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Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve

Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea
Factors affecting the property in 1999*
  • Financial resources
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Mining
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of Management Plan;
  • Lack of funding;
  • Poaching;
  • New railway;
  • Mining;
  • Proposed reduction of the protected area;
  • Refugees from Liberia
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1999
Requests approved: 14 (from 1981-1997)
Total amount approved : 345,222 USD
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Summary of previous deliberations: At its last session (Kyoto, 1998), the Committee had observed that despite a 2-3 year effort, the establishment of a foundation or a trust fund for the conservation of Mt. Nimba appears increasingly unlikely in the near future. The Committee learned that the Permanent Executive Secretary of the MAB National Committee for Guinea had informed the Centre that the Nimba Mining Company (NIMCO) has been dissolved by the Government and no other enterprise has been created to replace it. Agreeing with IUCN’s observation that information on the state of conservation of this site needs to be updated, the Committee accepted IUCN’s offer to request its Regional Office for West Africa in Burkina Faso to undertake a mission, at the invitation of the States Parties concerned, in order to prepare a state of conservation report for submission to the twenty-third session of the Committee.

New information: IUCN has expressed its satisfaction with regard to the withdrawal of the iron-ore mining proposal and has suggested that a site-visit, particularly to review the refugee situation would be beneficial. The two States Parties involved have not yet invited a site visit to Mt. Nimba. The Centre is co-operating with the Permanent Delegations of the two States Parties in order to expedite the relevant Government authorities in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire to invite a mission to the site by a team representing UNESCO and IUCN’s Regional Office for West Africa.

Action Required

The Bureau may wish to request the Centre and IUCN to continue their efforts to co-operate with the States Parties to field a site visit and provide a detailed report on the state of conservation of Mt. Nimba to the twenty-third session of the Committee.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Summary of previous deliberations:

Twenty-second session of the Committee – paragraph number VII.7 Twenty-third session of the Bureau – paragraph number IV.6.

New information: The Director General of the Centre for Environmental Management of Mount Nimba (CEGEN), via his letter of 21 September 1999, has responded to the observations and recommendations of the twenty-second session of the Committee (Kyoto, Japan, 1998). He has noted that the Government of Guinea created the CEGEN in 1995 and through CEGEN continues to explore the feasibility for exploiting the mine in Mt. Nimba in a manner that would respect the integrity of the World Heritage site. The Government of Guinea, through the CEGEN, has over the last few months entered into negotiations with UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The subject of the negotiations is the financing of a project for the protection of Mount Nimba and for the integrated development of its surrounding areas. The project is being conceived within the framework of a sustainable development programme that would integrate the mining project as the motor for enhancing the economic growth of the whole region. The study phase of the project is due to commence in October and the project is financially supported by the French part of the GEF and USAID. The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has also, via its letter of 20 September 1999, pointed out to the Centre that the dissolution of the Mining Company of Mt. Nimba (i.e. NIMCO), mentioned in the report of the last session of the Committee (Kyoto, Japan, 1998) is incorrect. According to the letter of the Ministry, NIMCO was never dissolved.

The CEGEN confirms that over the last fifteen months the Ministry of Mines, Geology and the Environment has been trying to re-launch the project to exploit the mineral resources of Mt. Nimba. The Ministry is continuing negotiations with industry partners with a view to concluding an agreement before the end of this year (1999). Furthermore, the Director General of CEGEN notes that CEGEN has been associated with the elaboration of an environmental agreement with potential investors of the mining project. The attachment to the letter from the CEGEN includes several articles of the agreement that is being elaborated. The agreement calls upon the two parties (i.e. the Guinean Government and the investors) to recognise that the mining area is adjacent to the core zone of the Mt. Nimba Biosphere Reserve which is inscribed on the World Heritage List. The two parties shall take all measures to protect the environment and, in particular, the World Heritage area, and re-affirm their commitment to follow the eighteen recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee in 1993. Furthermore, the two parties will invite the involvement of all international (i.e. World Heritage Centre, UNDP, UNEP and IUCN) and non­governmental organisations that participated in discussions that led to the revision of the boundaries of the World Heritage site to take part in the elaboration of the agreement. CEGEN has pointed out that it is obligatory that the agreement be signed before the feasibility study for the mining project is finalised. The Director General of the CEGEN believes that the implementation of the mining project would help set up an International Foundation for Mt. Nimba. A copy of the letter from CEGEN, including the three-page attachment has been transmitted to IUCN for review and comment.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1999
23 BUR IV.A.6
Mount Nimba Nature Reserve (Guinea/Côte d’Ivoire)

The Bureau recalled that the Committee, at its last session (Kyoto, 1998), had observed that despite a 2-3 year effort, the establishment of a foundation or a trust fund for the conservation of Mt. Nimba appeared increasingly unlikely to succeed in the near future. The Committee had noted that the Permanent Executive Secretary of the MAB National Committee for Guinea had informed the Centre that the Nimba Mining Company (NIMCO) had been dissolved by the Government and no other enterprise had been created to replace it. Agreeing with IUCN’s observation that information on the state of conservation of this site needs to be updated, the Committee accepted IUCN’s offer to arrange for its Regional Office for West Africa in Burkina Faso to undertake a mission, if invited by the States Parties concerned, in order to prepare a state of conservation report for submission to the twenty-third session of the Committee.

The Bureau requested the Centre to contact the relevant authorities in the two States Parties and encourage them to extend an invitation to IUCN's Regional Office for West Africa to field a site visit and provide a detailed report on the state of conservation of Mt. Nimba to the twenty-third session of the Committee. The Bureau recommended that the Committee retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger.

23 COM X.A.7
SOC: Mount Nimba Nature Reserve (Guinea/Cote d'Ivoire)

X.7 Mount Nimba Nature Reserve (Guinea/Cote d'Ivoire)

The Director-General of the Centre for Environmental Management of Mount Nimba (CEGEN), via his letter of 21 September 1999, has informed the Centre that the Government of Guinea created the CEGEN in 1995. It continues to explore the feasibility for exploiting the mine immediately adjacent to Mt. Nimba in a manner that would respect the integrity of the World Heritage site. The Government of Guinea, through CEGEN, has over the last few months entered into negotiations with UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to finance a project to protect of Mount Nimba and for the integrated development of its surrounding areas. The project is being conceived within the framework of a sustainable development programme that would integrate the mining project as the motor for enhancing the economic growth of the whole region. The study phase of the project was due to commence in October and the project is financially supported by the French part of the GEF and USAID. The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has also, via its letter of 20 September 1999, pointed out to the Centre that the dissolution of the Mining Company of Mt. Nimba (i.e. NIMCO), mentioned in the report of the last session of the Committee (Kyoto, Japan, 1998) is incorrect. According to the letter of the Ministry, NIMCO was never dissolved.

CEGEN has confirmed that over the last fifteen months the Ministry of Mines, Geology and the Environment has been trying to re-launch the project to exploit the iron-ore mine near Mt. Nimba. The Ministry is continuing negotiations with industry partners with a view to concluding an agreement before the end of 1999. Furthermore, the Director General of CEGEN has noted that CEGEN has been associated with the elaboration of an environmental agreement with potential investors of the mining project. The attachment to the letter from the CEGEN includes several articles of the agreement that is being elaborated. The agreement calls upon the two parties (i.e. the Guinean Government and the investors) to recognise that the mining area is adjacent to the core zone of the Mt. Nimba Biosphere Reserve which is inscribed on the World Heritage List. The two parties shall take all measures to protect the environment and, in particular, the World Heritage area, and re-affirm their commitment to follow the eighteen recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee in 1993. Furthermore, the two parties will invite the involvement of all international (i.e. World Heritage Centre, UNDP, UNEP and IUCN) and nongovernmental organisations that participated in discussions that led to the revision of the boundaries of the World Heritage site in the elaboration of the agreement. CEGEN has pointed out that it is obligatory that the agreement be signed before the feasibility study for the mining project is finalised. The Director General of the CEGEN believes that the implementation of the mining project would help set up an International Foundation for Mt. Nimba.

The Committee decided to retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee took note of the fact that, contrary to the reports submitted at its last session in 1998, the National Mining Company has not been dissolved and that the Ministry of Mines, Geology and the Environment is still undertaking negotiations with potential investors for beginning mining operations. However, the Committee recognised the efforts of CEGEN to establish an environmental agreement which investors interested in exploiting the mine would be required to sign before finalising the feasibility study of the mining project. It also welcomed CEGEN's intention to invite UNESCO, IUCN and other international agencies to participate in the elaboration of the agreement. Nevertheless, the Committee reiterated its recommendation made at its last session, that Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire invite the IUCN Regional Office for West Africa in Burkina Faso to undertake a site visit and prepare a detailed state of conservation report. This should include the future of the mining project and implications for the conservation of the site, and be submitted to the Committee at its twentyfourth session in the year 2000.

The Committee may wish to retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee may, based on IUCN comments on the letter and attachment from the CEGEN to be submitted at the time of its twenty-third session, make additional observations and recommendations for the consideration of the States Parties.

Report year: 1999
Côte d'Ivoire Guinea
Date of Inscription: 1981
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1992-present
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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