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Ngorongoro on Unesco`s axing list?

Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by Darwin, May 4, 2009.

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    Darwin JF-Expert Member

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    [ Ngorongoro on Unesco`s axing list? ]

    Ngorongoro on Unesco`s axing list?

    2009-05-04 20:23:38
    By Adam Ihucha, Ngorongoro

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO has raised a `red flag` against Ngorongoro Conservation Area, NCA, threatening to remove it from the list of the World Heritage sites, over the territory\'s ecological deterioration.

    Increased human activities not compatible with conservation interests within the NCA and its legendary crater located in northern Tanzania, is the reason behind the UN agency\'s threat.

    UNESCO had declared Ngorongoro crater as the `Natural World Heritage Site`, way back in 1979, twenty years after Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) was established with an eye to protect the area covering 8,300 square kilometers.

    According to UNESCO`s latest exclusive report of the reactive monitoring mission seen by `The Guardian`, the popular tourist site in the country seems to have fallen from the grace as far as both international conservationists and green activists are concerned.

    UNESCO is not happy with the cultivation activities within the NCA, traffic congestion into the crater, proposed major hotel constructions on the rim of the crater and mass tourism policy.

    The 250-square kilometre crater receives nearly 300 vehicles daily during the high season; which experts say is unhealthy for the site ecology.
    �The anticipated growth in tourism to Tanzania and Ngorongoro conservation area in particular poses significant challenges for NCAA� reads part of the UNSECO report, suggesting that it was important to be ahead of the curve and to develop a tourism strategy that will enable the Authority to proactively manage tourism.

    UNESCO considers that key elements of this strategy should include a focus on encouraging quality rather than mass tourism while major development and infrastructures associated with tourism remain outside the conservation area.

    The UN body is also concerned with erosion associated with cattle access into the crater, demanding NCAA in close collaboration with the Maasai people and Pastoral Council to explore alternatives to limit or stop livestock grazing in the crater.

    ``Although the properties are not in danger, within the context of the World Heritage operation Guidelines, they are certainly facing significant threats`` UNESCO`s report reads.

    So serious is the situation that the NCAA is currently taking all means necessary to rescue the site from losing such an important designation.

    Bernard Murunya, the NCAA Acting Conservationist explains that UNESCO is up in arms, and already inscribed the site on the list of World Heritage in danger due to growing human undertakings within the territory reserved for natural vegetation growth and wild animals.

    Briefing a visiting parliamentary committee on Land, Natural Resources and Environment, Murunya said his authority has already started addressing the problem highlighted by UNESCO`s comprehensive report.

    According to NCAA boss, the immigrant`s families have been settled at the sparsely populated Oldonyo Sambu area near Loliondo Township which are the headquarters of the vast Ngorongoro district.

    The probably most contentious eviction of immigrant pastoralists and their livestock herds, has been hampered by lack of the necessary infrastructure in the new land to where they would be shifted.

    But so far 538 people have voluntarily shifted to their new village and plans are underway to relocate the NCAA staff from within the conservation area to a 435-acre Kamyn Estate, nearly 5km from Lodoare Gate.

    The families moved out are those of people found to have shifted to NCA after 1975 when the government stopped additional people settling there permanently and prohibited mechanized farming.

    The measure is to reduce human population in the entire NCA ecosystem, which experts say, was too fragile for increased human activities.

    Available statistics indicate that the NCA`s 8,300 square kilometers has a population of over 64,842 people, 13,6550 head of cattle and 19,3056 goats and sheep.

    Experts fear that increased human and livestock population coupled with activities would put pressure on the fragile ecology of the area which is famous for natural and cultural heritage sites.

    These include the Ngorongoro crater, Olduvai and Laetoli archaeological sites, montane forests and several crater lakes.

    Murunya say NCA, one of the leading tourist attractions in the country; can support only 25,000 people if it is to remain ecologically stable for many years to come.

    ``From now on, livestock would not be allowed to descend into the legendary crater for grazing� NCAA chief said, explaining that also no construction of new hotels will be permitted within NCAA and especially around the crater rim.

    One of the local Laigwanans in Ngorongoro, Matengoe Ole Tawo says that previously there were plenty of wild animals, but surprisingly when the modern conservation initiative began the animal population began declining.

    ``We are witnessing a disappearance of wild animals at alarming proportions, and this is bad signal for us`` Ole Tawo said, stressing that the modern conservation initiative should borrow a leaf from the indigenous conservationists.

    The chairman for Parliamentary committee on Land, Natural Resources and Environment, Job Ndugai said they were taking stock of the problem confronting the NCA and will advise the government on how best to rescue the site from losing its old glory.

    ``If UNESCO removes the NCA from the list of the World Heritage sites, no tourists will come to visit the place. So it is important to comply with their guidelines,`` Ndugai said.

    For his part, the Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ezekiel Maige implored the Maasai community living within the NCA to maintain their culture of living together with wild animals in harmony.

    Called the eighth wonder of the world, the NCA in northern Tanzania boasts a blend of landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeology that is unsurpassed in Africa.

    The volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls and mountain forests are home to an abundance of animals and to the Maasai people.

    Ngorongoro Crater borders the Serengeti National Park to the north and west.

    * SOURCE: Guardian
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    Ogah JF-Expert Member

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