Previous Committee Decisions 28 COM 15B.12; 29 COM.7B.10; 31COM 7B.21; 33 COM 7B.19
International Assistanc Total amount provided to the property: USD 26,350 for the preparation of management plan in 2006
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds N/A
Previous monitoring missions March – April 2005: UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Over-exploitation of coconut crab and marine resources;
Illustrative material http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/854
Current conservation issues
While a management plan was approved for East Rennell in 2007, administered by a community organisation, the property is still not protected under national law as there is no national legislation for protected areas in the Solomon Islands. However, East Rennell is protected under customary law. A draft World Heritage Protection Bill, which was outlined at the time of inscription in 1998, is still at a standstill due to the lack of financial and technical resources necessary for its finalisation and implementation. The World Heritage Committee has previously called upon the International Community to provide further financial and technical support for the conservation of the property, and recommended that the State Party consider requesting International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund for actions necessary to secure its protection (Decision 33 COM 7B.19).
The State Party did not submit a state of conservation report, which was requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009). Therefore, the state of conservation of the property is difficult to assess.
Recent media reports suggest that commercial logging may threaten the property, as well as adjacent areas in West Rennell (the property comprises only the eastern part of Rennell Island). IUCN notes that the forest located within the property’s boundaries is intrinsically linked to the forests in West Rennell. On its own, the East Rennell forest is insufficiently large to ensure the long-term survival of endemic birds. At the time of inscription IUCN noted proposals for mining and forest clearance on West Rennell, which would have serious conservation consequences on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value if they had proceeded. IUCN recommends that the State Party, in collaboration with the East Rennell Chiefs Council, should explore the possibility of aligning the conservation of East and West Rennell’s forests with the REDD-plus program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) as this could potentially lead to sustained and predictable finance to support alternative local development strategies, and reward local institutions and communities for safeguarding this exceptional site.
The World Heritage Centre note additional media reports suggesting that the East Rennell Chiefs Council considers that the local population is not receiving benefits from the island’s World Heritage status, for example in terms of income generating activities. IUCN recalls that
State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List
WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 27