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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7A.51
Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 199bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 31 COM 7B.3, 32 COM 7B.3, 33 COM 7B.8, 34 COM 7B.3, 35 COM 7B.6, 36 COM 8B.43, 37 COM 7B 7, 38 COM 7B.95, 39 COM 7A.14, 40 COM 7A.47, 41 COM 7A.17, 42 COM 7A.56 and 43 COM 7A.16, adopted at its 31st (Christchurch, 2007), 32nd (Quebec City, 2008), 33rd (Seville, 2009), 34th (Brasilia, 2010), 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013), 38th (Doha, 2014), 39th (Bonn, 2015), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), 41st (Krakow, 2017), 42nd (Manama, 2018) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively,
  3. Also recalling that States Parties have the obligation under the Convention to protect and conserve the World Cultural and Natural Heritage situated on their territory, notably, to ensure that effective and active measures are taken for the protection and conservation of such heritage,
  4. Further recalling the Committee’s clear position, adopted in its Decision 40 COM 7, that the construction of dams with large reservoirs within the boundaries of World Heritage properties is incompatible with their World Heritage status, urges States Parties to ensure that the impacts from dams that could affect properties located upstream or downstream within the same river basin are rigorously assessed in order to avoid impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  5. Recalling furthermore that the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to the dramatic decline in elephant population due to poaching, and site clearance of about 1.8% of the 5.2 million ha area of the property for the purpose of constructing the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project (JNHPP) (formerly the Rufiji Hydropower Project),
  6. Recalling moreover the commitment made by the State Party that led to the adoption of Decision 36 COM 8B.43, to not undertake any development activities in the property without the Committee’s approval, and further recalling the States Party’s declared intention to construct a dam in the property at the time of its inscription on the World Heritage List and assessment by the IUCN Technical Review (No. 199 Selous Game Reserve), that the project proposed at that time would affect only a relatively small part of the reserve and should not be a matter of serious concern unless the reservoir draws in large numbers of settlers,
  7. Notes the existing Mkuju uranium mine project that was excised from Selous Game Reserve through boundary modification, and the proposed Kidunda Dam, Kito-1 oil and gas exploration projects together with other planned oil exploration blocks outside the reserve, and also urges the State Party to subject these projects to appropriate and relevant Environmental and Social safeguards in line with paragraph 118bis of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. Notes with concern that the State Party has continued with some of the project activities that may impact the integrity and OUV of the property, and further urges the State Party to put in place strong mitigation measures to manage such activities in accordance with the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Notes the property is one of the largest protected areas in Africa and is vital for protecting the Endangered African elephant;
  10. Recommends that, despite the potential impacts of the construction of the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project, the State Party take note that the World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that important biodiversity could remain in the wider Selous-Niassa ecosystem and the heritage status of this property could be re-evaluated, with the option of developing a new World Heritage nomination;
  11. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to verify the status of the property on the ground and suggest options for conserving the wider Selous-Niassa ecosystem;
  12. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, a progress report and, by 1 December 2022, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session;
  13. Decides to retain Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Code
44 COM 7A.51
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2021 Selous Game Reserve
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision