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Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra

Indonesia
Factors affecting the property in 2017*
  • Governance
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Renewable energy facilities
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Management systems/management plan
  • Ground transport infrastructure (Road construction)
  • Land conversion (Agricultural encroachment)
  • Illegal activities (Illegal logging; Poaching)
  • Governance (Institutional and governance weaknesses)
  • Renewable energy facilities (Geothermal development license adjacent to the property)
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Road construction
  • Mining
  • Illegal logging
  • Encroachment
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2017

Total amount granted: 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)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2017
Requests approved: 2 (from 2005-2012)
Total amount approved : 96,600 USD
Missions to the property until 2017**

February-March 2006: UNESCO/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; March 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; October 2013: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 31 January 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents, providing a response to Decision 40 COM 7A.48 and an update on progress towards achieving the indicators of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), as follows:

  • Confirmation that a preliminary study to explore the possibility of developing geothermal energy extraction will not be conducted in the property;
  • The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for road development plans within the property was submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 31 March 2017, for review by IUCN. No new road developments or proposals currently exist inside the property and the road network is routinely monitored;
  • Forest loss in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP) was 0.24% in total between 2013 and 2015, whereas it was 0.82% in Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP) between 2012 and 2015. Data for Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP) are being collected in 2016-2017;
  • Data are provided on monitoring of four key species (tiger, elephant, rhino, and orangutan) and on signs recorded for these species during SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) patrols;
  • The use of SMART in the property has increased, covering 47 out of 61 resorts in 2016 (compared to 41 in 2014), coinciding with an increase in the number of patrol units from 23 in 2013 to 58 in 2016. Patrol effort has likewise increased, with two 7-10 day patrols undertaken monthly in each park, in collaboration with NGOs;
  • Recorded incidents of poaching, encroachment, illegal logging and other illegal activities (unsustainable harvesting of Non-timber Forest Products, fishing, mining) have all increased significantly between 2013 and 2016. In GLNP, 42.4ha of illegal palm oil and rubber plantations have been cleared. However, only few offenders have been arrested and the State Party recognizes that law enforcement needs to be improved. It also reiterated that prosecution of encroachers is complicated by human rights considerations;
  • No mining concessions exist within the property and mining concessions adjacent to the property have been mapped, their activities monitored, and efforts are being made to engage them in the conservation of the property;
  • Boundary demarcation is a routine annual activity;
  • Activities undertaken as part of the management of the wider landscape include development of ecosystem services (small-scale hydropower), development and promotion of ecotourism, community empowerment, buffer zone designation, and ecosystem restoration.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2017

It is recommended that the Committee note with appreciation the submission of the SEA for road development plans that could affect the property, which responds to a request made by the Committee since its 35th session in 2011. The SEA concluded that road development within the property would be likely to have a direct negative impact on its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), including the conditions of integrity, causing “unacceptable habitat loss and biodiversity conflict”, including by creating physical barriers to natural interactions between sub-populations of species in isolated areas. Noting that the State Party has not permitted the construction of any new roads within the property, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to continue ensuring that new roads within the property are not permitted, and that upgrades to existing roads and foot paths are only permitted if these would demonstrably not cause any negative impact on OUV. In that regard, upgrading a footpath into a road for motorized vehicles should be considered a new road development. It is considered that in order to better meet the needs of local communities, better maintenance of existing roads and footpaths should be a priority over new road developments and/or upgrades.

The progress made with the implementation of SMART and increasing patrol effort is welcome. However, it is noted with concern that threats from poaching, encroachment, illegal logging and other illegal activities, including small-scale mining, continue to threaten the property. Forest loss remains a key concern and it is clear that law enforcement should be significantly improved, without which increased patrolling will not be sufficient to halt illegal activities and the erosion of the property’s OUV. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to take urgent additional measures to ensure that the applicable laws are fully enforced and offenders prosecuted.

The population data of key species provided by the State Party does not enable an assessment of trends, as the data are not extrapolated to estimate overall populations in the entire property. It is therefore recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to strengthen property-wide monitoring of key species, including the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhino, Sumatran Elephant and Sumatran Orangutan, in collaboration with its conservation partners, as specified in the corrective measures.

The State Party’s statement that a preliminary study to explore the possibility of developing geothermal energy extraction within the property will not be conducted is duly noted. However, information from third parties indicates that the proponent of a geothermal project within GLNP has commissioned such a study to Gadjah Mada University, which concluded that part of the core zone of the national park could be converted to a utilization zone in order to legally enable the project to proceed. The third party information further indicates that, in March 2017, a meeting was convened by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to discuss geothermal development in the property. On 18 May 2017, the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party to seek further information on these matters.

Throughout 2016, IUCN has had several opportunities to discuss the geothermal project with the State Party. It is of significant concern that the location of the proposed geothermal project on the Kappi plateau is within an area of the property that contains critically important habitat for all four of the above-mentioned key species, and its development would therefore have potentially severe negative impacts on the OUV of the property. This location is particularly significant considering that the remaining habitat for these species outside GLNP in the wider Leuser Ecosystem is under significant development pressure. It is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party (see Decision 38 COM 7A.28) to ensure that any development of geothermal energy within the property remains prohibited by law, and that it request the State Party to provide further information on measures taken to ensure that the Aceh Spatial Plan will not have any negative impact on the property and key areas in the Leuser Ecosystem, in line with the commitment made by the State Party last year.

The State Party indicated to IUCN that it would welcome a mission to provide further advice on these matters. In light of this, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite an IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property to provide such advice, to assess progress made with the implementation of corrective measures and towards achieving the DSOCR.

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

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2017
41 COM 7A.18
Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) (N 1167)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 7A.28 and 40 COM 7A.48, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes progress made by the State Party with increasing patrols throughout the serial property, including the implementation of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) in all of its components;
  4. Notes with concern that poaching and forest loss, including as a result of encroachment, illegal logging and other illegal activities such as small-scale mining, continue to threaten the property, and requests the State Party to take urgent additional measures to ensure that the applicable laws are fully enforced and offenders prosecuted;
  5. Notes with appreciation that the completion of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for road development plans that could affect the property, takes note of its conclusion that road development within the property would cause unacceptable habitat loss and biodiversity conflict and have a direct negative impact on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including the conditions of integrity, and also requests the State Party to:
    1. Continue ensuring that new roads within the property are not permitted, and consider that upgrading a footpath to a road for motorized vehicles represents a new road development,
    2. Prioritize better maintenance of existing roads and footpaths as a means for better meeting the needs of local communities,
    3. Ensure that any upgrade to existing roads and footpaths shall only be permitted if it would demonstrably not cause any negative impact on the property’s OUV;
  6. Noting the State Party’s statement that a preliminary study to explore the possibility of developing geothermal energy extraction will not be conducted within the property, reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure that any development of geothermal energy within the property remains prohibited by law;
  7. Further requests the State Party to provide further information on measures taken to ensure that the Aceh Spatial Plan will not have any negative impact on the property and key areas in the Leuser Ecosystem, in line with the commitment made by the State Party in 2016;
  8. Urges the State Party to strengthen the property-wide monitoring of key species, including Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhino, Sumatran Elephant and Sumatran Orangutan, in collaboration with its conservation partners, as specified in the corrective measures;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to invite an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, which shall provide advice on any proposed geothermal development and its likely impacts on the OUV of the property and assess progress made with the implementation of corrective measures towards achieving the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  10. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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;
  11. Decides to retain Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
41 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/17/41.COM/7A, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add and WHC/17/41.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 41 COM 7A.54)
    • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 41 COM 7A.55)
    • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 41 COM 7A.2)
    • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 41 COM 7A.23)
    • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.4)
    • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 41 COM 7A.24)
    • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.6)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.7)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.8)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.9)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.10)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.11)
    • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 41 COM 7A.32)
    • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.3)
    • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.18)
    • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 41 COM 7A.33)
    • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.34)
    • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 41 COM 7A.35)
    • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 41 COM 7A.36)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 41 COM 7A.37)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 41 COM 7A.38)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 41 COM 7A.39)
    • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 41 COM 7A.40)
    • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 41 COM 7A.41)
    • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 41 COM 7A.14)
    • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 41 COM 7A.28)
    • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 41 COM 7A.29)
    • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 41 COM 7A.30)
    • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 41 COM 7A.56)
    • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 41 COM 7A.15)
    • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 41 COM 7A.42)
    • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 41 COM 7A.43)
    • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 41 COM 7A.25)
    • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 41 COM 7A.26)
    • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.16)
    • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 41 COM 7A.21)
    • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 41 COM 7A.19)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 41 COM 7A.44)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 41 COM 7A.45)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 41 COM 7A.46)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 41 COM 7A.47)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 41 COM 7A.48)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 41 COM 7A.49)
    • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 41 COM 7A.31)
    • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 41 COM 7A.22)
    • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.17)
    • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.1)
    • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 41 COM 7A.57)
    • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 41 COM 7A.27)
    • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 41 COM 7A.51)
    • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 41 COM 7A.52)
    • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 41 COM 7A.53)
      Draft Decision: 41 COM 7A.18

      The World Heritage Committee,

      1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
      2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 7A.28 and 40 COM 7A.48, adopted at its 38th (Doha) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions respectively,
      3. Welcomes progress made by the State Party with increasing patrols throughout the serial property, including the implementation of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) in all of its components;
      4. Notes with concern that poaching and forest loss, including as a result of encroachment, illegal logging and other illegal activities such as small-scale mining, continue to threaten the property, and requests the State Party to take urgent additional measures to ensure that the applicable laws are fully enforced and offenders prosecuted;
      5. Notes with appreciation that the completion of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for road development plans that could affect the property, takes note of its conclusion that road development within the property would cause unacceptable habitat loss and biodiversity conflict and have a direct negative impact on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including the conditions of integrity, and also requests the State Party to:
        1. Continue ensuring that new roads within the property are not permitted, and consider that upgrading a footpath to a road for motorized vehicles represents a new road development,
        2. Prioritize better maintenance of existing roads and footpaths as a means for better meeting the needs of local communities,
        3. Ensure that any upgrade to existing roads and footpaths shall only be permitted if it would demonstrably not cause any negative impact on the property’s OUV;
      6. Noting the State Party’s statement that a preliminary study to explore the possibility of developing geothermal energy extraction will not be conducted within the property, reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure that any development of geothermal energy within the property remains prohibited by law;
      7. Further requests the State Party to provide further information on measures taken to ensure that the Aceh Spatial Plan will not have any negative impact on the property and key areas in the Leuser Ecosystem, in line with the commitment made by the State Party in 2016;
      8. Urges the State Party to strengthen the property-wide monitoring of key species, including Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhino, Sumatran Elephant and Sumatran Orangutan, in collaboration with its conservation partners, as specified in the corrective measures;
      9. Requests furthermore the State Party to invite an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, which shall provide advice on any proposed geothermal development and its likely impacts on the OUV of the property and assess progress made with the implementation of corrective measures towards achieving the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
      10. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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;
      11. Decides to retain Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
      Report year: 2017
      Indonesia
      Date of Inscription: 2004
      Category: Natural
      Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
      Danger List (dates): 2011-present
      Documents examined by the Committee
      SOC Report by the State Party
      Report (2017) .pdf
      arrow_circle_right 41COM (2017)
      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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