1.         East Rennell (Solomon Islands) (N 854)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1998

Criteria  (ix)

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/854/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2006-2006)
Total amount approved: USD 26,350
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/854/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March – April 2005: UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Mining;

b) Logging;

c) Over-exploitation of coconut crab and marine resources;

d) Invasive species. 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/854/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2010

While a management plan was approved for East Rennell in 2007, administered by a community organisation, the property is still not protected under national law as there is no national legislation for protected areas in the Solomon Islands. However, East Rennell is protected under customary law. A draft World Heritage Protection Bill, which was outlined at the time of inscription in 1998, is still at a standstill due to the lack of financial and technical resources necessary for its finalisation and implementation. The World Heritage Committee has previously called upon the International Community to provide further financial and technical support for the conservation of the property, and recommended that the State Party consider requesting International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund for actions necessary to secure its protection (Decision 33 COM 7B.19).

The State Party did not submit a state of conservation report, which was requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009). Therefore, the state of conservation of the property is difficult to assess.

Recent media reports suggest that commercial logging may threaten the property, as well as adjacent areas in West Rennell (the property comprises only the eastern part of Rennell Island). IUCN notes that the forest located within the property’s boundaries is intrinsically linked to the forests in West Rennell. On its own, the East Rennell forest is insufficiently large to ensure the long-term survival of endemic birds. At the time of inscription IUCN noted proposals for mining and forest clearance on West Rennell, which would have serious conservation consequences on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value if they had proceeded. IUCN recommends that the State Party, in collaboration with the East Rennell Chiefs Council,should explore the possibility of aligning the conservation of East and West Rennell’s forests with the REDD-plus program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) as this could potentially lead to sustained and predictable finance to support alternative local development strategies, and reward local institutions and communities for safeguarding this exceptional site.

The World Heritage Centre note additional media reports suggesting that the East Rennell Chiefs Council considers that the local population is not receiving benefits from the island’s World Heritage status, for example in terms of income generating activities. IUCN recalls that at the time of inscription, it was hoped that World Heritage status would encourage the development of eco-tourism in East Rennell.

IUCN has also received reports that the Australian Government, through the Australian Aid Agency (AusAid), is supporting a heritage and governance capacity-building project in the Solomon Islands. This is a positive step forward and may contribute to improving the property’s management.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN conclude that without detailed information from the State Party, it is not possible to objectively assess the state of conservation of the property. They also note that East Rennell does not have a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, and consider that the forthcoming Periodic Reporting process for Asia and the Pacific will provide a good opportunity to assist the State Party in developing one.

 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 34 COM 7B.17

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.19, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Regrets that the State Party did not submit a report on the state of conservation of the property, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session;

4. Welcomes reports that the Australian Government, through the Australian Aid Agency (AusAid), is supporting a heritage and governance capacity-building project in the Solomon Islands, which may contribute to improving the property's management;

5. Notes with concern reports that commercial logging may be threatening the property and adjacent areas in West Rennell;

6. Reiterates its recommendation that the State Party seeks International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund for the establishment of a more effective protection and management system for the property;

7. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property together with information on the status of the World Heritage Protection Bill, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.