1.         Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d'Ivoire,Guinea) (N 155bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1992-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/155/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1981-1993)
Total amount approved: USD 277,382
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/155/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

November 1988; June-July 1992: UNESCO field visit; May 1993: joint UNESCO/UNDP/IUCN mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/155/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1993

The Committee, at its fifteenth session held in Carthage, Tunisia, in December 1991, decided 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 this World Heritage site. The Committee noted that a meeting of experts from Cote d'Ivoire and Guinea, with participants from UNDP and UNESCO, held at Mt. Nimba, from 29 June to 3 July 1992, had endorsed the recommendation of the Committee, made at its fifteenth session in Carthage, Tunisia, calling upon the Governments of Cote d'Ivoire and Guinea to nominate this site for inclusion in the List of World Heritage in Danger. Thus, the Committee was deeply concerned to note 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.

At its last session held in December 1992, 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. A. Beschaouch confirmed this point, recalling a meeting he had in Paris in July 1992, in his capacity as the 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 Governemnt 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, in accordance with Article 11, paragraph (4) of the Convention, included Mt. Nimba in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee recommended that the Centre takes necessary steps to send an expert mission to (a) ascertain, in co-operation 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 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. A team of experts, comprising Guinean, local African, and international specialists, and representatives of IUCN, UNESCO and the non­governmental consortium, CEDI, of France, will visit Mt. Nimba from 15-30 May 1993 to implement these two recommendations of the Committee. A report on the conclusions of the expert mission will be submitted to the Bureau at time of its seventeenth session in Paris.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1993

In 1981 the World Heritage Committee inscribed Mt. Nimba on the World Heritage List. In 1992 Mt Nimba was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the Committee which requested the Centre to send an expert mission to: (a) ascertain the boundaries of the site at the time of inscription and recommend an appropriate boundary; (b) assess the impact of the iron-ore mine and other threats to the integrity of the site; (c) work towards an integrated rural development project.

The mission was carried out between 15 to 30 May 1993. It included representatives from the Centre, UNDP, UNEP, the Government of Guinea, NIMCO (the mining company), IUCN, CEDI (an international NGO in France), Guinea Ecology (local NGO) and two consultants as well as local specialists.

A comprehensive review of the part of Mt. Nimba situated in Guinea was carried out with extensive site and village visits and reviews of specific issues such as: the original nomination, the mineral body, the boundaries, and the socio-economic situation relating to local communities.

The major findings were as follows:

  1.  the site met World Heritage criteria at the time of the original nomination in 1981. It continues to meet these criteria;
  2. the site should remain on the List of World Heritage in Danger primarily because of the high risk of agricultural intrusions due to the lack of an established administrative structure and effective protection. At the present time, the Mt. Nimba Pilot Project provides a management presence, but this is not assured;
  3. when the site was nominated in 1981, the Government of Guinea was fully aware of the mineral potential. Over $25 million had been spent on prospecting and a potential ore body of 500 million tons had been identified. As the Government has stated, it was not their intention to include the mineral body in the World Heritage nomination. It is recommended that this perspective be accepted;
  4. the revised nomination submitted in 1991 should be considered as withdrawn, as it was not accepted by the Committee;
  5. a revised boundary was been accepted by the mission. It will include a revised area of 17,740 ha. which is 610 ha larger than the 1981 nomination of 17,130 ha. It is, however, 1,550 ha less than the true size of the 1981 nomination which was 19,290 ha, including the Côte d'Ivoire
  6. section of 5,200 ha. The area required for mineral operations (1,500 ha.) is not included in the World Heritage nomination;
  7. there are 18 recommendations in the mission report which is available from the World Heritage Centre. The recommendations include a commitment by the Government and the mining company to an "Environmental Convention" in which NGOs will be invited to participate. In addition, the mining company agrees, once the mine becomes operational, to contribute $500,000 per year towards conservation projects;
  8. until the war and the political situation in Liberia stabilises, it is unlikely that the mine will become operational;
  9. continued surveillance through a management presence is essential for the conservation of the site - primarily to prevent agricultural incursions into the World Heritage site.

The integrity of this site will require technical and financial support from the Committee until an adequate on-site management regime is established. The Bureau approved $30,000 in emergency assistance for the express purpose of maintaining a management presence on the site.

The Bureau accepted the findings of the Task Force and concurred with the revised boundaries and the retention of the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger. IUCN underlined its concern about the long term impact of the potential mining operation adjacent to the World Heritage site. The Bureau was in agreement with the findings of the mission and was pleased that the mission was able to respond to the questions placed before them and to clarify the current status of the site.

The Government of Guinea agreed to take all measures to ensure that any impact of the mining operations would be subject to detailed environmental assessment and all measures would be taken to minimize potential damage.

The latest information as of 18 October 1993 indicates that the UNDP pilot project will terminate at the end of December 1993. The management situation will thus once again become very sensitive. Therefore, the Committee may wish to draw the attention of the Guinean authorities once again to the recommendations of the May 1993 mission.

 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 17 EXT.BUR V.A.1.2.5

A. NATURAL HERITAGE

A.1  Requests on which the Bureau took a decision

A.1.2 Technical co-operation

A.1.2.5 Mount Nimba (Guinea)

The Bureau examined a request for US$45,000 for the World Heritage Site in Danger. It recommended a reduction of the project to US$30,000 and deferred a decision until the monitoring report is presented at the seventeenth session of the Committee.

 

 

Decision Adopted: 17 BUR VIII.2

In 1981 the World Heritage Committee inscribed Mt. Nimba on the World Heritage List. In 1992 Mt Nimba was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the Committee which requested the Centre to send an expert mission to: (a) ascertain the boundaries of the site at the time of inscription and recommend an appropriate boundary; (b) assess the impact of the iron-ore mine and other threats to the integrity of the site; (c) work towards an integrated rural development project.

The mission was carried out between 15 to 30 May 1993. It included representatives from the Centre, UNDP, UNEP, the Government of Guinea, NIMCO (the mining company), IUCN, CEDI (an international NGO in France), Guinea Ecology (local NGO) and two consultants as well as local specialists.

A comprehensive review of the part of Mt. Nimba situated in Guinea was carried out with extensive site and village visits and reviews of specific issues such as: the original nomination, the mineral body, the boundaries, and the socio-economic situation relating to local communities.

The major findings were as follows:

i) the site met World Heritage criteria at the time of the original nomination in 1981. It continues to meet these criteria;

ii) the site should remain on the List of World Heritage in Danger primarily because of the high risk of agricultural intrustions due to the lack of an established administrative structure and effective protection. At the present time, the Mt. Nimba Pilot Project provides a management presence, but this is not assured; Guinea was fully aware of the mineral potential. Over $25 million had been spent on prospecting and a potential ore body of 500 million tonnes had been identified. As the Government has stated, it was not their intention to include the mineral body in the World Heritage nomination. It is recommended that this perspective be accepted;

iv) the revised nomination submitted in 1991 should be considered as withdrawn, as it was not accepted by the Committee;

v) a revised nomination has been requested. It will include a revised area of 17,740 ha. which is 610 ha larger than the 1981 nomination of 17,130 ha. It is, however, 1,550 ha less than the true size of the 1981 nomination which was 19,290 ha, including the Côte d'Ivoire section of 5,200 ha. The area required for mineral operations (1,500 ha.) is not included in the World Heritage nomination;

vi) there are 18 recommendations in the mission report which is available from the World Heritage Centre. The recommendations include a commitment by the Government and the mining company to an "Environmental Convention" in which NGOs will be invited to participate. In addition, the mining company agrees, once the mine becomes operational, to contribute $500,000 per year towards conservation projects;

vii) until the war and the political situation in Liberia stabilises, it is unlikely that the mine will become operational;

viii) continued surveillance through a management presence is essential for the conservation of the site - primarily to prevent agricultural incursions into the World Heritage site.

The integrity of this site will require technical and financial support from the Committee until an adequate on-site management regime is established. It is recommended that $30,000 in emergency funds be provided for the express purpose of maintaining a management presence on the site.

The Bureau accepted the findings of the Task Force and concurred with the revised boundaries and the retention of the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Observer of Guinea expressed thanks for having organized this mission and the Bureau emphasized that it accepted the new boundaries and would pursue with vigour the implementation of the eighteen recommedations in the report. The Observer added that he welcomed the recommendation of Germany and the United States of America regarding the participation of the Centre in future environmental studies. The Government of Guinea submitted a request for $30,000 in emergency assistance to implement the recommendations.

Bureau members underlined their long-term concern for the protection of the site, which would undoubtedly receive some impact if the potential mine adjacent to the site became operational. The Government of Guinea agreed to take all measures to ensure that any impact of the mining operations would be subject to detailed environmental assessment and all measures would be taken to minimize potential damage.

IUCN again underlined its concern that potential repercussions of the mine in 30 to 40 years could become a future problem for the Committee. The Bureau was in agreement with the findings of the mission and was pleased that the mission was able to respond to the questions placed before them and to clarify the current status of the site.

Decision Adopted: 17 COM X

Mount Nimba Nature Reserve (Guinea/Côte d'Ivoire)

The Committee recalled that this site was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger at its sixteenth session in 1992. In its presentation, IUCN continued to stress its concern over the long-term risks associated with potential mining operations adjacent to the World Heritage site. It further noted the growing population pressure in the region.

Recalling that a comprehensive report had been submitted to the Bureau in June 1993, the Secretariat highlighted several developments which occurred since the mission in May 1993. A corrected and revised boundary proposal had been submitted by the Government of Guinea in late November 1993. The boundaries correspond to those recommended by the mission and incorporate an area of 17,749 ha. Furthermore, a draft legislation was received in late November 1993 concerning the establishment of an Environmental Conservation Centre to be located on the site in order to coordinate conservation and protection measures in the region.

An additional technical assistance request for US$ 45,000 for the continuing implementation of the mission recommendations relating to the conservation and protection of the site was received. The Committee concurred with findings of the report and took note of the technical assistance request.

 

Decision Adopted: 17 BUR X.1.B

Mt. Nimba Nature Reserve (Côte d'Ivoire/Guinea): The Bureau approved a sum of US$ 30,000 for consultancies and other services necessary for setting up a management regime in the Guinean part of this World Heritage site in Danger.

 

Decision Adopted: 17 COM XIII.A

XIII.1 The Committee examined document WHC­93/CONF .002/10Rev of 5 December 1993 and the Rapporteur of the outgoing Bureau reported on the requests for international assistance approved by the Bureau as well as on the following recommendations to the Committee:

A. Technical Assistance

Natural Heritage

Sangay National Park, Ecuador
The Committee recalled that Sangay National Park was on the List of World Heritage in Danger. As requested, IUCN presented a monitoring report on the site. The Committee approved a request for US$ 28,500 for communications equipment, solar panels and donkeys and in addition, some graphic materials for interpretation and public communication.

Mount Nimba, Guinea
The Committee recalled that Mount Nimba in Guinea was included on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Bureau had recommended US$ 30,000 for technical assistance, however, in view of the need for on-site management, the Committee recommended that the full request for US$ 45,000 be approved. The funds should be used to provide for consulting services, operational equipment and on-site protection. In addition, a consultant should assist in the implementation of the new administrative centre for which legislation was being prepared. Furthermore, a consultant would organize a donors' meeting aimed at strengthening the management and protection of the site in association with the Biosphere Reserve Programme.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia
The Bureau recommended to the Committee to approve a sum of US$ 37,000, however after consultation with IUCN which had received new information, the Committee agreed to approve the full request of US $49,500, pending clarification of the training component of the project which involved US$12,500.

The technical assistance request included equipment purchases, staff training, socio-economic studies as well as the construction of wells.


Cultural Heritage

Serra da Capivara National Park, Brazil
The Committee reviewed a request for technical assistance for the Serra da Capivara National Park in Brazil, which consisted of two components: a request for US$ 25,000 for measures to protect some of the most visited rock painting sites and to facilitate visitation to these sites, and a request for US$ 28,000 for the purchase of equipment for the inventory and documentation of the rock paintings.

The Committee, upon the recommendation of the Bureau, approved an amount of US$ 15,000 under preparatory assistance as it was of the opinion that international expertise should be made available to the site managers with the objective to study the most appropriate protective measures for the rock paintings.

The Committee approved also the request for technical assistance for the amount of US$ 28,000 for the purchase of the necessary equipment for inventory and documentation activities.

Old Havana and its fortifications, Cuba
Having taken note of the monitoring report that was presented at its session, the Committee approved a request for technical assistance for the amount of US$ 55,000 for Old Havana. Following the recommendation of the monitoring mission, the Committee decided that these funds should be used exclusively for consolidation and restoration works in buildings that will be used for housing purposes.

Cliffs of Bandiaqara - Land of the Doqons, Mali
As recommended by the Bureau, the Committee approved a request for technical assistance for the amount of US$42, 000 for a pilot inventory project in three of the 300 villages in the site, each one representative of the three human settlement zones that characterize the site (the plateau, the eroded cliffs and the plain). The funds would be used for equipment (US$ 8,000), research (US$ 2,000), international and national expert services (US$ 29,000) and training activities (US$ 3,000).

International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM).

The Committee approved a request for the amount of US$ 25,000 for ICCROM's Technical Assistance programme which provides assistance in the form of material, small equipment, publications and expert services to States Parties.