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Decision 45 COM 7B.74
Lake Malawi National Park (Malawi) (N 289)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 7B.9242 COM 7B.93 and 44 COM 7B.82 adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014), 42nd (Manama, 2018) and extended 44th (Fuzhou/online, 2021) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the significant efforts made by the State Party, in partnership with several partners including local communities, to strengthen the management and protection of the property, including through enhanced operational, monitoring and research capacity, and encourages the State Party to ensure effective coordination of the activities to ensure their effectiveness and assure their contribution to the protection of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  4. Noting the findings of the 2022 mission that the property remains very vulnerable to human pressures, originating both within and beyond its boundaries, due to its small size and serial configuration, also recalls its request to the State Party to assess the feasibility of a potential extension, and to request International Assistance and technical support from the World Heritage Centre and IUCN for this work as required;
  5. While acknowledging the necessity of providing clean and safe water to local communities, regrets that the Mangochi water supply project within the Nkhudzi Hills component of the property commenced without sufficient consideration to alternative locations, environmental safeguards and regard for stakeholder concerns raised at the proposal stage, and with apparent risks and ongoing potential to negatively affect the property’s OUV, which may also impact the viability of the project;
  6. Urges the State Party to ensure that all damage caused to date by the Mangochi water supply project is documented, and restored as fully as possible using best available practice that also avoids further deterioration, including through unnecessary tree cutting, siltation, introduction/expansion of invasive species and illegal resource harvest, and to implement independently verified mitigation measures as set out in the project’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA);
  7. Notes with appreciation the State Party’s commitment to ensure that all projects with potential to impact the property’s OUV are subject to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) conducted in accordance with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage context, which should include the Monkey Bay-Cape Maclear Road project, also recalling that, for each project, it is essential that an EIA:
    1. Is completed before any final decisions are taken or construction works commence,
    2. Integrates all stakeholder consultations and allows sufficient time for meaningful participation, including by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN,
    3. Includes consideration for alternative options, allowing project details to be revised as necessary;
  8. Reiterates its concern regarding the continuation of oil exploration activities in blocks 2 and 3 covering a large part of Lake Malawi, which pose a potentially severe risk to the lake ecosystem and the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and also requests the State Party to clarify at the earliest opportunity on the status of the oil exploration licences and related EIAs within Lake Malawi, report on the outcome of the mining sector policy consultations, and to ensure that EIAs are developed in accordance with the highest international standards and in line with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage context, and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN before any potential exploratory drilling is permitted to proceed;
  9. Finally requests the State Party to implement all of the recommendations from the 2022 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission, and report on progress, including:
    1. Resolve recommendations related to the Mangochi water supply project and the status of oil exploration as stated above;
    2. Continue to encourage and support the local communities in the enclave villages,
    3. Finalise demarcation of the property boundary, resolve illegal agricultural encroachment and address resource use in the property;
    4. Improve agriculture and other land use practices in the headwaters of the river catchments;
    5. Enhance ecological monitoring of the property and the lake, and ensure that non-native species of fish (especially top-level predators) are not introduced into the lake or its catchment areas;
    6. Strengthen the capacity of the Park and other institutions, including through enhanced inter-agency synergies and collaboration;
    7. Continue to promote sustainable tourism initiatives, and further examine the feasibility of the extension of the property.
  10. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2024, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 47th session.
Decision Code
45 COM 7B.74
Themes
Conservation
States Parties 1
Year
2023
State of conservation reports
2023 Lake Malawi National Park
Documents
Context of Decision
WHC-23/45.COM/7B.Add