UNESCO World Heritage Committee: "Abandon Plans" for Stiegler's Gorge Dam

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In its 2011 annual meeting, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee urged Tanzania to "abandon plans for the different development projects which are incompatible with the World Heritage Status of the property, in particular the Stiegler's Gorge dam." Tanzania has until 1 February 2012 to submit a state of conservation report to the World Heritage Centre.

Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania)

The World Heritage Committee Decision 35 COM 7B.6

Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

  • Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.3, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),
  • Reiterates its utmost concern about the weakening of the legal protection status of the property, the different development projects (Stiegler's Gorge dam, Kidunda dam and Mukuju River uranium mine and oil exploration) which are being considered, ongoing wildlife poaching and the evident deterioration in the management of the property;
  • Urgesthe State Party to implement the following actions in order to protect the property's Outstanding Universal Value:
    • Finalize the creation of the autonomous Wildlife Authority and reinstate the Revenue Retention Scheme,
    • Abandon plans for the different development projects which are incompatible with the World Heritage Status of the property, in particular the Stiegler's Gorge dam, uranium mining and oil exploration inside the property, in line with its commitments under the Convention,
    • Ensure that the design of the Kidunda dam will not affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and avoid flooding part of the property or key wildlife areas on its boundaries,
    • Enact specific legislation to prohibit prospecting and mining within Selous Game Reserve on the basis of its World Heritage status,
    • Develop and implement an emergency plan to strengthen anti-poaching activities in the property in order to cope with the alarming increase in poaching,
    • Revise and resubmit the Environmental Impact Assesment for the proposed Mukuju River uranium mine in line with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommendations prior to granting exploitation permits;
  • Reiterates that any decision to go forward with oil exploration, mining or dam construction inside the property would constitute a clear case for inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  • Strongly encourages the State Party to provide an appropriate protection status to the Selous-Niassa corridor as its inclusion within the property is vital to the long-term integrity of the property and the corridor is progressively fragmented;
  • Recommends that the State Party undertakes a Management Effectiveness Evaluation for Selous Game Reserve, with the assistance of IUCN, and to convene a workshop to address the implementation of the 2007/2008 mission recommendations to develop a plan to implement a full and effective set of conservation actions, and also encourages the State Party to request International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund for these activities;
  • Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the steps taken to implement the requests set out in Paragraph 4 above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012