Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Serengeti National Park

United Republic of Tanzania
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Air transport infrastructure
  • Drought
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Illegal activities
  • Major linear utilities
  • Water (extraction)
  • Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Potential impacts of a hydro-electric project in Kenya
  • Reduced and degraded water resources
  • Water infrastructure
  • Potential impact of optical cables’ installation
  • Air transport infrastructure
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Illegal activities, including poaching
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 4 (from 1989-1999)
Total amount approved : 59,500 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

November 2010: Joint  World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 3 January 2020, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/156/documents, with the following information:

  • A Technical Committee meeting of experts was held in April 2018 in the framework of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) to take into consideration the concerns raised by UNESCO on the proposed dams in the Mara River Basin in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania. It reviewed the feasibility studies that were conducted by The Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) on the proposed dams;
  • Through the development of a Joint Water Allocation Plan (JWAP) for the Mara Basin the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya will avoid water use conflict and mitigate detrimental effects to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of both the property and the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage property. It will be based on the existing Water Allocation Plan (WAP) for Kenya and the WAP currently under development for the United Republic of Tanzania, taking into account the results of the Environmental Flow Assessment, which is currently being finalized with support from NELSAP;
  • The new Management Plan (2014-2024) for the property was endorsed by Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA's) Board of Trustees in June 2017;
  • A feasibility study and preliminary design was completed for the “Lake Eyasi Route” of the Serengeti Southern Bypass road. The draft Route Option Selection Report has been submitted to the Tanzania National Roads Agency and a decision for the preferred route option has been taken;
  • The Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan for the period 2013-2030 was completed in 2013 and the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) approved in 2014. The Master Plan foresees no major infrastructure development within the property;
  • The State Party confirms that the stretch of the northern road crossing the Serengeti National Park from Tabora B to Klein’s gate in the property will remain under the management of TANAPA and will be maintained as a gravel road;
  • The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Belabela Lodge has been undertaken and was submitted to the World Heritage Centre in February 2019;
  • The process to include Speke Gulf into the park is progressing. Affected communities will be granted compensation. Once the process is concluded, a boundary modification will be submitted in line with the provisions in the Operational Guidelines;

A joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission was planned in March 2020, but was postponed because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The planned dam projects in the Mara River basin in Kenya remain a serious concern, as the water of the Mara River and its tributaries are vital for the survival of the wildlife in the property, to maintain the ecological functioning of the wider Serengeti ecosystem (including  the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya) and the OUV of both the property and the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage property. It is encouraging that the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya are working on a transboundary JWAP for the Mara River basin and it is crucial that this ensures the permanent character of the Mara River, taking into account potential changes in rainfall patterns in the region as a result of climate change. The State Party report unfortunately does not provide an update on the current status of the different dam projects.

The Reactive Monitoring mission remains a key opportunity to further discuss the developments in the Mara River basin with both States Parties and LVBC and is therefore pressing. In preparation of the mission, it is recommended that the Committee request the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya to provide an update on the status of all dam projects in the Mara River basin, and not to make any decisions on infrastructure development that could affect water flow of the Mara River before the JWAP is agreed and the impacts on the OUV of the property are assessed.

The progress made towards expanding the National Park to include Speke Gulf is welcomed, thereby creating a wildlife corridor facilitating permanent access to the water of Lake Victoria, which could be crucial in the event of a drought. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre updated on this effort.

It is noted that the 2014-2024 Management Plan has been approved and it is recommended that the Plan be submitted before the start of the mission. It is regrettable that the State Party did not submit the Route Option Selection Report and relevant documents pertaining to the Southern Bypass Road, or the SEA for the 2013-2030 Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan as requested by the Committee. It is important that these documents are submitted as soon as possible in preparation for the called for mission. The confirmation by the State Party that no “major infrastructure” [sic] is planned in the property until at least 2030 is noted.

While the project brief for the Belabela Lodge stated that the project will be in the ‘low-use zone’, the EIA now categorizes it to be in the ‘high-use zone’. Both documents contain the same map of the project location however, so clarification is needed on whether the zonation of the property was changed in the current Management Plan and how this contributes to ensuring the protection of the OUV. Although the EIA notes that the permanent lodge will be constructed at an average altitude of 1.340 m and is therefore unlikely to affect migrating ungulates, noting that there are a number of other tourist camps nearby, there is a need to assess the cumulative impact of tourism infrastructures on other wildlife species before making a decision on the project.

While noting the State Party’s statement on the northern road, it is crucial that it upholds its 2011 commitment, as reflected in Decision 35 COM 7B.7, that the road through the property will be reserved mainly for tourism and administrative purposes.

It should also be noted that a meeting was organized in Kenya in March 2020, in which IUCN participated in, to explore the nomination of the “The African Great Rift Valley - The Maasai Mara”, included on the Tentative List of Kenya since 2010 and which is contiguous with the property. A potential nomination of Maasai Mara should therefore be strongly encouraged as a transboundary extension to the property and it is recommended that the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya undertake further consultation on this project and seek advice from the World Heritage Centre and IUCN.

Finally, it is recommended that the Committee request for the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to be undertaken as soon as the sanitary situation allows in order to assess the threats posed by the series of proposed dams upstream of the property, and any other developments that may have potential impacts on the property. The mission should also follow up on previous decisions and mission recommendations and review the 2014-2024 Management Plan as well as the documents and decisions related to the Southern Bypass Road.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.86
Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 156)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7B.7, 38 COM 7B.94 and 42 COM 7B.96 adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 38th (Doha, 2014) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. Reiterates its utmost concern about the proposed dam projects upstream of the property in the Mara river basin, which could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Serengeti National Park and Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage properties;
  4. Welcomes the efforts of the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya to start developing a transboundary Joint Water Allocation Plan (JWAP) for the Mara Basin and notes that it is crucial that this plan ensures the permanent character of the Mara River is retained, taking into account potential changes in rainfall patterns in the region including as a result of climate change;
  5. Requests the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya to submit to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible, and before the Reactive Monitoring mission takes place, an update on the status of all dam projects in the Mara River basin and urges them not to make any decisions on infrastructure development that could affect the water flow into the Mara River before the JWAP is agreed and the impacts on the OUV of the property are thoroughly assessed;
  6. Also welcomes the progress made to expand the National Park to include the ecologically important Speke Gulf, and that a boundary modification will be submitted upon completion in line with the provisions in the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Regrets that the State Party did not submit the various documents requested in Decision 42 COM 7B.96 and also urges the State Party to submit the following documents as soon as possible, and before the Reactive Monitoring mission:
    1. The approved 2014-2024 Management Plan for the property, including details of any changes to the zonation of the property,
    2. The Route Option Selection Report and the feasibility study and preliminary design, including a map of the proposed alignments,
    3. The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan;
  8. Takes note that the State Party will maintain the northern road traversing the property as a gravel road under Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) management but also requests the State Party to confirm its previous commitment to reserve the road mainly for tourism and administrative purposes (Decision 35 COM 7B.7) and to abandon the construction of the proposed northern highway (Decision 38 COM 7B.94);
  9. Also takes note of the confirmation by the State Party that no “major infrastructure” is planned in the property until at least 2030, and further requests the State Party to ensure that the cumulative impact of any development, including tourism infrastructure is assessed before they making decisions on individual projects;
  10. Notes with appreciation the invitation from the State Party for a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, and the cooperation of the State Party of Kenya in the organization of the mission, however, also regrets that the mission was postponed due to global pandemic concerns and reiterates its request that the mission, be organized as soon as the sanitary situation allows and:
    1. Ensure it also meets with representatives of the State Party of Kenya to assess threats posed by the dams proposed upstream of the property in Kenya,
    2. Review the 2014-2024 Management Plan,
    3. Analyze the documents and decisions related to the Southern Bypass Road,
    4. Assess any other developments that may impact the property’s OUV;
  11. Encourages continued dialogue between the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya, with the support of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, on the opportunities to extend the property with the contiguous transboundary landscape of “The African Great Rift Valley – The Maasai Mara” (Kenya) on the Tentative List;
  12. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 46th session.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.86

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7B.7, 38 COM 7B.94 and 42 COM 7B.96 adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 38th (Doha, 2014) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. Reiterates its utmost concern about the proposed dam projects upstream of the property in the Mara river basin, which could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Serengeti National Park and Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage properties;
  4. Welcomes the efforts of the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya to start developing a transboundary Joint Water Allocation Plan (JWAP) for the Mara Basin and notes that it is crucial that this plan ensures the permanent character of the Mara River is retained, taking into account potential changes in rainfall patterns in the region including as a result of climate change;
  5. Requests the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya to submit to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible, and before the Reactive Monitoring mission takes place, an update on the status of all dam projects in the Mara River basin and urges them not to make any decisions on infrastructure development that could affect the water flow into the Mara River before the JWAP is agreed and the impacts on the OUV of the property are thoroughly assessed;
  6. Also welcomes the progress made to expand the National Park to include the ecologically important Speke Gulf, and that a boundary modification will be submitted upon completion in line with the provisions in the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Regrets that the State Party did not submit the various documents requested in Decision 42 COM 7B.96 and also urges the State Party to submit the following documents as soon as possible, and before the Reactive Monitoring mission:
    1. The approved 2014-2024 Management Plan for the property, including details of any changes to the zonation of the property,
    2. The Route Option Selection Report and the feasibility study and preliminary design, including a map of the proposed alignments,
    3. The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and the Comprehensive Transport and Trade System Development Master Plan;
  8. Takes note that the State Party will maintain the northern road traversing the property as a gravel road under Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) management but also requests the State Party to confirm its previous commitment to reserve the road mainly for tourism and administrative purposes (Decision 35 COM 7B.7) and to abandon the construction of the proposed northern highway (Decision 38 COM 7B.94);
  9. Also takes note of the confirmation by the State Party that no “major infrastructure” is planned in the property until at least 2030, and further requests the State Party to ensure that the cumulative impact of any development, including tourism infrastructure is assessed before they making decisions on individual projects;
  10. Notes with appreciation the invitation from the State Party for a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, and the cooperation of the State Party of Kenya in the organization of the mission, however, also regrets that the mission was postponed due to global pandemic concerns and reiterates its request that the mission, be organized as soon as the sanitary situation allows and:
    1. Ensure it also meets with representatives of the State Party of Kenya to assess threats posed by the dams proposed upstream of the property in Kenya,
    2. Review the 2014-2024 Management Plan,
    3. Analyze the documents and decisions related to the Southern Bypass Road,
    4. Assess any other developments that may impact the property’s OUV;
  11. Encourages continued dialogue between the States Parties of the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya, with the support of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, on the opportunities to extend the property with the contiguous transboundary landscape of “The African Great Rift Valley – The Maasai Mara” (Kenya) on the Tentative List;
  12. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 46th session in 2023.
Report year: 2021
United Republic of Tanzania
Date of Inscription: 1981
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2020) .pdf
Report (2019) .pdf
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
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.


top