1.         Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d'Ivoire,Guinea) (N 155bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (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/155/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1981-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 435,222
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/155/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

November 1988: June-July 1992: UNESCO field visit; May 1993: joint UNESCO/UNDP/IUCN mission; 1994: 2nd expert mission; August-September 2000: expert mission with UNDP

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/155/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003

In late November 2002, armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire spread to the western part of the country, paralysing the whole region. Conservation International (CI) and Birdlife International, major partners concerned with the Mount Nimba ecosystem project in Côte d’Ivoire, were forced to withdraw from the area and suspend their work in the region. Moreover, in January 2003, the European Commission suspended its funding to Côte d‘Ivoire. As a result of regional instability, the tri-national cooperation process has been put on hold.


A proposal for a long-term management programme for the Guinean Biosphere Reserve, including the Guinean part of the World Heritage site, has been submitted to UNDP and GEF and will be considered by the GEF Council in May 2003. The programme consists of five different components harmonised in a landscape-level ecosystem-management approach. Component (I) will address the conservation of the three core areas, including the World Heritage Site whilst component (V) aims to strengthen the capacity of Centre de Gestion de l’Environment des Monts Nimba (CEGEN) and improve its cooperation with other partners in the Nimba region. Other components aim to promote agricultural intensification, improve animal husbandry and management of wildlife and improve health conditions in the buffer and transition zones of the Biosphere Reserve. The requested funding from GEF amounts to US$ 3.66 million. UNDP Guinea is currently finalizing co-funding for the different components. Co-funding for components (I) and (V) has been secured from the mining company and Fauna and Flora International (FFI); the United Nations Foundation and a number of bilateral donors have been contacted to provided additional funding for these components.


With the political turmoil in Côte d‘Ivoire and the worsening security situation in Liberia, at least 8000 refugees came to the Nimba Mountains, placing enormous pressure on its natural resources. FFI is concerned about the long delay that may be incurred in making the GEF project operational and its capacity to mitigate the current emergency situation. FFI is providing CEGEN with a sum of US$10,000 to liaise with humanitarian agencies working in the region to try to reduce impacts of refugees in the Reserves Core Areas, including the Dere Forest. In 2003, the World Heritage Fund has provided CEGEN with a grant of US$30,000 to maintain its activities and respond to urgent threats. CEGEN, the World Heritage Centre, FFI and other partners are rapidly trying to mobilise support to address the refugee crisis in the Reserve.

IUCN held a meeting with the BHP -Billeton Mining Company in Gland, on 11 October 2002 in order to discuss the company’s proposal to carry out explorations in the Mount Nimba area, which is rich in high quality iron-ore. IUCN was informed that even if the explorations find the operation to be economically viable, no material is likely to be shipped out of the region prior to next ten years. It is estimated that around 600 million tons of iron-ore is exploitable during a thirty-year time frame. It was noted that precise geographical maps of the site are missing and that the mining company is proposing to prepare these in order to clearly show the boundaries of the site.


IUCN recommended that BHP - Billeton ensure regular and timely flow of information between itself and other mining companies, the Centre and IUCN in order to be as transparent as possible in its activities and processes. IUCN believes that the Committee should encourage the Guinean State Party to request IUCN’s support in preparing baseline studies on the state of conservation of the site; and seek ongoing consultation with IUCN in the process so as to guarantee the protection of the natural values of the site. If BHP - Billeton carries out explorations and mining activities in the area, it should make every effort to make this an example of Best Practice and to work towards supporting sustainable development and responsible exploitation of resources. The company should also consider financing further conservation activities at the site.



The new information provided above has been proposed on a consensual basis between IUCN and the Centre.


Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN


Decision Adopted: 27 COM 7A.4

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Expresses concern that the political turmoil in Côte d'Ivoire has led to the suspension of operations of the Mount Nimba ecosystem conservation project in Côte d'Ivoire and has compelled some of the NGO partners to withdraw staff from the area;

2. Commends Fauna and Flora International on its commitment to continue co-operation with the Guinean State Party in addressing the refugee crisis and developing a long-term management project;

3. Commends the Centre de Gestion de l'Environnement des Monts Nimba (CEGEN) for its important role in promoting and managing international co-operation with relevant partners under the prevailing difficult circumstances to protect the natural values of the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve; 

4. Invites the Liberian Government, the Côte d'Ivoire and the Guinean authorities including CEGEN to co-operate with the World Heritage Centre, IUCN, NGO partners, UNDP, humanitarian agencies and others concerned to explore ways and means of minimizing impacts, particularly those caused by uncontrolled movement of refugees due to the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire and the worsening security conditions in Liberia;

5. Decides to retain Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and to examine its state of conservation at its 28th session in 2004.

Decision Adopted: 27 COM 8B.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following examination of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-03/27.COM/7A),;

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: