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

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1761

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1761

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1761

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

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2001-2012)
Total amount approved: USD 225,488
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/475/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

May 2001 and April 2009: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring missions. 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

On 31 January 2013, the State Party submitted a brief report on the state of conservation of the property. This report indicates a certain number of measures undertaken by the State Party without clearly referring to the recommendations of the corrective measures requested by the World Heritage Committee in its Decision 33 COM 7A.1, making it difficult to evaluate progress achieved over the past years. In addition, the report acknowledges that the effective implementation of these measures is closely dependent upon the security situation in the north of the country which still remains unstable.  The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the present political situation created by the overthrow of the current government by the Seleka rebellion on 24 March 2013, risks once again to prevent the implementation of the corrective measures and the preparation of an emergency action plan, necessary to safeguard the Outstanding Universal Value of the property (OUV).

a)      Restructuring of the Park management, for a simple and effective organization specifically dedicated to the property

The State Party report makes no mention of a restructuration of the Park management, while the 2011 report indicated a strategy for the north-eastern protected areas and a zoning of the property and its periphery. If, since 2010, the effective establishment of Village Hunting Zones (ZCV) and the Network of Local Associations for the Management of Cynegetic Village Zones (RALGEST-ZCV) may be noted (with support from the ECOFAC Programme), no corrective action is presented as regards the property. In addition, the report recalls that the ZCV now contain the essential biodiversity of the region necessary for any tentative to restore the value of the property.

b)         Strengthening of supervisory staff to ensure the main management missions (planning, surveillance, ecological monitoring, administration, logistics)

The report makes no mention of the strengthening of supervisory staff but notes that the human, material and financial resources for the management of the property remain very limited.

c)         Increase in number and training of operational staff, essentially concerned with surveillance during this transition period, with support at the outset from the armed forces

The report specifically emphasizes the lack of guards as well as insufficient means for land and aerial surveillance for such a vast territory.  However, it indicates that an anti-poaching campaign is envisaged in collaboration with the RALGEST-ZCV, the Centrafrican Armed Forces (FACA) and the service responsible for National Parks. Consultations are underway with the other stakeholders, including border countries. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that such a campaign is important but remains a one-off activity. They note that with the evolution of the recent political situation, it is unlikely that this campaign will be implemented in the near future.

The report further highlights that military equipment was provided to the teams for the conservation of the protected areas in the north eastern region, including those responsible for the property, but no clear indication is provided as to the nature of this equipment, whether it fulfils the needs or the implementation capacities of the personnel.

d)         Functional zoning of the Park with a priority intervention zone to conserve to the maximum the components conveying the Outstanding Universal Value of the Park (ecosystems and fauna)

The report provides no information on the new zoning that was mentioned in its earlier reports of 2011 and 2012.

e)         An action plan targeting the restoration of security and tranquility in this priority zone

The report makes no mention of an action plan of this type.

f)          A provisional budget adapted to these priorities, limited to the most necessary, to initiate at the outset of this phase a reflection on sustainable management

The report provides no information in this respect.

g)         A plan to counteract the crisis to be initiated in parallel, through consultation with the different protagonists, in particular from Chad and Sudan

The report notes that during a session of the Commission of Central African Forests (COMIFAC) that was held in June 2012, a statement by ministers responsible for the fauna of Cameroon, Central African Republic and Chad confirm the need of a common strategy to combat large-scale transborder poaching, improvement of coordination in interventions and the involvement of all the parties concerned for the establishment of an appropriate operational mechanism. Following this official statement, experts from the three countries met on 17 and 18 September 2012 to discuss this subject and prepare a cooperative agreement to submit to the ministers; this agreement has apparently been transmitted to them but has not yet been signed by the three countries.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that an urgent meeting of Ministers of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) was held from 21 to 23 March 2013 at the invitation of the Cameroon Government, and adopted a Plan of Extreme Emergency Anti-Poaching in the northern zone of Central Africa (PEXULAB). In the meeting statement, the ministers invited the Governments of Cameroon, Chad and the Central African Republic to sign the cooperation agreement of December 2012 as soon as possible.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also note that the request for international assistance to organize the workshop to prepare an emergency plan for the property was approved by the Committee Chairperson but unfortunately the organization of the workshop had to be postponed due to the current political crisis in the Central African Republic.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that the conclusions on the state of conservation of the property as contained in the earlier report, unfortunately remain current. The state of conservation of the Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park has not improved since the 2009 mission. It is unlikely that the erosion of the biodiversity has been contained and the new political crisis that is affecting the country again risks rendering the implementation of the corrective measures difficult.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall their conclusion already contained in the reports of 2011 and 2012 that, on the basis of the ECOFAC/MIKE aerial inventories of 2010, the property has lost its OUV, and that therefore it responds to criteria for the removal from the World Heritage List. However, there still remains a potential for regeneration based on the relict pockets of biodiversity and exchanges with neighbouring zones, but this potential is very fragile. Moreover, they note that without security in the region and an effective control of poaching, even the fauna in the neighbouring zones could quickly disappear.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the workshop destined to develop an emergency action plan once again had to be postponed due to the current political instability in the region. They recommend that the World Heritage Committee request the World Heritage Centre to organize this workshop before the 38th session in a neighbouring country if the situation does not allow it to be convened in the Central African Republic. They recommend that during this workshop the experts also discuss the feasibility of regenerating the OUV of the property under the current conditions.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the plague of poaching, notably elephants, affects the whole continent and especially Central Africa (see also the introduction of Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B). They warmly welcome the decision of the countries of the ECCAS to adopt a Plan of Extreme Emergency Anti-Poaching in the northern and Central African zone (PEXULAB) as well as the draft agreement for collaboration developed by Cameroon, Central African Republic and Chad and consider that it should be realized without delay with a tangible agreement and actions in the field. They encourage the involvement of Sudan and South Sudan in the process in order to render it efficient.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7A.1

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.1 adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Takes note with satisfaction of the adoption by the countries of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) of a Plan of Extreme Emergency Anti-Poaching in the northern zone of Central Africa as well as the agreement being validated between the Central African Republic, Chad and Cameroon to combat large-scale transfrontier poaching and launches an appeal to the States Parties concerned for this agreement to be signed without delay, so that effective actions may be established immediately and that Sudan and South Soudan be associated as soon as possible in this dynamic;
  4. Reiterates its utmost concern regarding the continued insecurity problems within the property due to the political situation in Central African Republic and the collateral repercussions of conflict in the neighbouring countries;
  5. Considers that the delay in the preparation of the emergency plan to safeguard the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, the prevalence of poaching and the impacts of transhumant livestock, increase the risks of the disappearance of all the flagship species of large mammals in the property, and thus possibly calling into question the OUV for which the property was inscribed;
  6. Notes , nevertheless, that there still remains a potential for regeneration of the populations of fauna from the relict pockets of biodiversity adjacent to the property, but recalls with concern that this potential remains very fragile, and could rapidly disappear if security in the region and an effective control of poaching are not guaranteed;
  7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to prepare an emergency action plan based on the corrective measures adopted by the Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009) and the guidelines contained in the conclusion of the present report;
  8. Regrets that the workshop to develop an emergency action plan was postponed due to political instability, and requests the World Heritage Centre to assist in the organization of this workshop before the 38th session in 2014, in a neighbouring country, if the situation in the Central African Republic remains unchanged;
  9. Also requests that this workshop considers the feasibility of the restoration of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property under the current conditions of security and draws necessary conclusions on the pertinence of this restoration action;
  10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2014, a detailed report on the results of the workshop and the preparation, financing and implementation of an emergency plan, for the safeguarding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;
  11. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
  12. Also decides to maintain Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Central African Republic) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-13/37.COM/7A, WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add and WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add.
  2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: