The World Heritage Committee that met in Manama, Bahrain recently decided to inscribe Kenya’s Lake Turkana National Parks on the List of World Heritage in Danger, notably because of the impact of a dam on the site.
Lake Turkana National Parks is a group of three national parks located around Lake Turkana in Kenya.
The Committee expressed concern about the disruptive effect of Ethiopia’s Gibe III dam on the flow and ecosystem of Lake Turkana and the Kuraz Sugar Development Project, which poses further threat to the site.
The Lake Turkana National Parks site was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997.
The most saline of Africa’s large lakes, Turkana is an outstanding laboratory for the study of plant and animal communities. The three National Parks serve as a stopover for migrant waterfowl and provide major breeding grounds for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus and a variety of venomous snakes. The Koobi Fora deposits, rich in mammalian, molluscan and other fossil remains, have contributed more to understanding paleo-environments than any other site on the continent.
The List of World Heritage in Danger is designed to inform the international community of conditions threatening the very characteristics for which a property has been inscribed on the World Heritage List (i.e. armed conflicts, natural disasters, uncontrolled urbanization, poaching, pollution) and to encourage corrective measures.
The 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee continues until 4 July. It will begin examining nominations for inscription on the World Heritage List on the afternoon of 29 June.