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Selous Game Reserve

United Republic of Tanzania
Factors affecting the property in 2009*
  • Financial resources
  • Illegal activities
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Mining
  • Oil and gas
  • Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Proposed cattle driving route;

b) Poaching;

c) Insufficient funding;

d) Mineral and hydrocarbon prospecting and mining;

e) Tourism management and development;

f) Potential and proposed dam development. 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2009
Requests approved: 3 (from 1984-1999)
Total amount approved : 67,980 USD
Missions to the property until 2009**

2007: World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring mission; November/December 2008; World Heritage Centre/ IUCN monitoring mission 

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

On 17 February 2009, a report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party. The report provides some information on the implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring mission as well as some supplementary information requested by the 2008 monitoring mission.

From 23 to 30 November 2008, a joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission visited the property, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008). The mission was a follow up to the earlier mission undertaken in 2007, which, because of logistical constraints, had only been able to visit the part of the property north of the Rufiji river, which is open to photographic tourism. At its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), the World Heritage Committee therefore recommended that a further monitoring mission be organized to focus on the area south of the Rufiji river, open to regulated sports hunting. This mission looked into the effectiveness of management of wildlife populations as well as a number of key threats and conservation issues, in particular the on-going uranium prospecting within the Selous Game Reserve (SGR) and in the wildlife corridor, proposed oil and gas exploration and exploitation within the property, and progress towards implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 monitoring mission, especially the recommendation requesting the State Party to reinstate the Revenue Retention Scheme. The mission report and its recommendations are available online (https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/33COM/documents/) The main conclusions and recommendations are summarized below.

On the basis of the information gathered, the mission concluded that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is currently being maintained. However, monitoring of its state of conservation and integrity is being hampered as no Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (SOUV) is currently available for the property. To assist the State Party, the mission team prepared a draft SOUV, based on the material available in the Nomination file and the original IUCN evaluation, as well as other relevant scientific data available on the property. This draft is annexed to the mission report and was also presented in a training workshop for periodic reporting in Africa on developing SOUVs, held in Dar es Salaam in early March 2009.

The mission expressed concern regarding a number of on-going or planned activities within the property, which are not compatible with its World Heritage status. These include on-going uranium exploration activities, planned oil and gas exploration, and proposed dams. The mission noted that the State Party had not informed the World Heritage Committee of these activities and had not provided information on their expected impact on the values and integrity of the property, as required under Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

The mission was able to visit a uranium exploration concession on the southern boundary of SGR, of which 75 km2 is located with the property. The mission concluded that while the on going activities are having a clear impact on the local environment, these impacts are not irreversible and ecological restoration will be possible. The mission also noted that mining is incompatible with inscription on the World Heritage List and that this is a clear policy position of the World Heritage Committee.

 

During the mission, the team discussed with the State Party whether this conflict between mining and World Heritage could be resolved through a change in the boundaries of the property. Given the relative limited size of the area under consideration compared to the extremely large size of the property, and the possibility to provide similar compensatory habitat through the inclusion of larger additional areas to the property, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that it is for the State Party to evaluate if such a change in boundaries could be proposed. This would require a thorough evaluation of the biological values of the areas involved and a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the impacts of the mining activity on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The mission team recommended that the optimal boundaries of the World Heritage property should be defined in the context of the overall Selous ecosystem. It will also be necessary for the State Party to demonstrate through a proper EIA process that all mining activities in the immediate vicinity of the property will have no significant impact on its values and integrity of the property.

 

IUCN notes that the boundaries of World Heritage properties should not be modified with the primary objective of facilitating mining, as this would not be in line with the “No-go” commitment to mining in World Heritage properties.

 

The mission team was informed that the Government of Tanzania in 2005 and 2006 attributed two exploration concession blocks for oil and gas, to two companies, Dominion Oil and Gas and Heritage Oil. These concession blocks cover almost the entire property (a map is available in the mission report). So far, the Wildlife Division, in charge of the management of the property, has not granted permission to start the exploration activities in the property but continues to be under heavy pressure from the Ministry of Mines and Energy to give the clearance. Earlier oil exploration activities in the 1980s in SGR had a significant negative impact on the integrity and values of the property, with cut lines still clearly visible today. Their implementation also coincided with a sharp increase in poaching and a dramatic decline in wildlife populations, in particular elephants.

 

The mission also looked into the issue of the Kidunda dam. This dam is planned to meet increasing water demand for the capital Dar-es-Salaam. The mission was informed that the original proposal for a 9 billion m3 dam, which would have permanently inundated an important area of SGR, had been scaled down significantly and that the current proposed design for a 150 million m3 reservoir would result in the permanent flooding of 2 km2 of the property. The mission team was able to obtain a copy of the summary of the EIA, which concludes that the impact on property will be limited and that the reservoir will not significantly disrupt wildlife migration routes. The EIA proposes to de-gazette the 2 km2 area that will be inundated from SGR. The mission noted that this will require the State Party to request a boundary change of the property. However, the EIA also reported that the current design will fall short of the required 150 million m3, but only have a capacity of 60 million m3. It therefore seems likely that the design will have to be reviewed, with any new design requiring a new EIA. The mission recommends that if the design is to be reviewed, alternative options outside the property should be given priority.

 

The mission did not receive new information on plans for a hydroelectric dam in Stiegler’s Gorge, inside the property. This dam project has been under consideration for a long time but the mission was unable to confirm reports that the project is again under consideration. On the issue of the Tunduru-Songea road, the mission was informed that it is situated 60 km south of the property and therefore will not impact on the property. The mission was also informed that measures have been taken to ensure that the wildlife corridor to the Niassa Game Reserve in Mozambique is maintained, although no detailed assessment of this was done by the mission.

 

With regard to the question of the effective management of wildlife populations, the mission noted that the hunting industry plays a indispensable role in the management of the property, and its surrounding buffer zones, through the development of infrastructure, patrolling of hunting blocks, provision of information on wildlife and human activities, and the generation of significant amounts of income for the Government of Tanzania, local communities and potentially for the management of the property. The mission considers that the future management of hunting requires a number of improvements to ensure sustainable management of the wildlife resources. The mission further concluded that in spite of the fact that the legal framework for community management of wildlife resources has been created a decade ago, examples of successful community based wildlife management around property remain rare. The mission report includes a number of concrete recommendations on improving wildlife management and monitoring, which are also integrated into the draft decision. The mission reviewed the results of the different wildlife surveys that have taken place since the inscription of the property and noted with concern that, despite the recent increases in the Selous elephant population, significant declines were reported for several other wildlife species during the 2006 aerial survey. However several people met by the mission suggested that this may be related to technical problems with the set up and implementation of the survey, rather than real population declines. The mission team received reports from different stakeholders that poaching pressure is again on the increase, in particular elephant poaching.  Survey results clearly show that the elephant population is stable and there is no evidence that the reported poaching incidents are as yet having a negative impact on the overall population. However, it is important for the State Party to react decisively to indications of increasing poaching pressure to avoid a future negative impact on the elephant populations.

 

While limited information was provided during the mission on the implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 mission, the State Party report did provide some information on this. The most important impediment to ensure proper management of the property and the implementation of the recommendations continues to be the lack of sufficient funding. This is mainly due to the interruption of the Revenue Retention Scheme since 2004, which ensured a 50% retention of revenue accrued from tourism and hunting. In addition, SGR has been receiving less donor support, in particular as a result of the termination of the GTZ project which supported the rehabilitation of the Reserve. This is resulting in a reduced management capacity of the Wildlife Division, which is lacking human and financial resources, equipment and infrastructure at the time outside pressures seem again on the increase. Senior staff of the Wildlife Division and the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism informed the mission that discussions are underway with the Ministry of Finance to restore the Revenue Retention Scheme.

 

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are concerned with the different ongoing and planned activities inside the property which are incompatible with its World Heritage status. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN strongly recommend that the Government of Tanzania makes a clear commitment to stop on-going activities and to not to allow any new proposed developments and to comply with the requirements of the Operational Guidelines. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that any decision to allow for oil exploration inside the property, would present a case for possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in conformity with the Operational Guidelines. While satisfied with the assessment of the mission that the Outstanding Universal Value of property continues to be maintained, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN are concerned that the capacity of the Wildlife Division to manage the property is decreasing, mainly as a result of insufficient financial resources, at the time when pressures such as poaching are increasing again.

 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2009
33 COM 7B.8
Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 199)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.3, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes the conclusion of the World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring mission that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property appears to be intact but that pressures on the property are again increasing;

4. Expresses its utmost concern about the on-going mineral exploration within the property, as well as planned oil exploration activities and potential dam projects inside the property;

5. Regrets that the State Party did not follow the procedure outlined in Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and urges the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre of all planned activities within and in the vicinity of the property which could impact its Outstanding Universal Value, including dam and mining projects, and provide an Environmental Impact Assessment before taking a decision on these projects;

6. Reiterates its position that mineral exploration, mining, oil exploration and exploitation are incompatible with the World Heritage status, in line with the international policy statement of the International Council of Minerals and Metals (ICMM) of not undertaking these activities in World Heritage properties; and considers that any decision to go forward with the oil exploration inside the property would constitute a clear case for inscribing Selous Game Reserve on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

7. Recalls that any request of change of boundaries of the property should be submitted to the World Heritage Committee, in accordance with paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines;

8. Also urges the State Party to implement as soon as possible the recommendations of the 2007 and 2008 monitoring missions, in particular:

a) Reinforce the capacity of the management authority, the Wildlife Division, to manage the property, in particular by increasing its human and financial resources and by reinstating the Revenue Retention Scheme,

b) Strengthen the implementation of the General management plan (GMP) and ensure regular and independent evaluations of its implementation,

c) Develop a detailed Tourism Strategy for the property, in line with the recommendations and principles outlined in the GMP, with a clear vision for both consumptive and non-consumptive tourism,

d) Further optimize the wildlife management in and around the property, by:

(i) Developing a transparent system for allocating hunting blocks,

(ii) Establishing hunting quotas in a transparent way based on improved scientific and technical information systems,

(iii) Improving ecological monitoring systems, including the development of integrated databases that capture and analyse existing information from trophy reports provided by hunting companies, ranger patrol reports, anti-poaching reports and aerial surveys. Such systems would fill information gaps and provide a better basis for wildlife management,

(iv) Reinforce efforts to further develop community based wildlife management around the Property and draw upon lessons learned from other African countries who have successfully developed community managed wildlife areas,

(v) Enhance the capacity to carry-out anti-poaching activities;

9. Recommends that the property should be managed within the context of the larger Selous ecosystem and that the State Party considers strategic extensions to the property and designation of a formal buffer zone;

10. Notes with concern the reported significant declines of several species during the 2006 aerial survey of the Selous ecosystem and also recommends that a new survey is undertaken in 2010, involving technical support from the international conservation community and in particular the IUCN Species Survival Commission;

11. Appreciates the State Party's efforts in improving the draft statement of Outstanding Universal Value based on the proposal developed by the 2008 monitoring mission which will be examined by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;

12. Invites the State Party to organize a workshop with the participation of the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and other stakeholders, to discuss the implementation of the above mentioned recommendations (8, 9, and 10). The State Party may wish to request international assistance from the World Heritage Fund to organize this meeting;

13. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, including information on the status of the mining exploration, planned oil exploration and the Kidunda and Stiegler's Gorge dams and on progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 and 2008 monitoring missions, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.

Draft Decision: 33 COM 7B.8

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.3, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes the conclusion of the World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring mission that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property appears to be intact but that pressures on the property are again increasing;

4. Expresses its utmost concern about the on-going mineral exploration within the property, as well as planned oil exploration activities and potential dam projects inside the property;

5. Regrets that the State Party did not follow the procedure outlined in Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and urges the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre of all planned activities within and in the vicinity of the property which could impact its Outstanding Universal Value, including dam and mining projects, and provide an Environmental Impact Assessment before taking a decision on these projects;

6. Reiterates its position that mineral exploration, mining, oil exploration and exploitation are incompatible with the World Heritage status, in line with the international policy statement of the International Council of Minerals and Metals (ICMM) of not undertaking these activities in World Heritage properties; and considers that any decision to go forward with the oil exploration inside the property would constitute a clear case for inscribing Selous Game Reserve on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

7. Recalls that any request of change of boundaries of the property should be submitted to the World Heritage Committee, in accordance with paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines;

8. Also urges the State Party to implement as soon as possible the recommendations of the 2007 and 2008 missions, in particular:

a) Reinforce the capacity of the management authority, the Wildlife Division, to manage the property, in particular by increasing its human and financial resources and by reinstating the Revenue Retention Scheme,

b) Strengthen the implementation of the General management plan (GMP) and ensure regular and independent evaluations of its implementation,

c) Develop a detailed Tourism Strategy for the property, in line with the recommendations and principles outlined in the GMP, with a clear vision for both consumptive and non-consumptive tourism,

d) Further optimize the wildlife management in and around the property, by:

(i) Developing a transparent system for allocating hunting blocks,

(ii) Establishing hunting quotas in a transparent way based on improved scientific and technical information systems,

(iii) Improving ecological monitoring systems, including the development of integrated databases that capture and analyse existing information from trophy reports provided by hunting companies, ranger patrol reports, anti-poaching reports and aerial surveys. Such systems would fill information gaps and provide a better basis for wildlife management,

(iv) Reinforce efforts to further develop community based wildlife management around the Property and draw upon lessons learned from other Afrcan countries who have succesfully developed community managed wildlife areas,

(v) Enhance the capacity to carry-out anti-poaching activities;

9. Recommends that the property should be managed within the context of the larger Selous ecosystem and that the State Party considers strategic extensions to the property and designation of a formal buffer zone;

10. Notes with concern the reported significant declines of several species during the 2006 aerial survey of the Selous ecosystem and also recommends that a new survey is undertaken in 2010, involving technical support from the international conservation community and in particular the IUCN Species Survival Commission;

11. Requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, to further develop the draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity, based on the proposal developed by the 2008 monitoring mission, for examination by the Committee at its 34th session in 2010;

12. Invites the State Party to organize a workshop with the participation of the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and other stakeholders, to discuss the implementation of the above mentioned recommendations. The State Party may wish to request international assistance from the World Heritage Fund to organize this meeting;

13. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, including information on the status of the mining exploration, planned oil exploration and the Kidunda and Stiegler’s Gorge dam and on progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 and 2008 monitoring missions, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34 session in 2010. 

Report year: 2009
United Republic of Tanzania
Date of Inscription: 1982
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 2014-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 33COM (2009)
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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