Being home to a world heritage site like the natural wonder such as the mighty Victoria Falls comes with huge responsibilities which Victoria Falls City Council shares with Livingstone City Council in the neighbouring Zambia.
A World Heritage Centre Reactive Monitoring Mission team comprised of Experts Mr Guy Broucke from ROSA – UNESCO and Ms Murai Mizuki from International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)descended upon Victoria Falls on a mission to assess the ‘property’ and developments around.
The visit was to gather information and understand what is happening on the ground regarding new, existing and ongoing developments within the World Heritage Site.
Victoria Falls being a world heritage site is guided by conservation principles aimed at keep the natural wonder at its natural best.
The finalisation of the production of their mission report will be in consultation with the both State parties and the WHC.
The final report is expected to be presented at the 45th meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in June 2022 in Russia.
In line with the Operational Guidelines of the 1972 Convention concerning the protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage, aims to protect and preserve the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the site sustainably, enabling local communities and visitors to enjoy its natural richness.
The assessment was aimed at investigating the impact of developments in the City on the world heritage site as unregulated developments might jeorpadize the site.
In the same vein the visit was aimed at evaluating how the Local Authority’s building by-laws help guard against any unwarranted activities around the site and how they pursue the agenda of preservation.
So sacred is the property that vegetation which is deemed foreign to the site is prohibited.
The team took turns in assessing developments on the Zambian side before crossing over to have a feel of what is gathering on the Zimbabwean side. The Mission was bound by 5 main Terms of Reference
(TORs) which were to; (1) assess the potential threats posed to the property’s Outstanding
Unviersal Value (OUV) by the growing tourism development pressure in and around the
property, (2) assess the potential impacts of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme
(BGHES) on the OUVs of the property, (3) ascertain the proposed boundary modification, (4) review the regulations to control development pressure and (5) make recommendations to the World Heritage Committee WHC among other issues