1.         Lake Turkana National Parks (Kenya) (N 801bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1997

Criteria  (viii)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2018-present

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 on the Omo River (Kuraz irrigation project, Gibe III dam) on water and nutrient flow into Lake Turkana

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

Drafted

Corrective measures identified

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet identified

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/801/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2000-2001)
Total amount approved: USD 35,300
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/801/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March 2012 and April 2015: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions; March 2020: World Heritage Centre Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/801/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 5 March 2020, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, including the 2018-2028 Management Plan of the property and the 2016 bird monitoring report. A World Heritage Centre Reactive Monitoring mission to the property took place on 6–11 March 2020. Both reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/199/documents/. Progress in addressing previous Committee decisions is provided in the State Party report as follows:

It should be noted that while the Reactive Monitoring mission was planned as a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission, IUCN was unable to participate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The mission was furthermore unable to finalize the corrective measures and a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), as requested by the Committee, as the State Party of Ethiopia did not respond to the State Party of Kenya’s invitation to attend the meeting.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The State Party’s efforts to manage the property under difficult circumstances due to the prevailing socio-economic situation and remoteness of the property are acknowledged. At the same time, the future of the property depends on the success of intra- and inter-governmental cooperation to manage regional development pressure. The 2020 Reactive Monitoring mission confirms the potential danger to the property’s OUV from large-scale development projects in the Lake Turkana Basin, combined with the pressures from poaching, livestock encroachment and illegal fishing. As noted by the mission, it is therefore of great concern that the long overdue SEA repeatedly requested by the Committee since its Decision 36 COM 7B.3 (Saint Petersburg, 2012) has still not been initiated, and that the delay may now limit the future options for mitigating negative impacts on the OUV. It is recommended that the Committee strongly urge the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to immediately conduct the SEA and present the findings at the 45th session of the Committee.

It is regrettable that the State Party of Ethiopia did not submit the EIA for the Kuraz Sugar Development Project as requested by the Committee (Decision 43 COM 7A.12), as this EIA should include a comprehensive assessment of potential downstream impacts on the OUV of the property. There has again been a lack of a consolidated response by the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia, with no update presented on the status of the hydropower dams in Ethiopia.

Recalling the 2012 mission findings, the 2020 mission confirms the continued threat from poaching and encroachment and the resulting steep decline in wildlife populations that represent the values for which the property was inscribed under Criterion (x). Several flagship species, including Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and lion, are no longer present in the property. This provides a further rationale for inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines. It is therefore recommended that the Committee add this issue to the justification for the continued inclusion of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in addition to the potential irreversible loss of the property’s OUV due to upstream developments for which the property was initially inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2018. The proposal for corrective measures and a drafted DSOCR prepared by the mission take into account both threats, and build on the 2012, 2015 and 2020 mission recommendations. The State Party should finalise this proposal in consultation with the State Party of Ethiopia, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, and submit it for the Committee’s approval as soon as possible.

While the completion of the 2018-2028 Management Plan is positive, its implementation is a major concern due to financial and human resource constraints. The mission also noted that the Management Plan should present a clear strategy on how to preserve the OUV of the property. The adoption of the DSOCR should be used as an opportunity to better focus the management of the property on the OUV.  The mission noted the need to bring the three component parts of the property under one integrated management unit and develop an operational plan and monitoring and evaluation system for the implementation of the Management Plan.

The mission renewed the recommendation of the 2012 mission that the State Party re-design the property boundary to include a larger portion of the lake. The mission also recommended the creation of a buffer zone to the property in accordance with paragraphs 103-107 of the Operational Guidelines, as an added layer of protection with complementary legal restrictions on its use and development. These would enhance the integrity of the property and strengthen protection of the property’s values of global importance.

The mission further recommended that the State Party might give consideration, in line with the Decision CONF 208 VIII.A, to re-submitting a cultural nomination of important fossil sites for human evolution outside the property that were nominated in 1997 but deferred by the Committee to allow re-vision of boundaries. 

Considering that the 2020 mission was unable to fulfil its objectives as explained above, it is recommended that the Committee requests the State Party of Kenya to convene a workshop as soon as possible with the participation from the State Party of Ethiopia, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to discuss the cumulative impacts on the property’s OUV, and to finalise the DSOCR.

It is finally recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7A.47

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.3, 39 COM 7B.4, 40 COM 7B.80, 42 COM 7B.92 and 43 COM 7A.12 adopted at its 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), 39th (Bonn, 2015), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), 42nd (Manama, 2018) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively,
  3. Acknowledging the State Party’s continued efforts to implement the 2018-2028 Management Plan, requests the State Party to allocate adequate resources to protect the property, to bring the three component parts under one integrated management unit and to develop an operational plan and monitoring and evaluation system focused on the preservation of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  4. Reiterates its deep regrets about the continued lack of a consolidated response by the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia to the Committee’s past decisions, and also requests the State Party of Ethiopia to provide an urgent update on all planned and current development projects in the Turkana Basin, and submit the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Kuraz Sugar Development Project for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  5. Expresses its concern about the long-standing threat of poaching and encroachment leading to steep decline and local extinctions of wildlife populations that represent the values for which the property was inscribed under Criterion (x), considers that this represents an ascertained danger to the property in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, and decides to add this issue to the justification for the continued inclusion of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  6. Deeply regrets that the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to assess the cumulative impacts of the multiple developments in the Lake Turkana Basin on the OUV of the affected properties continues to be delayed due to lack of an agreement between the States Parties of Kenya and Ethiopia on its funding, and strongly urges the two States Parties to immediately conduct the SEA without any further delay for its findings to be examined by the Committee at its 45th session;
  7. Further requests the State Party to finalise the 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) in consultation with the State Party of Ethopia, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, for examination by the Committee at its 45th session;
  8. Invites the State Party to consider redesigning the property’s boundaries to include a larger portion of the lake; and to give consideration, in line with Decision CONF 208 VIII.A, to resubmitting a cultural nomination of important fossil sites for human evolution outside the property that were nominated in 1997 but deferred by the Committee to allow revision of boundaries;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to implement all other recommendations of the 2020 mission, which build upon earlier mission recommendations, in particular to:
    1. Develop a site-specific Biodiversity Action Plan to restore wildlife populations in the property to the time of inscription of the property,
    2. Conduct a comprehensive scientific study to assess the current impacts of grazing and develop a viable grazing pressure reduction strategy based on grazing capacities to address encroachment,
    3. Establish a long-term monitoring system for the collection and analysis of hydrological and limnological data in Lake Turkana to assess the ecological changes to the lake system and the related impact on the OUV of the property,
    4. Develop a national overarching Master Plan for development in and adjacent to Lake Turkana to avoid any negative impacts on the lake system and OUV of the property,
    5. Create buffer zone to the property, possibly covering the whole lake and other critical terrestrial areas with complementary legal and/or customary restrictions on its use and development;
  10. Requests moreover the State Party to complete, as soon as possible, the work on the revision of the SEA for the Lamu Port-Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project (LAPSSET), taking into account both individual and cumulative impacts that the project and all of its sub-projects may have on the OUV of the property, as well as on Lamu Old Town World Heritage property, and that no further components of LAPSSET be implemented before the SEA is completed and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  11. Reiterates its request to the State Party of Kenya to submit the ESIA for the Lamu-Lokichar Crude Oil pipeline, to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN before taking any decision that may be difficult to reverse;
  12. Requests in addition the State Party of Kenya to convene as soon as possible, a workshop with participation from the State Party of Ethiopia, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to discuss the cumulative impacts of developments in the Lake Turkana Basin on the property’s OUV, and to finalise the DSOCR;
  13. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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;
Also decides to retain Lake Turkana National Parks (Kenya) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 44 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/21/44.COM/7A, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: