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

Adopted, See page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/?id_decision=4087&

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, See page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/?id_decision=4087&

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, See page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4087

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: World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring mission; January 2007: World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring mission; April 2010: World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Poaching, capture and relocation of wildlife;

b) Drying up of ponds, and invasive species;

c) Illegal logging;

d) Livestock grazing;

e) Road construction project;

f) Potential dam construction;

g) Potential mining exploration and exploitation. 

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

On 1 February 2012, the State Party submitted a concise report on the state of conservation of the property, which provides information on the implementation of some of the corrective measures, and also responds to some other issues raised by the Committee at its 35th Session (UNESCO, 2011). The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that three of the seven corrective measures adopted by the Committee were to be implemented before July 2011, two others are to be addressed before July 2012, and the remaining two before July 2013. Regarding the five corrective measures that were to be accomplished before the 35th and 36th Sessions of the Committee, the following is reported:

a) Strengthen and establish the anti-poaching mechanism

The State Party notes that the surveillance squads and the new anti-poaching mechanism that has been in place since December 2010 are being maintained thanks to funding provided by the Rapid Response Facility (RRF). It continues to operate with three mobile teams of eight officers each, which are deployed for ten days per month in high pressure areas. In addition, regular complementary patrols are carried out, based on the data gathered by the mobile units. The State Party notes that these patrols resulted in the confiscation of numerous arms and amunitions and the arrest of several offenders but provides no details if it has been able to significantly curb poaching.

The State Party also reports that a consultation workshop was held with stakeholders from the tourism sector from Tambacounda and Kédougou, with, among others, the objective to establish partnerships between tourism operators and park managers and provide alternative sources of income for ex-poachers.

b) Increase the staff of the property and provide, as soon as possible, training for them focusing on the protection of the proterty, its integrated management, security regulations, and provide them with equipment essential to their mission

The State Party reports that the 35 agents which were recruited in December 2010 have received training to improve their abilities in the field of anti-poaching, wildlife management and participatory approach methods at the periphery of the park. The State Party notes that a recruitment process for 25 additional agents started in February 2012. The State Party reports that, with support from RRF, 11 of 12 vehicles have been put back into service, and five GPS units have been acquired. The State Party also reiterates that a one billion CFA francs (1.5 million euros) Emergency Rehabilitation Plan for the property foresees the development of network trails, the rehabilitation, construction and equipping of guard posts, strengthening the surveillance of the park, and improving staff working conditions. Some equipment has already been delivered, and the remaining activities of the emergency plan will be implemented throughout 2012. Furthermore, the State Party reports that an IUCN mission, which was carried out in March 2011 with the objective to lead to the development of a new Management Plan for the property, has resulted, among other points, in the preparation of a management framework focused on emergency actions, which is now operational and has been budgeted for two years. In addition, a vision and objectives for a ten year Management Plan have been set.

c) Propose and implement real alternatives to the drilling of boreholes outside the park in order to reduce the straying of cattle in the overall context of seasonal migration in Senegal

The State Party reports that, with the support of the project “Livestock farming as a means of subsistence: strengthening the strategies for adaptation to climate change through improved management of the livestock-wildlife-environment interface”, further meetings were organised with local communities of Diénoudiala, Oubadji, Médina Gounass and Lingkéring. The objective of these meetings was to resolve in a participatory way the pressures on the property by improving the conservation of natural resources and animal husbandry practices in its periphery, but no results of the meetings have been detailed in the report.

Furthermore, the State Party notes that, with support from IUCN, a network of the fifteen Presidents of the different Rural Councils bordering the property is being created, with the objective to provide a basis for consultation which should lead to partnerships between the Parc and local communities for better management of the values of the property.

Finally, the State Party notes that a Steering Committee for the property is being created, which will provide advice on the matter of biodiversity conservation in the property and its surroundings.

The report provides no information on whether issues linked to grazing pressure in and around the property have been addressed through these activties, in particular the issue of the drilling of wells in the periphery of the property, which risk concentrating livestock around the Park and increasing pressure on the pastures and the Park.

d) Update the park's ecological monitoring program based on indicators that are simple, reliable and inexpensive to measure, and on statistics from reliable censuses of populations of threatened species (lions, giant eland, elephants, chimpanzees, wild dogs,...) and key species, and integrate it into the property Management Plan

The State Party does not report on progress achieved in the implementation of this corrective measure, however it does note that from 24-27 January 2012, a census of the key species of the property was carried out, covering the South-eastern area of the property between Niokolo-Bangharé-Mako. The report does not provide sufficient details on the methodology of the census, nor on the area covered and shows only the frequency of encounter with species along the transect. The frequencies of encounter indicate that all species occur at very low densities, with higher encounter rates for Roan Antelope, Buffalo and Giant Eland, very low rates for Elephant (1 sign along 350 km of transect), Hartebeest, Chimpanzee, Lion, and Leopard. Wild Dog was not recorded at all during the census, however the report notes that further observations made during 2011 indicate that it is still present in the property.

e) Improve boundary marking of the property and ensure better communication on this subject through signage adapted to the specificities of each communinity in the vicinity of the property

The State Party notes that there has as of yet been no progress in the implementation of this corrective measure. However, it states that a project for the densification of boundary markers was submitted to the African World Heritage Fund in March 2011, with no follow up to date.

f) Other conservation issues – basalt quarry, Sambangalou dam

The State Party states that the basalt quarry inside the property at Mansadala has been closed since October 2011, and that the area is currently being rehabilitated. The State Party does not provide any information on the proposed dam at Sambangalou, as requested by the Committee at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010) and 35th (UNESCO, 2011) Sessions.

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

The State Party report provides no information on progress towards reaching the DSOCR, which was established by the 2010 mission.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the new anti-poaching mechanism is being maintained, but that it continues to depend on short term external funding. As poaching is the one of the main threats to the OUV, the mechanism should be strengthened further, in particular by increasing the number of man-days spent in the field and by combining land-based patrols with aerial anti-poaching means.

They wish however to highlight the progress achieved in the development of a new Management Plan for the property and the substantial efforts to strengthen surveillance equipment and infrastructure, as well as the efforts to create structures for the participation of communities and other stakeholders in the management of the property as well as efforts to work with the communities to address livestock issues.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN wish to highlight the alarmingly low wildlife populations. They note that the survey results cover only the South-eastern part of the property and do not present a clear picture of populations of key species in the property. The results of this partial census cannot constitute a solid baseline for a comprehensive monitoring program covering the entire property. However, the census clearly demonstrates that the property’s animal populations are very low. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are of the view that, if this decline is not reversed urgently, there is a risk that the Outstanding Universal Value could be lost very soon and thus fulfill the conditions for removal of the property from the World Heritage List. They therefore recommend that a further and more comprehensive census of key wildlife populations of the entire property should not be the immediate priority, and that the focus of conservation should be on implementing the Emergency Action Plan that was developped by the State Party with support from IUCN, in order to save what remains of the OUV of the property.

They also recommend that the Committee welcome the actions undertaken by the State Party in the development of a management framework for the property and in forging partnerships with local communities and other local stakeholders to improve the conservation of the property’s values, but also express its concern about the limited progress in the implementation of the corrective measures, as compared to the timeframe set by the Committee. They recommend that the State Party reinforce its efforts to implement the corrective measures to reverse the deteriorating state of conservation and the further erosion of the property’s OUV, including a better demarcation of the property boundary to resolve the issue of stray cattle and agricultural encroachment in the property and to ensure efficient cooperation with the communities in the periphery of the park as noted above.

Furthermore, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN take note of the reports of the closure of the basalt quarry. Regarding the Sambangalou dam project, they however recommend that the Committee express its concern and recall its request to present a specific study of the impacts of this dam on the OUV of the property, notably on the possible reduction of gallery forests and palmyra palm forests, wildlife river crossings and the water supply to the flood basins and ponds in the property, before making a decision on its construction, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines (Decisions 34 COM 7A.11 and 35 COM 7A.12).

Finally, they note that none of the corrective measures has yet been fully implemented and no information is provided on progress in reaching the DSOCR. They also note that if the trends in the loss of wildlife in the property are not reversed quickly, the property may soon meet the criteria for removal from the List of World Heritage under Paragraph 192 of the Operational Guidelines. They therefore recommend that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7A.12

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7A, 

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 7A.12, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Reiterates its concern about the alarmingly low densities of wildlife in the property, as indicated by the reported survey results, which reflect a significant deterioration of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value;

4.   Welcomes the actions undertaken by the State Party in the development of a management framework for the property and in strengthening cooperation with local communities and other local stakeholders to improve the conservation of the property;

5.   Expresses its concern about the limited progress in the implementation of the corrective measures, as compared to the timeframe set by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010);

6.   Requests the State Party to intensify its efforts to implement the corrective measures to halt the decline in biodiversity, and to urgently implement the Emergency Action Plan in an effort to save the remaining elements of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property that may permit the eventual restoration of the property;

7.   Expresses its satisfaction with the State Party’s decision to close the basalt quarry at Mansadala;

8.   Also reiterates its request to the State Party to provide a report of a specific study of the impacts of the proposed Sambangalou dam on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including the possible reduction of gallery forests and palm forests, wildlife river crossings and water supply to flood basins and ponds in the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, prior to making a decision on its construction;

9.   Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, including on progress achieved in the implementation of all seven corrective measures and the other issues raised above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013;

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

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-12/36.COM/7A and WHC-12/36.COM/7A.Add),

2.   Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: