Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1984
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/284/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 80,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/284/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
December 2002: IUCN monitoring mission; March 2016: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/284/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017
From 14 to 21 March 2016, an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission visited the property as requested by the Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015). On 17 January 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property. Both reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/284/documents. The State Party provides the following updated information:
The State Party notes that the property is facing additional challenges from human-wildlife conflicts, invasive alien species and habitat degradation due to both natural processes and human-induced disturbances, including climate change.
Additional proposed road developments that would cross the property are also noted by the State Party, i.e. the Dumkibas-Tribeni road, the Madi-Balmikiashram road (the DNPWC fully objected to both), the State 3 proposed China-India Trade Link, and an upgrading of the Bharatpur-Thori road. For the latter, the District Road Office has called a tender for tarmacking the portion through the property.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
It is recommended that the Committee commend the State Party for achieving at least four years of zero rhino poaching. However, local news reported that poachers killed a male rhino in early April 2017, which serves as a reminder that poaching continues to be a threat, and it is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to uphold its current anti-poaching efforts, in collaboration with the Nepali Army.
The positive developments reported by the State Party should be welcomed, including the realignment of the East-West Electric Railway to avoid the property and the initiation of an EIA for the Trivenidham-Balmikiashram suspension bridge. However, it is noted that no final decision regarding the alignments of the Railway and the Highway appears to have been taken at the time of writing this report. The March 2016 IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission recommended that the Railway and the Highway should not be approved, given their likely significant negative impacts on the OUV of the property. Such concern remains until the State Party has unambiguously confirmed that the Railway and Highway have not been approved, along with their proposed alignments through the property. In that regard, the option to construct sky bridges on the sections where the Highway would cross the property is not considered an appropriate solution, as this would not address the impacts on the OUV of the property in relation to criterion (vii).
The mission expressed concern about a number of other proposed road developments, including those reported by the State Party, as well as another China-India Trade Link proposed by State 4 (following the same alignment as the Dumkibas-Tribeni road), and the Thori-Malekhu road, which would all cause a fragmentation of the property. Some of these proposed roads follow the alignments of old trade routes that have been closed for public use. The mission concluded that if any of the aforementioned linear infrastructure developments were to proceed according to their proposed alignments through the property, they would form a clear basis for the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to make an unequivocal commitment not to approve any new roads or reopen/upgrade old roads passing through the property.
In addition, the proposed Thori-Birgunj road, although not crossing the property, should be subject to a thorough EIA, including a specific assessment of potential impacts on the OUV of the property, as the mission considered that this road has a high potential to increase the demand for transportation of commercial goods along the existing Bharatpur-Thori road to destinations beyond Thori, hence generating an increase in heavy traffic through the property. Finally, the fact that the District Road Office has called a tender for tarmacking the Bharatpur-Thori road through the property is of concern. It is recommended that permits to upgrade the parts of the Bharatpur-Thori road, which are located inside the property and are in good condition, should not be granted.
The State Party did not provide further information on the construction of a very large new temple and a boarding school inside the property at Gajendra Dham, nor does it provide an update on the progress achieved with the demarcation of the property’s boundaries, as recommended by the mission. The mission also made a recommendation to address encroachment of important wildlife habitats in the property, which would contribute to addressing the State Party’s concerns about human-wildlife conflicts and habitat degradation. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to fully implement the recommendations made by the mission regarding these issues, and to provide detailed information on the progress achieved with the implementation of all of the mission’s recommendations in its next report to the Committee.
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.31
The World Heritage Committee,