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

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

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1999-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 142,450
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

September-October 1998: World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission; March 2001: mission for a rapid evaluation of the fauna

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2002

IUCN and the Centre were informed in March 2002 that the vehicle and other equipment provided as part of Emergency Assistance had not been transferred to the site.  IUCN Niger reports that the vehicle purchased by UNESCO was transferred to the site, but was stolen on 13 or 14 March 2002 at Iferouane.  At present the security forces are searching for many other vehicles stolen in similar circumstances.

During a mission to Niger in March 2002 to assess the conservation status of Niger’s Sahelo-saharan wildlife, WWF International’s Species Programme spent several days in the Reserve and at Iferouane, and reported the following:  (a) in comparison with the situation of a few years ago, the on-the-ground capacity to manage the Reserve has deteriorated and is inadequate; (b) athough conditions are not ideal, there is genuine local commitment to seeing the reserve function correctly, and especially to see species such as the ostrich restored; (c) strong concern was voiced by the local authorities that the resources made available by UNESCO for the Reserve were still not available locally, and were based with the Reserve warden in Niamey, situated some 1300 kilometers away; and (d) WWF discussed with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries the need for a greater and more permanent presence of the Department within the Reserve.  It was informed that staff changes are planned, and a senior person is to be dispatched to Iferouane in the near future.

Several support programmes implemented by IUCN and other donors in the Reserves have been terminated or are pursuing new directions. For example, the support provided by the Swiss Government will be re-directed in 2003 to issues related to rural development and poverty alleviation with less emphasis on conservation and management of natural resources. IUCN-Niger is working with WWF to obtain more support for conservation activities from UNDP’s Programme for Biodiversity Conservation in the Sahara. WWF recommends support for the local NGO activities. The idea of an appropriately scaled ostrich reintroduction programme seems particularly attractive because there is a need, some animals are available and a desire on the part of the local population to see it happen.  Such a programme will create something tangible around which the bigger issues of reserve management, resourcing, control, etc. can be addressed. It will motivate and encourage support for these more difficult issues. WWF and associated organizations comprising the Sahelo-saharan wildlife interest group intend to provide the local NGOs with technical information on how best to maintain and raise the ostriches that are currently held in captivity.  The group is in the process of developing a major pilot project for one of the Sahelian nations, and it may be able to provide limited support of a technical nature to efforts in the Reserves.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN


Decision Adopted: 26 COM 21A.5

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Invites the State Party to submit a detailed report on the vehicle, purchased using the resources of the World Heritage Fund, which has been reported stolen, and as part of the same report address the staffing, infrastructure development, management and security issues impacting the integrity of the site; 

2. Calls for an up-to-date assessment on the state of implementation of the rehabilitation plan for the site approved by the Bureau in 1999 and a review of the sustainability of donor and government financing for the conservation of the Natural Reserves;

3. Urges the Centre and IUCN to work with the State Party on the preparation of such a report for submission to its 27th session in June/July 2003;

4. Decides to retain the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger.