State of Conservation
Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve
(Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea)
Factors affecting the property in 2007*
- Financial resources
- Human resources
- Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
- Illegal activities
- Land conversion
- Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
b) Influx of refugees;
c) Agricultural encroachment;
f) Weak management capactiy;
g) Lack of resources;
h) Lack of boundary cooperation.
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
- Iron-ore mining concession inside the property in Guinea;
- Arrival of large numbers of refugees from Liberia to areas in and around the Reserve;
- Insufficient institutional structure.
Corrective Measures for the property
No formal corrective measures were adopted by the Committee. However, the 1993 monitoring mission developed a series of recommendations:
a) Develop a revised nomination based on the exclusion from the property of an enclave for the mining project;
b) Create a “Protection Office of Mount Nimba” in charge of managing the property;
c) Develop an environmental convention with the mining company to minimize environmental impacts of the mine on the property;
d) Ensure that the mining project provides financial support for the promotion of integrated rural development activities and the protection of the property;
e) Conduct a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposed mining before the start of exploitation activities;
f) Ensure that the northern part of the Pierré-Richaud range included in the mining zone be left in its current state from the north latitudinal coordinate 850,300;
g) Ensure that all debris from mining be disposed in Zie Valley and that no debris be placed near the eastern slope;
h) Place the boundary of the property on the ridge line of Zougne;
i) Develop and implement a management plan for the property and larger biosphere reserve;
j) Develop integrated development activities to limit impacts of the local communities on the natural resources of the property and provide better access to the villages.
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2007
Requests approved: 18
Total amount approved : 435,222 USD
Missions to the property until 2007**
UNESCO mission in 1988; UNESCO/IUCN mission in 1993; IUCN mission in 1994; UNESCO mission in 2000; UNESCO/IUCN mission planned for May 2007.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007
Reports were received from the State Parties of Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea State on 23 January 2007 and 3 February 2007, respectively. The joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission requested by the Committee at its 30th session had to be postponed several times as a result of security concerns. The mission is currently planned for May 13-22. The results of the mission will be presented orally at the 31st session.
The property continues to be threatened by the limited control of the property caused by the presence of rebel forces in the Côte d’Ivoire portion of the property. In Guinea, the encroachment and potential negative impacts of the mining operations by the company SFMG (Societé des Mines de Fer de Guinée), which are resuming, threaten the property.
a) Côte d’Ivoire:
The State Party report notes that management activities in the property are still suspended because of the occupation by rebel forces but that the natural resources of the property have been little affected by the crisis and the conditions are in place to allow restoration of the property. Poaching is highlighted as the largest threat.Timber exploitation, which was occurring in the buffer zone until October 2006, has been halted in all areas following a decision by the rebel authorities to ban this activity. There is no agricultural encroachment in the property and the neighbouring village of Yéalé continues to contribute to the protection of the property. The Ivorian Parks and Reserves Authority (OIPR) is still unable to access the property due to the inaccessibility caused by degraded roads. Park buildings (its offices and guard housing) are completely degraded and are occupied by the former members of the rebel forces. A meeting on Mount Nimba to produce a collaboration plan for improved transboundary management planned for 2006 between Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Guinea was postponed until later in 2007.
The Guinea State Party provided a detailed state of conservation report, emphasizing its lack of financial resources to improve the management of the property. The report also provides details on the state of implementation of some of the recommendations of the 1993 mission:
(i) While the limits of the property as proposed by the 1993 mission are recognized by all parties and stakeholders, they have not yet been fixed by law;
(ii) A management institution for the property was created (CEGENS) but it lacks financial and technical resources;
(iii) There has been no progress in the implementation of the environmental convention with the mining company;
(iv) So far the mining company SMFG has not contributed financially neither to the development of the region nor to the management of the property;
(v) No additional impact study was undertaken since the 1990 Environmental Impact Assessment. However, the mining company is currently developing the terms of reference for an Environmental Impact Assessment;
(vi) Since 2004, important preparatory infrastructure works were undertaken in the mining enclave, such as the re-opening of the road to the Pierré-Richaud range and the construction of a water retention facility. The report expresses concern that these works might have an impact on the critically endangered and endemic viviparous toad, whose distribution includes part of the enclave and that negative effects of the mining company’s activities are already observed in the wildlife, vegetation and water even before iron exploitation has actually begun;
(vii) No progress was made on the re-formulation of the management plan;
(viii) The local communities continue to depend on the natural resources of the property, resulting in further degradation of the property. The only road accessible if the road Lola – Gbakoré – N’Zoo, rehabilitated recently by the mining company.
The report acknowledges that efforts are underway to address certain recommendations as part of the UNDP/GEF project, but notes that the managing authority CEGENS is insufficiently involved in the implementation of the project.
The report also notes that a large portion of the property is affected by bush fires. Research has yet to be carried out on the cause but poachers are the likely reason. The forest of Bossou, which is chimpanzee habitat, is being degraded with pressure from the neighbouring farming communities whose lands are no longer fertile. In addition, the rebel Ivorian forces are causing serious management problems in Guinea. Along the Ivorian border, indigenous and non-native communities inhabit 2700 ha of cleared forest land, 1 300 ha of degraded open forested land, 4 000 ha of agricultural encroached land, and 1 500 ha of completely degraded land.
To assist in addressing the threats to the property the Guinea State Party requests assistance from the international community to carry out the necessary management activities for the benefit of the property.
The State Party of Guinea emphasizes its political will and support for the property but notes that it is severely hampered by lack of financial resources and capacity and seeks increased support from the international community. Such international assistance is required, in particular, as Mount Nimba covers a transboundary region shared with Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Guinea where all countries suffer from the same lack of resources, poverty of communities neighboring the property, and illiteracy of these communities, and a common pressure for mineral exploitation. The State Party would like assistance in promoting and negotiating concerted efforts to implement the institutional mechanisms in each of the three countries to allow sustainable development to benefit the local stakeholders and the natural resources.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN acknowledge the difficulties of managing the site with the crisis situation in Côte d’Ivoire but emphasize the need for Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Guinea to continue to work together to try and resolve the problems. The implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 monitoring mission will be integral to protecting the property, and will require enhanced cooperation among all the State Parties involved as well as financial and technical assistance from the international community.
On 17 December 2006, a delegation of SMFG, composed of its President and Environment and Communications manager visited the Director of the World Heritage Centre. In this meeting, SMFG stressed that the company and its shareholders BHP Billiton and Newmont, both member of ICMM, take environmental concerns around the Nimba mining project seriously. They agreed that only careful design will make it possible to limit the impacts of the mining project within the enclave and announced that they had started the design of a comprehensive and thorough environmental and social impact assessment to analyze all potential impacts, direct and indirect, within and outside the immediate footprint of the mine and related infrastructure.
As the monitoring mission is scheduled for May, it is likely that a revised draft decision will be proposed at the 31st session to include the findings and recommendations of the mission.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2007
31 COM 7A.3
Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea) (N 155 bis)
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add,
- Recalling Decision 30 COM 7A.3 adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),
- Regrets that the 2007 World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission was unable to visit the part of the property situated in Côte d'Ivoire;
- Expresses concern about the continued threats to the integrity and values of the part of the property situated in Guinea, in particular by poaching and uncontrolled fires and the limited progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the 1993 mission;
- Takes note of the fact that the on-going exploratory activities in the mining enclave have no significant impact on the World Heritage property but that activities will increase as the project enters its next pre-exploitation stages and requests the mining company SMFG to present a plan of the forthcoming planned activities and measures taken to limit their impact;
- Also notes the efforts of the mining company SMFG and the State Party of Guinea to clarify the limits of the mining enclave and requests the State Party of Guinea with the assistance of SMFG and the UNDP/GEF project to finalize the delimitation of the enclave and geo-reference the boundaries of the rest of the property before the 32nd session of the Committee in 2008, taking into account the recommendations of the 2007 mission;
- Requests the mining company SMFG and the State Party of Guinea to continue the process of the environmental impact assessment of the mining project and the collection of the necessary baseline data in order to clarify and quantify the potential impacts of the planned mining exploitation on the property, in close consultation with all stakeholders, the Centre and IUCN, and submit to the Committee any intermediary results;
- Urges the State Party of Guinea to clarify the legal status of the property, the mining enclave as well as the two other core zones and the buffer zone of the biosphere reserve, taking into account the recommendations of the 2007 mission, before the 33rd session of the Committee in 2009;
- Further urges the State Party of Guinea to implement immediately the recommendations of the 2007 Centre/IUCN mission, which can be considered as corrective measures in order to safeguard the integrity and outstanding universal value of the property, in particular:
- Strengthen the capacities of the management authority CEGENS in the field, in particular by providing the necessary financial and technical resources to accomplish its mission;
- Strengthen the surveillance of the property in cooperation with the local communities, in particular by recruiting the ecoguards necessary for the surveillance of the property and by strengthening the capacities of the newly created Village Surveillance Committees;
- Define a buffer zone for the property, in consultation with local stakeholders, with an appropriate legal status and strengthen the conservation of the property through sustainable management of the natural resources within this buffer zone;
- Put in place an ecological monitoring system and a geo-referenced database for all scientific data collected on the property;
- Conduct a feasibility study to define a sustainable finance mechanism for the property;
- Develop a strategy for the conservation of the Déré Forest and Bossou Hills;
- Prepare a management plan for the property and the biosphere reserve;
10. Encourages the State Parties of Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea to meet and resume tripartite discussions with Liberia to enhance the required coordination which will be essential to implement the recommendations from the 2007 mission. The States Parties may wish to request international assistance from the World Heritage Fund to organize a new tripartite meeting before the 32nd session of the Committee;
11. Requests the State Party of Côte d'Ivoire to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission to assess the State of Conservation of the part of the property situated in Côte d'Ivoire and if possible coinciding with the proposed tripartite meeting;
12. Also requests the State Parties, 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;
13. Further requests the State Parties, 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;
14. Requests the State Parties to submit a report by 1 February 2008 on the state of conservation of the property, in particular on the implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 monitoring mission to the Guinean part of the property, progress with the delimitation of the property, the clarification of the legal status of the property and the implementation of the environmental impact assessment process as well as the impact of the civil conflict on the Ivorian part of the property for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session in 2008;
15. Decides to retain the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
31 COM 8C.2
Update of the list of the World Heritage in danger - maintenance
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:
- Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 31 COM 7A.20)
- Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, (Decision 31 COM 7A.21)
- Azerbaijan, Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Decision 31 COM 7A.26)
- Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.1)
- Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 31 COM 7A.29)
- Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.2)
- Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 31 COM 7A.3)
- Democratic Rep. of the Congo Virunga National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.4)
- Democratic Rep. of the Congo Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.5)
- Democratic Rep. of the Congo Garamba National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.6)
- Democratic Rep. of the Congo Salonga National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.7)
- Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 31 COM 7A.8)
- Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 31 COM 7A.16)
- Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.9)
- Germany, Dresden Elbe Valley (Decision 31 COM 7A.27)
- India, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (Decision 31 COM 7A.11)
- Islamic Republic of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Decision 31 COM 7A.22)
- Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 31 COM 7A.17)
- Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 31 COM 7A.18)
- Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 31 COM 7A.10)
- Pakistan, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Decision 31 COM 7A.24)
- Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 31 COM 7A.30)
- Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Decision 31 COM 7A.25)
- Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 31 COM 7A.28)
- United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 31 COM 7A.15)
- Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 31 COM 7A.31)
- Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 31 COM 7A.19)
Draft Decision: 31 COM 7A.3
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add,
2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7A.3 adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),
3. Notes with concern that the State Party of Côte d’Ivoire continues to have limited control of the property due to rebel forces causing increased pressure on the natural resources of the property through encroachment and poaching;
4. Also notes that the report from the State Party of Guinea highlights potential negative impacts of the ongoing preparatory works in the mining enclave on the property;
5. Urges the State Party of Guinea and the mining company SMFG to cooperate closely to stop any negative impact from mining on the property, including those from preparatory infrastructure works;
6. Reiterates its request to conduct a detailed and thorough Environmental Impact Assessment of the mining project, detailing all potential negative impacts on the property as well as possible mitigating measures and to submit the results of this study to the Committee before starting the mining activities, in accordance with article 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
7. Encourages the State Parties of Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea to meet and resume tripartite discussions with Liberia to enhance the required coordination which will be essential to implement the recommendations from the 2007 mission;
8. Requests the State Parties to submit a report by 1 February 2008 on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session in 2008;
9. Decides to retain the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).