1.         Maloti-Drakensberg Park (Lesotho,South Africa) (C/N 985bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (i)(iii)(vii)(x)

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/985/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2014-2021)
Total amount approved: USD 55,016
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/985/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 50,000 in 2015 through the UNESCO World Heritage Sustainable Tourism programme (Flanders Funds-in-Trust); USD 40,000 in 2016-2017 for COMPACT community conservation programme (Netherlands Funds-in-Trust), USD 145,000 from the Government of Norway in 2020 for continued COMPACT activities

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/985/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 2 December 2020, the States Parties submitted a joint state of conservation on the property, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/985/documents/, reporting the following:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies

The confirmation by the State Party of South Africa to undertake impact assessments for the two development proposals and for submitting them to the World Heritage Centre is appreciated. Recalling that the cableway is proposed in the immediate vicinity of the property and the exploration is within the property’s buffer zone, there is high potential for impacts on the OUV. It is therefore recommended that the State Party keep the World Heritage Centre informed of the progress and to ensure the impact assessments are undertaken in line with the ICOMOS and IUCN guidelines.

The continued efforts to finalize the Joint Management Plan and the Biodiversity Management Bill are appreciated but the significant delay is also notable. Considering that their completion has been pending for some time, every effort should be made to expedite the process to the extent possible. The continued confirmation by the States Parties that any conservation interventions for the rock art sites will be limited to addressing immediate and urgent vulnerabilities only is welcome.

It is recalled that the management authority of the property in South Africa in previous reports expressed its concerns for the visual and sense-of-place impacts of the petrol filling station in the buffer zone. The state of conservation report submitted by the States Parties does not provide any details and taking note that the project has now been completed, it is recommended that the Committee request the States Parties to provide information on how the potential impacts on the OUV of the property were mitigated during construction, and what measures are being applied during the operational phase to ensure the OUV continues to be protected.

The communication that the State Party of Lesotho is finalizing its Biodiversity Resources Management Bill, is welcome, and it is reminded that a copy of the final Bill is provided to the World Heritage Centre once it is approved.

The submission of a request for a Minor Boundary Modification is acknowledged, however, the World Heritage Centre has requested the States Parties to complement their request with a joint letter, ensuring that the request is endorsed by the two States Parties, in order to transfer it for evaluation by the Advisory Bodies.

Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7B.170

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 39 COM 7B.33, 41 COM 7B.38 and 43 COM 7B.38, adopted at its 39th (Bonn, 2015), 41st (Krakow, 2017) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively,
  3. Appreciates the confirmation by the States Parties that conservation interventions for the rock art sites will be limited to addressing immediate and urgent vulnerabilities only, and the commitment by the State Party of South Africa to undertake Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessments in line with IUCN and ICOMOS guidelines for the proposed cableway in the immediate vicinity of the property and for a proposed shale gas, gas and oil exploration within the newly proposed buffer zone in South Africa, and to submit the impact assessments to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies before making any decisions that may be difficult to reverse in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  4. Takes note that the appeal lodged by the management authority over the petrol filling station within the property’s buffer zone in South Africa was rejected, but also recalling the concerns that were raised in relation to the potential negative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), requests the State Party of South Africa to provide further details on how the potential impacts of the petrol filling station were mitigated during construction and the measures that have been put in place during the operational phase to ensure the continued protection of the OUV;
  5. Reiterates its request to the States Parties to complete the revision of the Joint Management Plan of the property, using it as an umbrella to harmonize the management system, to submit the Plan to the World Heritage Centre for review, and to report on its implementation;
  6. Also reiterates its request to the State Party of Lesotho to expedite the finalization of the Biodiversity Resources Management Bill and to submit a copy to the World Heritage Centre;
  7. Notes the submission of a request for a Minor Boundary Modification to formalize the buffer zone to the south of the Sehlabathebe National Park in South Africa, and also requests the States Parties to formalize this submission with a joint letter by both States Parties, so that it can be transferred for evaluation by the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Further requests the States Parties 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.