1.         Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) (N 338)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1985

Criteria  (vii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1992-2011

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-1997)
Total amount approved: USD 165,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

As of 2008, the property benefited from the UNF-funded World Heritage India programme. Project interventions include: enhancing management effectiveness and building staff capacity; increasing the involvement of local communities in the management of the property and promoting their sustainable development; and raising awareness through communication and advocacy.

Previous monitoring missions

March 1992: IUCN mission; January 1997: UNESCO mission; February 2002: IUCN monitoring mission; March-April 2005, February 2008, January 2011: joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 1 December 2016, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/documents and additional information was submitted on 23 December 2016. The State Party provided updates on issues previously raised by the Committee, as follows:

The State Party submitted a request for a minor boundary modification of the property, which will be examined by the Committee under item 8B of the Agenda.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

Poaching was previously reported to have decreased in 2014, and it is encouraging that no poaching was recorded at the property in 2015. Nevertheless, the killing of two rhinos in 2016 demonstrates that poaching remains a threat to the property, requiring constant attention. In that regard, the efforts undertaken to strengthen capacities of front-line staff, in terms of providing specialized training and procurement of sophisticated weapons, should be welcomed. Furthermore, the provision of motorbikes and other motorized vehicles has enabled rangers to cover large parts of the property on patrols. Efforts to address shortages in front-line staff by engaging Armed Home Guards, casual labourers and service providers are also welcome, and it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to provide them with specialized training, in an effort to fill vacancies in the long term.

It is noted that an eviction operation to clear parts of the Bhuyanpara Range of encroachment has been completed peacefully. The State Party notes that some of the affected people will be recruited as Armed Home Guards and casual labourers, and habitat restoration work will be undertaken by an Eco-Task Force of the Indian Territorial Army. Further activities will include the erection of fences and boundary posts to prevent further encroachment. The livelihoods support programme that is being implemented with support of the joint IUCN-KfW ITHCP since October 2015 is further implementing a number of activities to reduce poaching and unsustainable dependency on natural resources, focusing on villages in the Bhuyanpara cluster. This has included the establishment of an Information Network, which has already resulted in the apprehension of illegal traders and poachers. Other activities implemented under this programme are aimed at reducing cattle grazing and, by engaging women in the programme, at introducing improved cooking stoves to reduce dependency on fuel wood.

The lack of information on invasive species, and the role of the use of fire in grassland management in controlling or potentially facilitating their proliferation, is of concern. It should be recalled that the survey report on endangered grassland fauna provided by the State Party in 2015 noted that the spread of some invasive tree species, such as Bombax ceiba, may be promoted by regular grassland fires. It is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to undertake or commission a detailed study on the use of fire for grassland management and its role in the proliferation or control of invasive species.

It is regrettable that the State Party of Bhutan has not yet provided a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Mangdechhu Hydro Electric Project. No information has been provided regarding the current status of this project. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party of Bhutan to provide further information about the status of this project and reiterate its request to the State Party to submit a copy of its EIA, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines. It should be noted that the EIA should include an assessment of potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and it is therefore recommended that the Committee urge the State Party of Bhutan to consult with the State Party of India on this matter.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.28

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.11, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Notes with appreciation the successful reduction of poaching at the property in recent years, but considers that poaching remains a significant threat to the property, which requires continued high priority attention;
  4. Welcomes the State Party’s efforts to boost staff morale and address shortages in front-line staff by engaging Armed Home Guards, casual labourers and service providers, and encourages the State Party to provide them with specialized training, in an effort to fill vacant positions in the long term;
  5. Takes note of the report that an eviction operation was carried out peacefully in the Bhuyanpara Range and also welcomes the activities undertaken by the State Party, including in the framework of the joint IUCN-KfW (German Development Bank) funded livelihoods support programme, in an effort to reduce dependency on the property’s resources, ensure the participation of women, and seek long-term solutions to encroachment;
  6. Regrets that no further information was provided on the use of fire in grassland management and its potential role against the proliferation of invasive species such as Bombax ceiba, and reiterates its request to the State Party to undertake or commission a detailed study on this matter, in order to ensure that the use of fire does not further complicate the long-standing threat of invasive species in the property;
  7. Also regrets that the State Party of Bhutan has still not provided to the World Heritage Centre a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Mangdechhu Hydro Electric Project; also reiterates its request to the State Party of Bhutan to provide a copy of this EIA as well as the information about the status of the project, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines; and urges the State Party of Bhutan to consult with the State Party of India regarding an assessment of potential impacts of this project on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  8. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 43rd session in 2019.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 8B.36

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/17/41.COM/8B.Add and WHC/17/41.COM/INF.8B2.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7A.13 and 39 COM 7B.11 adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011) and 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions respectively,
  3. Refers the proposed minor modification to the boundaries of Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, India, to allow the State Party, with the support of IUCN and the World Heritage Centre if requested, to complete and submit a revised proposal for extending the boundaries of the property, taking into account the evaluation of IUCN, and to consider the options of either:
    1. Revising and resubmitting the minor boundary modification, to only include the parts of Manas National Park that meet integrity requirements in the property, and to accord the status of buffer zone to the encroached areas that lie within the National Park, or
    2. Submitting a revised proposal as a new nomination, allowing the full IUCN evaluation process, and if this option is pursued, consider the inclusion in the property of the extended areas which were added to the National Park in 2016;
  4. Requests the State Party, in any revised proposal, to not include any established cropland or permanently encroached areas within the nominated property, and to include in its submitted information, full details regarding the relationships in place with relevant stakeholders and/or rights-holders related to the cropland areas within Manas National Park.