1.         Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal) (N 153)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   2007-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

a) 90% reduction in the number of signs of human activity encountered within the park;

b) Extension of the area in which signs of large ungulates are encountered, from the present 34% to 85% of the area of the park;

c) Increase in counts of all species of larger ungulate for three consecutive years; and

d) Reduction in animal flight distances along selected sections of road in the park interior.

Corrective measures identified

a) Implement urgent steps to halt poaching, using the Department of National Park’s aircraft for surveillance, with ground support provided by a mobile ‘strike force’;

b) Provide urgent training to the newly-recruited staff in the park, focussing on park security procedures and general ‘orientation’ to integrated management approaches;

c) Survey and demarcate the park boundary;

d) Explore the possibility of creating boreholes outside the Park to minimize illegal movements of livestock and local population inside the Park in search of water;

e) Introduce a long-term moratorium on the hunting of giant eland, and also a hunting quota system in buffer areas surrounding the park based on reliable animal census statistics;

f) Modify the park ecological monitoring programme to focus on a limited number of indicators and benchmarks which can be measured in a cost effective manner;

g) Prioritise conservation of the property in national policy, planning and budgets and take proactive measures to sollicit donor support for the management of the property;

h) Develop Species Survival Plans for Giant Eland, Elephant, Hartebeest, Chimpanzee and other threatened species;

i) Enhance trans-boundary cooperation and measures to protect buffer zones and ecological corridors outside the park;

j) Revise the 2000 management plan and start its implementation.

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

A 12 month time frame was set to implement measures a) to f) and a 3 year time frame for the other measures. If all measures could be implemented within the adopted timeframe, the mission considered that a postive trend towards the rehabilitation of the property would be notable after 5 years.

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1982-2004)
Total amount approved: USD 147,125
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

2001 and 2007: World Heritage Center / IUCN monitoring missions 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Poaching, capture and relocation of wildlife;

b) Illegal logging;

c) Livestock grazing;

d) Road construction;

e) Potential dam construction;

f) Potential mining activities. 

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

The State Party submitted a concise report on the state of conservation of the property on 18 March 2008. The report notes that a workshop was organized in September 2007, which developed a 3 year priority action plan with a proposed budget of USD 14 Billion FCFA (approximately USD 33 Million). However, neither a copy of the action plan nor details on how to mobilise the necessary funding was not provided. The report mentions that a number of urgent actions of the plan will be funded through the 2008 budget and that State Party is committed to establish a private public partnership to implement the action plan.

The report further documents the progress towards implementation of some of the corrective measures,.requested by the World Heritage Committee (Decision 31 COM 7B.1):

a) Implement urgent steps to halt poaching

Anti-poaching activities are reported to have been reinforced through the creation of an anti-poaching position, the mobile anti-poaching strike forces have received an extra all-terrain vehicle, and more park staff were recruited in December 2007. Efforts are also ongoing to involve local communities in the management of the property. The report does not mention the use of aerial surveillance combined with ground support and does not provide indicators to monitor progress in the control of poaching such as the number of patrol days, area covered by patrols, poaching rates, and successful interceptions, arrests and prosecutions of poachers.

b) Provide urgent training to the newly-recruited staff in the park

Newly recruited staff received training on laws relating to protected area management and the use of GPS during two workshops held in October and December 2007. It is unclear if this training included anti-poaching training or how many staff from the property were involved.

c) Survey and demarcate the park boundary

A workshop to finalise the zoning of the Biosphere Reserve was planned for April 2008, to be followed by the demarcation of the different zones, including the core zone coinciding with the National Park. It is unclear when this demarcation will take place.

d) Explore the possibility of creating boreholes outside the Park to minimize illegal movements of livestock and local population inside the Park in search of water

Meetings have been held with local pastoralists in May and July 2007, to determine areas within the buffer zone of the property where access to water for livestock can be allowed during certain periods, as there is shortage of watering holes in the region. The possibility of additional boreholes outside the park was also reviewed but it was considered that this might concentrate even more livestock around the park, thus increasing the risk of overgrazing. A planned forum on transhumance in the region will attempt to address the issue of livestock entering the property.

e) Introduce a long-term moratorium on the hunting of giant eland, and also a hunting quota system in buffer areas surrounding the park based on reliable animal census statistics;

No information was provided on the status of the moratorium or the introduction of a hunting quota system based on reliable statistics. No wildlife statistics were provided by the State Party. However, a minimum 3km zone was put in place between the hunting zones and the property. The justification for the 3km exclusion zone is unclear.

f) Modify the park ecological monitoring programme to focus on a limited number of indicators and benchmarks which can be measured in a cost effective manner

No indicators have been developed so far to monitor the progress or effectiveness of the implementation of the corrective measures. Currently, only elephants and giant eland are subject to specific monitoring programmes. In August 2007, a research group was established to study and monitor elephants and radio-tracking is underway for giant eland with the integrated ecosystem management programme of Senegal (PGIES) and UNDP. No results were presented on monitoring these two species.

g) Prioritise conservation of the property in national policy, planning and budgets and take proactive measures to sollicit donor support for the management of the property;

The State Party reported that it aims to prioritise the property in the 2008 budget. No further information is available on the implications of this in terms of increased operating revenue for the property.

h) Develop species survival plans for giant eland, elephant, hartebeest, chimpanzee and other threatened species;

No information was provided in the report.

i) Enhance trans-boundary cooperation and measures to protect buffer zones and ecological corridors outside the park;

Some transboundary activities have taken place including exchange visits of site managers with Guinea as part of the transboundary Niokolo-Biadiar ecological complex but no information was made available on the outcome of these exchanges on enhancing the management of the property.

j) Revise the 2000 management plan and start its implementation;

No information on this issue was provided in the report.

 

It is noted that USD 25,000 was provided from the World Heritage Fund to facilitate some urgent actions in the site, in particular the purchase of anti-poaching and fire-fighting equipment and funds for the restoration of the Simenti water hole.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that although, the State Party has begun implementation of the corrective measures, it has been unable to complete the activities planned for the first 12 months, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session. The State Party report provides limited information on measures to address poaching and livestock grazing and no information was provided on the status of many of the threats to the integrity of the property. The status of illegal logging, road construction, the proposed dam at Mako on the Gambia river, and potential mining exploration and exploitation in the region is unclear. The threats remain severe and there is an urgent need for continued international and national efforts to halt and reverse the threats to the property.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7A.11

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.1, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Regrets that the State Party has not been able to implement the urgent corrective measures within the 12 month timeframe set at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007) and that no information was provided on the status of wildlife populations or on progress in addressing threats from illegal logging, road construction, the proposed dam at Mako on the Gambia river, and potential mining exploration and exploitation in the region;

4. Urges the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the priority action plan that was developed and to provide information on its efforts to establish a private public partnership for the urgent implementation of the plan;

5. Calls upon the international donor community to continue to support the implementation of the corrective measures set by the World Heritage Committee;

6. Requests the State Party and UNDP to report on the results and progress of the Integrated Ecosystem Management Programme (PGIES);

7. Also urges the State Party to speed up the implementation of the corrective measures and in particular the urgent measures recommended by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007);

8. Reiterates its request to the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by               1 February 2009, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, including the status of wildlife populations, and on progress in implementing the corrective measures, information on the implementation of the priority action plan and status of the envisaged public private partnership, the current status of the proposed dam on the Gambia river as well as any potential mining activities in the region, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

10. Decides to retain Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.