On 22 January and 22 April 2010, summary reports on the state of conservation of the property were submitted by the States Parties of Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. These reports indicated limited progress in the implementation of the corrective measures for the property:
For the property located in Guinea:
a) Strengthen the capacities of the management authority (Centre de Gestion de l'Environnement du Nimba et du Simandou – CEGENS) in the field, in particular by providing the necessary financial and technical resources to accomplish its mission
The State Party notes the presence of CEGENS personnel in the property, but does not indicate the financial and technical resources allocated for this mission. Nevertheless, it mentions the lack of institutional, financial, technical and material capacity building as concerns the management authority. The report notes that due to the delay in the signing of the updated Decree for the listing of the property, certain financial resources foreseen in the framework agreement with the mining company (Société des Mines de Fer de Guinée – SMFG) for some activities in the annual Action Plan remain blocked.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that no progress appears to have been made as regards the institutional strengthening of the CEGENS since the 2007 mission. Without an effective management and appropriate human and financial resources it will remain very difficult to implement the corrective measures adopted by the Committee.
b) Strengthen the surveillance of the property in cooperation with the local communities, in particular by recruiting the eco-guards necessary and by strengthening the capacities of the newly created Village Surveillance Committees (VSC);
In the report the State Party highlights the increase in the number of eco-guards from 16 to 32 and the creation of nine Village Surveillance Committees (VSC) in the villages adjacent to the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that this information was already included in the previous 2009 report and no information has been provided on the capacity of current surveillance to mitigate the numerous threats that weigh on the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also consider that the number of eco-guards remains insufficient in relation to the threats and the extent of the massif.
c) Define a buffer zone for the property, in consultation with the local stakeholders concerned, with an appropriate legal status and strengthen the conservation of the property through sustainable management of the natural resources within this buffer zone;
The State Party notes that the adoption of the draft updated Decree for listing and management acts for areas of the Mount Nimba Reserve has been delayed due to political problems in the country end 2009. The State Party report also recalls that geo-referencing of the boundaries of the Reserve and the mining enclave was carried out during 2008, with the participation of the local community. The procedure to enforce these boundaries was postponed until 2010. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the report did not clarify whether the Decree would also define a buffer zone with an appropriate legal status. The establishment of a functional buffer zone is a key recommendation of the 2007 mission.
d) Put in place an ecological monitoring system and a geo-referenced database for all scientific data collected on the property;
The State Party notes the signature of a contract between the Mount Nimba Biological Diversity Conservation Programme (PCB/MN) and the NGO Fauna & Flora International (FFI) for the establishment of an ecological monitoring system. Unfortunately, no indication is provided as to the content of this programme.
e) Conduct a feasibility study to define a sustainable finance mechanism for the property;
The report emphasized the absence of a sustainable finance mechanism for the conservation of the property. The State Party intends to request assistance from the World Heritage Centre for a feasibility study to create an International Foundation for MountNimba. The State Party also notes an important reduction in 2009 of funding for the Mount Nimba Biological Diversity Conservation Programme (PCB/MN) financed by the Global Environment Facility.
f) Develop a strategy for the conservation of the Déré Forest and Bossou Hills;
Party considers that the illegal occupation and exploitation of the DéréForest by the New Forces of Côte d’Ivoire are of great concern and it would appear that only through diplomatic channels may a solution be found to avoid armed conflict between the two States parties. DéréForest is located outside the property but is one of the three central zones of the Biosphere Reserve.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also recall that the 2007 mission had highlighted the problems linked to the conservation of the group of chimpanzees of Bossou, and especially the decrease in population, as well as the loss of functionality of the corridor between this site and the property. The State Party report provides no information on the evolution of the situation.
g) Prepare a management plan for the property and the Biosphere Reserve
No progress has been reported in this respect. IUCN note that an initiative of the Darwin Foundation and the FFI, to develop a common conservation and management strategy for the property is ongoing.
For the part of the property located in Côte d’Ivoire:
The State Party report underlines that the slow recovery process from the crisis continues to be an obstacle in the implementation of the corrective measures. The report indicates logistical difficulties, in particular the important reduction in the budget of the managing authority since the beginning of the crisis, making it difficult to adhere to a timetable for the implementation of the corrective measures.
h) Re-establish the presence of the protected area authority (Office Ivoirien des Parcs et Réserves - OIPR) within the property and resume management activities, establish cooperation mechanisms and strengthen communication with the local communities
The State Party report recalls the progressive restructuring of management staff still based at Duékoué, a considerable distance from the property. However, access to the Reserve is limited because of insufficient logistical and material means, and the slow pace of the disarmament process. Discussions are in progress with the Integrated Command Centre (CCI) of the army and local authorities for the restoration of State authority in the Reserve. The State Party notes that contacts have been made for the creation and setting up of a Local Management Committee for MountNimba to reinforce cooperation with local communities.
i) Conduct a wildlife survey of key fauna and flora species to clarify the status of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and establish a comprehensive monitoring programme to monitor and control threats in particular from poaching
The State Party notes that with the normalisation of the socio-political situation, the OIPR plans wildlife and habitat conservation surveys. In this respect, an unsigned funding request to establish an inventory was addressed to the World Heritage Centre end 2009. The State Party notes that the partners of OIPR also envisage, in the short-term, an inventory on certain wildlife species in the Reserve.
j) Define a buffer zone, in consultation with the local stakeholders concerned, with the appropriate legal status to strengthen the conservation of the property through sustainable management of the natural resources within this buffer zone
The State Party considers that territorial planning is not adapted to the creation of a buffer zone around the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that the 2008 mission had recommended that this buffer zone be defined in close cooperation with local populations, based on a sustainable exploitation of natural resources, that would not endanger the forest belt and, on the contrary, strengthen biodiversity conservation.
k) Develop a management plan in close cooperation with all stakeholders, in particular the local community, and harmonise this plan with the plan being developed in Guinea
The report notes the development of a first simplified draft of the management plan and the development of terms of reference for a workshop project with the State Party of Guinea, submitted jointly for funding to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and to the African World Heritage Fund. For the UNESCO part, the request was approved by the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee on 2 March 2010 for an amount of USD 30,000.
l) Define a sustainable finance mechanism for the entire property together with the State Party of Guinea.
In this framework, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea plan the organization of an international workshop that should revive the tripartite workshops with Liberia for the finalisation of the framework agreement on the transboundary management of the natural property.
The report of the Côte d’Ivoire State Party refers to the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and notes that in the framework of meetings held during the international workshops in 2009, a joint draft statement of Outstanding Universal Value is currently being developed by the two States Parties. No Desired State of Conservation of the property was defined.
The reports of the two States Parties recall the mining threats affecting the property on both sides of the frontier.
For Guinea: the State Party report notes as concerns the mining project in the enclave, implemented by the mining company of Guinea (SMFG), the conduct of an environmental and social impact study has been delayed. In this respect the World Heritage Centre has received information from SMFG that following a meeting held in UNESCO in 2009, it had reviewed the Terms of Reference of the study and taken into account the proposals of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN. SMFG has further confirmed that since the meeting, there has been little progress in the development of the mining project, and therefore also the impact study, given that certain strategic decisions have to be taken at Government level but have been delayed due to political events.Currently, there is no drilling in the enclave. Rehabilitation work on the drilling sites as well as the open trails is being completed.
For Côte d’Ivoire: the State Party notes the abandonment by Tata Steel of the mining project in the property following discussions between IUCN, the World Heritage Centre and the Director of the Group Global Minerals of Tata Steel. However, the State Party did not respond to the Committee request to urgently confirm that all the mining concessions in the property have been actually revoked.
1. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN further note that the threats that weigh on the property remain present and that the measures undertaken by the Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire States Parties are insufficient to mitigate these threats. In particular, the surveillance system of the property does not control the numerous impacts and illegal activities affecting its resources. To these threats is added the mining problem. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider it urgent to reinforce the management of the property through capacity building of the management authority (CEGENS) in Guinea and in ensuring that the management activities in Côte d’Ivoire be re-established. Furthermore, the Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea States Parties should consult to develop and implement a common surveillance strategy for MountNimba. A meeting of the tri-national Commission would enable progress to be made on this issue. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN therefore consider that the property should be maintained on the List of World Heritage in Danger.