Decision : CONF 201 V.B.22
Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon)
The Bureau recalled that the Committee, at its twenty-first session, noted with concern that logging activities, carried out under commercial, as well as sustainable forestry schemes, are contributing to the growing biological isolation of the Reserve and are not welcome by the local people. An IUCN project is aiming to minimise the degree of the Reserve's isolation through the establishment of a buffer zone and a protected corridor linking Dja with adjacent forests. Moreover, logging roads facilitate access for hunters, and concessionaires have logged forests up to the boundary of the Reserve.
The Bureau, at its twenty-first extraordinary session approved US$29,900 to organise an in-situ Regional Training Workshop at Dja and the Committee, at its last session, had urged the State Party to use the Workshop as a forum for discussing with representatives of donors financing forestry operations, IUCN and others concerned, ways and means to minimise the threat of biological isolation of Dja
The Bureau noted that the Regional Training Workshop at Dja financed from the World Heritage Fund was held from 23 to 26 March 1998 in Sangmelima, Cameroon. It was attended by sixty participants representing four countries of the region, several national and international development and conservation organisations including IUCN’s Dja Project staff, and UNESCO’s Division of Ecological Sciences and the World Heritage Centre. The Bureau took note of the findings of the Workshop, in particular that Cameroon has adopted a national policy for natural resources conservation; a survey carried out indicated that 80% of the local people of Dja are in favour of maintaining it as a World Heritage site and a Biosphere Reserve, and are ready to collaborate in its protection. More than six international development organisations are implementing projects in and around Dja in co-operation with various non-governmental organisations. It was noted that the overall integrity of the site is still intact, that logging around the Reserve has not impacted the World Heritage site as yet, and that the Ministry for the Environment is in the process of finalising the management plan with the assistance of IUCN and ECOFAC. A zoning plan will accompany the management plan for Dja and the Forest of Ngoila – Mintom, south of the Dja Reserve, will be designated as a protected forest. There is a need to undertake a rapid bio-diversity assessment to ascertain the current status of faunal and floral populations in Dja and in surrounding areas so as to enable a scientific evaluation of the threat of the biological isolation of Dja. In addition, the Workshop recommended the need to improve co-ordination between non-governmental organisations, ECOFAC, IUCN project staff and the Government and the need for revising legislation regulations governing hunting. It also recommended the need for the Ministry for Environment and Forestry to consult with the Ministry’s “Direction de la Faune et des Aires Protégés” in granting licences for forest exploitation.
The Bureau noted that the Workshop participants were of the view that Dja did not warrant designation as a World Heritage site in Danger. IUCN, however, remains concerned that commercial hunters and logging companies show little respect for regulations and are not subject to enforcement by Government officials.
The Bureau recommended that the State Party take urgent measures to act on the recommendations of the Workshop and present to the next session of the Committee in December 1998, a statement of actions to be implemented. The Bureau invited Cameroon to give priority consideration to implementing actions that would: (a) strengthen law enforcement against poaching and improve management of hunting and trade in wildlife products, and (b) halt the issue of new licences for forest exploitation immediately adjacent to the boundaries of the World Heritage area. The Bureau requested the Centre, IUCN and the State Party to co-operate in designing and launching a rapid bio-diversity assessment to evaluate the impacts of on-going forestry operations on maintaining contiguity of habitats and gene pools in and around the Dja World Heritage site.