1.         Cape Floral Region Protected Areas (South Africa) (N 1007bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2004

Criteria  (ix)(x)

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/1007/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1007/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1007/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 30 November 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1007/documents/, and provides an update on the previous Committee Decision as follows:

In April and June 2017, the World Heritage Centre transferred 3rd party information to the State Party regarding concerns for a proposed temporary relocation area of communities inside the property, reportedly in a sensitive vegetation area. The State Party has responded that it is engaging with all relevant stakeholders to explore alternative land to accommodate housing needs, and confirmed that the World Heritage Centre will be continuously updated on the outcomes. 

In a letter dated 21 February 2018, the World Heritage Centre requested comments from the State Party regarding reports that water extraction from the Table Mountain Group Aquifer may have potential impacts on the property’s OUV. At the time of writing this report, a response from the State Party had not yet been received.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The sufficient allocation of financial and human resources is critical for the successful management of the property, and the Committee noted the need to address the longstanding shortfalls in financial resources in its Decision 39 COM 8B.2. The State Party’s update that budget allocations are sufficient is therefore noted, and it is welcomed that the governance arrangements have been strengthened to improve the coordination of the JMC. It is important to ensure that there is a continued and sufficient allocation of funds to enable effective management, including in response to any changing management needs.

It is appreciated that the ToR for the EMF are now available and funding secured; however, progress has been slow. Although the 2015 IUCN Evaluation report mentioned that the EMF would function as an IMP for the property, it appears that the scope of the EMF has now changed, with the IMP now identified as a separate product to assess the effectiveness and possible additions to the buffer zone and inform the development of the Spatial Development Framework (SDF). This may be workable, but as noted in IUCN’s Evaluation report, the development of the IMP to provide a property-wide management strategy is urgently required. The delay until 31 December 2019 to start on the IMP, only once all of the protected area management plans have been completed, is therefore of concern. It is therefore recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to speed up the processes to the extent possible.

The State Party’s efforts to identify alternative land to accommodate housing needs through stakeholder engagement are noted. Given the fragile nature of the Fynbos vegetation and the potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, it is also recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to ensure that no land within the property is used for relocation projects, and to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of these discussions.

The reported plans for water extraction from the Table Mountain Group Aquifer, which may have potential impacts on the property’s OUV, are noted with concern. While acknowledging the seriousness of the water shortage in the region, it is recommended that the Committee also urge the State Party to enforce a moratorium on drilling in the high sensitive areas and to assess the impacts of water extraction on the OUV of the property in all proposed areas adjacent to the property before deciding to go ahead with these plans.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.94

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 8B.2, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Welcomes that the governance arrangements have been strengthened through the participation of the Chief Executive Officers of all three management authorities since 2016, to improve the coordination of the Joint Management Committee;
  4. Noting that the current budget allocations for the management of the property are reported to be sufficient, requests the State Party to ensure that sufficient funding will continue to be secured for the effective management of the property;
  5. Notes with appreciation that some progress has been made towards developing an Environmental Management Framework, which will assess the effectiveness and possible additions to the buffer zone and inform the development of the Spatial Development Framework (SDF);
  6. Also noting that protected area Management Plans for all 13 clusters of the property will be completed by 31 December 2019, but considering that a property-wide management structure was identified to be an urgent requirement in 2015, urges the State Party to accelerate the process to develop an Integrated Management Plan for the property to the extent possible;
  7. Notes that through stakeholder engagement, the State Party is working to identify land to address housing needs necessitated by a fire outbreak, that affected communities in close proximity to the site; and urges the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre of any major developments planned in the area in accordance with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. Notes with concern the reported emergency plans for water extraction from the Table Mountain Group Aquifer, due to drought conditions in the Western Cape Province, and further notes that the Province is no longer a National Disaster Area; also further notes that the reported emergency plans for water extraction, may have potential impacts on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). In the event that such plans are developed, urges the State Party to assess the potential impacts on the OUV of the property; and in all proposed areas adjacent to the property before deciding to go ahead with these plans; and inform the World Heritage Centre of any major developments planned in accordance with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, 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 44th session in 2020.