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Lake Turkana National Parks

Kenya
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Oil and gas
  • Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Impacts of the Gibe III dam
  • Other planned hydro-electric developments and associated large-scale irrigation projects in the Omo region
  • Oil exploration
  • Wildlife populations and pressure from poaching and livestock grazing
  • Impacts of the larger development vision for Northern Kenya
  • Management capacity of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and National Museums of Kenya (NMK)
  • Redesigning the boundaries design of the property
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 2 (from 2000-2001)
Total amount approved : 35,300 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

March 2012 and April 2015: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 1 February 2016, the State Party submitted an interim report on the state of conservation of the property, and on 16 February 2016 submitted a joint report on Kenya-Ethiopia bilateral talks, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/801/documents/. The reports present the following:

  • On 7 December 2015, the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the presence of the President of Kenya and Prime Minister of Ethiopia for a “Cross-border Integrated Programme for Sustainable Peace and Socio-economic Transformation”, which aims to foster environmental protection, trade, development and peaceful coexistence in their border regions;
  • From 8 to 12 February 2016, the States Parties met to discuss the procedures for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), resulting in an agreement to establish a Steering Committee and a draft Terms of Reference (ToR) for the SEA. Once finalized, the ToR will be submitted to the Joint Ministerial Commission for financial consideration;
  • A wildlife census has not been conducted;
  • A joint expert panel for monitoring basin-wide natural resource management under the existing Ethiopia-Kenya Joint Ministerial Commission has been established to ensure that potential negative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are avoided;
  • The joint project with the States Parties and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Sustainable Development of Lake Turkana and its River Basins is underway;
  • The finalization and subsequent implementation of the 2014 draft Management Plan by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is pending consultation with local communities and other stakeholders;
  • The County Government of Marsabit in Kenya has initiated a programme to drill boreholes in order to supply water to livestock located outside of Sibiloi National Park.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

It is unclear whether the MoU between the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia includes provisions to avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts on Lake Turkana from the Gibe III dam, the previously proposed Gibe IV and V dams, and the Kuraz Sugar Scheme. It is crucial that the need to ensure adequate water flow from the Omo River into Lake Turkana and that the findings of the SEA are duly taken into consideration in this joint initiative.

The States Parties’ affirmation to comply with the timeframe set by the Committee (Decision 39 COM 7B.4) to deliver the SEA is appreciated, as are their intentions to ensure the full assessment of potential impacts on the OUV of the property. However, recalling that the Committee (Decision 39 COM 7B.4) requested the States Parties to demonstrate by 1 February 2016 significant progress in preparing the SEA, it is noted with major concern that the only progress reported is the development of the ToR. This raises concern about the feasibility of completing the SEA by 2018, as requested by the Committee, especially given that a Scoping Study has not yet been completed. It is further noted with concern that the Scoping Study foreseen in the ToR will be limited to the identification of development projects that are likely to have a direct impact on the OUV of the property. A SEA should act as a valuable tool for the States Parties to determine the cumulative impacts, including both potential direct and indirect impacts, and identify mitigation measures as well as the least damaging and most sustainable alternatives for all developments impacting on the Lake Turkana basin, including the Gibe III dam and the previously proposed Gibe IV and V dams in Ethiopia, as well as oil exploration, the existing Turkwel dam, and the Lake Turkana Wind Power project in Kenya, in order to ensure the protection of the OUV. It is recommended that the Committee request the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to ensure that the SEA is conducted to accepted international standards and in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment. It is also recommended that the Committee urge the States Parties to revise the ToR, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre, IUCN, as well as UNEP, which should be followed by an international bidding process to recruit an independent firm to undertake the SEA. It is further recommended that the Committee request the States Parties to submit the report of the Scoping Study to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, as soon as it is available, and no later than 1 February 2017.

The UNEP project is expected to contribute to the national development process in Kenya and Ethiopia by providing science-based data and information that serves as a basis for sound policy and decision-making and building their capacities on management of the ecosystem. As such it is considered that this project provides a significant opportunity to support the States Parties in the implementation of the Committee’s requests, including in relation to the SEA, and active consideration of the Committee’s concerns in UNEP’s work is essential.

The lack of action to undertake a census of key wildlife species in the property is of significant concern due to the resultant continued absence of updated data on population numbers and trends, while the pressures from overgrazing, overfishing and poaching remain. It is noted that the draft Management Plan is pending consultation with relevant stakeholders, but the State Party of Kenya did not provide an update on the implementation of the remaining 2012 mission recommendations as repeatedly requested by the Committee. These include the development of a grazing pressure reduction strategy, feasibility assessment of reintroducing flagship species, establishing a permanent presence of KWS staff, and strengthening law enforcement based on Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) monitoring system results.

It is also regrettable that no response to the recommendations from the 2015 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission was provided as requested by the Committee (Decision 39 COM 7B.4). In the absence of any update on the status of the key threats identified previously, such as the impounding of the Gibe III hydroelectric dam and the proposed expansion of the Kuraz Sugar Scheme, the concern can only be reiterated. It is recommended that the Committee urge the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to ensure the timely implementation of the mission recommendations and to provide, by the next session of the Committee, a detailed report on progress achieved.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7B.80
Lake Turkana National Parks (Kenya) (N 801bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.4, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Regrets that no response was provided by the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to the recommendations from the 2015 mission and notes with utmost concern that no update is provided on the status of the Kuraz Sugar Scheme, as well as the impounding of the Gibe III reservoir and the measures taken to mitigate the impacts thereof on the property;
  4. Regretting that progress with preparing the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) has been limited to the development of draft Terms of Reference (ToR), notes with concern that these do not appear to foresee the inclusion of development projects that may have an indirect or cumulative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and urges the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to revise the ToR, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and to ensure that the SEA will be undertaken to accepted international standards and in accordance with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, to enable identification of mitigation measures and the least damaging and most sustainable alternatives for all developments impacting on the Lake Turkana basin;
  5. Requests the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to ensure that an international bidding process is undertaken on the basis of the revised ToR to recruit an independent firm to undertake the SEA, and to submit the report of the Scoping Study for the SEA to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, as soon as it is available, and no later than 1 February 2017;
  6. Also requests the World Heritage Centre and UNEP to work effectively with the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia and IUCN on the joint UNEP-supported Ethiopia-Kenya project for the sustainable development in Lake Turkana and its basins, in order to support the two States Parties in the implementation of the requests made by the Committee, including in relation to the SEA, and to ensure an active consideration of the Committee’s concerns in UNEP’s work;
  7. Further requests the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to provide more details on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a “Cross-border Integrated Programme for Sustainable Peace and Socio-economic Transformation” and to ensure adequate water flow from the Omo River to maintain the OUV of the property, and to integrate the findings from the SEA into the cross-border programme;
  8. Notes the establishment of a joint expert panel for monitoring basin-wide natural resource management under the existing Ethiopia-Kenya Joint Ministerial Commission, and requests furthermore the States Parties to provide further details on the terms of reference of this commission and the joint expert panel;
  9. Also regrets that no wildlife census has been conducted or planned to establish baseline data of key wildlife species in the property, and reiterates its request to the State Party of Kenya to urgently implement all of the outstanding recommendations of the 2012 mission;
  10. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, a report on progress achieved with the implementation of the 2015 mission recommendations and with the SEA, and on the status of impounding of the Gibe III hydroelectric dam, the proposed expansion of the Kuraz Sugar Scheme and any other developments that may have the potential to impact the OUV of the property, including oil exploration and the Lake Turkana Wind Farm project in Kenya, and to submit by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7B.80

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.4, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Regrets that no response was provided by the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to the recommendations from the 2015 mission and notes with utmost concern that no update is provided on the status of the Kuraz Sugar Scheme, as well as the impounding of the Gibe III reservoir and the measures taken to mitigate the impacts thereof on the property;
  4. Regretting that progress with preparing the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) has been limited to the development of draft Terms of Reference (ToR), notes with concern that these do not appear to foresee the inclusion of development projects that may have an indirect or cumulative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and urges the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to revise the ToR, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and to ensure that the SEA will be undertaken to accepted international standards and in accordance with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, to enable identification of mitigation measures and the least damaging and most sustainable alternatives for all developments impacting on the Lake Turkana basin;
  5. Requests the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to ensure that an international bidding process is undertaken on the basis of the revised ToR to recruit an independent firm to undertake the SEA, and to submit the report of the Scoping Study for the SEA to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, as soon as it is available, and no later than 1 February 2017;
  6. Also requests the World Heritage Centre and UNEP to work effectively with the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia and IUCN on the joint UNEP-supported Ethiopia-Kenya project for the sustainable development in Lake Turkana and its basins, in order to support the two States Parties in the implementation of the requests made by the Committee, including in relation to the SEA, and to ensure an active consideration of the Committee’s concerns in UNEP’s work;
  7. Further requests the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to provide more details on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a “Cross-border Integrated Programme for Sustainable Peace and Socio-economic Transformation” and to ensure adequate water flow from the Omo River to maintain the OUV of the property, and to integrate the findings from the SEA into the cross-border programme;
  8. Notes the establishment of a joint expert panel for monitoring basin-wide natural resource management under the existing Ethiopia-Kenya Joint Ministerial Commission, and requests furthermore the States Parties to provide further details on the terms of reference of this commission and the joint expert panel;
  9. Also regrets that no wildlife census has been conducted or planned to establish baseline data of key wildlife species in the property, and reiterates its request to the State Party of Kenya to urgently implement all of the outstanding recommendations of the 2012 mission;
  10. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, a report on progress achieved with the implementation of the 2015 mission recommendations and with the SEA, and on the status of impounding of the Gibe III hydroelectric dam, the proposed expansion of the Kuraz Sugar Scheme and any other developments that may have the potential to impact the OUV of the property, including oil exploration and the Lake Turkana Wind Farm project in Kenya, and to submit by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
Report year: 2016
Kenya
Date of Inscription: 1997
Category: Natural
Criteria: (viii)(x)
Danger List (dates): 2018-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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