Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1991
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/609/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 119,500
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/609/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
July 1995: mission to assess the state of conservation (mission cancelled); September 2000: joint UNESCO/IUCN mission; January – February 2002: joint UNESCO-UNEP-RARE Center for Tropical Conservation mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/609/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021
On 9 March 2020, the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party requesting clarification regarding third-party information about planned developments in the property, along with other urgent threats to its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), as follows:
On 30 April and 6 May 2020, the State Party provided the following information:
On 30 October 2020, the World Heritage Centre requested the State Party not to proceed with any tourism infrastructure project that may affect the OUV of the property prior to a review of the relevant EIA by IUCN. On 30 October 2020, the State Party submitted to the World Heritage Centre an EIA for tourism infrastructure construction on Rinca Island.
Following the review by IUCN, the World Heritage Centre requested the State Party to revise and resubmit the EIA in accordance with the Operational Guidelines and the IUCN Advice Note, both in writing and during an online meeting with the State Party on 5 November 2020. The World Heritage Centre also reiterated the request through letters dated 12 January and 12 March 2021. At the time of writing the present report, the State Party has not yet provided the revised EIA.
In a letter dated 12 March 2021, the World Heritage Centre further requested comments from the State Party following third-party information about significant changes made to the zoning system of the property in 2020, which resulted in a decrease of the wilderness zone to one-third of the previous area, the attribution of further tourism concessions within and near the property, and reported new legislation that would exempt infrastructure works in the property from the obligation of undergoing an EIA. At the time of writing the present report, the State Party has not yet provided a response.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
The ongoing efforts to develop an ITMP are noted, but it is unclear to what extent the ITMP considers the World Heritage status and values of the property or how much of the property it will cover. The ITMP has the potential to improve coordination among central, provincial and local governments, which is required if tourism growth targets are to be realised in a sustainable way. Third-party information transmitted to the State Party indicates that a target of 500,000 annual visitors for the property has been proposed, which is more than double the pre-COVID-19 pandemic visitor numbers. This raises the question of how this tourism model fits with the State Party’s vision of moving away from mass tourism to more sustainable approaches. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide detailed information on how the plans to significantly increase tourism to the property will impact its OUV and how tourism will be managed.
It is of concern that the EIA for the tourism infrastructure projects on Rinca Island did not adequately assess potential impacts on the property’s OUV. This is further aggravated by the reported new legislation, which would permit infrastructure development inside the property to proceed without an EIA, as well as the attribution of several additional tourism concessions across the property following a change in the zoning of the property. It is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to revise the EIA and resubmit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN as a matter of urgency, and to halt the projects until technical review is provided by IUCN. The State Party should also be requested to provide information on all tourism concessions within and near the property and submit the new zoning plan. It should be recalled that any development proposal requires an impact assessment in relation to the OUV, carried out in line with the IUCN World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, in accordance with Paragraphs 118bis and 172 of the Operational Guidelines, before any decision is made that would be difficult to reverse. Furthermore, in view of multiple threats, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, notably to assess the impact of ongoing developments on the OUV of the property and to review its state of conservation.
The research activities and long-term monitoring of the Komodo dragon are commendable, and its relatively stable population trend within the property is noted. Given the risk that the proposed significant increases in tourism may pose, there is a need to continue monitoring the species closely.
The lack of operational equipment and technical capacity to address complex marine management issues is also a cause for concern. The 2017 IUCN World Heritage Outlook for the property identified the need to broaden the management focus to address issues within the marine components of the property and has rated the conservation of the property as being of “significant concern” since 2014. More effective law enforcement is needed to prevent destructive and illegal fishing practices and anchoring in sensitive coral reef areas, to ensure that the OUV is preserved and that the property can continue to provide benefits to local communities. From 2017 to 2019, the World Heritage Centre supported the translation of several marine management guidance documents into Indonesian and organized two capacity-building workshops at the property. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to strengthen marine capacity at the property and allocate sufficient budget for marine research, monitoring, education and compliance with marine regulations.
Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7B.93
The World Heritage Committee,