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Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest

Kenya
Factors affecting the property in 2009*
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Other Threats:

    Community-wildlife conflict

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Illegal forest resource extraction;

b) Community-wildlife conflict;

c) Poaching;

d) Excisions from the property. 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2009
Requests approved: 1 (from 2000-2000)
Total amount approved : 25,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2009**

January 2003: joint UNESCO / IUCN monitoring mission ; October 2008: joint UNESCO/ IUCN monitoring mission 

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

Mount Kenya National Park was inscribed under natural criteria (vii) and (ix) as one of the most impressive landscapes of Eastern Africa with its rugged glacier-clad summits, Afro-alpine moor lands and diverse forests, which illustrate outstanding ecological processes.

A mission was requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008) to review the state of conservation of the World Heritage property. The World Heritage Committee was especially concerned by reports of fencing between local community cropland and the property to prevent wildlife conflict on the boundaries of the property, as well as other issues such as (1) the delay in finalising a management plan; (2) reports of land excision from the property; (3) fire risks; (4) adaptation to climate change and the retreat of glaciers; (5) managing human-wildlife conflict; and (6) the need to maintain wildlife migration corridors.

The State Party did not submit a state of conservation report as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session. However, a joint UNESCO/IUCN reactive monitoring mission visited Kenya from 21 to 24 October 2008 to assess the state of conservation of the Mount Kenya World Heritage property, and in particular examine issues of concern raised by the World Heritage Committee.

During the three day field visit, the mission carried out an aerial reconnaissance and visited lower-lying parts of the forest/national reserve which serve as a buffer zone to the property. The mission concluded that the effectiveness of the management of the property appeared to be higher than at any time since the property was listed, and that most of the concerns of the World Heritage Committee were already being addressed by the management authorities. The World Heritage property covers about half the broader Mount Kenya protected area, and is limited to the upper reaches of the mountain. Consequently, most of the issues facing the broader ecosystem (which were brought to the World Heritage Committee’s attention at its 32nd session) have only indirect impact on the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property. Fencing of the lower boundary of the forest/national reserve to protect local community cropland from wildlife, for example, has not encroached on the boundaries of the property, as previously thought.

In respect of the specific issues raised in the 2008 state of conservation report, the mission found that:

- Work on the controversial fencing programme (which is intended to mitigate crop damage problems by creating a barrier between the forest/national reserve and neighbouring communities) has been halted while a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment is carried out.

- The Hombe forest section of the Mount Kenya Forest/National reserve was never settled or excised from the reserve, although it is located in an area destined for commercial forestry plantation development, and most of the natural forest has been cleared. The area is located at the lower limits of the forest/national reserve, quite distant from the World Heritage property.

- Implementation of the management plan has suffered from issues regarding institutional coordination, but these appear to have now been largely overcome with the bringing together of the Wildlife and Forest Services into one Ministry. A comprehensive new draft management plan has been prepared, and will be subject to public consultation and should be completed during 2009.

- Two new water bowsers have recently been purchased and fire fighting capacity has modestly improved. There is a need to further enhance site management capacity, particularly that of the Kenya Forest Service, which manages much of the buffer zone.

- Climate change, the retreat of the glaciers and the development of wildlife migration corridors are intimately linked to the broader ecosystem approach to site management that the authorities have initiated by drafting the ‘Mount Kenya Integrated Ecosystem management plan 2009-2019’. However, little on-the-ground management action has been undertaken to secure and enhance degraded habitats in important areas, such as the ‘neck’ of remaining forest leading to the Imenti and Thegu forests.

 

There are concerns for the long-term conservation of the property’s values in relation to climate change. Glaciers are melting and some have completely disappeared. The State Party is encouraged to ensure comprehensive monitoring of climate change and implement management practices that support ecosystem adaptation. The mission strongly endorsed the recommendation of the 2003 joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission to extend the property so as to include as much as possible of the lower-lying undisturbed natural forest. Such an extension could increase the resilience of the ecosystem by enhancing the wildlife and vegetation to adapt to climate change by migrating, possibly to higher elevations. A comprehensive list of recommendations has been developed and is presented within the mission report (https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/33COM/documents). The most important recommendations are presented in the draft decision.

 

The NGOs Earth Justice and the Australian Climate Justice Program sent to the World Heritage Centre and IUCN a petition, on 29 January 2009, entitled “The Role of Black Carbon in Endangering World Heritage Sites Threatened by Glacial Melt and Sea Level Rise”. The petition “calls on the World Heritage Committee to take action to protect the Outstanding Universal Values of World Heritage Sites most vulnerable to global warming”. In particular, this petition highlights properties protecting glaciers, although it does not mention specifically Mount Kenya (the nearby Mount Kilimanjaro is mentioned), the issue of "black carbon" is relevant also to this property.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are satisfied by the progress made by the State Party in addressing threats and management issues in the property; however, it is noted that the Outstanding Universal Value of this property is affected by climate change. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN encourage the State Party to discuss approaches to climate change adaptation with other State Parties, which also have Mountain World Heritage properties affected by melting glaciers and changing mountain vegetation zones.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also welcome the efforts of the State Party to clarify the boundaries and zoning of the property and enlarge the National Park. They recommend the State Party to evaluate, in cooperation with the Centre and IUCN, and reflect these changes in the boundaries of the property by proposing an extension.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2009
33 COM 7B.3
Mount Kenya (Kenya) (N 800)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.1 adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

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 32nd session;

4. Notes with satisfaction the findings of the mission that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is intact and that the effectiveness of its management is considered to be at its highest level since the inscription of the property on the World Heritage List;

5. Requests the State Party to carry out the following recommendations of the joint 2008 UNESCO/IUCN reactive monitoring mission:

a) Complete the Environmental Impact Assessment of the fence between the local community cropland and the forest reserve as soon as possible, and develop a comprehensive fencing plan for the property; ensure that barriers to minimise human-wildlife conflict in the periphery of the national reserve and adjacent forest reserves are compatible with maintaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property; and maintain the present moratorium on further fence construction until an approved fencing plan is in place,

b) Clarify, agree and formalise arrangements between Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service for the joint management of the property, defining the respective roles of each authority,

c) Finalise by 1 February 2010 the alignment, documentation and on-the-ground demarcation of the proposed internal boundary between forestry plantation zones and natural forest,

d) Finalise by 1 February 2010 the management plan for the property, according to the new Kenya Wildlife Service protected area planning guidelines, ensuring full consultation with key stakeholders and local communities,

e) Maintain and enhance protection activities aimed at eliminating subsistence hunting, illegal logging, forest fires etc. within the property and adjacent reserves. In particular, strengthen the capacity of the Kenya Forest Service in the region, so that it can effectively manage the buffer zone of the property;

6. Notes with concern the reported impacts of climate change on the property and recommends the State Party to exchange experience with other States Parties and experts, including experts of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), working on mountain World Heritage conservation, climate change and other environmental phenomena to explore appropriate and practical strategies for maintaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in the long term;

7. Encourages the State Party to consider and assess with the support of the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and local stakeholders the feasibility of extending the boundaries of the property to include undisturbed forest areas;

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a copy of the management plan, together with copies of any more specific monitoring reports that have been completed on the values of the property;

9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2008 joint UNESCO/IUCN mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.

Draft Decision: 33 COM 7B.3

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.1 adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

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 32nd session;

4. Notes with satisfaction the findings of the mission that the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property is intact and that the effectiveness of its management is considered to be at its highest level since the inscription of the property on the World Heritage List;

5. Requests the State Party to carry out the following recommendations of the joint 2008 UNESCO/IUCN reactive monitoring mission:

a) Complete the Environmental Impact Assessment of the fence between the local community cropland and the forest reserve as soon as possible, and develop a comprehensive fencing plan for the property; ensure that barriers to minimise human-wildlife conflict in the periphery of the national reserve and adjacent forest reserves are compatible with maintaining the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property; and maintain the present moratorium on further fence construction until an approved fencing plan is in place,

b) Clarify, agree and formalise arrangements between Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service for the joint management of the property, defining the respective roles of each authority,

c) Finalise by 1 February 2010 the alignment, documentation and on-the-ground demarcation of the proposed internal boundary between forestry plantation zones and natural forest,

d) Finalise by 1 Febrary 2010 the management plan for the property, according to the new Kenya Wildlife Service protected area planning guidelines, ensuring full consultation with key stakeholders and local communities,

e) Maintain and enhance protection activities aimed at eliminating subsistence hunting, illegal logging, forest fires etc. within the site and adjacent reserves. In particular, strengthen the capacity of the Kenya Forest Service in the region, so that it can effectively manage the buffer zone of the property;

6. Notes with concern the reported impacts of climate change on the property and recommends the State Party to exchange experience with other States Parties and experts, including experts of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), working on mountain World Heritage conservation and climate change, to explore appropriate and practical adaptation and mitigation strategies for maintaining the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property in the long term;

7. Encourages the State Party to consider and assess with the support of the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and local stakeholders the feasibility of extending the boundaries of the property to include undisturbed forested areas;

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a copy of the management plan, together with copies of any more specific monitoring reports that have been completed on the values of the property;

9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2008 joint UNESCO/IUCN mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.

 

Report year: 2009
Kenya
Date of Inscription: 1997
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(ix)
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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