Mt. Nimba Nature Reserve (Cote d'Ivoire/Guinea)
The Committee recalled its decision taken at its last session in Carthage, Tunisia, that the reduction in the size of this site proposed by the Government of Guinea in order to exclude areas that would be impacted by a proposed iron-ore mining project, posed a major threat to its integrity. The site is also threatened by the arrival of a large number of refugees to areas in and around the Guinean part of the World Heritage site.
The Committee noted that a meeting of experts of Cote d'Ivoire and Guinea, with participants from UNDP and UNESCO, was held at Mt. Nimba from 29 June to 3 July 1992. The meeting endorsed the recommendation of the Committee made at its last session, and called upon the Governments of Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire to nominate this site for inclusion in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee took note of the Bureau's recommendation, made at its last session, that the Centre, together with the two States Parties concerned and donor agencies, such as the World Bank and UNDP, develop an integrated rural development project to bring socio-economic benefits to people living in the immediate vicinity of the World Heritage site.
The Committee was deeply concerned that the Guinean Government had issued a decree on 6 August 1992 entrusting a part of the Mt. Nimba Nature Reserve to an international mining consortium and published a brochure announcing the launching of the mining project. The Committee was informed by the Guinean Observer that there had been an error in the boundary of the Mt. Nimba Nature Reserve originally nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List in 1981 and that the area proposed for the iron-ore mining project was not considered by his Government as being part of the World Heritage site.
Mr. Beschaouch confirmed this point, recalling a meeting he had in Paris in July 1992, in his capacity as President of the Committee, with the Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources of Guinea.
Aware of the confusion concerning the boundaries of the World Heritage site and the decision of the Government of Guinea on the one hand, and on the other the real dangers of exploitation of the mine and the arrival of large numbers of refugees, the Committee decided, in accordance with the provisions of Article 11, paragraph 4 of the Convention, to inscribe Mt. Nimba on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Committee recommended that the Centre takes the necessary steps to send an expert mission to (a) ascertain, in cooperation with the States Parties concerned, the boundary of the site at the time of its inscription and if it cannot be definitely determined, to recommend an appropriate boundary, and (b) assess the impact of the iron-ore mining project, demographic changes and other threats to the integrity of the site and the universal values for which the site was inscribed.
Furthermore, the Committee requested the Centre and IUCN to co-operate with agencies such as UNDP to prepare an integrated management plan that addresses the existing and potential threats to the site. The Committee instructed the Centre to continue on-going co-operation with donor agencies to develop projects and implement integrated rural development projects that benefit the local population.