Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon) (N 407)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1987
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/407/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 84,700
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/407/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount granted: USD 60,000, UNESCO FIT Netherlands. USD 193,275 and USD 118,725, respectively in 2008 and 2009, in the frame of the Central Africa World Heritage Forest Initiative (CAWHFI) in the south-west of Cameroon. USD 263 700 from Franz Weber Foundation for the sustainable conservation of the property.
Previous monitoring missions
March 1998: UNESCO monitoring mission; June 2006, December 2009 and February-March 2012: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring missions.
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Lack of entire approval and implementation of management plan;
- Agricultural and forest encroachment;
- Mining exploitation project close to the property;
- Industrial agriculture in the buffer zone;
- Threats exerted by commercial hunting and deforestation around the Park;
- Mekin hydroelectric dam.
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/407/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014
On 27 February 2014 the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property. A summary of this report is available at the Internet address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/407/?docuents/=& and highlights the following points:
- No activities were carried out in 2013 by the GEOVIC Company; however a number of mining exploration permits around and in close proximity to the property exist. Terms of reference for a Strategic Environmental and Social Study (SESS) of all the projects, mining and other, ongoing or foreseen around the property are being prepared;
- The environmental management plan for the dam project at Mekin foresees several actions for the safeguarding of the integrity of the site. Negotiations are in progress for the development of a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of awareness-raising, anti-poaching and ecological monitoring actions as regards the dam project. The Environmental Impact Evaluation (EIE) of the project recognizes that regional socio-economic development could lead to increased human pressure on the biodiversity;
- Sud Hevea and the Dja Conservation Service have signed an agreement relating to the implementation of awareness-raising, anti-poaching and ecological monitoring activities in the industrial plantation and the property itself;
- A significant effort in regards to patrols has been undertaken. Nevertheless, poaching has increased in comparison to 2013, mainly due to the lack of operational resources. Awareness raising activities concerning the combat against poaching were carried out and will be continued. The functioning budget of the Conservation Service has been increased by 11.25% in 2013 (from 49,700 US dollars to 56,829 US dollars) with good perspectives for 2014 and new equipment has been acquired.
- With support from partners, 30 ecoguards have been trained in the techniques of ecological monitoring data gathering, and seven officers in the management of databases. This system is currently in its test phase in the eastern part of the property. Furthermore, a database for ecological monitoring is now operational and awaiting its linkage in 2014 with SMART;
- The State Party provides a revised map of the boundaries of the property and its periphery zone. This is presumed to respond to the incoherence of the boundaries of the periphery zone in the development plan (between the descriptive texts and the map coordinates).
The World Heritage Centre project for the sustainable conservation of the property, funded by the Franz Weber Foundation, supports some of the above-mentioned activities.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
The reinforced efforts of the State Party through the increase in staff and the operational budget and investment in the Conservation Service of the property should be noted. Efforts in strengthening of anti-poaching activities and the establishment of an ecological monitoring system should also be noted. Nevertheless, due to insufficient resources it remains difficult for the administration to control the threats to the property. Despite these efforts, there has been an increase in poaching and the State Party needs to further support the Conservation Service of the property to countermand this tendency. The active support of the different partners in the sustainable conservation of the property is also appreciated.
As regards the mining projects developed within and around the property, the confirmation that no exploitation activity has been undertaken at the mining site by GEOVIC is an encouraging indication. However, it is not clear whether this situation is exclusively linked to economic constraints. The Environmental Impact Evaluation (EIE) mentioned in the report appears to be the same as that evaluated by the 2012 mission, not responding to international standards. It is therefore recommended that the Committee recall its request for a new Environmental and Social Impact Study (ESIS) in accordance with international standards, before any exploitation of the site, in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage advice note on Environmental Impact Assessments. The possibility of mining exploitation around the site remains a concern given that it could have negative impacts to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. The project to carry out a Strategic Environmental and Social Study (SESS) of all the ongoing or foreseen projects around the property is a necessity and this evaluation should be carried out rapidly to highlight the challenges linked to the maintenance of the OUV.
With regard to the construction of the Mekin Dam, although the social and environmental plan foresees several support actions for the neighbouring populations and the management of the site, appropriate measures to reduce the direct and indirect impacts of the dam under construction to the OUV of the property do not appear to have been identified or implemented. A similar situation applies to the industrial implantation of Sud Hevea Cameroun that, according to the report, supports the implementation of awareness raising, anti-poaching and ecological monitoring activities, but however presents no concrete measures to prevent, mitigate or compensate the negative impacts of this project to the OUV.
The revised map of the boundaries of the property indicate a reduction in the area in comparison to the original boundary of the Reserve as inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987 and which is the legal basis for the protection of the property. The State Party should confirm that the original boundaries of the property have not been modified, and take note that any such modification of the boundaries must be referred to the Committee, in conformity with paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines, and should avoid any negative impact to the OUV of the property and its protection.
The current consultation dynamic of the economic operators should rapidly result in the finalization of a Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of joint operational actions to mitigate the effects caused by their activities. The requests listed in the Committee Decision 36 COM 7B.1 have not been fulfilled and it is recommended that the Committee maintain the eventuality of an inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 39th session in 2015 if these conditions are not fulfilled before the end of 2014.
Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.86
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
- Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.1, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
- Takes note with satisfaction of the efforts of the State Party to increase staff and the operational budget and the investment in the Conservation Service of the property, and encourages the State Party to continue and further strengthen its support;
- Notes with concern that to date, the State Party has not yet fulfilled all the conditions set out by the Committee in its Decision 36 COM 7B.1, and in particular that no concrete measure appears to have been taken to reduce the direct and indirect impacts of the Mekin dam and the industrial plantation of Sud Hevea Cameroun to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
- Commends the commitment of the State Party in carrying out a Strategic Environmental and Social Study (SESS) of all the current and future projects around the property and requests the State Party to undertake this SESS without delay and to submit it to the World Heritage Centre in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
- Expresses its utmost concern regarding continued deforestation and increase in poaching and also requests the State Party and its partners to strengthen their support to the Conservation Service of the property to reverse this tendency;
- Urges the State Party to:
- prevent any start-up of mining work until an Environmental and Social Impact Study (ESIS) has been carried out, in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage advice note on Environmental Impact Assessments,
- define, in consultation with the Sud Hevea Cameroun Company, adequate measures to be undertaken to foresee, mitigate and compensate the negative effects of the agricultural exploitation project of Sud Hevea and other commercial species to the OUV of the property,
- implement adequate urgent measures to mitigate the direct and indirect impacts on the OUV of the property and submit them to the World Heritage Centre for examination by IUCN before the filling up of the Mekin dam reservoir;
- Encourages the State Party to ensure significant progress by the end of 2014 regarding all of the above-mentioned recommendations and to envisage an exhaustive assessment of this property for the Committee’s next session;
- Urges the State Party to clarify whether the boundaries of the Reserve as inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987 have been modified and recalls that any such modification to the boundaries must be referred to the Committee, in conformity with Paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines, and should avoid any negative impact on the OUV of the property and its protection;
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a detailed report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, and more particularly on progress accomplished in further reducing the threats to the OUV of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015, with a view to considering in the case if significant progress has not been accomplished concerning all the conditions enumerated in Decision 36 COM 7B.1, as well as the new requests above, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.