1.         Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) (N 573)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1991

Criteria  (vii)(ix)(x)

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

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

The region having recently suffered from military conflict and civil disturbance, the Government of Niger requested the Director-General of UNESCO to launch an appeal for the protection of the site

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

 

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/325

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/325  and https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4623 

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1999-2013)
Total amount approved: USD 172,322
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

May 2005: IUCN reactive monitoring mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a)  Political instability and civil strife;

b)  Poverty;

c)  Management constraints;

d)  Ostrich poaching;

e)  Soil erosion;

f)  Demographic pressure;

g)  Livestock pressure;

h)  Pressure on forestry resources.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

In February 2013, the State Party submitted a summary report on the state of conservation of the property. The report provides an update on progress made since 2012 in the implementation of corrective measures and first results of the preliminary inventory of January 2013.

a)   Implementation of corrective measures

As was the case in the reports of 2010, 2011 and 2012, the 2013 report provides little new information on the implementation of corrective measures.

The State Party reports however that the efforts being made for land restoration, and the combat against wood collecting and poaching for commercial purposes have begun to bear fruit thanks especially to a return of stability in the region. This has made possible the return of forest officers in the Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (ATNR) and its periphery, the conduct of activities within the property in the context of the Co-Management of Resources in the Air and Ténéré Nature Reserve project (COGERAT), and awareness raising by eco-guards who contribute to better governance of the site.

The State Party stresses that the current difficulties are mainly related to the lack of mobilization of additional financial resources for the completion of corrective actions, and that the support of the international community is essential for the implementation of certain measures.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that despite some positive aspects, the restoration of the property still involves some important conservation issues, of which poaching, illegal wood cutting and the presence of mining-industry-related activities in and around the property. In addition, IUCN notes that there are signs of armed conflict in the property such as the presence of land mines, and that an extensive mine clearance programme should be undertaken for the site to regain its integrity.

b)   Inventories of fauna and flora resources

The State Party reports that a simplified preliminary inventory of fauna and flora resources was conducted in January 2013. The inventory mission supported by the IUCN Species Survival Commission confirmed the existence of populations of some ungulate species such as Barbary sheep and Dorcas gazelle. Based on the results of the simplified preliminary inventory of faune and flora resources, the State Party considers that the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property is well in evidence, but that much remains to be done to maintain the integrity of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN warmly welcome this preliminary inventory mission, the first in a decade due to armed conflict and recurrent insecurity. The inventory mission, while indicating the existence of populations of some ungulate species such as Barbary sheep or Dorcas gazelle, did not however improve knowledge of the critically endangered species that make ATNR an exceptional site. In addition, the presence in the site of some flagship species such as the Saharan cheetah, addax and Dama gazelle has not been confirmed.

The results of the preliminary inventory mission highlighted the need to implement a detailed inventory of the property to identify priority conservation activities to be carried out and complete the information obtained during the preliminary inventory of January. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that a request for international assistance for this purpose was developed by the State Party, in close collaboration with the IUCN Species Survival Commission, and submitted to the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee for approval.

IUCN noted the importance of a detailed inventory providing information on the presence of carnivorous species given the problems related to the conflict between breeders and predators reported by several observers.

c)    Mining and oil exploitation

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also note that the State Party does not provide information on activities related to the mining and oil exploitation in and around the property which was requested by the Committee in its Decision 36 COM 7A.11.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that the conditions of insecurity during the last rebellion (2006-2009), as well as continuous insecurity, have hampered the implementation of corrective measures and paved the way for extensive poaching which has gradually and strongly eroded the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of this property of 7.7 million hectares.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN stress that the lack of specific information in the State Party’s report prevents a meaningful assessment of the implementation of corrective measures identified by the IUCN monitoring mission in 2005. They also note that the State Party reports that the current difficulties are mainly related to the lack of mobilization of additional financial resources for the completion of corrective measures, and that the support of the international community is essential for the implementation of certain measures. They recommend that the property be maintained on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the Committee welcome favourably the fact that a preliminary inventory mission was conducted in January 2013 with the support of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and note that a request for international assistance has been submitted to the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee for a more detailed inventory mission, as requested by the Committee on several occasions. They reiterate their recommendation that a reactive monitoring mission be organized as soon as the results of this inventory are available.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7A.12

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.10 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Regrets that the lack of precise information in the State Party’s report prevents a meaningful assessment of the implementation of corrective measures identified by the IUCN monitoring mission of 2005 in response to Committee decisions;

4.  Reiterates its deep concern about the serious deterioration of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property but notes with satisfaction the gradual return of security in the area;

5.  Welcomes the organization of a preliminary inventory mission to the property with the support of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, and notes that this mission identified the existence of populations of certain ungulate species, but that it did not improve the knowledge of critically endangered species, and that it was not able to confirm the presence of flagship species in the site such as the Saharan cheetah, Addax and Dama gazelle;

6.  Also notes that a request for international assistance has been submitted to the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee for a more detailed inventory mission, and reiterates its request to the State Party to invite a monitoring mission led by IUCN to the property as soon as the results of the inventory are available, in order to:

a)  assess its state of conservation and progress in the implementation of corrective measures,

b)  define the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger,

c)  update the corrective measures and set a timetable for their implementation;

7.  Also reiterates its request to the State Party to clarify information regarding the existence of an oil concession in the property and recalls that mining and oil exploration is incompatible with World Heritage status;

8.  Urges the State Party to continue and strengthen its efforts to fully implement all corrective measures, and in particular the anti-poaching measures, as well as the other recommendations made by the 2005 monitoring mission;

9.  Also takes note of the of the State Party’s report, in particular the fact that the current difficulties are mainly related to the lack of mobilization of additional financial resources for the completion of corrective measures , and reiterates its invitation to the International community to increase its support to the property;

10.  Requests the State Party to assess the presence of land mines within the property resulting from the last rebellion in Niger (2006-2009), and to envisage demining operations as appropriate;

11.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and in particular the implementation of corrective measures and other recommendations of the World Heritage Committee, notably the complete study of endangered species within the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

12.  Decides to retain the Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) 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: