Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape (South Africa) (C 1099bis)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2003
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/1099/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1099/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
November 2010 and January 2012: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions; March 2014: ICOMOS Advisory mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Lack of a proper buffer zone (issue resolved)
- Lack of a management plan (issue resolved)
- Mining activities
- Development pressure
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1099/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018
On 30 November 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, and on 9 March 2018 a supplementary report in response to a request of the World Heritage Centre. The reports (both available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1099/documents), provide the following information:
- The State Party affirms that it has fully resolved the issues raised by the World Heritage Committee and that the property should no longer be subject to reporting within the process of Reactive Monitoring;
- The Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property is well maintained and monitored;
- The property faces no threats from mining, and the two existing mines, Vele Colliery and Venetia mine, located outside the current buffer zone, have no significant impact on the property and remain under strict environmental monitoring;
- Heritage authorities continue to monitor compliance with the recommendations of the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) regarding the Venetia mine’s underground expansion project. Notably, water usage is carefully monitored, and regular meetings are organized with the company;
- The biodiversity offset agreement between the mining company of Vele Colliery and the State Party is considered to have contributed to the conservation of the property;
- The rehabilitation and stabilization works on major sites within the property, including the K2 archaeological site, were undertaken in 2013, and no further deterioration has occurred;
- A new integrated management plan for the property is being developed in 2018, and will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre upon completion. A document dated 2014 outlining key aspects of the site-specific management plans and the work plan for the review of the property’s management plan was enclosed to the State Party report, but had also been submitted to the World Heritage Centre in July 2016.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
It is noted with appreciation that the State Party is continuing to closely monitor the two existing mines, Vele Colliery and Venetia, located in the vicinity of the property but outside of its current buffer zone. The previously undertaken HIAs, and the established mitigation and monitoring protocols seem to provide a good basis for minimizing the risks to the property, while it is clear that these efforts should be maintained and adjusted as needed, for the entire duration of the mining operations and beyond, to ensure the strictest environmental controls for the protection of the property’s OUV. It should be recalled that the Committee had previously commended the State Party for the adoption of the Environmental Management Framework and measures to control the processing of existing mining rights and to prohibit further prospecting licenses in the buffer zone of the property (Decision 40 COM 7B.19), thereby mitigating potential future threats from extractive activities.
The process to review the management plan provides an opportunity to assess and adjust the property’s management framework to ensure its effectiveness. The State Party’s assurances that it has fully resolved all issues raised by the World Heritage Committee in its past decisions, that the property’s OUV is well maintained and monitored, and that the property faces no imminent threats, are welcomed. Yet, very limited information on the current state of conservation of the property, including monitoring and conservation activities undertaken since 2016 has been provided.
A detailed and up-to-date report on the conservation of the archaeological sites including regular monitoring activities, and on the implementation of the property’s management plan, should be provided to enable the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to make an informed assessment on the property’s current state of conservation, and decide whether a recommendation could be made to exempt the State Party, for the time being, from further reporting to the Committee under the Reactive Monitoring process.
Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.49
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.19, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
- Commends the State Party on its efforts to ensure effective monitoring of the two existing mines, Vele Colliery and Venetia, in the vicinity of the property;
- Welcomes the proposed development of a new integrated management plan, to be completed in 2018 and submitted to the World Heritage Centre;
- Acknowledges the State Party’s assurance that it has fully resolved the issues raised by the World Heritage Committee, that the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) is well maintained and monitored, and that the property faces no imminent threats, but notes that the State Party report included limited information on the monitoring and conservation of the property since the adoption of Decision 40 COM 7B.19 in 2016 to confirm its good state of conservation;
- Also acknowledges the submission of the 2013 report on rehabilitation and stabilization work of the archaeological sites, and the 2016 report that mentions further work on K2, but notes that no details have been provided that set out follow-up activities to these reports, and requests the State Party to provide a detailed report of archaeological conservation and monitoring work for all sites undertaken since the 2012 Reactive Monitoring mission, together with an illustrated assessment of the current state of conservation of the sites;
- 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, including detailed up-to-date information on the monitoring and conservation of the property, including recent data on available conservation indicators and implementation of the property’s management plan, and on the implementation of the above, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies.