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Serengeti National Park

United Republic of Tanzania
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Air transport infrastructure
  • Drought
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Illegal activities
  • Major linear utilities
  • Water (extraction)
  • Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Potential impacts of a hydro-electric project in Kenya
  • Reduced and degraded water resources
  • Water infrastructure
  • Potential impact of optical cables’ installation
  • Air transport infrastructure
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Illegal activities, including poaching
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 4 (from 1989-1999)
Total amount approved : 59,500 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

November 2010: Joint  World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 15 December 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/156/documents/. The following progress on a number of issues raised by the Committee at its previous sessions is reported:

  • Anti-poaching efforts have been strengthened with further recruitment and training of rangers and provision of additional equipment, which have been largely effective, although 32 elephants were killed by poachers over the two-year reporting period;
  • Completion of an aerial census of large mammals in May 2014, recording a significant increase in the number of elephants in the Serengeti ecosystem since the last census in 2009, with populations of most other mammals remaining stable or increasing;
  • Completion of the first draft of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on the “Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan”, with an intention to share the second draft with the World Heritage Centre for review, prior to approval;
  • Support by the German government for a preliminary feasibility study of two routes to the south of the Serengeti ecosystem, that would serve as an alternative to the previously proposed “north road” traversing the park;
  • Limited progress in reviewing options for road surface improvements of the main road through the park from Naabi Hill to Seronera;
  • Adoption of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the States Parties of Tanzania and Kenya for the joint management of the Mara River Basin;
  • Assistance by the German government with a 5-year (2013-17, 20.5 million euros) “Serengeti Ecosystem Development and Conservation Project” for alternative livelihoods, community benefits and improved water management.
  • Completion of a final draft of the revised management plan for the property in February 2014, which would be shared with the World Heritage Centre for review after its approval;
  • Substantial progress in negotiations over the park extension to Speke Gulf, and submission of a draft cabinet paper in September 2015;
  • The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Mugumu Airport expansion to accommodate international flights is being revised following review by the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC), and would be submitted to the World Heritage Centre afterwards.

The State Party does not report on any progress concerning the other recommendations of the 2010 mission.

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

The anti-poaching operations have been successful at the property, as evidenced by the increase in elephant numbers and prevention of any recent loss of rhinos. Nevertheless, the loss of 32 elephants (average of 16 per year), although significantly fewer than during the 2011-13 period (28 per year), remains high compared to previous years, proving the need for sustained anti-poaching efforts throughout the Serengeti ecosystem.

The aerial census of May 2014 provides a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of management. However, care is needed in assessing the reported increase in elephant numbers, as the 2009 census (which covered the Serengeti ecosystem) was over a smaller area than the 2014 census (which covered the whole southern part of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem) and used different methodology and technology. A study on the potential migration of animals from Mara into Serengeti, as suggested in the 2014 census report, should be undertaken to inform future management strategies.

The completion of a draft SEA on the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan and its intended submission to the World Heritage Centre is welcomed. The support of the German government in enabling a preliminary feasibility study of alternative routes for a road corridor to the south of Serengeti is acknowledged and it is recommended that the Committee call upon the international donor community to support later stages of its development.

An EIA for road-surfacing options for the heavily used Naabi Hill–Seronera road through the property has not been conducted, but some work has been initiated on the Ngorongoro Conservation Area section of the road, which includes a feasibility study, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and a detailed engineering design, and would inform the EIA for the Serengeti road. In line with Decisions 38 COM 7B.94 and 39 COM 7B.34, and given the fact that the project concerns the same road, a full EIA process comprising both properties should be completed before a decision on upgrading any section of the road is taken.

The EIA for the Mugumu Airport Project expansion to accommodate international flights is undergoing a revision following a first review by NEMC, and would be submitted to the World Heritage Centre thereafter.

While welcoming progress with the proposed park extension to Speke Gulf, and noting that the draft Cabinet paper is undergoing approval, it is recommended that a copy of the draft proposed extension is submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review before it is finalized. Continued efforts are also required to ensure the consent of and compensations for any affected communities.

An MOU signed between the States Parties of Kenya and Tanzania, under the auspices of the Lake Victoria Commission of East Africa Community on the management of the Mara Basin, is an accomplishment that provides for development of a joint management framework.

As the State Party report is limited to issues raised in Decision 38 COM 7B.94, it is recommended that the Committee request further information on progress made in implementing the outstanding recommendations of the 2010 mission.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7B.83
Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 156)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7B.7 and 38 COM 7B.94, adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011) and 38th (Doha, 2014) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the continued efforts of the State Party to strengthen its anti-poaching operations, which have reduced the number of elephants and rhinos lost to poachers, and requests the State Party to further strengthen these efforts across the wider Serengeti ecosystem;
  4. Notes the completion of an aerial wildlife survey of the property, and encourages the State Party to assess, in cooperation with the State Party of Kenya, the potential cause for the migration of elephants from Mara into Serengeti, as suggested in the 2014 census report in order to inform future management strategies;
  5. Also welcomes the completion of a first draft of the Strategic Environmental Assessment on the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan, and the State Party’s intention to share the second draft with the World Heritage Centre for review, prior to its approval;
  6. Further welcomes the reported progress towards extension of the National Park to include critical access to water and shoreline habitats on Lake Victoria’s Speke Gulf, and also requests the State Party to ensure consent of and compensations for any affected communities and submit the draft proposed extension to the World Heritage Centre, for review before it is finalized;
  7. Appreciating the support provided by the Government of Germany for a major project focusing on livelihoods and a preliminary feasibility study of road transport routes to the south of the property, calls upon the international donor community to provide the necessary technical and financial assistance to enable the next stages;
  8. Noting the limited progress made in evaluating road surfacing options for the Naabi Hill - Seronera road through the property, reiterates its request to the State Party to carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the entire road from Lodwar to Seronera to assess the impacts of the different options on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of both Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and to submit it to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, prior to a decision on surfacing any section of this road;
  9. Acknowledges the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the States Parties of Tanzania and Kenya on the Mara River Basin, and also reiterates its request to both States Parties to develop and implement a joint management plan for the basin;
  10. Further notes that the EIA for the extension of the Mugumu Airport is being revised following review by the National Environmental Management Council prior to its submission to the World Heritage Centre for review before a final decision is taken;
  11. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above and of the 2010 mission recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7B.83

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7B.7 and 38 COM 7B.94, adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011) and 38th (Doha, 2014) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the continued efforts of the State Party to strengthen its anti-poaching operations, which have reduced the number of elephants and rhinos lost to poachers, and requests the State Party to further strengthen these efforts across the wider Serengeti ecosystem;
  4. Notes the completion of an aerial wildlife survey of the property, and encourages the State Party to assess, in cooperation with the State Party of Kenya, the potential cause for the migration of elephants from Mara into Serengeti, as suggested in the 2014 census report in order to inform future management strategies;
  5. Also welcomes the completion of a first draft of the Strategic Environmental Assessment on the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan, and the State Party’s intention to share the second draft with the World Heritage Centre for review, prior to its approval;
  6. Further welcomes the reported progress towards extension of the National Park to include critical access to water and shoreline habitats on Lake Victoria’s Speke Gulf, and also requests the State Party to ensure consent of and compensations for any affected communities and submit the draft proposed extension to the World Heritage Centre, for review before it is finalized;
  7. Appreciating the support provided by the Government of Germany for a major project focusing on livelihoods and a preliminary feasibility study of road transport routes to the south of the property, calls upon the international donor community to provide the necessary technical and financial assistance to enable the next stages;
  8. Noting the limited progress made in evaluating road surfacing options for the Naabi Hill - Seronera road through the property, reiterates its request to the State Party to carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the entire road from Lodwar to Seronera to assess the impacts of the different options on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of both Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and to submit it to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, prior to a decision on surfacing any section of this road;
  9. Acknowledges the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the States Parties of Tanzania and Kenya on the Mara River Basin, and also reiterates its request to both States Parties to develop and implement a joint management plan for the basin;
  10. Further notes that the EIA for the extension of the Mugumu Airport is being revised following review by the National Environmental Management Council prior to its submission to the World Heritage Centre for review before a final decision is taken;
  11. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above and of the 2010 mission recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
Report year: 2016
United Republic of Tanzania
Date of Inscription: 1981
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2015) .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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