1.         Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Central African Republic) (N 475)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1988

Criteria  (ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1997-present

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

Corrective measures identified

No corrective measures were adopted by the Committee. However, the 2001 UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission did propose an emergency rehabilitation plan. Main components of this plan were:

a) Zoning of the park, materialization of its limits;

b) Development of a management plan;

c) Inventory of wildlife in the park together with a cartography of major habitats;

d) Management actions to conserve biodiversity and protect fragile ecosystems;

e) Development of cooperation mechanism with all stakeholders, in particular local communities, government services, projects and hunting concessionaires;

f) Strengthening law enforcement in the property. 

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/475/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2001-2007)
Total amount approved: USD 200,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/475/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission in May 2001

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Insecurity;

b) Poaching;

c) Mining;

d) Transhumance and illegal grazing;

e) Illegal fishing;

f) Lack of resources.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/475/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

A report was received from the State Party on February 5, 2007. The report highlights some progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2001 UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission but unfortunately does not provide information on the current state of conservation of the property. The report mentions the following results: realization of a wildlife survey (of which the results were presented to the Committee at its 30th session), the erection of signs at the entry points to the park in Manovo and Gordill, cartography of the rivers and surveillance tracks, efforts to sensitize the local communities, the construction of a surveillance camp near the Gata swamp, efforts to strengthen law enforcement, the development of a new wildlife law which takes into account the establishment of village hunting areas, and the development of a cooperation with the hunting tourism companies and local communities for the management of communal hunting areas.

It needs to be noted that many of these activities were implemented before 2006 with support of the EU funded ECOFAC programme, of which a component is operating in northern Central Africa Republic (CAR) to develop the communal hunting areas as an economic activity allowing local development and the conservation of biodiversity. Although not focusing on the protection of the park but on the adjacent communal hunting areas, ECOFAC has contributed to conservation activities in the property, in particular by supporting vital anti-poaching activities. Unfortunately, the third ECOFAC phase ended in 2005 and the new fourth phase is not expected to start before the end of 2007. As reported at the 30th session, the World Heritage Centre has provided equipment support to the property in 2006 (a vehicle, two motor bikes and communication equipment), as well as USD 76,653 to support anti-poaching activities and to bridge the funding between the third and fourth ECOFAC phases. A further USD 30,000 as international assistance from the World Heritage Fund was approved by the Chairperson in January 2007 and could be released pending closure of the previous contract.

Unfortunately, the security situation in the region has again deteriorated since the previous session, mainly as a result of the spilling-over of the Darfur conflict in Sudan into neighboring Chad and northern CAR. It is important to note that the international borders in this region do not reflect the ethnic realities, with major ethnic groups present in the region across all 3 borders. Tensions in one country, therefore, quickly affect the other countries. In November 2006 a rebel group in opposition to the current CAR Government, the UFDR (Union des forces démocratiques pour le rassemblement), seized several towns in northern CAR, allegedly with backing from Sudan. The Government, with backing from French troops was able to recapture the towns one month later but the incidents further fuelled insecurity in the region. In Gordill, situated at the north of the property, 15 school children were killed in an air raid. As a result of the insecurity, crop production was halted and many families now depend on the natural resources for survival, leading to increased poaching pressure on wildlife. The rampant insecurity has seriously affected anti-poaching operations.

According to information received by the World Heritage Centre, Sudanese poachers are active in the entire region, hunting down the last remaining elephants. Poaching caravans arrived much earlier than other years and poachers have been operating openly in many areas. Taking into account the dramatic results of the wildlife survey of 2005, which documented a 95% reduction of elephant populations (estimated at approximately 500 elephants) and several other species such as Buffon’s Kob, Defassa Waterbuck and Topi Hartebeest nearing extinction, it seems increasingly likely that the Outstanding Universal Value of this property might be lost in the near future. This dramatic decline can only be reversed through efficient transboundary cooperation with Cameroon, Chad and Sudan to tackle the large scale poaching and a large scale anti-poaching effort. With the conflict in Darfur on-going, resulting in continuing tensions between the countries, such transboundary cooperation seems unlikely to happen. On the positive side a peace agreement was reached between the UFDR rebels and the CAR Government on 13 April 2007, but so far it is unclear how this will affect the security situation.

In view of the above mentioned security problems, the State Party of CAR informed the World Heritage Centre at the beginning of April 2007 that the joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission had to be postponed until later. In response, the Centre requested an additional report on how the current situation is affecting the State of Conservation of the property. At the time of writing of this report, no response was received from the State Party. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7A.1

  The World Heritage Committee,

  1.  Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add,
  2.   Recalling Decision 30 COM 7A.1, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),
  3. Expresses its utmost concern on the security situation in northern Central African Republic and its impact on the property, in particular the continued large scale poaching of its wildlife, which could lead in the near future to the loss of the Outstanding Universal Value for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List; 
  4. Regrets that the planned joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission again had to be postponed as a result of the deterioration of the security situation;
  5. Reiterates its request to organize the monitoring mission as soon as the security situation allows in order to assess if the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and the potential for its rehabilitation still exists and to develop an emergency action plan for the property with all concerned stakeholders;
  6. Urges the State Party to take all measures possible to halt poaching in the property;
  7. Calls on the State Parties of Central African Republic, Chad and Sudan to develop transboundary cooperation to address the issue of wildlife poaching;
  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. Also requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a clear set of corrective measures and draft statement of the desired state of conservation for the property based on its Outstanding Universal Value to guide future decisions by the Committee on whether or not to retain the property on the World Heritage List;
  10. Further 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 for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008;
  11. Decides to retain Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park (Central African Republic) 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: