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Chitwan National Park

Nepal
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Invasive/alien terrestrial species
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Ground transport infrastructure (Plans to construct a road and railway through the property, Proposed infrastructures projects)
  • Invasive/alien terrestrial species (Spread of invasive species; Encroachment of wildlife habitats in the buffer zone)
  • Management systems/Management Plan (Lack of appropriate inter-agencies and inter-ministries consultation and coordination for development proposals)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 2 (from 1988-1989)
Total amount approved : 80,000 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 10 July 2018, the State Party submitted to the World Heritage Centre an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed Balmiki Ashram-Trivenidham suspension bridge. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN provided a Technical Review and comments to the State Party in October 2018.

On 30 November 2018, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/284/documents/, which provides the following information:

  • In 2016-2017, no rhinoceros poaching was reported for another consecutive year, thanks to collaborative efforts of the Chitwan National Park, the Nepali Army, local communities and other partners;
  • The comments provided by IUCN on the EIA submitted for the proposed Balmiki Ashram-Trivenidham suspension bridge will be taken into account;
  • Preparation of an EIA for Terai Hulaki road (Bharatpur-Thori section) is underway. The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) has however strongly argued not to upgrade the segment of the road passing through the property;
  • No decision has been made regarding the alignment of proposed China-India Trade Link of State 3 and State 4, Madi-Balmiki Ashram road, and Malekhu-Thori road, which would cross the property. DNPWC remains opposed to these roads passing through the property. Dumkibas-Tribeni road was officially opposed by DNPWC;
  • DNPWC is actively engaged in discussions with other agencies about the World Heritage Committee’s requests. The Department of Railways has agreed to shift the proposed alignment of the East-West Electrified Railway so that it does not cross the property, but only partially crosses its buffer zone. Preparation of an EIA for this alternative route is underway and will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre once it is available and prior to its approval;
  • It was confirmed that the tender for tarmacking of the Bharatpur-Thori road only includes the RiuKhola-Devendrapur Section, which passes through the buffer zone. DNPWC has requested that no sections of the road passing through the property be upgraded;
  • DNPWC requested the Department of Roads to undertake an EIA for the proposed Thori-Birgunj road, including an assessment of potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  • Following the revision of boundaries in 2016 and their demarcation on the ground, the Gajendra Dham holy place is now located in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park. Provisions for management of visitors are included in the recently revised Management Plan for the National Park;
  • An update is provided on measures undertaken to implement other recommendations made by the 2016 IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission.

On 14 February 2019, the State Party submitted an EIA for the upgrading of the Thori-Madi-Bharatpur road section.

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

The significant efforts made by the State Party to address the Committee’s requests in Decision 41 COM 7B.37 are welcome, especially the ongoing collaborative efforts to combat rhinoceros poaching; the decision to shift the East-West Electrified Railway to avoid crossing the property and to undertake an EIA; and the EIA commissioned for the proposed Thori-Birgunj road. The State Party confirms that these EIAs will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, once available.

Regarding the Thori-Madi-Bharatpur road, the 2016 mission provided specific recommendations, which should be closely followed regarding the use of the road following its upgrading outside the property. The EIA for this project, submitted separately by the State Party, confirms that upgrading road section within the property would result in significant negative impacts, and therefore recommends only upgrading sections located outside of the property. However, it does not seem to consider the full impacts of potential changes to road use on the OUV of the property. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to evaluate such potential impacts and ensure that they are mitigated, taking into account the recommendation of the mission on this matter.

Despite this commendable progress, a number of other linear infrastructure projects remain sources of concern, particularly the proposed Terai Hulaki Highway, the China-India Trade Links of State 3 and State 4, the Madi-Balmiki Ashram road and the Malekhu-Thori road, which would all cross the property if allowed to proceed as currently proposed. While it is noted that DNPWC remains opposed to these roads passing through the property, it is regrettable that the Committee’s request for the State Party not to allow the Terai Hulaki Highway to pass through the property has not been followed. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its position that, if any of the aforementioned road developments were to proceed as described above, they would represent a clear potential danger to the OUV of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines.

Regarding encroachment in the area of Gajendra Dham, as highlighted in previous Committee decisions and the 2016 IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission report, it is noted that, following the 2016 revision of boundaries, Gajendra Dham is no longer be located within Chitwan National Park. While the revised boundaries and their demarcation on the ground, which were recommended by the mission, are welcome, it is regrettable that this revision of boundaries was not submitted for review by the World Heritage Committee, as required in the Operational Guidelines. It is therefore recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to provide further clarifications on the revised boundaries in order to assess whether a boundary modification is required, in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines. As the 2016 mission recommended developing a Management Plan for Gajendra Dham, the Committee may request the State Party to provide further information regarding the provisions made for this site in the revised Management Plan for the property, including how they address the recommendations of the mission.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
43 COM 7B.11
Parc national de Chitwan (Népal) (N 284)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.31, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Welcomes the ongoing collaborative efforts of Chitwan National Park, the Nepali Army, local communities and other partners to combat rhinoceros poaching and urges the State Party to uphold these anti-poaching efforts;
  4. Also welcomes the decision by the State Party to shift the alignment of the East-West Electrified Railroad so that it does not cross the property and to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for this alternative route, and requests the State Party to ensure that all potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are fully assessed by the EIA, in line with the IUCN Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  5. Notes the confirmation that tarmacking of the Thori-Madi-Bharatpur road will only concern the section passing through the buffer zone of the property and not the property itself, but recalls that the 2016 IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission also provided specific recommendations regarding the use of the road following its upgrading outside the property, including ensuring that the road will not be used for transportation of commercial goods to destinations beyond Thori, and also requests the State Party to implement them;
  6. Also notes the decision to undertake an EIA for the proposed Thori-Birgunj road, including an assessment of potential impacts on the OUV of the property;
  7. Reiterates its concern that other infrastructure projects continue to pose a threat to the property, including the proposed Terai Hulaki Highway, the China-India Trade Links of State 3 and State 4, the Madi-Balmiki Ashram road and the Malekhu-Thori road, and reiterates its request to the State Party to make an unequivocal commitment not to allow the development of the Terai Hulaki Highway to proceed along its proposed alignment through the property, and not to approve any other new roads or the reopening/upgrading of old roads passing through the property;
  8. Reiterates its position that, if any of the aforementioned road and railway developments were to proceed through the property, they would represent a potential danger to the OUV of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, and thus form a clear basis for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit information on any proposed projects to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and to ensure that the construction of infrastructure will not be permitted if it could negatively impact on the OUV of the property;
  10. Taking note of the information that Gajendra Dham is reportedly no longer located within the boundaries of Chitwan National Park, following a revision of boundaries in 2016 and its demarcation on the ground, also urges the State Party to provide further clarification on any change to the boundaries in order to assess whether a boundary modification is required, in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  11. Noting the confirmation that provisions for visitor management at Gajendra Dham were included in the updated Management Plan for Chitwan National Park, and also recalling the recommendations of the 2016 IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission in that regard, requests furthermore the State Party to provide detailed information on how these management provisions address the mission’s recommendations;
  12. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 45th session in 2021.
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7B.11

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.31, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Welcomes the ongoing collaborative efforts of Chitwan National Park, the Nepali Army, local communities and other partners to combat rhinoceros poaching and urges the State Party to uphold these anti-poaching efforts;
  4. Also welcomes the decision by the State Party to shift the alignment of the East-West Electrified Railroad so that it does not cross the property and to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for this alternative route, and requests the State Party to ensure that all potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are fully assessed by the EIA, in line with the IUCN Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  5. Notes the confirmation that tarmacking of the Thori-Madi-Bharatpur road will only concern the section passing through the buffer zone of the property and not the property itself, but recalls that the 2016 IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission also provided specific recommendations regarding the use of the road following its upgrading outside the property, including ensuring that the road will not be used for transportation of commercial goods to destinations beyond Thori, and also requests the State Party to implement them;
  6. Also notes the decision to undertake an EIA for the proposed Thori-Birgunj road, including an assessment of potential impacts on the OUV of the property;
  7. Reiterates its concern that other infrastructure projects continue to pose a threat to the property, including the proposed Terai Hulaki Highway, the China-India Trade Links of State 3 and State 4, the Madi-Balmiki Ashram road and the Malekhu-Thori road, and reiterates its request to the State Party to make an unequivocal commitment not to allow the development of the Terai Hulaki Highway to proceed along its proposed alignment through the property, and not to approve any other new roads or the reopening/upgrading of old roads passing through the property;
  8. Reiterates its position that, if any of the aforementioned road and railway developments were to proceed through the property, they would represent a potential danger to the OUV of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, and thus form a clear basis for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit information on any proposed projects to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and to ensure that the construction of infrastructure will not be permitted if it could negatively impact on the OUV of the property;
  10. Taking note of the information that Gajendra Dham is reportedly no longer located within the boundaries of Chitwan National Park, following a revision of boundaries in 2016 and its demarcation on the ground, also urges the State Party to provide further clarification on any change to the boundaries in order to assess whether a boundary modification is required, in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  11. Noting the confirmation that provisions for visitor management at Gajendra Dham were included in the updated Management Plan for Chitwan National Park, and also recalling the recommendations of the 2016 IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission in that regard, requests furthermore the State Party to provide detailed information on how these management provisions address the mission’s recommendations;
  12. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 45th session in 2021.
Report year: 2019
Nepal
Date of Inscription: 1984
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2018) .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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