Keoladeo National Park
Factors affecting the property in 2007*
- Invasive / alien freshwater species
- Invasive/alien terrestrial species
- Water (extraction)
- Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Possible invasion of Paspalum grass (already an issue in the past)
- Decline in the population of Siberian cranes (issue resolved)
- Inadequate water supply
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2007
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2007**
World Heritage Centre site visit 2005.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007
In February 2007, the State Party submitted a report in the periodic report format, which responds briefly to only some of the recommendations made by the Committee at its 29th (Durban, 2005) and 30th (Vilnius, 2006) sessions. However, additional information was provided by the State Party on 11 April 2007.
a) Water management
The State Party reports that the Keoladeo National Park has suffered in the last few years due to a diminishing water supply, but it is fully committed to ensuring that the outstanding universal value of this property is not diminished due to water scarcity. In 2006 the monsoon had also failed causing the Park to dry up and the continuing paucity of water is significantly threatening its outstanding universal value and integrity. Over the years, the habitat quality has degraded significantly and invasion of the weed species Prosopis juliflora has outpaced the reclamation effort in all ecosystems of the Park. The report adds that if the trend of declining water continues, the National Park would be bereft of its conservation and economic value within the next 8 years.
The State Party is considering various options to resolve the water supply issues that threaten the values for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List. As part of the short-term measures to deal with this problem, 8 shallow and 1 deep bore-wells have been dug to pump water to partially fill some of the important lake areas. Two heavy duty diesel generator sets have been purchased recently for this purpose. In addition, the Government of Rajasthan has sanctioned Rs. 2,400,000 (USD 54,295) for digging 4 more deep bore-wells in the Park and the work is reportedly in progress. The 2005 World Heritage Centre mission to the property noted that water from shallow and deep wells is not suitable for rejuvenating and maintaining the complex wetland ecosystem of the park, as this water does not contain micro-organisms, fish fingerlings, turtles, etc which flow with the river water and are essential to the functioning of the wetland.
The State Party is also considering several long-term measures to ensure adequate water supplies to the Park. One of these projects is the Chambal Dholpur – Bharatpur Water Supply Project, which is basically a drinking water supply project for the people of Bharatpur. However, the National Board for Wildlife, Government of India has stipulated that 310 million cubic feet of water from this project should be supplied annually to the National Park. The work on this project is reportedly under execution, but is occurring at a slow pace due to some contractual dispute. The State Party report does not mention when this project is likely to be completed and water will become available to the Park. The report also informs about three other project proposals, but funding has so far not been secured for any of them.
The State Party describes a significant lack of funding for the implementation of long-term solutions of the water supply issue and the eradication of invasive species and notes the need to receive funding from international sources.
b) Bird monitoring
The State Party reports that there is a bird-monitoring programme in place that includes Siberian crane and other migratory Palaearctic migratory birds, herons and waterfowl. However, the State Party did not provide time-series data, as requested by the Committee at its 29th session (Durban, 2005) to be able to assess bird species diversity and population trends.
c) Invasive species
Regarding the management of invasive species, the State Party is reportedly translocating feral cattle from within to areas outside the Park. The 2005 mission had gathered that at that time there were about 2,000 feral cattle inhabiting this 29 km2 Park. The Paspalum distichum (knotgrass) has been checked by fast flooding and controlling water levels, and water hyacinth is regularly removed. The invasive species Prosopis juliflora has not been tackled successfully, as the regeneration / seed dispersal outpaces the removal efforts made by the park staff. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that in view of the water scarcity the effectiveness of these invasive species control measures will be minimal, particularly in relation to Paspalum weed, while Prosopis spreads rapidly as the wetlands dry-up.
The State Party notes that there are currently over 110,000 visitors per year. A programme has been established, with the support of WWF India and Swarowski Company to address visitor management issues at this property.
IUCN and World Heritage Centre note the need to examine a range of options to solve the problem of water scarcity and to address conflict with surrounding communities, which rely on the same water sources as the Park, as recommended by the 2005 UNESCO mission.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2007
31 COM 7B.17
State of conservation of World Heritage Properties - Keoladeo National Park
The World Heritage Committee,
1.Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B;
2.Recalling Decisions 29 COM 7B.8 and 30 COM 7B.13, adopted at its 29th (Durban, 2005) and 30th (Vilnius, 2006) sessions, respectively;
3.Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission in 2008, to the property to assess the state of conservation, in particular progress made in addressing water management and other recommendations made by the 2005 monitoring mission, for examination by the Committee at the 32nd session in 2008;
4.Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with a detailed report by 1 February 2008 on the state of conservation of the property and in particular on the progress made in resolving the water scarcity situation and indicating when the long-term measures being implemented will be completed, on controlling invasive species, and furnishing time-series monitoring data on the species diversity and populations of water birds, for examination by the Committee at the 32nd session in 2008.
Draft Decision: 31 COM 7B.17
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B;
2. Recalling Decisions 29 COM 7B.8 and 30 COM 7B.13, adopted at its 29th (Durban, 2005) and 30th (Vilnius, 2006) sessions, respectively;
3. Notes with concern that the water scarcity continues to threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and that the short-term measures proposed may not be sustainable;
4. Calls upon theinternational donor community to provide further financial and technical support to the State Party to develop long term solutions for the water scarcity in the park and for an invasive species management programme;
5. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission in 2008, to the property to assess the state of conservation, in particular progress made in addressing water management and other recommendations made by the 2005 monitoring mission, for examination by the Committee at the 32nd session in 2008;
6. Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with a detailed report, in the correct format, by 1 February 2008 on the state of conservation of the property and in particular on the progress made in resolving the water scarcity situation and indicating when the long-term measures being implemented will be completed, on controlling invasive species, and furnishing time-series monitoring data on the species diversity and populations of water birds, for examination by the Committee at the 32nd session in 2008.
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”).