1.         Comoé National Park (Côte d'Ivoire) (N 227)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1983

Criteria  (ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   2003-2017

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

Corrective measures identified

The following corrective measures were identified during the 2006 UNESCO-IUCN mission and adopted by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006):

a) Establish, as a matter of urgency, an effective system of control and patrolling for the whole property, in close collaboration with the armed forces, and giving priority to the development and rehabilitation of necessary infrastructures;

b) Develop and initiate the implementation of a management plan for the property based on the management plan framework developed for the national system of protected areas. The management plan should give special attention to:

(i) Establishing a revised zoning system for the property to guide management activities that fully considers the status of the property as a World Heritage property and Biosphere Reserve;

(ii) Establishing participatory management arrangements with local communities to reduce pressures and impacts associated to the management of areas in particular on the periphery of the property;

c) Enlarge the activities of the management structure to encompass the entire property.

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

5 year timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures:

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/227/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1988-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 97,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/227/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: The property received USD 20,000 in 2006 through the UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme for law enforcement and awareness activities.

Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission in 2006

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Conflict and political instability;

b) Lack of management control and access;

c) Poaching; human occupation and agricultural pressure;

d) Bush fire.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/227/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

From 10 to 23 June 2006, a UNESCO-IUCN monitoring mission visited the property. The results of the mission were presented orally to the 30th session of the Committee and a summary is provided here.

The mission confirmed that the State Party controls only 20% of the property, with 15% under the control of the UN peacekeeping force and the remainder under the control of rebel forces. The mission identified poaching as the major threat together with illegal exploitation of the Park, particularly for agriculture. However, the mission noted that the Outstanding Universal Value for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List was still present. Most of the basic park infrastructure and equipment had been destroyed and a joint patrol mechanism for the entire park needed to be established with assistance of the UN peacekeeping force. The mission developed a number of recommendations, some of which were adopted by the Committee as corrective measures and proposed an action plan with timelines.

The State Party submitted a report on 23 January 2007. The report reaffirms some of the information on the State of conservation of the property included in the report of the 2006 monitoring mission and provides a brief update on progress in implementing the adopted corrective measures.

a) Establish an effective system of control and patrolling for the whole property

Following the recommendations by the mission, discussions are now underway with PNDDR (National Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation Department) to identify guards in the villages surrounding the park who could act as eco-guards with the responsibility of conducting monitoring and surveillance. However, so far, there is no functioning law enforcement system in the areas not controlled by the State Party. As for the southern part managed by the State Party, funding is being sought to support a squad of 24 agents, and to train guards from the communities neighboring the park.

b) Develop and initiate the implementation of a management plan for the property, including a zonation of the property and participatory management arrangements with local communities to reduce pressures and impacts

The management authority OIPR (Ivorian Parks and Reserves Authority) has started drafting the management plan. The definition of zones, management units, and management roles will be developed through a workshop of stakeholders involved in the area surrounding the park. It is, however, not entirely clear if it will include the areas not controlled by the Government. No further progress was reported on the recommendation of 2006 mission to clarify the legal framework and harmonize the statutes and related zoning boundaries for the property as a Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage property, and a National Park.

c) Enlarge the activities of the management structure to encompass the entire property

No progress is reported.

d) Progress on other recommendations of the 2006 IUCN mission:

In accordance with the timeframe proposed by the 2006 mission, the State Party is currently seeking funding to allow for the restoration and to take effective control of the park. A proposal for an emergency plan was drafted and submitted to the German Development Cooperation (KfW/GTZ). OIPR also organized a visit of potential donors (including the German and Norwegian Ambassadors) to the park in November 2006.

In response to the recommendation to establish migration corridors linking the property with protected areas in Burkina Faso and Ghana, IUCN is assisting the State Party with fund raising for the establishment of co-management and conservation of wildlife corridors through its transboundary 3 IC Project ‘Espace Comoé.’ A regional planning meeting was organized in December 2006 with representatives from the State Party, IUCN and Burkina Faso.

The State Party report did not provide population statistics for wildlife in the park though it did state that large mammals have migrated to the core biodiversity zone and to the adjoining countryside. The recent halt of violence in the park has seen a return of elephants, buffaloes, hippopotami and hartebeest in the south. The lack of current ecological data on the park presents a serious challenge to assess the current conservation status of the property and also to ensure effective management planning, zoning and wildlife corridors. However, this is difficult to address while the State Party does not have full control of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN feel that work with the local communities should be a priority. The State Party should focus on building trust and raising awareness among the communities benefiting from the park’s resources. The 2006 monitoring mission identified increasing pressure on the core zone from domestic animals and new farmers, which should be addressed through co-management and clear guidelines on allowable uses. The State Party should establish a formal relationship between the park and the communities bordering the park with the goal of producing an agreement on rights, obligations and possible assistance available to these communities. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7A.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7A.2 adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),
  3. Notes that the State Party has started to implement the corrective measures adopted by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006), but that it has not yet been able to establish an effective system of control and patrolling for the whole property;
  4. Urges the State Party to implement in accordance with the adopted timeframe the corrective measures, in particular emergency measures linked to the surveillance of the whole property, as well as the other recommendations of the 2006 UNESCO-IUCN monitoring mission;
  5.  Calls again upon international donors to continue to support the efforts of the State Party in the preparation and implementation of the action plan and management plan;
  6. Requests the State Party to collect, as soon as the situation allows, necessary ecological data to assess the conservation status of the property and help to define the boundaries of the management zones; 
  7. Encourages the State Party to continue its efforts to develop a transboundary wildlife migration corridor with Burkina Faso and Ghana in cooperation with IUCN;
  8. Requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for the property, including the conditions of integrity, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008;
  9. Further requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a draft statement of the desired state of conservation for the property based on its Outstanding Universal Value;
  10. Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2008 on the state of conservation of the property and on progress with the implementation of the corrective measures set by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006) as well as the other recommendations of the 2006 monitoring mission, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008;
  11. Decides to retain Comoé National Park (Côte d'Ivoire) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 31 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-07/31.COM/7A and WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add, WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add.3),

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