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Lake Turkana National Parks

Kenya
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Oil and gas
  • Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Impacts of the Gibe III dam
  • Other planned hydro-electric developments and associated large-scale irrigation projects in the Omo region
  • Oil exploration
  • Wildlife populations and pressure from poaching and livestock grazing
  • Impacts of the larger development vision for Northern Kenya
  • Management capacity of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and National Museums of Kenya (NMK)
  • Redesigning the boundaries design of the property
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Potential irreversible loss of the property’s OUV caused by impacts of various development projects (Kuraz irrigation project, Gibe III dam) on the water flow
Corrective Measures for the property

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet identified

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 2 (from 2000-2001)
Total amount approved : 35,300 USD
Missions to the property until 2019**

March 2012 and April 2015: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 1 February 2019, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/801/documents/, reporting the following:

  • All projects within the Lake Turkana Basin in Kenya are monitored to manage threats to the property;
  • The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor project (LAPSSET) is under revision. An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Lamu-Lokichar Crude Oil pipeline from Turkana county to Lamu is underway;
  • There is continued delay in commissioning the SEA to assess the cumulative impacts of the multiple developments in the Lake Turkana Basin on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the affected properties due to pending agreement on funding by the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia;
  • The implementation of the property’s 2018-2028 Management Plan and its action plans, including for the management of livestock grazing and recovery of giraffe, has started;
  • Mapping and demarcation of fish breeding areas amongst other measures, aim to sustain the lake’s fisheries;
  • The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project has an effective environmental monitoring and management system.

On 20 September 2018, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN had a call with Olsuswa Energy Limited, which is developing a 140 MW of geothermal power station at the Barrier Volcanic Complex, south of Lake Turkana.

On 12 October 2018 and 15 February 2019, the World Heritage Centre sent letters to the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia, requesting an update on the implementation of Decision 42 COM 7B.92, notably the status of the SEA, the bilateral meetings and an invitation letter for the Reactive Monitoring mission. On 15 April 2019, the State Party of Kenya responded, requesting postponement of the mission until 2020 once the SEA has begun, and reporting that a joint Kenya-Ethiopia report was not possible due to stagnant bilateral discussions. No response has been received from the State Party of Ethiopia.

In response to reports that UN Environment had confirmed its intention to fund and coordinate the development of the SEA, the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to UN Environment on 22 March 2019, providing a background note on the past Committee decisions regarding the SEA and the property.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019

While it is positive that the property’s new Management Plan for 2018-2028, and corresponding action plans, is under implementation, these were not submitted to the World Heritage Centre and limited information is provided on the activities undertaken. Hence, a comprehensive assessment on management effectiveness or implementation of the outstanding 2012 and 2015 mission recommendations is not possible. In particular, it is of utmost concern that there is no mention of monitoring the water flow and water quality downstream of the Gibe III dam, and its impacts on the seasonal wetlands in the property to ensure the sufficient flow, as recommended by the 2015 mission.

No information was provided on the impounding of the Gibe III dam, mitigation measures or progress with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Kuraz Sugar Development Project in Ethiopia, as requested by the Committee (42 COM 7B.92). While a hydrological assessment will be included in the SEA, ongoing monitoring is crucial to inform management and mitigation measures. According to the data provided to the Committee in 2018, the impounding of the Gibe III dam had already disrupted the seasonal water flow patterns, leading to the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger at the 42nd session.

It is therefore of utmost concern that the SEA continues to be delayed due to disagreement on funding and stagnated bilateral discussions between the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia. The reported intention of UN Environment to assist with the development of the SEA is therefore welcomed. The Committee has repeatedly expressed its concern over the potential negative impacts of development projects in Kenya and Ethiopia on the Lake Turkana National Parks (Kenya) and Lower Valley of the Omo (Ethiopia) World Heritage properties. Recalling that the Committee has been requesting the States Parties to undertake the SEA since 2012, there is an urgent need for it to be conducted, in conformity with the Committee’s past decisions and with IUCN and ICOMOS guidance on impact assessments.

The revision of the SEA for LAPSSET and the development of the Lamu-Lokichar Crude Oil pipeline are noted. No information is provided on the proposed geothermal power project at the Barrier Volcanic Complex. All EIAs for projects, including for geothermal energy, LAPSSET and its sub-projects, which may have potential impacts on the property, should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, before taking any decision that may be difficult to reverse. Based on the State Party’s report, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project appears to have a robust environmental monitoring and management system to address potential impacts or concerns.

While noting the reasons given to postpone the mission, it is important to undertake it as soon as possible, particularly considering the 2018 state of conservation report to the Committee warning that the property’s OUV could degrade quickly. Noting that the condition of the property remains largely unknown, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party of Kenya to invite the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission, without further delay. It is important to note that the last full mission to the property was undertaken in 2012, as the 2015 mission only visited the Gibe III dam site in Ethiopia.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
43 COM 7A.12
Lake Turkana National Parks (Kenya) (N 801bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 39 COM 7B.4, 40 COM 7B.80 and 42 COM 7B.92, adopted at its 39th (Bonn, 2015), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. Acknowledges the State Party of Kenya’s efforts to implement the newly approved Management Plan for 2018-2028, and requests the State Party to submit it and the Action Plans, to the World Heritage Centre, together with details of its implementation;
  4. Deeply regrets the continued lack of a consolidated response by the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to the Committee’s past requests, and reiterates its request to the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to provide a consolidated response on their progress to address the outstanding 2012 and 2015 mission recommendations as well as an update on the current status of the impounding of the Gibe III reservoir, and any mitigation measures being implemented;
  5. Also deeply regrets that the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to assess the cumulative impacts of the multiple developments in the Lake Turkana Basin on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the affected properties, continues to be delayed;
  6. Welcomes the reported proposal by UN Environment to assist with the development of the overdue SEA, strongly urges the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to cooperate in this process, and also requests the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia, with the collaboration of UN Environment, to undertake the SEA in conformity with the Committee’s past decisions and the IUCN and ICOMOS guidance on impact assessments, to report on the projected timeline and progress in undertaking the SEA, and to submit the draft SEA to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN as soon as it is available;
  7. Notes the ongoing revision of the SEA for Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project (LAPSSET), the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Lamu-Lokichar Crude Oil pipeline from Turkana county to Lamu and the proposed development of the geothermal power station at the Barrier Volcanic Complex south of the property, and further requests the State Party of Kenya, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to submit all related impact assessments of projects, which may have potential impacts on the property, to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, before taking any decision that may be difficult to reverse;
  8. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.92 Paragraph 6, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018), welcomes the commitment of the State Party of Ethiopia to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the Kuraz Sugar Development Project, including a comprehensive assessment of potential downstream impacts on the OUV of the property, and requests the EIA to be submitted for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies by 31 December 2019;
  9. Whilst noting the State Party of Kenya’s request to postpone the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property until 2020 once the SEA is at more advanced stage, considers that the mission should be undertaken as soon as possible to provide an up-to-date assessment on the state of conservation of the property under potential severe threat;
  10. Reiterates its request to the State Party of Kenya to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess the property’s state of conservation, to review the impacts of the development projects in Ethiopia and Kenya on the property and the progress made to implement the past mission recommendations, and to develop, in consultation with the State Party of Ethiopia, a proposed set of corrective measures and a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), for examination by the Committee at its 44th session in 2020;
  11. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, 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;
  12. Decides to retain Lake Turkana National Parks (Kenya) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
43 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/19/43.COM/7A, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3 and WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3.Corr),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 43 COM 7A.41)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision43 COM 7A.42)
  • Austria, Historic Centre of Vienna (Decision 43 COM 7A.45)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 43 COM 7A.48)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.5)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.8)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.9)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.10)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.11)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 43 COM 7A.17)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.4)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 43 COM 7A.1)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 43 COM 7A.18)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 43 COM 7A.19)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 43 COM 7A.20)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 43 COM 7A.22)
  • Kenya, Lake Turkana National Parks (Decision 43 COM 7A.12)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 43 COM 7A.23)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 43 COM 7A.24)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 43 COM 7A.25)
  • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 43 COM 7A.26)
  • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 43 COM 7A.27)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 43 COM 7A.13)
  • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 43 COM 7A.53)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 43 COM 7A.54)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 43 COM 7A.55)
  • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 43 COM 7A.43)
  • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 43 COM 7A.14)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 43 COM 7A.30)
  • Palestine, Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Decision 43 COM 7A.29)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 43 COM 7A.50)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 43 COM 7A.51)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.15)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 43 COM 7A.46)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 43 COM 7A.2)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 43 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 43 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 43 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 43 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 43 COM 7A.35)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 43 COM 7A.36)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 43 COM 7A.56)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 43 COM 7A.47)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.16)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.3)
  • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 43 COM 7A.44)
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 43 COM 7A.52)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 43 COM 7A.38)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 43 COM 7A.39)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 43 COM 7A.40)
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7A.12

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 39 COM 7B.4, 40 COM 7B.80 and 42 COM 7B.92, adopted at its 39th (Bonn, 2015), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. Acknowledges the State Party of Kenya’s efforts to implement the newly approved Management Plan for 2018-2028, and requests the State Party to submit it and the Action Plans, to the World Heritage Centre, together with details of its implementation;
  4. Deeply regrets the continued lack of a consolidated response by the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to the Committee’s past requests, and reiterates its request to the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to provide a consolidated response on their progress to address the outstanding 2012 and 2015 mission recommendations as well as an update on the current status of the impounding of the Gibe III reservoir, and any mitigation measures being implemented;
  5. Also deeply regrets that the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to assess the cumulative impacts of the multiple developments in the Lake Turkana Basin on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the affected properties, continues to be delayed;
  6. Welcomes the reported proposal by UN Environment to assist with the development of the overdue SEA, strongly urges the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to cooperate in this process, and also requests the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia, with the collaboration of UN Environment, to undertake the SEA in conformity with the Committee’s past decisions and the IUCN and ICOMOS guidance on impact assessments, to report on the projected timeline and progress in undertaking the SEA, and to submit the draft SEA to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN as soon as it is available;
  7. Notes the ongoing revision of the SEA for Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project (LAPSSET), the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Lamu-Lokichar Crude Oil pipeline from Turkana county to Lamu and the proposed development of the geothermal power station at the Barrier Volcanic Complex south of the property, and further requests the State Party of Kenya, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to submit all related impact assessments of projects, which may have potential impacts on the property, to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, before taking any decision that may be difficult to reverse;
  8. Urges again the State Party of Ethiopia to halt all activities in relation to the Kuraz Sugar Development Project until an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), including a comprehensive assessment of potential downstream impacts on the OUV of the property, has been completed and reviewed by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  9. Whilst noting the State Party of Kenya’s request to postpone the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property until 2020 once the SEA is at more advanced stage, considers that the mission should be undertaken as soon as possible to provide an up-to-date assessment on the state of conservation of the property under potential severe threat;
  10. Also reiterates its request to the State Party of Kenya to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess the property’s state of conservation, to review the impacts of the development projects in Ethiopia and Kenya on the property and the progress made to implement the past mission recommendations, and to develop, in consultation with the State Party of Ethiopia, a proposed set of corrective measures and a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), for examination by the Committee at its 44th session in 2020;
  11. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, 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;
  12. Decides to retain Lake Turkana National Parks (Kenya) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2019
Kenya
Date of Inscription: 1997
Category: Natural
Criteria: (viii)(x)
Danger List (dates): 2018-present
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2019) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 43COM (2019)
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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