1.         Comoé National Park (Côte d'Ivoire) (N 227)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1983

Criteria  (ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2003-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/227/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1988-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 97,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/227/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Conflict and political instability, poaching and uncontrolled hunting, diminishing protection, human occupation, agriculture pressure.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/227/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

A report was received from the State Party dated 6 January 2005. The report noted that only the southern sector of the Park, covering 20% of its surface, is under Government control. A further 15 % is situated in the demilitarized « confidence zone », which separates Government loyalist troops from the rebel forces and the remaining 65% is under rebel control. Because of the insecurity in the rebel controlled areas, park staff based at Bouna, Dabakala, Kong, Nassian and Téhini abandoned their posts, the park offices as well as bridges in the park were damaged and patrol and surveillance equipment looted.

The State Party reports that from the 21 to 24 July 2004, the Park management authority, in collaboration with WWF, carried out a mission to review the situation in the property. This mission indicated some encouraging developments with regard to its state of conservation and reported that local communities had negotiated with the rebels to ensure the protection of the Park and the biodiversity zone of Geprenaf, which acts as a buffer zone to the Park. No deforestation was observed in the entire property, with exception of some illegal forest exploitation in isolated forest patches near 3 villages bordering the south-western part of the Park and some exploitation in the gallery forests between the biodiversity zone of Geprenaf and the Comoé River. The State Party also reports a lower rate of fires compared to previous years, due to efforts of a local NGO. The report did not provide any information on the status of the wildlife populations in the property and mentioned that due to the proliferation of weapons entering the country, poaching may be on the increase.

The State Party noted that since February 2002, an autonomous Park management authority was created, the “Office des Parcs nationaux et Réserves naturelles” (OIPR) and a Foundation for the sustainable financing of parks and natural reserves developed. The OIPR has started recruiting staff for the entire protected area system, including the 3 World Heritage properties. For Comoé National Park, a director was appointed and new staff recruited for the southern sector, which is under Government control. It is stated that a report on the situation in the south of the park and an annual programme of activities was subsequently submitted to the Director General of OIPR, but this report was not made available to the World Heritage Centre or IUCN. Equipment for patrol and surveillance is currently being replaced and offices and lodgings rebuilt. The State Party notes that additional funding is required for these activities.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the report of the State Party provides useful information on the current situation in the property but does not allow assessing the impact of the conflict on its integrity, as requested by the Committee at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004). It is clear that without full control of the Park and without the continuation of normal monitoring and patrolling activities, it is difficult to confirm the impact on the flora and fauna of the property.

Unfortunately the World Heritage Centre and IUCN have not been able to conduct the mission to the property, as requested by the Committee at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004), due to ongoing instability in the region. This mission will be carried out in consultation with the State Party as soon as the security situation allows in order to fully assessing the impacts of the current crisis situation. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7A.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7A,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15A.2, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Commends the State Party of Côte d’Ivoire for providing a report on the current situation in Comoé National Park;

4. Notes with great concern that only 20% of the property is at present directly under State Party control, and urges all parties engaged in the conflict to ensure the conservation of the property;

5. Recognizes the commitment shown by local communities in the conservation of the property;

6. Regrets that the requested monitoring mission could not take place and recommends that the World Heritage Centre and IUCN undertake the joint mission as soon as the security situation allows;

7. Requests the State Party to submit by 1 February 2006, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);

8. Decides to retain Comoé National Park (Côte d'Ivoire) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.