1.         Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal) (N 153)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2007-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/?id_decision=4087&

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4087

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4087

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1982-2004)
Total amount approved: USD 147,125
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

2001, 2007 and 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN reactive monitoring missions.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

The report submitted by the State Party on 4 January 2013 on the state of conservation of the property provides information on the implementation of some of the corrective measures and gives responses to certain problems raised by the Committee at its 36th session (Saint Petersburg, 2012) It is regrettable that the State Party report does not provide details on the progress achieved in this implementation, or on the perspectives envisaged for the coming year concerning each of the approved corrective measures.

a) Strengthen and establish the anti-poaching mechanism

The report indicates that 25 additional agents were recruited in February 2012, but it does not provide any information on the current number of available staff for the management, surveillance and the anti-poaching mechanism for the property, nor on the deployment of this staff in the field. However, it highlights the presence of mobile brigades and the “dense and systematic” grid work in the Park.

The table recording arrest and confiscation provided by the State Party demonstrates that there have been numerous interventions between the months of February to April 2012, and then they greatly diminished, but the report apparently does not indicate whether this reflects an efficient action undertaken (the poachers now avoid the region) or if the anti-poaching activities were less intense after May due to difficult conditions caused by the rainy season.

b) Increase the staff of the property and provide, as soon as possible, training for them focusing on the protection of the property, its integrated management, security regulations, and provide them with equipment essential to their mission

The report does not indicate whether the staff benefit from adapted training courses but underlines that the means for the implementation of the management of the Park have improved thanks to diverse State Party investments (construction of four new control posts, acquisition of material, provision of vehicles).  

c) Propose and implement real alternatives to the drilling of boreholes outside the Park in order to reduce the straying of cattle in the overall context of seasonal migration

Consultation meetings with the local communities have enabled the identification of the different types of conflict but the report provides no information as regards the problems linked to pressure exercised by grazing in and around the property, the possible drilling of boreholes, the benefits and risks that might be involved or the alternatives available. Also, there is no mention of the establishment of a Steering Committee for the property as evoked in 2012, nor of its composition or function.

d)  Update the Park's ecological monitoring

The State Party report makes no mention of the implementation of a simplified ecological monitoring programme. The ecological monitoring described in the report only refers to visual contact with major fauna and the presence of their tracks, including the lion, Giant Eland, wild dogs and an observation of elephants.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that these observations generally concern a small number of species and that the data only enable recordings for some sectors of the Park containing certain species, without being able to evaluate with precision the general importance of numbers and their variation throughout the property. These somewhat encouraging results, however indicate that the number of large fauna in the Park still remain considerably reduced and critical, as had been observed by an aerial surveillance mission in 2011.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the large fauna had not entirely disappeared and the restoration of more important numbers was possible in the medium-term on the condition that the management of the property is sustainably improved.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN remain, nevertheless, relatively concerned by the erosion of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and reiterate the request of the Committee that a complete inventory of the fauna be urgently organized, covering the whole property and employing methods enabling a reliable comparison with earlier surveys.

e) Improve boundary marking of the property

The report notes that the consultation meetings with the villages around the property resulted in the densification of the marking of the Park near the limit of the agricultural zone as well as participatory zoning in the rural community of Dialacoto. The report, however, makes no mention as to whether these are one-off measures or whether the boundaries of the entire property are now recognized and respected by the neighbouring populations. 

f)  Establishment of an emergency restoration programme for the ponds in the periphery of the property and its surroundings and make concrete proposals for alternatives to the ponds as water holes in the property

The report makes no mention of the implementation of this corrective measure.

g) Rehabilitation of impassable tracks in the property

The report refers to the ongoing programme of repair work concerning 300 km of tracks to be carried out over 2012 and 2013; to date, a first section of 125 km has been repaired but the report provides no information on the location of the work and the strategic interest, nor on the length of the tracks remaining to be repaired for the satisfactory management of the Park.

h) Control of mining impacts and the Sambangoualou Dam

The report submitted by the State Party in 2012 informed of the closure of the basalt quarry located within the property and the commitment of the State Party in undertaking actions for the rehabilitation of the exploitation zone; but the current 2013 report makes no mention of progress achieved in the rehabilitation of the site.

Concerning the Sambangalou Dam project, the State Party indicated that the work had “not yet” commenced but it judged unnecessary to complete the environmental impact studies carried out in 2007 and 2010 because it considered that the earlier reports provided sufficient information on the potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and an environmental, management and social plan has been prepared and was available.  The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the studies in question were never transmitted.

Furthermore, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the updating procedure for the Management Plan initiated in 2011 with assistance from the IUCN Protected Areas Programme has been postponed.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note with satisfaction that the State Party has made progress in the implementation of the corrective measures, however they note their concern with the imminent completion of the budgetized 2-year Action Plan (2011-2013) and consider it necessary to prepare a budgetized Action Plan for 5 years that would benefit from achievements of the first two years of the previous plan.

They note that the report provides little information on implementation of the corrective measures and therefore consider that it is difficult to evaluate their progress.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN wish to highlight that if the control and anti-poaching activities, which were reinforced in 2012, appear to be successful, the very low level of large mammals remains very worrying. They consider that if the animal populations do not stabilise and shows no signs of increasing in the near future, there wil be no effective short-term restoration of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. They therefore recommend that the Committee request the State Party to give priority to the implementation of the corrective measures and the Emergency Action Plan prepared with assistance from IUCN, in order to stabilse these tendences. It would also be desirable that an inventory to evaluate the state and dynamics of the populations of key species and their habitats, covering the entire property, be taken into account in the emergency plan.

They note that the impact studies for the Sambangalou Dam treated potential impacts of the project on the Outstanding Universal Value of the site and that an environmental, management and social plan has been prepared. They recommend that the Committee request that the studies evaluating potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property be transmitted, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

They note, finally, that no information has been provided on progress accomplished in the preparation of the Desired State of Conservation, with a view to the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. They therefore recommend that the Committee maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7A.13

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.12 adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Notes with satisfaction the efforts undertaken by the State Party to reinforce the anti-poaching measures and the delineation of the property, in consultation with the neighbouring communities, and encourages the State Party to strengthenthe operational means for the mobile brigades throughout the year by establishing a special anti-poaching budget;

4.  However, expresses once again its utmost concern with regard to the low density of large animals within the property and urgently requests the State Party to strengthen the implementation of the corrective measures and the Emergency Action Plan prepared with assistance from IUCN, aimed at preserving the still existing elements of Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

5.  Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit a specific study on the impacts of the Sambangalou Dam project on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, prior to any decision-making on its construction, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines ;

6.  Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2014 , an updated explicit and informative report on the state of conservation of the property, including progress achieved in the implementation of the seven corrective measures and the other issues mentioned above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

7.  Decides to retain the Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal) on the List of World Heritge in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-13/37.COM/7A, WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add and WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add.
  2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: