SOC: Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger)
X.10 Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger)
The Committee was informed that the Chairperson had approved, in April 1999, US$ 20,000 for the sensitization of all stakeholders to the conservation needs of the site. The project is one of the five activities foreseen in the emergency rehabilitation plan prepared by the State Party and submitted to the twentythird session of the Bureau in July 1999. The total cost of implementing the plan is estimated at US$ 127,000. The Bureau had endorsed the plan and recommended that the Centre and IUCN explore ways and means for financing the implementation of the rehabilitation plan, including submission of other projects for assistance from the Fund to the consideration of the Chairperson and to the twenty-third session of the Committee. Accordingly, based on requests submitted by the State Party, the Chairperson had approved, in October 1999, the following two additional requests:
- US$ 20,000 for organizing a training workshop on the protection of natural heritage for Reserve staff, border police and other agents concerned with the control of trade in wildlife products;
- US$ 12,000, under technical co-operation, for cleaning up damaged vehicles and other debris left over in rebel bases of the past (US$ 2,000) and the purchase of communication equipment for improving patrolling and surveillance capacity (US$ 10,000).
Furthermore, the Committee noted that the State Party has submitted an emergency assistance grant for a sum of US$ 75,000 for consideration by the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau. The US$ 75,000 comprised the following activities:
- purchase of a four-wheel drive vehicle to enhance surveillance capacity (US$ 25,000)
- evaluation of the impacts of rebel activities and subsequent rehabilitation measures on wildlife populations (US$ 15,000); and
- building enclosures for the protection and breeding of wild ostriches to rehabilitate population numbers to pre-rebel estimates (US$ 35,000); the site's ostrich population dwindled to 10% of early-1990s estimates during the period of rebel activity.
Further breakdown of the US$ 15,000 requested for evaluation of impacts on wildlife populations and of the US$ 35,000 for the protection and breeding of ostriches are contained in the emergency rehabilitation plan endorsed by the twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau in July 1999. (Please refer to document WHC-99/CONF.204/INF.12 of that session). Since the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau had delayed the consideration of this and other international assistance requests until the Committee had decided on the budget allocations for the World Heritage Fund for 2000, the Committee noted that the Bureau would have to consider this request at a special session to be held during the remaining days of its twenty-third session. However, the Committee noted that, if the Bureau approved this emergency assistance grant, then the World Heritage Fund would have financed all activities included in the rehabilitation plan within a period of one year. In addition, the Committee was pleased to note IUCN's efforts to co-operate with the State Party under the terms of an MOU to ensure co-ordination and cooperation among donors such as the GEF, SDC (Swiss Development Corporation) and the DANIDA (Danish International Development Agency) in supporting projects for the long-term conservation of the site and the sustainable development of surrounding regions.
The Committee decided to retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee invited the State Party to provide a progress report on the implementation of the rehabilitation plan to the twenty-fourth session of the Committee in 2000, including its views on when this site could be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.