1.         Sangha Trinational (Cameroon,Central African Republic,Congo) (N 1380rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2012

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/1380/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1380/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: 250,000 Euros from 2008 to 2013 through the Central African World Heritage Forest Initiative funded by the European Commission 

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1380/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

On 29 January 2014, the three States Parties submitted a joint report on the state of conservation, available at the following address: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1380/documents/.

The States Parties informed of the proliferation of firearms resulting from the state of unrest in the Central African Republic (CAR), and increased poaching due to strong international demand for ivory.

The following measures have been undertaken to restore the security of the property:

The report also mentions the granting of two mining exploration concessions in the Congo, and in the CAR a mining exploitation permit (gold and diamonds), all of which infringe on the property and its buffer zone, despite the legislation in force.  Artisanal gold exploitation works are also installed in the Cameroon part of the property and steps are underway to remove the people living at these work sites. The report indicates a road construction project between the Congo and the CAR as well as a project for the distribution of optical fibre in the Congo that could have an impact on the property.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

It is recommended that the World Heritage Committee commend the considerable efforts undertaken by the three States Parties to strengthen security at the frontiers of the Sangha Trinational (STN). These measures have enabled increased surveillance activities, thus avoiding major degradation of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property following the impacts of the crisis in the CAR.  To be noted is the proliferation of firearms resulting from the state of unrest in the CAR and the increase in poaching linked to the strong international demand for ivory. The problem of poaching in Central Africa, notably elephant poaching for ivory by armed gangs, is beyond the capabilities of the services responsible for the protection of the protected areas and requires a concerted regional approach involving the different services of the States. In this respect, the tripartite transboundary anti-poaching cooperation agreement between the CAR, Cameroon and Chad is to be commended, and the adoption by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) of the emergency anti-poaching plans that demonstrate the political will of the States of the sub-region to address this problem.  However, it is of prime importance to accelerate the implementation of these mechanisms and to mobilize technical and financial support from donors.

It is recommended that the World Heritage Committee express its deep concern as regards the granting of mining exploration and exploitation permits partially encroaching upon the property and its buffer zone in the Congo and the CAR, despite the legislation in force forbidding such activities. The limits of these mining permits should be reviewed to eliminate any encroachment of the property, as the Ministry of Mines of Cameroon has done, and the States Parties should submit to the World Heritage Centre environmental impact studies demonstrating that the mining activities outside the property do not impact on its OUV. The existence of artisanal gold exploitation works within the property in Cameroon is also noted, as well as the steps undertaken to close them down.

The Ouesso-Bangui road project and the project to distribute optical fibre around Ouesso could impact on the OUV of the property. Detailed environmental impact studies are needed to identify potential impacts on the OUV, in accordance with IUCN’s advice note on Environmental Assessments for World Heritage.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.87

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 8B.8 and 37 COM 7B.2 adopted respectively at its 36th (Saint Petersburg, 2012) and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions,
  3. Commends the States Parties of the Congo, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Cameroon for having taken measures to ensure security in the area of the property and to ensure the protection of the property and its adjacent areas and avoid the degradation of its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  4. Notes with satisfaction the adoption by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) of a short and long-term plan and of an Extreme Emergency Anti-Poaching action plan at the regional and international levels, as well as the signing of a tripartite transboundary anti-poaching cooperation agreement between the CAR, Cameroon and Chad;
  5. Requests the States Parties to accelerate the implementation of these mechanisms and launches an appeal to donors to assist in the mobilization of the necessary technical and financial support;
  6. Also requests the States Parties to continue their actions for the security of the property and to allocate the necessary technical and financial means to sustain them over the long-term;
  7. Expresses its grave concern with regard to the granting by the States Parties of the Congo and the CAR, of mining exploration and exploitation concessions encroaching upon the property and its buffer zone despite the legislation in force, and urges them to review the boundaries of these mining permits to eliminate any encroachment upon the property, in accordance with the position of the Committee that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status;
  8. Further requests the States Parties of the Congo and the CAR to submit to the World Heritage Centre environmental impact studies (EIS) demonstrating that the mining activities outside the property do not impact on its OUV, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and in conformity with IUCN’s advice note on Environmental Assessments for World Heritage;
  9. Notes with concern the multiplication of infrastructure development projects within and around the property that could impact its OUV, in particular the Ouesso-Bangui road project and the project to distribute optical fibre around Ouesso, and moreover requests the States Parties of Congo and the CAR to carry out detailed Environmental Impact Studies (EIS) to identify potential impacts on the OUV in conformity with the IUCN advice note on Environmental Assessments for World Heritage and to submit them to the World Heritage Committee  before the continuation of these projects;
  10. Requests furthermore the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report including a one-page executive summary on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above points for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.