On 8 April 2010, a summary report on the state of conservation of the property, dated 21 January 2010, was submitted by the Central African Republic. This report describes the corrective measures that were adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009). By its Decision 33 COM 7A.1, the World Heritage Committee had requested the development of a short-term emergency plan to restore the integrity of the property. Following this decision, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN proposed to the State Party to organise a workshop with all the stakeholders to develop this emergency plan. This proposal was welcomed by the Minister for Water, Forests, Hunting and Fishing. Unfortunately, due to scheduling problems, it was impossible to organize the workshop before the 33rd session. It is currently planned for September 2010.
Nevertheless, the report of the State Party indicates some progress in the implementation of recommendations of the 2009 mission:
a) Restructuring of the management of the park for a simple and efficient organization specifically dedicated to the park
The State Party notes that the process of participatory development of a management strategy for the North-east protected areas, including the property, began in July 2009. This strategy should be validated during 2010. It includes, notably, the development of the entire North-East territory, and a decentralisation process to ensure effective control of resources and decisions relating to their management by the new village associations. Nearly 1500 persons in the peripheral area of the park benefited from several series of training sessions associated with awareness-raising campaigns on management and participatory preservation of natural resources. In January 2010, the Network of Local Associations for the Management of Village Hunting Zones (RALGEST-ZVC) was created. This platform, set up by the ECOFAC IV project, has an ascending configuration (local, municipal, sub-prefectural, prefectural, regional). In addition, the State Party indicates that the process of reviewing the draft code for the protection of wildlife has been initiated by the Ministry for Water, Forestry, Hunting and Fishing since June 2009.
b) Strengthening of supervisory staff to ensure the main management missions (planning, surveillance, ecological monitoring, administration, logistics)
A technical assistant for the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) was appointed in March 2009 and posted to the North-East with the conservation teams. Amongst other assignments, his mission is to act as an interface between the Ministry for Water, Forestry, Hunting and Fishing and the Ministry of National Defence on anti-poaching matters. Thus, several joint missions have already been undertaken by these two structures.
c) Increasing the number and training of ground staff essentially devoted to surveillance ensuring this transition period, strengthened at the outstart by support from armed forces
The State Party indicates that the management strategy for the North-East protected areas foresees the implantation of advanced management and surveillance bases and an increase in the number of the surveillance team of the park and peripheral Village Hunting Zones (ZCV). In October 2009, 90 new Water and Forestry agents were recruited and trained. The report notes that it is expected that 60 of them will be posted to the protected area of the North-East in support of around 60 ECOFAC guards-patrollers already in place.
d) Functional zoning of the park with a priority intervention zone to conserve to the maximum the components determining the Outstanding Universal Value of the park (milieu and fauna)
The management strategy of the North-East protected areas proposes a zoning of the property with a central nucleas surrounded by a ring of Village Hunting Zones (ZCV). In addition, the State Party mentions that a mapping project of the park incorporating the new configuration dictated by the draft strategy for the North-East protected areas has been available since November 2009 and should be validated in March 2010.
e) Implementation of an action plan targeting restoration of security and tranquility in this priority zone
The report indicates that military equipment was provided by the Ministry for National Defence to conservation teams of the North-East Protected Areas. This equipment has been restocked each year since 2007. However, the State Party does not specify whether an action plan focused on restoring security and tranquility in this priority zone will be developed.
f) Allocation of a provisional budget for these priorities, limited to the most necessary, to already engage in this phase a reflection on sustainable management
The State Party refers to negotiations with the European Union, which led to a forthcoming provision of new funds for the protection of the North-East Protected Areas, including the National Park of Manovo Gounda Saint-Floris. However, it appears that a provisional budget has not yet been defined.
g) In parallel, implementation of a plan to emerge from the crisis, through concertation with the different protagonists, in particular from Chad and Sudan
The report of the State Party mentions that the cross-border actions taking into account all the contextual issues related to the conservation of natural resources and the development of local communities are planned as part of regional activities financed by the European Union, but details of the nature of the activities are not provided.
In April 2010, the World Heritage Centre nevertheless held a meeting between representatives of the State Party, Chad and Sudan, to inform them of the request of the World Heritage Committee, through its Decision 33 COM 7A.1, to organize a high-level meeting with the authorities of the three countries to discuss progress made in addressing the deteriorating state of conservation. Unfortunately, only the Ambassador of the Central African Republic was present at the meeting, which was organized together with the Africa Department. However, the Ambassador deemed that with the improvement of relations between the three countries, the organization of such a meeting could be possible, and promised to follow up with his counterparts in Sudan and Chad, and to inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangui. The World Heritage Centre will continue to follow up this matter with the Delegation of the Central African Republic.
The report of the State Party notes that the main conservation problems continue to be border poaching, the impact of the Sudanese conflict on secutiry in the property, and the droughts of Sudan and Chad which have resulted in transhumance and great pressure on the pastures in the property. In addition, the report notes the recent arrival of Ugandan rebels from the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) in the region, which could create an environment of insecurity. It should be noted that the LRA recently created a situation of insecurity around GarambaNational Park in the DRC. The report also mentions the lack of financial, human and logistical resources.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome the strong mobilization of the politico-administrative bodies and the local communities as regards the conservation efforts described in the report. They also welcome the funding pledged by the European Union for the conservation of the property and the surrounding areas. They also note that the first aerial inventory mission on ECOFAV IV was conducted in 2008. A second, more extensive mission is planned for February 2010 in collaboration with the Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme. However, they remain very concerned by the problems of border poaching that has decimated animal populations, and especially by reports of the infiltration of the LRA in the region that may have new impacts on security. They note the urgency of establishing an emergency plan to restore the short-term integrity of the property and create conditions for the restoration of the Outstanding Universal Value, and hope that the workshop for the development of this plan could take place soon. At the same time they reiterate the importance of cooperation among the States Parties of the Central African Republic, Chad and Sudan to implement a common strategy for the protection of the property by involving the local communities in peripheral areas of the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the report seems to propose a zoning of the property with the creation of a central core surrounded by hunting zones within the property. If this is the case, they feel that this would change the protection status of the property and would require consultation with the World Heritage Committee.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the property be maintained on the List of World Heritage in Danger and that the reinforced monitoring mechanism continue to be applied.