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  N/A

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

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003

The Centre received the State Party’s report entitled Gestion participative pour la conservation et la gestion durable du parc national de la Comoe, site du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO (Nord-ouest de la Cote d’Ivoire) dated 9 December 2002. The preparation for this study was requested by the 23rd session of the World Heritage Committee. The report focuses on the presentation of the Park, management, organization, developments in the Park, and specifically management issues in relation to the local communities around the Park. The second part of the report includes a Management Plan for the Park.

Two awareness-raising seminars were organized from 4 - 6 January 2002 and from 30 – 31 March 2002. The seminars organized by Ecological Research Centre and Department of Water and Forest aimed at raising awareness of the local authorities and local communities on the impacts of poaching on biodiversity in the Park, and finding ways of including local population in combating poaching. The second workshop enabled to validate the Management Plan for Comoe National Park and to determine the priorities for its implementation.

Results of the study reports on factors that impact the site include:

- Wildlife poaching by local population living around the site; by well armed professional poachers (mainly from outside Cote d’Ivoire and often residing in the Park for several months); and by some Park guards themselves who often provide arms to the poachers.

- The captured wildlife from Comoe is being relocated to other Parks such as Abokouamekro Animal Park. The overgrazing by large herds of cattle by ‘Peuls’ herdsmen during the dry season. Dry season wild fires caused by poachers who burn nearly 80% of the Park annually, and drought, are recognized as the main causes for biodiversity degradation.

- Lack of communication between the Park personnel and the local communities; lack of monitoring and antipoaching activities; corruption and the absence of personnel supervision, and lack of resources for guards.

 

The report proposes specific activities in order to improve the management of the Park. To combat poaching and wild fires, the report recommends establishment of the inter-village committee with judicial status, comprising of members from the local communities and authorities to be charged with Park patrols.

On 7 April 2003, the Centre received a report from Comoe Research Station of the Department of Tropical Biology and Animal Ecology from the University of Würzburg in Germany entitled “Status of the Comoe National Park (WHS), Cote d’Ivoire, Report to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre”. The report confirms the information provided in the State Party’s report. The report further mentions that following the launching of the European Union funded WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF) project in 1998, some improvements were made related to equipment, maintenance of vehicles and re-organization of the patrol-system. Other improvements included: a six-month special training for 20 game wardens; construction of a surveillance; and construction of a road system extension for about 400 km which enabled better mobility for patrols. As a result of these improvements, the first positive results in reducing the poaching level were achieved in 2000.

At the time of preparing this report the situation in Comoe is unclear. The northern region of Cote d’Ivoire is occupied by the rebels who took over the western, northern, and eastern regions surrounding the Park. Reports show that the rebels could be seen within the Park four weeks into the war and reports of significant increase in poaching. One of the main bridges in the southern part of the Park as well as the Comoe ferry in Ganse were blown up hampering access to the southern region of the Park making it inaccessible.

The Cote d’Ivoire national authorities have expressed interest to request the Committee to inscribe Comoe on the List of World Heritage Danger. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 27 COM 7B.3

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Recalling the decision made at its 23rd session in 1999, requesting the State Party to consider inviting a mission to Comoé National Park during 2000 to review threats to the integrity of the property and plan appropriate emergency rehabilitation measures and to submit a detailed state of conservation report to enable the Committee to consider including this property in the List of World Heritage in Danger,;

2. Noting the recent report of the State Party to the World Heritage Centre, received 5 May 2003, which highlights that the situation at this property has deteriorated and is now in real danger due to civil unrest,;

3. Expresses its serious concern over

(a) the potential impacts of the current civil unrest on the integrity of the property,

(b) the decrease of large mammal populations due to increased and uncontrolled poaching, and 

(c) the lack of effective management mechanisms;

4. Decides to inscribe the Comoé National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

5. Welcomes the State Party's invitation for a mission, as requested by its 23rd session in 1999, and requests IUCN and the World Heritage Centre to carry out a mission as soon as the security situation permits.  The aim of this mission will be to review the state of conservation of the property and to develop an emergency rehabilitation measures plan, which would include benchmarks for removing the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. A report of the mission should be prepared in order that the World Heritage Committee can examine the state of conservation of the property at its 28th session in 2004;

6. Encourages the donor agencies such as the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) and the European Union, already assisting the State Party in the management and development of Comoé, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to continue their support, and further encourages other donors to mobilize their resources in support of Côte d'Ivoire World Heritage properties.

Decision Adopted: 27 COM 8B.1

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following examination of state of conservation reports of properties on the World Heritage List  (WHC-03/27.COM/7B) and of proposals for inscription of properties on the World Heritage List (WHC-03/27.COM/8C),;

2. Decides to inscribe the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: