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Serengeti National Park

United Republic of Tanzania
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • 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 2018
Requests approved: 4 (from 1989-1999)
Total amount approved : 59,500 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 1 December 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/156/documents, with the following information:

  • Anti-poaching operations across the Serengeti ecosystem have been strengthened through joint patrols by the States Parties of Tanzania and Kenya. Between 2014/15 and 2016/17: the number of elephants poached decreased from 16 to 8; no poaching of rhinos was reported; the number of patrol vehicles and light aircrafts for aerial surveillance and the number of poachers apprehended increased (from 845 to 1,028);
  • According to research reports, several factors may have contributed to the movement of elephants from the Mara into Serengeti, including the water availability in Serengeti, and increasing habitat loss and fencing in the Mara;
  • The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan was finalized and the plan approved. Currently the plan does not propose extensive developments in the property;
  • Stakeholder consultations have examined annexing Speke Gulf; the proposal is being reviewed by relevant Ministries before submission to the Parliament;
  • The development of the feasibility study and preliminary design for the Serengeti Southern Bypass road has been initiated and will be completed by September 2018, with a draft Route Option Selection Report already available;
  • The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the road surfacing options for Naabi Hill–Seronera road through the property will be undertaken once further progress has been made with the road surfacing through Ngorongoro Conservation Area World Heritage property;
  • Tanzania and Kenya are investigating the possibility of a joint Management Plan for the Mara River Basin;
  • The EIA for the extension of the Mugumu Airport was revised and approved, but implementation has not begun due to financial constraints.

On 16 March 2018, the State Party submitted the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the Mugumu airport (dated July 2014) and the proposal for annexing Speke Gulf.

In its letter of 2 May 2017, the World Heritage Centre requested information from the States Parties of Kenya and Tanzania on a series of proposed dams in both countries, upstream of the property, which might affect the Mara River. On 13 February 2018, the State Party of Kenya confirmed that Norera and Mugango Dams on Amala and Nyangores Rivers have preliminary EIAs. An EIA for the Ewaso Ng’iro cascade of dams has been conducted.

On 27 September 2017, the World Heritage Centre sent an IUCN analysis of the project brief for the proposed construction of Belabela tourist lodge inside the property to the project proponent and to the State Party.

On 2 November 2016 and on 15 January 2018, the World Heritage Centre requested comments from the State Party on the bidding process for the construction of the Arusha-Musoma highway traversing the northern part of the property.

On 5 December 2017, the World Heritage Centre requested the State Party to confirm the availability of a new Management Plan for the property, following the expiration of the 2006-2016 General Management Plan and to submit it to the World Heritage Centre.

To date, Tanzania has not yet provided responses to the above-mentioned requests.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

The success in addressing the poaching of elephants and rhinos is welcomed. It is of critical importance that effective collaboration with the State Party of Kenya on the Mara basin be further strengthened and that a joint Management Plan for the basin be developed to sustainably manage the water resources that maintain the Serengeti ecosystem and the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). The proposed dams for hydroelectricity generation and irrigation upstream of the property in Kenya are of considerable concern, as they could affect water flow. Potential impacts of the dams on Lake Natron in Tanzania could have indirect impacts on the integrity of the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage property in Kenya. All available preliminary and full EIAs for these dams should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN before any decisions are taken.

Noting that the SEA and the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan have been completed, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request (Decision 40 COM 7B.83) to submit these documents to the World Heritage Centre for review.

The progress made on the feasibility study and a preliminary design for options for the Southern Bypass route is appreciated. The Route Option Selection Report and the feasibility study and preliminary design, including a map of the proposed alignments, should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review as soon as they become available. As construction on the road from Mbo wa Mbu to Loliondo has reportedly started, it is important that the Committee remind the State Party of its commitments made in 2011 to maintain the stretch of 53 km from Kleins Gate to Tabora B traversing the property as a gravel road under Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) management, and reserved mainly for tourism and administrative purposes (Decision 35 COM 7B.7), and in 2014 to abandon the construction of the proposed north road traversing the property (Decision 38 COM 7B.94).

The proposal to build a permanent tourist lodge inside the ‘low-use zone’ of the property close to a wildebeest migration route appears incompatible with the 2006-2016 General Management Plan (GMP), and should be subject to an EIA in line with IUCN Advice Note and submitted for review. The status of the outdated GMP should be confirmed, and the new Management Plan submitted to the World Heritage Centre.

The proposal for annexing Speke Gulf is welcomed as it will add an ecologically important area to the property. Acknowledging the possible socio-economic costs of the extension, proper compensation should be ensured for any affected communities that were legally residing in the proposed area.  The World Heritage Centre should be kept informed on the progress for the extension, which would require a request for boundary modification.

The upgrade of the Mugumu airport has been downsized from the initial plans to construct an international airport and will no longer pose a significant threat to the OUV of the property. Should the project move forward, the State Party should monitor and mitigate any potential indirect impacts on the property.

In light of planned dam projects in the Mara basin, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, which should also meet with representatives of the State Party of Kenya in order to assess threats posed by the series of proposed dams upstream of the property, and any other developments that may have potential impacts on the property. The mission should also follow up on previous decisions and mission recommendations and assess the current management and governance framework of the property.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7B.96
Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 156)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7B.7, 38 COM 7B.94 and 40 COM 7B.83 adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 38th (Doha, 2014) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party on its anti-poaching efforts, contributing to further reduced elephant poaching and maintaining zero poaching of rhinos in the property;
  4. Notes with utmost concern that a series of dams have been proposed upstream of the property in Kenya, which could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Serengeti National Park and Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage properties, and requests the State Party of Kenya to submit to the World Heritage Centre, without delay, all available preliminary and full Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) to the World Heritage Centre for review;
  5. Reiterates its request to the States Parties of Tanzania and Kenya to develop and implement a joint management plan for the Mara River basin to sustainably manage water resources, and also requests the State Party of Tanzania to inform the World Heritage Centre on the status of updating the 2006-2016 General Management Plan;
  6. Appreciates that the State Party is undertaking a feasibility study and a preliminary design for two options for the Serengeti Southern Bypass route, and further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre for review as soon as available:
    1. The Route Option Selection Report and the feasibility study and preliminary design, including a map of the proposed alignments, upon completion by the end of September 2018,
    2. The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan;
  7. Requests furthermore the State Party to reaffirm its commitments to maintain the northern road traversing the property as a gravel road under Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) management and reserved mainly for tourism and administrative purposes (Decision 35 COM 7B.7) and to abandon the construction of the proposed northern highway (Decision 38 COM 7B.94);
  8. Considers that the Belabela Lodge proposed within the ‘low-use zone’ of the property close to a wildebeest migration route could pose a potential threat to the property’s OUV, and requests moreover the State Party to undertake an EIA of the proposed lodge, including a specific assessment of potential impacts on OUV in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review;
  9. Welcomes the proposal to include the ecologically important Speke Gulf into the property, which would require a request for boundary modification in line with the appropriate provisions in the Operational Guidelines, and encourages the State Party to ensure compensation for affected communities that were legally residing in the proposed area, and to keep the World Heritage Centre informed;
  10. Notes that based on the submitted EIA the proposed upgrade of the Mugumu airport has been significantly downsized from the initial plans to construct an international airport, also considers that it will no longer pose a significant threat to the property’s OUV, but requests in addition the State Party to monitor and mitigate any potential indirect impacts should the project move forward;
  11. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, which should also meet with representatives of the State Party of Kenya, to assess threats posed by the dams proposed upstream of the property in Kenya, and any other developments that may impact the property’s OUV;
  12. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, a progress report and, 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.
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7B.96

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7B.7, 38 COM 7B.94 and 40 COM 7B.83 adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 38th (Doha, 2014) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party on its anti-poaching efforts, contributing to further reduced elephant poaching and maintaining zero poaching of rhinos in the property;
  4. Notes with utmost concern that a series of dams have been proposed upstream of the property in Kenya, which could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Serengeti National Park and Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage properties, and requests the State Party of Kenya to submit to the World Heritage Centre, without delay, all available preliminary and full Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) to the World Heritage Centre for review;
  5. Reiterates its request to the States Parties of Tanzania and Kenya to develop and implement a joint management plan for the Mara River basin to sustainably manage water resources, and also requests the State Party of Tanzania to inform the World Heritage Centre on the status of updating the 2006-2016 General Management Plan;
  6. Appreciates that the State Party is undertaking a feasibility study and a preliminary design for two options for the Serengeti Southern Bypass route, and further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre for review as soon as available:
    1. The Route Option Selection Report and the feasibility study and preliminary design, including a map of the proposed alignments, upon completion by the end of September 2018,
    2. The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan;
  7. Requests furthermore the State Party to reaffirm its commitments to maintain the northern road traversing the property as a gravel road under Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) management and reserved mainly for tourism and administrative purposes (Decision 35 COM 7B.7) and to abandon the construction of the proposed northern highway (Decision 38 COM 7B.94);
  8. Considers that the Belabela Lodge proposed within the ‘low-use zone’ of the property close to a wildebeest migration route could pose a potential threat to the property’s OUV, and requests moreover the State Party to undertake an EIA of the proposed lodge, including a specific assessment of potential impacts on OUV in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review;
  9. Welcomes the proposal to include the ecologically important Speke Gulf into the property, which would require a request for boundary modification in line with the appropriate provisions in the Operational Guidelines, and encourages the State Party to ensure compensation for affected communities that were legally residing in the proposed area, and to keep the World Heritage Centre informed;
  10. Notes that based on the submitted EIA the proposed upgrade of the Mugumu airport has been significantly downsized from the initial plans to construct an international airport, also considers that it will no longer pose a significant threat to the property’s OUV, but requests in addition the State Party to monitor and mitigate any potential indirect impacts should the project move forward;
  11. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, which should also meet with representatives of the State Party of Kenya, to assess threats posed by the dams proposed upstream of the property in Kenya, and any other developments that may impact the property’s OUV;
  12. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, a progress report and, 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.
Report year: 2018
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 (2017) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 42COM (2018)
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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