1.         Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) (N 1167)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2004

Criteria  (vii)(ix)(x)

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

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted; see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/5970

Corrective measures identified

Adopted; see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/5970
Revision proposed in the draft Decision below

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted; see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/5970

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2005-2012)
Total amount approved: USD 96,600
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 1,800,000 for the 3-year UNF/UNFIP Project (2005-2007) – Partnership for the Conservation of Sumatra Natural Heritage; USD 35,000 Rapid Response Facility Grant (2007)

Previous monitoring missions

February-March 2006: joint UNESCO/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; March 2007: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2009: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2011: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; October 2013: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2018: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 7 February 2018, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents/. An IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission visited the property from 5-16 April 2018, the report of which is also available at the above link.

The State Party reports as follows:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The continued progress in increasing patrols and law enforcement efforts in the property, which has resulted in successful arrests is welcomed. Whilst the initiation of the small-scale ‘Role Model’ pilot sites is a positive step towards forest restoration, the mission observed substantial, ongoing encroachment, which will require considerably more effort to bring under control and to rehabilitate those degraded areas. Encroachment also appears to be occurring most in lowland forests, which are particularly important habitats for key wildlife, as well as in ecological corridors thereby leading to fragmentation of the property.

The confirmation that there has been no new road development inside the property is appreciated. Nevertheless, the mission learned of two road upgrade projects that have proceeded without the appropriate Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. One is to expand the Sungai Penuh to Tapan road, which traverses Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP), and for which an EIA was completed only after the upgrade work had commenced. Furthermore, the EIA does not assess any potential impacts on the OUV of the property or propose any mitigation measures. The second road upgrade for Karo-Langkat in GLNP appears to have also been approved without a prior EIA. It is critical that road upgrades – not only new roads – are subject to an EIA and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN before any decisions are taken, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

It is welcomed that the State Party has cancelled the proposed geothermal project on the Kappi Plateau in a part of GLNP that is designated as core zone of the national park and that no other plans exist for geothermal development within the property. The extensions of the moratoria on new oil palm plantations and on mining are also welcomed, and it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to extend these further to ensure that important wildlife habitats and corridors in the Leuser Ecosystem are protected against these damaging developments.

The reported Ministerial Decrees for boundary changes to two of the national parks included in the property leading to a decrease in area are of utmost concern. The State Party should be reminded that any proposed changes to the property boundaries need to be approved by the Committee and therefore it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to clarify whether it intends to change the boundaries of the property, in which case a proposal for a boundary modification should be submitted following the appropriate procedure as laid out in the Operational Guidelines. Furthermore, the mission noted with great concern that boundary demarcation on the ground was largely insufficient, which is constraining the ability to enforce the law.

The monitoring of the key wildlife species in study areas is appreciated but there is still no systematic data collection across the three national parks. There is a requirement for coordination at the property level for consistent monitoring methods using replicable protocols. Land use pressures on the property, especially in the lowlands are threatening wildlife habitats and there is a need to ensure the protection of ecological corridors adjoining the property. In this respect, it is recalled that in Decision 33 COM 7B.15 the Committee recommended the State Party, in coordination with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to submit a proposal for a significant boundary modification to include these key areas into the property and to better reflect its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).

The Committee in its Decision 38 COM 7A.28 also requested the State Party to ensure the control of invasive species, and the mission was informed of efforts to tackle the spread of the invasive (native) vine, Merremia peltata, which is posing a significant threat to the natural forest in the southern part of BBSNP. The invasive alien species Lantana camara also appears to be widespread in this park. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to assess the full potential impact of invasive species on the OUV of the property and the possible control methods.

The mission reviewed the current indicators for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, and proposes changes to two of the indicators:

These proposed changes reflect the recognition of the realities of the state of OUV within the property and a need to ensure the indicators are achievable whilst remaining meaningful. The mission proposes to add a new clause under indicator 1 to strengthen the requirements for solving the encroachment challenge.

In summary, significant progress has been made by the State Party in addressing the threats facing the property, but this is not yet sufficient for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7A.40

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add2,
  2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 7A.28 and 41 COM 7A.18, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the State Party’s continued progress in increasing patrols and law enforcement efforts in the property;
  4. Notes with significant concern the substantial, ongoing forest loss primarily as a result of encroachment and strongly urges the State Party to take urgent action to halt the current trend and rehabilitate degraded areas;
  5. Also welcomes that the State Party has cancelled the proposed geothermal project on the Kappi Plateau within Gunung Leuser National Park and that no other plans exist for geothermal development within the property;
  6. Further welcomes the 6-month extensions to the moratoria on new oil palm plantations and on mining issued by the Governor of Aceh in December 2017, and also strongly urges the State Party to extend these moratoria further to ensure that important wildlife habitats and corridors in the Leuser Ecosystem are protected against these damaging developments;
  7. Appreciates that no new road development exists inside the property but notes with concern that two road upgrade projects have been approved without the necessary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, and reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure that any upgrade to existing roads and footpaths are only permitted if it is demonstrated through an EIA that they would not cause any negative impact on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  8. Also noting with concern that the boundaries of two of the national parks have been reduced through Ministerial Decrees, requests the State Party to clarify whether it intends to modify the boundaries of the property, in which case a boundary modification request should be submitted in accordance with paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines, including clear maps of the revised boundaries, for approval by the Committee, and reiterates its recommendation to the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, a proposal for a significant boundary modification to better reflect the OUV of the property;
  9. Reminds the State Party that changes to existing boundaries and buffer zones should have the primary objective of strengthening the protection of OUV and must be approved by the World Heritage Committee through one of its established processes;
  10. Also requests the State Party to ensure that monitoring of key wildlife species (Sumatran Elephant, Sumatran Orangutan, Sumatran Rhino and Sumatran Tiger) comprise systematic data collection across the three national parks using consistent monitoring methods and replicable protocols;
  11. Adopts the indicators that describe the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), as revised by the 2018 IUCN mission, and further requests the State Party to implement the following revised corrective measures to restore the OUV of the property:
    1. Strengthen efforts to remove all encroachers from the property and carry out necessary forest restoration work to ensure that encroachment does not recur. Ensure that forest restoration is focused initially on degraded areas in key ecological corridors and along roads, paths and tracks that traverse the property, and that key restored wildlife corridors are designated as a core zone. Review any historical land rights claims within the property and take necessary action to resolve such claims whilst maintaining the OUV of the property,
    2. Clarify in law the boundaries of each component national park of the property, in consultation with Provincial governments, local communities and all other stakeholders and restore and complete the demarcation of these boundaries on the ground,
    3. Further enhance law enforcement capacity and the geographic reach and intensity of patrols throughout the property in collaboration with conservation NGOs, local communities and other partners. Ensure that forest crimes are effectively detected and prosecuted,
    4. Ensure standardised monitoring protocols and data formats to track progress in the implementation of all activities towards the DSOCR within each park, so that these can be readily consolidated for regular reporting on progress for the property as a whole. Ensure that new data on the extent of forest cover are derived from recent satellite imagery in a manner that can be repeated at regular intervals,
    5. Strengthen property-wide monitoring of key species, including Sumatran Elephant, Tiger, Rhino and Orangutan, by:
      1. continuing collaboration among Government, NGO and university stakeholders,
      2. agreeing a common methodological framework for monitoring each species,
      3. expanding monitoring efforts to address geographical gaps in monitoring activities,
      4. ensuring that simple GPS-referenced presence/absence data for key species are collected as part of routine SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) patrols, so that changes in range occupancy can be detected and monitored,
      5. synchronizing data analyses for all key species to facilitate progress reporting,
    6. Strengthen species recovery efforts by implementing habitat improvement and ecosystem restoration programmes, as required, including the control of invasive species,
    7. Maintain the policy that prohibits the construction of new roads in national parks, and implement the strategies and recommendations of the 2017 Strategic Environmental Assessment for the road network in the Bukit Barisan Mountain Range and the additional requests made by the Committee, in order to minimize the impact of road networks on the property’s OUV,
    8. Ensure that rigorous EIAs are carried out for all proposed developments within the property (e.g. road improvement projects) and its vicinity (e.g. roads, mining, geothermal and hydro dam projects), with particular attention to the Leuser Ecosystem National Strategic Area, to ensure that these do not have a negative impact on the OUV of the property,
    9. Complete the process of closing and rehabilitating all mines within the property, further investigate the existence of any mining concessions and exploration permits that may still overlap with the property, and revoke any overlapping concessions and/or permits that are identified,
    10. Ensure that all provinces, districts and sub-districts that include parts of the property recognize its World Heritage status and avoid the designation of development zones within its boundaries,
    11. Ensure that the World Heritage Working Group under the Coordinating Ministry of Human Development and Culture is taking an active role in promoting effective coordination between different ministries in the protection and management of the property especially concerning difficult issues related to encroachment and boundary reconstruction,
    12. Review the buffer zones around each park comprising the property, and revise them where necessary and appropriate, based on ecological criteria, to protect critical wildlife habitats bordering the property and ensure that land use in the wider landscapes around each park contributes to sustaining all aspects of the property’s OUV, including animal migration corridors and parts of each species natural range that are essential to maintaining viable populations in the long term;
  12. Requests furthermore the State Party to assess the full potential impact of invasive species, including Merremia peltata and Lantana camara, on the OUV of the property and their possible control methods;
  13. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 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 43rd session in 2019;
  14. Decides to retain the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/18/42.COM/7A, WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add and WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: