Decision : CONF 204 IV.A.10
Air-and-Ténéré Reserve (Niger)
The Bureau recalled that a peace agreement, signed on 20 April 1995, had started a dialogue between the conflicting parties and set in motion the process for a return to a normal management regime and that the Committee at its twentieth session had noted that a detailed site evaluation and the development of an action programme for site recovery may become feasible in the near future. The IUCN/WWF project, with funding from DANIDA, for re-establishing a normal management regime for the site is soon to be resumed.
By letter of 20 March 1997, the Permanent Delegation of Niger has provided the terms of reference for a monitoring mission to the site, expected to be carried out in the autumn of 1997. The Bureau heard a presentation by Mr. André Bourgeot (CNRS/EHESS, France) who had carried out a mission to the site in April 1997 together with local IUCN staff. He indicated that: (a) there were no security problems in the area; (b) the vegetation is less impacted than the wildlife populations, whose decline was noticeable; and (c) an analysis of the Reserve's situation should be undertaken by a team including a competent specialist in ecology. The Bureau noted that the proposal to establish an Air-and-Ténéré Biosphere Reserve covering 24 million hectares was favourably recommended to the MAB Bureau for inscription on the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The Delegate of Niger informed the Bureau that this Biosphere Reserve would reach as far as the Algerian border and constitute a huge wildlife reserve with the World Heritage site as core area and buffer zone. The Delegate of Niger thanked Mr. Bourgeot for his report and commended IUCN for their efforts to support the conservation of the site. Furthermore, he was of the view that the state of conservation of the site has improved considerably and the site might be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Bureau recommended that the Committee at its forthcoming session review the status of Air-and-Ténéré, future plans for its continuing recovery and decide whether or not it should be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.