projects, and prospecting licenses overlapping with and adjacent to the property.

Finally, it is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7A.47
Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 199bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 8B.43, 37 COM 7B.7, 38 COM 7B.95, and 39 COM 7A.14, adopted at its 36th (Saint Petersburg, 2012), 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013), 38th (Doha, 2014) and 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party and its international partners for their efforts in addressing the poaching crisis and encourages all involved to consolidate and coordinate these efforts;
  4. Acknowledges the progress made by the State Party to establish the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), noting that further studies are ongoing to address gaps in elephant population data and to enable the establishment of a proposed timeframe for its implementation;
  5. Requests the State Party to undertake an analysis of the current situation of black rhinoceros to estimate the number of rhino left in the property, to inform the response required to secure this population, and to revise the DSOCR accordingly, and also requests the State Party to submit, by 1 December 2017 an updated proposal for the DSOCR, for adoption by the Committee at its 42nd session in 2018;
  6. Urges again the State Party to develop and implement a comprehensive Emergency Action Plan with the objective of halting poaching within the Larger Selous Ecosystem within 12 months, as originally recommended by the 2013 mission;
  7. Welcomes the establishment of the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) and its inauguration in October 2015, and also urges the State Party to ensure its timely and effective operationalization, as well as adequate and reliable resourcing;
  8. Also commends the States Parties of Tanzania, Mozambique and China for the formalization of agreements on the transboundary Niassa-Selous Ecosystem and on wildlife crime prevention, respectively, and strongly encourages all involved States Parties to report to the World Heritage Centre on the activities carried out in the framework of these agreements;
  9. Reiterates its utmost concern about:
    1. the ongoing lack of clarity in terms of the extraction method, water monitoring and disaster preparedness as regards the Mkuju River Project (MRP),
    2. the ongoing Stiegler’s Gorge dam project despite a high likelihood of serious and irreversible damage to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property,
    3. the lack of submission of a complete Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) on the Kidunda dam project, which seems to have been extended in its scope and therefore could have a higher impact on the integrity of the property,
    4. the legal possibility of mineral exploration and exploitation in the property and the overlapping mining and prospecting licenses, despite the commitment made by the State Party to not engage in any mining activity within the property, in line with the established position of the Committee that mining and oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status,
    5. the lack of reported progress in creating opportunities for local communities to participate in decision-making and benefit-sharing, including in Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs);
  10. Reiterates its request to the State Party to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to comprehensively identify the cumulative impacts of mining, the potential Stiegler’s Gorge and planned Kidunda dam projects, agriculture and associated infrastructure, such as road building, both within the property as well as in important wildlife corridors and dispersal areas that are critical for maintaining the OUV of the property, and further urges the State Party to abandon any plans for the different development projects which are incompatible with the World Heritage status of the property;
  11. Also requests the State Party to invite an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, in order to evaluate progress in combating poaching, and to assess the current status and likely impacts of the proposed In Situ Leaching at the Mkuju River Uranium Mine, the Stiegler’s Gorge and Kidunda dam projects, and prospecting licenses overlapping with and adjacent to the property, as well as any other development that might impact the OUV of the property;
  12. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, on the implementation of the above and on the 2013 mission recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  13. Decides to retain Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
40 COM 8C.2
Update of the list of World Heritage in Danger (retained sites)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/16/40.COM/7A, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 40 COM 7A.26)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 40 COM 7A.27)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 40 COM 7A.32)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 40 COM 7A.1)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.34)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 40 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.35)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.36)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.37)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.38)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.39)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.41)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 40 COM 7A.9)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.43)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 40 COM 7A.28)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.33)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.48)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 40 COM 7A.10)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.11)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 40 COM 7A.12)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 40 COM 7A.13)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 40 COM 7A.44)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 40 COM 7A.6)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 40 COM 7A.7)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 40 COM 7A.45)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 40 COM 7A.14)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 40 COM 7A.15)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 40 COM 7A.3)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 40 COM 7A.4)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.46)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 40 COM 7A. 30)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 40 COM 7A.49)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 40 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 40 COM 7A.17)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 40 COM 7A.18)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 40 COM 7A.19)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 40 COM 7A.20)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 40 COM 7A.21)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 40 COM 7A.8)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 40 COM 7A.31)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.47)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.50)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 40 COM 7A.5)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 40 COM 7A.23)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 40 COM 7A.24)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 40 COM 7A.25).
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7A.47

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 8B.43, 37 COM 7B.7, 38 COM 7B.95, and 39 COM 7A.14, adopted at its 36th (Saint Petersburg, 2012), 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013), 38th (Doha, 2014) and 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party and its international partners for their efforts in addressing the poaching crisis and encourages all involved to consolidate and coordinate these efforts;
  4. Acknowledges the progress made by the State Party to establish the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), noting that further studies are ongoing to address gaps in elephant population data and to enable the establishment of a proposed timeframe for its implementation;
  5. Requests the State Party to undertake an analysis of the current situation of black rhinoceros to estimate the number of rhino left in the property, to inform the response required to secure this population, and to revise the DSOCR accordingly, and also requests the State Party to submit, by 1 December 2017 an updated proposal for the DSOCR, for adoption by the Committee at its 42nd session in 2018;
  6. Urges again the State Party to develop and implement a comprehensive Emergency Action Plan with the objective of halting poaching within the Larger Selous Ecosystem within 12 months, as originally recommended by the 2013 mission;
  7. Welcomes the establishment of the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) and its inauguration in October 2015, and also urges the State Party to ensure its timely and effective operationalization, as well as adequate and reliable resourcing;
  8. Also commends the States Parties of Tanzania, Mozambique and China for the formalization of agreements on the transboundary Niassa-Selous Ecosystem and on wildlife crime prevention, respectively, and strongly encourages all involved States Parties to report to the World Heritage Centre on the activities carried out in the framework of these agreements;
  9. Reiterates its utmost concern about:
    1. the ongoing lack of clarity in terms of the extraction method, water monitoring and disaster preparedness as regards the Mkuju River Project (MRP),
    2. the ongoing Stiegler’s Gorge dam project despite a high likelihood of serious and irreversible damage to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property,
    3. the lack of submission of a complete Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) on the Kidunda dam project, which seems to have been extended in its scope and therefore could have a higher impact on the integrity of the property,
    4. the legal possibility of mineral exploration and exploitation in the property and the overlapping mining and prospecting licenses, despite the commitment made by the State Party to not engage in any mining activity within the property, in line with the established position of the Committee that mining and oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status,
    5. the lack of reported progress in creating opportunities for local communities to participate in decision-making and benefit-sharing, including in Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs);
  10. Reiterates its request to the State Party to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to comprehensively identify the cumulative impacts of mining, the potential Stiegler’s Gorge and planned Kidunda dam projects, agriculture and associated infrastructure, such as road building, both within the property as well as in important wildlife corridors and dispersal areas that are critical for maintaining the OUV of the property, and further urges the State Party to abandon any plans for the different development projects which are incompatible with the World Heritage status of the property;
  11. Also requests the State Party to invite an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, in order to evaluate progress in combating poaching, and to assess the current status and likely impacts of the proposed In Situ Leaching at the Mkuju River Uranium Mine, the Stiegler’s Gorge and Kidunda dam projects, and prospecting licenses overlapping with and adjacent to the property, as well as any other development that might impact the OUV of the property;
  12. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, on the implementation of the above and on the 2013 mission recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  13. Decides to retain Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2016
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 (2016) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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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