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Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas

Zimbabwe
Factors affecting the property in 2010*
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Mining
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Poaching (issue resolved)
  • Oil exploration programme (issue resolved)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2010
Requests approved: 2 (from 1990-2001)
Total amount approved : 51,854 USD
Missions to the property until 2010**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2010

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN received reports of mining threats and threats from Hotel Development to the Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas World Heritage property before and following the 33rd session of the World Heritage Committee (Sevilla, 2009) and have investigated these issues with the State Parties of Zimbabwe, where the property is located, and Zambia, where the threats are said to originate. They have also reviewed the situation through their networks and published sources of information. At the time of inscription of the property, the World Heritage Committee requested the Zambian authorities to consider nominating the adjacent Lower Zambezi National Park in order to eventually constitute a joint inscription on the World Heritage List.

 

a) Mining threats

IUCN has received reports of significant prospecting for Copper, Gold and Uranium on the Zambian side of the Zambezi, including Uranium mining planned on the Kafue River. These activities are not within the property but are in areas that are adjacent to it. A letter signed by many international conservation organizations and local community leaders to the Zambian government in early 2009 outlining a range of the concerns, which include direct impacts on protected areas in Zambia, as well as indirect impacts on the Mana Pools World Heritage property. Although the mining efforts are currently understood to be at the “exploratory” stage, stakeholder reports from the invested mining companies and the rapid development of infrastructure in the exploratory sites suggest that full mining operations are imminent, and that some may be developed prior to issuing of production licences. It is reported that community leaders have publicly expressed concerns about the effects of possible contamination by uranium waste by-products which may already be occurring during the exploration stage.

It is also suggested that full Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are not required until after completion of exploration stage activities. Published information indicates positive results from exploration activities. A range of national and international companies with recorded interests in the area include Zambezi Resources Ltd., Omega Corporation, Albidon Mining, and African Energy Resources, Glencore International AG of Switzerland, Lithic Metals and Energy, Denison Mining and Rio Tinto Zinc. Prospects under consideration are noted to include mining activities that could be directly adjacent to tributaries to the Zambezi, which forms the properties boundary.

Additional information is required to make a full assessment of the possible impacts and concerns in relation to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. IUCN notes that the property is listed for aesthetic and biodiversity values. The mid-Zambezi Valley containing the property was considered one of the last areas that is not grossly modified by man. It thus provides a benchmark site for study of the riverine "sand-bank" environment and associated succession and adaptive change, whilst the annual congregation of animals in the riparian parkland along the broad Zambezi is one of Africa's outstanding wildlife spectacles. The area also is one of the most important refuges for black rhino in Africa as well as a number of other threatened species (elephant, leopard, wild dog, and Nile crocodile) and therefore meets criteria (x). IUCN further notes that one of the prospects is reported to be located inside the Lower Zambezi National Park and is reported to be a “world class open pit copper deposit”. Thus this prospect could directly impact on the area that was recommended by the Committee to be considered by Zambia as a potential transboundary extension of the existing property.

 

b) Threats from hotel development

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN received information on a possible substantial hotel development by Protea Hotels, which would have been located on the opposite bank of the Zambezi to the property. Significant concerns were expressed regarding the impacts of the development and the precedent it might also set for increased development pressures. In April 2010 it was reported that Protea Hotels has taken the decision to withdraw its application for development of a proposed hotel in the Lower Zambezi region. Having engaged in a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and taken cognizance of the concerns raised, they decided not to progress, taking the view that further clarity on the matter is needed. Whilst this threat may have receded, it indicates the additional importance of considering tourism plans within the property and the region that adjoins it.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the level of knowledge on the integrity, protection and management of the property is particularly low, with no report having been considered by the World Heritage Committee regarding the property since 1984. It would be beneficial to the property to have the opportunity to provide information to the World Heritage Committee on these matters, considering the scale of challenge that has been experienced by protected area services in the sub-region during recent years. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that further information and dialogue are required to consider the current conservation status of the property, and also obtain and review further information from the adjoining State Party of Zambia regarding the consideration being given to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and the World Heritage Committee’s recommendation regarding the Lower Zambezi National Park, in relation to its planning and assessment of possible mining developments and tourism plans. Since this process should also include dialogue with community representatives, mining, tourism and other economic interests, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider a reactive monitoring mission to the property and its surrounding area, to meet both the relevant States Parties, should be undertaken at the earliest opportunity.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2010
34 COM 7B.7
Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas (Zimbabwe) (N 302)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Article 6 of the Convention which states that each State Party undertakes not to take any deliberate measures which might damage directly or indirectly the cultural and natural heritage referred to in Articles 1 and 2 situated on the territory of other States Parties to this Convention;

3. Notes with concern the reported threats from mining on the property and adjoining related protected areas in Zambia;

4. Requests the State Party of Zambia to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value of Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas World Heritage property of Zimbabwe, is considered fully in relation to possible mining exploration and production plans that could affect the Zambezi River and its catchments, or the property and protected areas adjacent to it;

5. Also requests the State Party of Zambia to provide to the World Heritage Centre copies of any baseline or feasibility studies already completed by the mining companies, and to ensure that any mining or other developments that could impact the property are notified to the World Heritage Centre, in line with Paragraph 172 the Operational Guidelines, prior to granting any permission for mining exploration or production or other development;

6. Encourages the States Parties of Zambia and Zimbabwe to increase their cooperation in the protection of the property, including in relation to mining threats and of planning for tourism and visitation in the area, in the context of the conservation of the Lower Zimbabwe area and the protected areas in this region;

7. Further requests the States Parties of Zimbabwe and Zambia to jointly invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to review the state of conservation of the property, and to examine mining activities in the Lower Zambezi in relation to the possible impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

8. Requests furthermore the States Parties of Zimbabwe and Zambia to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a joint report on the state of conservation of the property, including the potential impacts on the property from mining activities in Zambia, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.

Draft Decision: 34 COM 7B.7

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Article 6 of the Convention which states that each State Party undertakes not to take any deliberate measures which might damage directly or indirectly the cultural and natural heritage referred to in Articles 1 and 2 situated on the territory of other States Parties to this Convention;

3. Notes with concern the reported threats from mining to the property and adjoining related protected areas in Zambia;

4. Requests the State Party of Zambia to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value of Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas World Heritage property of Zimbabwe, is considered fully in relation to possible mining exploration and production plans that could affect the Zambezi River and its catchments, or the property and protected areas adjacent to it;

5. Also requests the State Party of Zambia to provide to the World Heritage Centre copies of any baseline or feasibility studies already completed by the mining companies, and to ensure that any mining or other developments that could impact the property are notified to the World Heritage Centre, in line with the Operational Guidelines, prior to granting any permission for mining exploration or production or other development;

6. Encourages the States Parties of Zambia and Zimbabwe to increase their cooperation in the protection of the property, including in relation to mining threats and of planning for tourism and visitation in the area, in the context of the conservation of the Lower Zimbabwe area and the protected areas in this region;

7. Further requests the States Parties of Zimbabwe and Zambia to jointly invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to review the state of conservation of the property, and to examine mining activities in the Lower Zambezi in relation to the possible impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

8. Requests furthermore the States Parties of Zimbabwe and Zambia to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a joint report on the state of conservation of the property, including the potential impacts on the property from mining activities in Zambia, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011. 

Report year: 2010
Zimbabwe
Date of Inscription: 1984
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 34COM (2010)
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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