State of Conservation
(Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger)
Factors affecting the property in 2003*
- Water infrastructure
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2003
Requests approved: 4
Total amount approved : 105,450 USD
|2002||Confection des plaques de commémoration de 2 sites ... (Approved)||450 USD|
|1998||Strengthening Management Capacity of "W" National Park ... (Approved)||45,000 USD|
|1997||Purchase of Equipment for W National Park (Approved)||50,000 USD|
|1997||Equipment for W National Park (Approved)||10,000 USD|
Missions to the property until 2003**
July 2003: joint World Heritage Centre/Ramsar monitoring mission
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003
The Centre has been informed about the planned project to construct the Dyodyonga electricity dam in “W” National Park on the Mekrou River valley, which constitutes the border between the Republics of Niger and Benin. In a letter dated 14 November 2002 the Centre requested the State Parties of Niger and Benin to verify the information and to ensure the protection of the site and its values in conformity with the paragraphs 4, 6, 11, and 48 and 56 of the Operational Guidelines. The Centre is yet to receive replies to the above referred letters.
The State Party reported that:
- The dam will produce only electricity with an estimated production of 26 megawatts, possible 13 megawatts for Niger and the rest for Benin.
- The electrical production will not be assured all year long as Mekrou River flow only 4 to 5 months within a year, implying that the dam will stay dormant when Niger consumes most of the electricity, that is, during the dry season (May and June);
- With the high rate of evaporation, erratic rainfall and cyclic droughts that affect the semi-arid countries on the periphery of Sahel, the sustainability of the dam is not assured; - The dam will influence creation of a flooded area of approximately 12, 000 hectares. This area hosts one of the most beautiful riverline forests in West Africa, which constitute the refuge and important habitat for many endangered animal species. It is estimated that more than 3,500 hectares of riverline forest will be flooded and permanently lost;
- One of the main tourist attractions, the Mekrou gorges, would disappear; The lake will constitute a zone likely to favour the development of insects vectors to such diseases as malaria, river blindness and bilharzia;
- The Mekrou valley also contains a cultural heritage in the form of funeral sites and prehistoric technological sites. The Centre has been informed of new archaeological discoveries of an old ancient city and a tomb thought to be several million years old. The Centre was also informed about the proposals to revive the plan for phosphate exploration in the Park.
The Centre received a copy of a letter addressed to the Niger's Minister for Mines and Energy from Niger's Minister for Water, Environment and Desertification Control dated 24 February 2003. In this letter, the Minister for Water, Environment and for Desertification Control request his colleague the Minister for Mines and Energy to kindly reactivate the national Committee of dialogue on Mekrou river valley. Furthermore, the Minister noted in the letter that no infrastructure development should be made on this site protected under international agreements (UNESCO Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, etc..) without detailed impact study and in collaboration with respective institution.
The Centre was informed that the "Cabinet Wertheimer Environment”, a private consulting firm, will undertake a feasibility study on the Dyodyonga dam construction.
The Ramsar Bureau plans to organize a workshop financed under the World Heritage Fund in W National Park from 28 May to 6 June 2003, with participation from the Centre. During this workshop the Centre and Ramsar propose to undertake a mission to W Park to assess the state of conservation of the site and to discuss with the Niger authorities on the proposed dam construction. The report of the mission will be presented to the Committee to enable its decision concerning “W” Park at the time of the session.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2003
27 COM 7B.5
W National Park of Niger (Niger)
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Notes with concern the proposed construction of the Dyondyonga electricity dam on the Mekrou River, on the border between the Republics of Niger and Benin, within the W National Park World Heritage property in Niger and the proposed World Heritage property in Benin, currently deferred by the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee (April 2002);
2. Notes that the proposed construction of a dam, as well as the exploitation of a phosphate mine are a serious potential threat to the integrity of the property;
3. Recognises the importance of finding solutions to the urgent need for electricity in Niger and Benin but urges the States Parties and funding agencies concerned to seek alternative solutions to that currently proposed;
4. Encourages the States Parties of Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso to cooperate with IUCN, Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA), Ramsar, the regional programme Ecosystème protégés en Afrique Sahélienne (ECOPAS) and the World Heritage Centre in order to seek the most appropriate solution, and to seek assistance from the World Heritage Fund for the co-ordination of meetings and studies;
5. Requests the authorities of Benin and Niger to provide to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2004 and before any construction takes place, a detailed report on the proposed construction of a dam on the Mekrou River and the exploitation of the phosphate mine as well as an independent evaluation study of the environmental and social impact according to international standards in order that the World Heritage Committee can examine the state of conservation of the property at its 28th session in 2004;
6. Defers the decision on the inscription of the W National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger until the 28th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2004, pending an assessment of the responses of the two most concerned States Parties and the outcome of any missions or meetings held with the States Parties.
Draft Decision: 27 COM 7 (b) 5
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Notes with concern the proposed construction of the Dyondyonga electricity dam on the Mekrou River, on the border between the Republics of Niger and Benin, within the W National Park World Heritage site in Niger and the proposed World Heritage site in Benin, currently deferred by the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee (April 2002);
2. Recognises the importance of finding solutions to the urgent need for electricity in Niger and Benin but urges the States Parties and funding agencies concerned to seek alternative solutions to that currently proposed;
3. Encourages the States Parties of Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso to cooperate with IUCN, UEMOA (Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine), Ramsar, the regional programme ECOPAS (Ecosystème protégés en Afrique Sahélienne) and the Centre in order to seek the most appropriate solution, and to seek assistance from the World Heritage Fund as necessary for the coordination of meetings and studies;
4. Requests the authorities of Benin and Niger to provide by the 1 February 2004 and before any construction takes place, a detailed report on the proposed construction of a dam on the Mekrou river and the results of a detailed independent environmental and social impact assessment according to international standards;
5. Notes that the proposed construction of the dam is a serious potential threat to the integrity of the site;
6. Defers the decision on the inscription of the W National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger until its 28th session in 2004, after an assessment of the two most concerned States Parties' response and the outcomes of any missions or meetings held with the States Parties.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).