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Dja Faunal Reserve

Cameroon
Factors affecting the property in 1998*
  • Commercial hunting
  • Forestry /wood production
  • Illegal activities
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Commercial logging in adjoining natural forests
  • Poaching
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1998
Requests approved: 4 (from 1987-1997)
Total amount approved : 84,700 USD
Missions to the property until 1998**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1998

The Committee, at its last session (Naples, 1997) noted with concern that logging activities, carried out under commercial, as well as sustainable forestry schemes, are contributing to the growing biological isolation of the Reserve and are not welcome by the local people. An IUCN project is aiming to minimise the degree of the Reserve's isolation through the establishment of a buffer zone and a protected corridor linking Dja with adjacent forests. Moreover, logging roads facilitate access for hunters, and concessionaires have logged forests up to the boundary of the Reserve. Conservationists in Cameroon have called for a moratorium on logging in the area and on the opening up of new access roads.

The Bureau, at its twenty-first extraordinary session approved US$29,900 to organise an in-situ Regional Training Workshop at Dja and the Committee, at its last session, had urged the State Party to use the workshop as a forum for discussing, with representatives of donors financing forestry operations, IUCN and others concerned, ways and means to minimise the threat of biological isolation of Dja .

The training workshop was held from 23 to 26 March 1998 in Sangmelima, Cameroon, and was attended by sixty participants representing four countries of the region, several national and international development and conservation organisations including IUCN’s Dja Project staff, and UNESCO’s Division of Ecological Sciences and the Centre. The following are some important findings of the workshop:

  • Cameroon has adopted a national policy for natural resources conservation, which foresees the extension of its protected areas coverage from 9% to 30%;
  • a survey carried out by ECOFAC indicated that 80% of the local people of Dja  are in favour of  maintaining Dja as a World  Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve and are ready to collaborate in its protection;
  • more than six international development organisations are implementing projects in and around Dja in co-operation with various non-governmental organisations, including local ones;
  • case studies and project reports submitted during the workshop showed that even though there is some poaching going on in certain areas of the Reserve, the overall integrity of the site is still intact;
  • logging around the Reserve has not impacted the World Heritage site as yet;
  • the Ministry for the Environment is in the process of finalising the management plan with the assistance of IUCN and ECOFAC for the entire Reserve and surrounding areas which would eventually assist in the Reserve’s management;
  • a zoning plan will accompany the management plan for Dja taking into consideration the essential needs of the local population as well as biodiversity conservation;
  • the Minister for Environment and Forestry has underlined the determination of the Government of Cameroon to promote conservation of the Dja Reserve by classifying the Forest of Ngoila – Mintom, situated south of the Dja Reserve, as a protected forest;
  • scientific data and information are required on population and distribution status of fauna and flora in order to determine the seriousness of the threat of biological isolation of Dja; and
  • there is an urgent need to undertake a rapid biodiversity assessment to know the current status of faunal and floral populations in Dja and in surrounding areas so as to enable a scientific evaluation of the threat of the biological isolation of Dja.

IUCN has emphasised some additional findings of the workshop:

  • the need for ECOFAC and IUCN to reinforce their collaboration with local NGOs, local authorities and community leaders to develop a more participatory approach to conservation;
  • the need for improved framework for operational and structural co-ordination between organisations and the Government;
  • the need for revising legislation and regulations governing hunting in order to improve management of hunting; and
  • the need for the Ministry for Environment and Forestry to consult with the Ministry’s “Direction de la Faune et des Aires Proteges” in granting licences for forest exploitation.

The workshop participants were of the view that Dja did not warrant designation as a World Heritage site in Danger. IUCN however, remains concerned that commercial hunters are having far more impact than the workshop participants were aware and that quotas for wildlife trade established under the CITES Convention are often disregarded. Furthermore IUCN has pointed out that logging companies show little respect for regulations and are not subject to enforcement by Government officials. For example, the local IUCN Dja project concluded an agreement with a foreign logging company to prevent illegal hunting in Dja;  but the agreement has not been respected by the company under consideration. IUCN is also concerned with processes and consultations leading to the issue of forest exploitation licences and urges that no new licences be issued for exploitation of forests along the boundaries of the Dja Faunal Reserve.

Action Required

The Bureau recommends that the State Party takes urgent measures to act on the recommendations of the workshop and presents, to the next session of the Committee in December 1998, a statement of actions to be implemented.  The Bureau invites Cameroon to give priority consideration to implementing actions that would (a) strengthen law enforcement against illegal poaching and improve management of hunting and trade in wildlife products, and (b) halt the issue of new licences for exploitation of forests immediately adjacent to the boundaries of the World Heritage area. The Bureau requests the Centre, IUCN and the State Party to co-operate in designing and launching a rapid biodiversity assessment, so as to evaluate the impacts of on-going forestry operations on maintaining contiguity of habitats and gene pools in and around the Dja World Heritage site.


22nd extraordinary session of the Bureau in 1998:
The Bureau may recall that the Committee, at its twenty-first session (Naples, 1997), had expressed its concern that logging activities, carried out under commercial, as well as sustainable forestry schemes, are contributing to the growing biological isolation of the Reserve and are not welcome by local people.

At its twenty-second ordinary session (June 1998), the Bureau noted the findings and recommendations of the Regional Training Workshop, organized with the support of a US$ 29,900 grant from the World Heritage Fund. It suggested that Cameroon take urgent measures to act on the Workshop recommendations and present to the twenty-second session of the Committee, a statement of actions to be implemented, particularly in order to:
(a) strengthen law enforcement against poaching and improve management of hunting and trade in wildlife products; and
(b) halt the issue of new licences for forest exploitation in areas immediately adjacent to the boundaries of the World Heritage site.

The Bureau requested the Centre, IUCN and the State Party to co-operate in designing and launching a rapid bio-diversity assessment to evaluate the impacts of on-going forestry activities on the contiguity of habitats and gene pools in and around the Dja World Heritage site. The Centre is currently discussing possible financial support for such a study with UNDP, Cameroon, and bilateral donors, such as the Netherlands.

The Cameroon authorities, via a letter dated 11 September 1998 and attachment have transmitted information concerning follow up actions they have taken to implement the recommendations of the Workshop. The letter and attachment have been transmitted to IUCN for review.

Decision required: The Bureau, based on IUCN’s analysis of the information provided by the State Party to be made available at its twenty-second extraordinary session, may recommend measures for the conservation of Dja.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1998

The Committee, at its twenty-first session, had expressed its concern that logging activities, carried out under commercial, as well as sustainable forestry schemes, are contributing to the growing biological isolation of the Reserve and are not welcome by local people. At its twenty-second session, the Bureau noted the findings and recommendations of the Regional Training Workshop, organized with the support of a USD29.900 grant from the World Heritage Fund. It suggested that Cameroon take urgent measures to act on the Workshop recommendations and present to the twenty-second session of the Committee, a statement of actions to be implemented, particularly in order to:

(a) strengthen law enforcement against poaching and improve management of hunting and trade in wildlife products; and

(b) halt the issue of new for forest exploitation in areas immediately adjacent to the boundaries of the World Heritage site.

The Bureau requested the Centre, IUCN and the State Party to co-operate in designing and launching a rapid bio-diversity assessment to evaluate the impacts of on-going forestry activities on the contiguity of habitats and gene pools in and around the Dja World Heritage site. The Centre is currently discussing possible financial support for such a study with UNDP, Cameroon, and bilateral donors, such as the Netherlands.

The Bureau was informed that the Cameroon authorities have implemented some of the recommendations of the Sangmelima Workshop; e.g. establishment of an ministerial and a multidisciplinary working group, strengthening of infrastructure and the launching of a programme to build environmental awareness among local communities. However, the Bureau noted that further actions are needed for the implementation of all of the recommendations of the Sangmelima Workshop.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 1998

The Bureau invited the State Party to provide a report by 15 September 1999 concerning progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the Sangmelima Workshop. Based on the review of such a report, the Committee, at its twenty-third session, may consider calling for a Centre/IUCN mission in the year 2000, possibly in co-operation with other international partners.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1998
22 BUR V.B.22
Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon)

The Bureau recalled that the Committee, at its twenty-first session, noted with concern that logging activities, carried out under commercial, as well as sustainable forestry schemes, are contributing to the growing biological isolation of the Reserve and are not welcome by the local people. An IUCN project is aiming to minimise the degree of the Reserve's isolation through the establishment of a buffer zone and a protected corridor linking Dja with adjacent forests. Moreover, logging roads facilitate access for hunters, and concessionaires have logged forests up to the boundary of the Reserve.

The Bureau, at its twenty-first extraordinary session approved US$29,900 to organise an in-situ Regional Training Workshop at Dja and the Committee, at its last session, had urged the State Party to use the Workshop as a forum for discussing with representatives of donors financing forestry operations, IUCN and others concerned, ways and means to minimise the threat of biological isolation of Dja

The Bureau noted that the Regional Training Workshop at Dja financed from the World Heritage Fund was held from 23 to 26 March 1998 in Sangmelima, Cameroon. It was attended by sixty participants representing four countries of the region, several national and international development and conservation organisations including IUCN’s Dja Project staff, and UNESCO’s Division of Ecological Sciences and the World Heritage Centre. The Bureau took note of the findings of the Workshop, in particular that Cameroon has adopted a national policy for natural resources conservation; a survey carried out indicated that 80% of the local people of Dja are in favour of maintaining it as a World Heritage site and a Biosphere Reserve, and are ready to collaborate in its protection. More than six international development organisations are implementing projects in and around Dja in co-operation with various non-governmental organisations. It was noted that the overall integrity of the site is still intact, that logging around the Reserve has not impacted the World Heritage site as yet, and that the Ministry for the Environment is in the process of finalising the management plan with the assistance of IUCN and ECOFAC. A zoning plan will accompany the management plan for Dja and the Forest of Ngoila – Mintom, south of the Dja Reserve, will be designated as a protected forest. There is a need to undertake a rapid bio-diversity assessment to ascertain the current status of faunal and floral populations in Dja and in surrounding areas so as to enable a scientific evaluation of the threat of the biological isolation of Dja. In addition, the Workshop recommended the need to improve co-ordination between non-governmental organisations, ECOFAC, IUCN project staff and the Government and the need for revising legislation regulations governing hunting. It also recommended the need for the Ministry for Environment and Forestry to consult with the Ministry’s “Direction de la Faune et des Aires Protégés” in granting licences for forest exploitation.

The Bureau noted that the Workshop participants were of the view that Dja did not warrant designation as a World Heritage site in Danger. IUCN, however, remains concerned that commercial hunters and logging companies show little respect for regulations and are not subject to enforcement by Government officials.

The Bureau recommended that the State Party take urgent measures to act on the recommendations of the Workshop and present to the next session of the Committee in December 1998, a statement of actions to be implemented. The Bureau invited Cameroon to give priority consideration to implementing actions that would: (a) strengthen law enforcement against poaching and improve management of hunting and trade in wildlife products, and (b) halt the issue of new licences for forest exploitation immediately adjacent to the boundaries of the World Heritage area. The Bureau requested the Centre, IUCN and the State Party to co-operate in designing and launching a rapid bio-diversity assessment to evaluate the impacts of on-going forestry operations on maintaining contiguity of habitats and gene pools in and around the Dja World Heritage site.

22 COM VII.27
Reports on the State of Conservation of Natural Properties Noted by the Committee

VII.27 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-98/CONF.203/5) and included in Annex IV on the following properties:

  • Heard and McDonald Islands (Australia)
  • Shark Bay, Western Australia (Australia)
  • Wet Tropics of Queensland (Australia)
  • Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)
  • Iguacu National Park (Brazil)
  • Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon)
  • Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (Canada)
  • Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China)
  • Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China)
  • Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China)
  • Los Katios National Park (Colombia)
  • Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Dominica)
  • Nanda Devi National Park (India)
  • Whale Sanctuary of El Viscaino (Mexico)
  • Royal Chitwan National Park (Nepal)
  • Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal)
  • Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)
  • Huascaran National Park (Peru)

The Committee noted that the Bureau's decision reflected the suggestion to establish an informal contact group on mining and World Heritage and that the IUCN "Draft Policy on Mining and Protected Areas" will be circulated.

  • Kamchatka Volcanoes (Russian Federation)
  • Virgin Komi Forests (Russian Federation)
  • Skocjan Caves (Slovenia)
  • Thung Yai-Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries (Thailand)
  • St. Kilda (United Kingdom)
  • Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
  • Durmitor National Park (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)

The Committee noted the UN official name for the State Party: Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

  • Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)
Report year: 1998
Cameroon
Date of Inscription: 1987
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Exports

* : 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”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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