1.         Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Madagascar) (N 1257)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2007

Criteria  (ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2010-present

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

Illegal logging of precious wood species (ebony and rosewood) and its secondary impacts; poaching of endangered lemurs were identified as threats for the site’s integrity.

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/4344

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4344

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4344

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2000-2010)
Total amount approved: USD 155,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 1,890,000 from the United Nations Foundation and the Nordic World Heritage Foundation.

Previous monitoring missions

May 2011: Joint monitoring mission World Heritage Centre / IUCN 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a)  Encroachment;

b)  Fire;

c)  Hunting and poaching;

d)  Artisanal mining;

e)  Illegal logging.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

A report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party on 1 February 2013, complemented by an additional report in March 2013. The reports give a brief overview of ongoing management operations and efforts to implement the four urgent corrective measures adopted by Decision 35 COM 7A.10. The additional report provides data on the trends in illegal logging in Marojejy National Park (MjNP) and Masoala National Park (MsNP) as well as data on the management effectiveness and threat levels to all components of the property.

The following progress is reported on the implementation of corrective measures:

a)  Finalize the registration of all existing stocks of wood and ensure their immediate seizure

The State Party report notes that a multi-actor (administration, civil society, donors) and multi-sector (environment, forests, justice, armed forces) steering committee has been established in August 2012 under the direction of the Ministry of Environment with a mission to prepare and implement an action plan for improving governance of the precious wood sector. The report notes that the Prime Minister, in May 2012, requested technical and financial assistance from its development partners to help addressing this issue.

Following this request, the World Bank agreed to finance three studies: one to review the legal framework of the forestry sector, one to asses the feasibility and mechanisms of securing the illegal stocks of precious wood and one to determine the mechanism for the elimination of stocks, including the terms and conditions of a possible auction sale. The World Heritage Centre was able to provide comments on the Terms of Reference of these studies, which are currently being tendered and are expected to be completed by the end of 2013. The result of these studies will be discussed by all stakeholders and inform a final Government decision on how to deal with the illegal rosewood stocks. The State Party report also mentions that an independent observer will be engaged following completion of these studies. The sale of seized stocks will not be carried out until the studies mandated by the World Bank have been completed.

The State Party also notes that the seizure of illegally cut wood was carried out in 2011 and 2012 and that several tonnes have been seized. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that no precise figures are provided concerning the amount of wood seized, and no indication is provided of the proportion of total illegal stocks seized to date. The State Party further provides figures on the number of illegally cut precious wood in the property, showing a clear decline, with almost no rosewood logging but an increase in palissander logging in MjNP and reduced levels of illegal logging in MsNP.

b)  Eliminate all of these stocks within one year after the seizure, with no possibility of renewing the stock through an appropriate process for the liquidation and control of the stock, resulting in the complete elimination of all wood stored within 18 months

As explained above, the State Party with the help of the World Bank and its technical partners has launched a clear process which should lead to a seizure and elimination of all illegal wood stocks. No precise timeframe is given in the State Party report, but the World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider the process should be completed by the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee.

c)  Finalize the inscription file for the Dalbergia and Diospyros species endemic to Madagascar in Appendix III of the CITES and submit the inscription of these species in Appendix II of the CITES to the next Conference of States Parties (COP) in order to strengthen their protection status

At the request of the State Party, and after a vote of all Parties, all species of Dalbergia and Diospyros occurring in Madagascar were added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) at COP16, Bangkok, in March 2013. The decision refers specifically to logs, sawn wood and veneer sheets rather than other types of products of these species (more than 90% of products exported are logs and timber). The decision means that these products can continue to be traded internationally but with controls in place regarding level of trade being non-detrimental and permits required. It is hoped that this decision will facilitate control of illegal trade. The State Party report further notes that discussions to curb illegal rosewood trafficking are underway between the Malagasy and Chinese forestry administrations with the objective to develop an action plan.

d)  Enforce the implementation of the Decree of March 24, 2010 and the Decrees of November 2000 and April 2006

The State Party report notes that in follow up to the Decree 2010-141, the establishment of a ‘special jurisdiction’ to treat cases related to precious wood trafficking is foreseen in Article 12 of Order 2011-001, but does not clarify whether this was carried out.

The State Party report further notes that the Prime Minister, in September 2012, promised exemplary sanctions against offenders to curb the illegal trafficking, including any involved high officials, and forbade the delivery of permits to transport stocks under any pretext.

The State Party report further notes that communication and sensitisation sessions have been held in the six villages most involved in precious wood smuggling adjacent to Marojejy and Masoala National Parks.

e)  Other conservation issues  

With regards to reports of artisanal sapphire miners threatening Zahamena National Park and the adjacent Ankenihena-Zahamena Corridor, the State Party notes that the first illegal miners, numbering 1500 individuals, have been pushed back to the southern buffer zone of the Park. Surrounding areas, notably Ankenihena-Zahamena Corridor, have been secured by patrols carried out by the authorities and local communities. A mixed force composed of the military, gendarmerie and police has, since May 2012, identified affected sites and expelled the miners. All mining camps have been burned and a mining area of five hectares has been abandoned.

With regards to surveillance and law enforcement within the property, the State Party report notes that staff of Madagascar National Parks (MNP) have been trained to verbalise offenders, but notes that there is still no agreement with the Ministry of Justice and the Forest administration to give full judicial powers to park rangers. Local community members are reported to take part in patrols with mixed brigades following the establishment in 2012 of local management committees.

The State Party also reports that a standardized protocol for ecological monitoring to be used in all components of the property has been developed and that surveillance flights will be undertaken over five components of the property (excluding Marojejy). Aerial surveillance will start in 2013. The report also presents results of a threat and management effectiveness analysis of the different components of the property.  The average level of threat across the property has devolved from very high in 2008 to high in 2012, with the most affected component being MsNP. The management effectiveness index has also improved slightly.

With the support of the Government of Norway, the World Heritage Centre assistance will very soon start implementing, in cooperation with the UNESCO Office of Nairobi, a project to assist the State Party with further implementation of the corrective measures and the other recommendations of the 2011 joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring mission. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note the important progress in the implementation of the corrective measures. They recommend that the Committee welcome the political will as shown by the Prime Minister to find a solution for the illegal stocks of rosewood and take note of the preparatory studies which are underway to inform this solution. They also recommend that the results be reviewed and discussed by the relevant stakeholders in order to reach a broad consensus on the way forward. They note that a solution for eliminating the illegal stocks is key to create the conditions for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also note the decision by COP16 of CITES to include all species of Dalbergia and Diospyros occurring in Madagascar in Appendix II of CITES which sets controls for international trade. It is hoped that this will help to control illegal trade of the species. They further recommend that the State Party in its next report provides quantitative data on the progress towards the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. They recommend that the World Heritage Committee maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 14

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Documents WHC-13/37.COM/14 and WHC-13/37.COM/INF.14,

2.  Expresses its deep concern at the status of the International Assistance budget;

3.  Warmly thanks the Governments of Italy and India for their generous contribution to the International Assistance budget, which made the approval of several requests possible since 2010;

4.  Encourages other States Parties to follow their example, since without additional contributions being made to the World Heritage Fund, it will not be possible to effectively respond to International Assistance requests, thereby weakening the credibility of the Convention and the fulfilment of its objectives;

5.  Recalls its Decision 37 COM 12 whereby it adopted the revision of paragraph 240 related to International Assistance in the Operational Guidelines ;

6.  Also recalls that, according to the new calendar which entered into force last year, the deadline for receiving all International Assistance requests for the 2014 cycle is 31 October 2013;

7.  Takes note of the status of implementation of the International Assistance request for Atsinanana Forests (Madagascar) approved in 2010 by the Committee and requests the Secretariat to submit the revised budget and activities of the second installment of US$65,000 for approval by the Chairperson of the Committee;

8.  Also requests the Secretariat to submit a progress report on the implementation of this request at the 39th session of the Committee in 2015, under the agenda item relating to International Assistance;

9.  Also takes note of the analysis on Preparatory Assistance dedicated to the preparation of nomination files during the period 2001-2010.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7A.11

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.10 adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Welcomes important progress made by the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures as well as its clear political will as expressed by the Prime Minister to eliminate all illegal stocks of rosewood;

4.  Takes note of the preparatory studies which are underway to identify possible solutions and requests that the results are reviewed and discussed by the relevant stakeholders in order to arrive at a broad consensus on the way forward to eliminate the illegal rosewood stocks and prevent illegal logging in the future;

5.  Considers that eliminating the illegal stocks is a key condition for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;

6.  Also welcomes the decision by 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to include all species of Dalbergia and Diospyros occurring in Madagascar in Appendix II of CITES and also requests all State Parties to rigorously implement that decision and ensure that illegal timber from Madagascar is both forbidden and cannot enter their domestic markets;

7.  Further requests the State Party to continue its efforts to implement corrective measures and the other recommendations of the 2011 monitoring mission;

8.  Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , a detailed report on the state of conservation of the entire serial property, including an evaluation of the implementation of corrective measures, and data on progress made towards achieving the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

9.  Decides to retain Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Madagascar) on the List of World Heritage 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: