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Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve

Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea
Factors affecting the property in 2011*
  • Financial resources
  • Human resources
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Mining
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Mining

b) Influx of refugees

c) Agricultural encroachment

d) Deforestation

e) Poaching

f) Weak management capacity

g) Lack of resources

h) Lack of trans-boundary cooperation

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Iron-ore mining concession inside the property in Guinea;
  • Arrival of large numbers of refugees from Liberia to areas in and around the Reserve;
  • Insufficient institutional structure.
Corrective Measures for the property

See decisions 31 COM 7A.3 (Christchurch, 2007) https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1266/,

and 32 COM 7A.3 (Quebec City, 2008), https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1266/ 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2011
Requests approved: 19 (from 1981-2010)
Total amount approved : 465,222 USD
2010 Atelier international bipartite sur la gestion durable ... (Approved)   30,000 USD
2002 Mount Nimba Biodiversity Conservation project (Approved)   30,000 USD
2001 Training workshop for awarenes raising on the Mount ... (Approved)   10,000 USD
2001 Réunion tripartite Guinée-Côte d'Ivoire-Libéria sur les ... (Approved)   20,000 USD
2000 Evaluation mission to mount Nimba World Heritage site ... (Approved)   30,000 USD
1997 Purchase of hydrological and meteorological equipment ... (Approved)   19,840 USD
1995 Establishment of an administrative centre for Mount ... (Approved)   18,000 USD
1993 Equipment and experts service for Mount Nimba (Approved)   45,000 USD
1993 Financial contribution for consultancies and other ... (Approved)   30,000 USD
1993 Consultancies and other services necessary for setting ... (Approved)   30,000 USD
1992 Organization of an interdisciplinary mission to ... (Approved)   35,000 USD
1992 Organization of a technical meeting for authorities of ... (Approved)   19,500 USD
1989 Purchase of an all terrain vehicle for Mount Nimba (Approved)   20,000 USD
1988 Consultancy mission and meeting for preparing ... (Approved)   15,000 USD
1986 Equipment for Mount Nimba Reserve (Approved)   6,500 USD
1983 Financial contribution to a seminar/workshop on the ... (Approved)   22,000 USD
1983 Consultant services to prepare requests for technical ... (Approved)   6,082 USD
1982 Financial contribution to a tripartite meeting (Guinea, ... (Approved)   8,000 USD
1981 Equipment for Mount Nimba (Approved)   70,300 USD
Missions to the property until 2011**

October/November 1988: World Heritage Centre mission; May 1993: World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission; 1994: IUCN mission; 2000: World Heritage Centre mission; 2007: World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission to Guinea; June 2008: World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission to Côte d’Ivoire. 

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 29 January and 2 February 2011, reports on the state of conservation of the property were submitted by the States Parties of Guinea and the Côte d’Ivoire. These reports indicate progress made in implementing the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st and 32nd sessions (Christchurch 2007, Quebec 2008).

For the part of the property situated in Guinea:

The State Party refers to the promulgation of the decree establishing the boundaries of the Biosphere Reserve of Mount Nimba and its zones of influence. The decree focuses on the legal status of the property, the delineation of its boundaries (boundaries of the Reserve, the buffer zone, the mining concession and the Biosphere Reserve), the requirement of environmental and sociological impact studies for any project to be implemented near the property, the regulatory role of the Centre for Environmental Management of the Nimba and Simandou (CEGENS), and the management objectives for the property.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the new decree updates the protection status of the property as well as that of the other areas of the Biosphere Reserve and the mining concession. They recall that this decree was a key recommendation of the 2007 mission, as requested by the Committee in its Decision 31 COM 7A.3. They recommend that the State Party resubmit a new map of the property, with geo-referenced files if possible, to update the documentation on the property. The report unfortunately does not provide information on progress made on the demarcation of the other parts outside the boundary of the mining concession.

a) Strengthen the capacities of the management authority (Centre de Gestion de l'Environnement du Nimba et du Simandou – CEGENS) in the field, in particular by providing the necessary financial and technical resources to accomplish its mission

The State Party refers to the entry into force of an Order (2010-4642) for the revision of the legal status of the CEGENS. This enables the reinforcement of its management capacity through the establishment of a board of administration, a general directorate, and an accounting agency. Rules of procedure were also developed, and site facilities are being constructed for CEGENS personnel at Gbakoré.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome this institutional strengthening of the CEGENS, but note that it is important that it becomes an authority with the necessary human and financial resources to fully implement the corrective measures adopted by the Committee.

b) Strengthen the surveillance of the property in cooperation with the local communities, in particular by recruiting the necessary eco-guards and by strengthening the capacities of the newly created Village Surveillance Committees (VSC)

The report recalls that an anti-poaching system is now operational, in collaboration with the eco-guards and the VSC, backed up by daily patrols. The report also mentions the effect of this activity on the reappearance of large wildlife in the property. However, no detailed data was provided by the State Party. The process of integrating the 32 eco-guards with a paramilitary status into the public service is underway, but their wages are still provided by the Programme for the Conservation of the Biological Diversity of Mount Nimba (PCBNM).

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN reiterate that the number of eco-guards is still very low in comparison with the size of the area, and the ability of CEGENS to alleviate the many threats to the Nimba Mountains also remains insufficient.

c) Define a buffer zone for the property, in consultation with the local stakeholders concerned, with an appropriate legal status, and strengthen the conservation of the property through sustainable management of the natural resources within this buffer zone

The new decree establishes a buffer zone of 35,140 ha, corresponding to the buffer zone of the Biosphere Reserve, with a status of Managed Natural Reserve. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the 2007 mission had proposed a functional and narrower buffer zone for the World Heritage property. Nevertheless, clarifying the legal status of the buffer zone is an important step forward.

d) Put in place an ecological monitoring system and a geo-referenced database for all scientific data collected on the property

The State Party recalls that the NGO Fauna & Flora International (FFI) was engaged to set up an ecological monitoring system. The ecological monitoring programme provides for: (i) the establishment of an ecological monitoring baseline – Landscape component, geospatial and biological data; (ii) the establishment of an ecological monitoring baseline – Flora and fauna components, and (iii) mapping training for CEGENS staff.

IUCN notes that the FFI carried out 30 days of ecological monitoring in the Guinea portion of the property between May and July 2010. In total, 216 cases of evidence of illegal incursions were observed on 52 geo-referenced trails with various indications of hunting activity. The presence of collar traps, 12-calibre cartridge shells, poachers’ camp sites, and the detonations of shotguns during the surveys indicate that poaching remains a major problem in the property.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the system of ecological monitoring described is not yet operational, and encourages the State Party to quickly implement this monitoring system in collaboration with FFI and UNDP. They note with concern the results of ecological monitoring which show an extremely low density of wildlife.

 

e) Conduct a feasibility study to define a sustainable finance mechanism for the property

The report mentions that a request for International Assistance has been prepared by the State Party to obtain support from the World Heritage Fund for the establishment of an International Foundation for Mount Nimba, as a sustainable financing mechanism. However, at the time of writing this report, this application had not yet been received by the World Heritage Centre.

 

f) Develop a strategy for the conservation of the Déré Forest and Bossou Hills

In March 2010, the State Party undertook the removal of illegal occupants from the Déré Forest, including Ivorian armed groups who claim ancestry to it. Following this decision, a dialogue was initiated with the Ivorian Government to define the border limits between the Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea in this area. Awareness-raising with the local populations of both countries regarding the conservation of the property has been carried out, and a statement entitled ”The Abidjan Declaration on Sustainable Management of Trans-boundary Forests of Mount Nimba, Déré and Tiapleu”, was signed in July 2010. The Declaration reaffirms the commitment of the States Parties of Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire to: (i) identify funding to restore the Forests of Déré and Tiapleu; (ii) establish a joint system of monitoring and management coordination; (iii) strengthen cooperation with Liberia through exchanges and dialogue, and (iv) seek funding for conservation and sustainable development. On 31 January 2011, the State Party also submitted to the World Heritage Centre a request for International Assistance to reforest the savannah that extends between the property and the second core area of Bossou, in order to restore the migratory flow between the community of Bossou chimpanzees and those of the Nimba Mountains, and thus respond to the recommendation of the 2007 mission. This request shall be processed at the next meeting of the International Assistance review panel.

 

g) Prepare a management plan for the property and the Biosphere Reserve

No information is given in the report on the status of a management plan. Nevertheless, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the report contains a logical framework for a project to implement conservation measures within the site. This management project for the Nimba Mountains covers the 2011-2015 period and foresees a budget of USD 2,191,000. The status of this project is not clarified in the report, but presumably it is the second phase of the project funded by the World Environment Fund (WEF).

 

For the part of the property situated in Côte d’Ivoire

The State Party reports that the slow process of ending the crisis upsets the timetables for the implementation of corrective measures, but once the elections are over the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves (OIPR) will be able to implement the Ivorian Government’s strategy for the conservation of protected areas, as envisaged by the Framework Programme for Protected Areas Management (PCGAP). The report also notes that the budget allocated for the conservation of the property has been greatly reduced since the outbreak of the political crisis that had caused the withdrawal of development partners.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that at the time of writing this report, the Côte d’Ivoire continues to experience a difficult post-election crisis. It is therefore likely that the information contained in the report of the State Party is no longer up-to-date.

 

h) Re-establish the presence of the protected area authority (Office Ivoirien des Parcs

et Réserves - OIPR) within the property and resume management activities, establish cooperation mechanisms and strengthen communication with the local communities

The report of the State Party recalls that the staff is currently based in Ruékué, far from the site, and that the access to the Reserve is limited due to insufficient material and logistical resources, and the slow pace of disarmament. The report notes that meetings between the Directorate of the OIPR of the West Zone, the Prefect of the Department of Danané, the local authorities of the new forces and the local residents are held regularly and a Local Management Committee of the Reserve has been set up. According to the latest information received at the time of preparing this report, the Duékué base of the OIPR appears to have been damaged during the events following the elections.

 

i) Conduct a wildlife survey of key fauna and flora species to clarify the status of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and establish a comprehensive monitoring programme to monitor and control threats in particular from poaching

The State Party reports that from 7 to 20 April 2010, the OIPR partners in collaboration with the Directorate of the OIPR West Zone, carried out an inventory of some species of wildlife in the Reserve. The inventory that was requested by the Iron Ore Mining Company of Guinea (SMFG) was conducted by the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF). The results show that there remain a large number of chimpanzees in the Ivoirian part of the property. Notably, 120 nests have been located, and the inventory estimates an average of 121 chimpanzees for a density of 2.7 individuals per km². However, the inventory report notes that the analyses contain a high degree of uncertainty due to the low number of transects. The inventory identified a limited presence of other primates and ungulates, as well as strong pressure from hunting activities. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the results of the chimpanzee inventory are encouraging, but the limited presence of other species and the strong hunting pressure is comparable to the current situation observed in the Guinean part of the property. The State Party notes that a funding request for an inventory was sent to the World Heritage Centre in late 2009, to conduct inventories on key species of fauna and to establish an ecological monitoring programme in cooperation with Guinea and Liberia, once the socio-political situation improves. However, the World Heritage Centre notes that this request was submitted without signature.

 

j) Define a buffer zone, in consultation with the local stakeholders concerned, with the appropriate legal status to strengthen the conservation of the property through sustainable management of the natural resources within this buffer zone

No progress was reported on this issue.

 

k) Develop a management plan in close cooperation with all stakeholders, in particular the local community, and harmonise this plan with the plan being developed in Guinea

A request for International Assistance in organising an international bipartisan workshop on the sustainable management of the massifs of the trans-border areas of the Nimba was submitted in 2009 and approved in 2010 for USD 30,000. However, due to the post-election situation in the country, it has not yet been possible to finalise the contract between UNESCO and the OIPR. The State Party also expressed its willingness to continue, in cooperation with Guinea and Liberia, the validation of the management plan, once the socio-political situation improves. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN encourage the State Party to consider using the tool “Enhancing our Heritage” in the development and monitoring of the management plan for Mount Nimba.

 

l) Define a sustainable finance mechanism for the entire property together with the State Party of Guinea

The State Party notes that in the framework of the management reform for the protected areas, the Côte d’Ivoire has established a Foundation for Parks and Reserves of the Côte d’Ivoire, which aims to facilitate long-term financing for the conservation of the national parks and natural reserves.

 

m) Mining prospection

The reports of both States Parties evoke mining threats affecting the property on both sides of the border.

For Guinea: With regard to the mining project conducted in the concession by the Iron Ore Mining Company of Guinea (SMFG), the implementation of the Environmental and Sociological Impact Assessment (ESIA) has been delayed because of the presidential elections. At the request of SMFG, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN have submitted detailed comments on the draft terms of reference for the ESIA, and indicated that the project could not continue should the ESIA conclude that the negative impacts could not be mitigated. The World Heritage Centre has not yet received the final version of these terms of reference.

For Côte d’Ivoire: The State Party recalls the Tata Steel Company’s waiver of the mining prospection project in the property, following discussion between IUCN, the World Heritage Centre and the Director of the Global Minerals Group of Tata Steel. This waiver was recently confirmed in an exchange of letters between IUCN and the Directorate of the Tata Steel Company. The report of the State Party notes that no other mining concession has been granted in the Ivorian part of the property.

For Liberia: The World Heritage Centre and IUCN indicate that they have received information about a potential mining project of Arcelor Mittal in Liberia, situated 20 km from the property. They request the State Party of Liberia to submit the ESIA for this project to the World Heritage Centre, and consider that pollution from mining on the Liberian side could cause the release of silt into the water courses towards the Côte d’Ivoire, with negative effects to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2011

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note the significant progress made by the State Party of Guinea in clarifying the legal status of the property. Nevertheless, the threats that caused the property to be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger remain present. They note that after years of political instability in Guinea, elections were held successfully in July 2010, which gives hope that the State Party may strengthen its efforts to implement corrective measures. However, the socio-political crisis of the post-election Côte d’Ivoire could seriously jeopardize the progress made by the State Party in setting up a management body and beginning procedures for the elaboration of a joint management plan. For these reasons, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve should be maintained on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Finally, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome the signing of the Abidjan Declaration which aims to strengthen tri-national cooperation and establish a joint system of monitoring and management coordination between the Guinean and Ivorian States Parties. They recommend that the Committee reiterate its request to both States Parties to work together to develop and implement a common strategy for management and joint surveillance of Mount Nimba by organising a meeting of the Tri-national Commission.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2011
35 COM 7A.3
Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d’Ivoire/Guinea) (N 155 bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7A.3, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Welcomes the signing of the Abidjan Declaration, July 2010, which aims to establish a joint system of monitoring and management coordination between the Guinean and Ivorian States Parties and strengthen tri-national cooperation, and reiterates its request to the States Parties to consult at the earliest to develop and implement a common strategy for the management and joint surveillance of Mount Nimba, by organising a meeting of the Tri-national Commission;

4. Notes with satisfaction the clarification of the legal status of the part of the property situated in Guinea, and confirmation by Côte d'Ivoire that no mining concession has been granted in the Ivorian part of the property;

5. Expresses its deep concern about the possible consequences of the current political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire on the worsening security in the Ivorian part of the property, which would prevent regular access by the management authority and severely compromise the progress made by the State Party in setting up a management body and beginning procedures for the elaboration of a joint management plan;

6. Notes with concern the insufficient progress in implementing the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st (Christchurch, 2007) and 32nd (Quebec City, 2008) sessions, and urges both States Parties to intensify their efforts to pursue the implementation of corrective measures and other recommendations of the World Heritage Committee;

7. Requests the State Party of Guinea to encourage periodical monitoring of the effectiveness of the management of the property, using the tool "Enhancing Our Heritage", to better implement the current priorities for the management of the property;

8. Further requests both States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1February2012, a detailed report on the state of conservation and the progress made in implementing the corrective measures and other recommendations of the 2007 and 2008 missions, and in eliminating threats linked to mining prospecting, for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012;

9. Decides to retain the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

35 COM 8C.2
Establishment of the World Heritage List in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-11/35.COM/7A, WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add and WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add.Corr),

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

  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 35 COM 7A.24)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 35 COM 7A.25)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 35 COM 7A.15)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 35 COM 7A.32)
  • Colombia, Los Katios National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.16)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 35 COM 7A.3)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.4)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.5)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 35 COM 7A.8)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 35 COM 7A.19)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.9)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 35 COM 7A.29)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 35 COM 7A.30)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 35 COM 7A.20)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 35 COM  7A.21)
  • Islamic Republic of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Decision 35 COM 7A.26)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 35 COM 7A.22)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 35 COM 7A.10)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 35 COM 7A.11)
  • Pakistan, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Decision 35 COM 7A.27)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 35 COM 7A.33)
  • Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Decision 35 COM 7A.28)
  • Senegal, Niokolo Koba National Park (Decision 35 COM  7A.12)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 35 COM 7A.31)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 35 COM 7A.18)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 35 COM 7A.17)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.14)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 35 COM 7A.34)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 35 COM 7A.23)
Draft Decision: 35 COM 7A.3

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7A.3, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Welcomes the signing of the Abidjan Declaration, July 2010, which aims to establish a joint system of monitoring and management coordination between the Guinean and Ivorian States Parties and strengthen tri-national cooperation, and reiterates its request to the States Parties to consult at the earliest to develop and implement a common strategy for the management and joint surveillance of Mount Nimba, by organising a meeting of the Tri-national Commission;

4. Notes with satisfaction the clarification of the legal status of the part of the property situated in Guinea, and confirmation by Côte d’Ivoire that no mining concession has been granted in the Ivorian part of the property;

5. Expresses its deep concern about the possible consequences of the current political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire on the worsening insecurity in the Ivorian part of the property, which would prevent regular access by the management authority and severely compromise the progress made by the State Party in setting up a management body and beginning procedures for the elaboration of a joint management plan;

6. Notes with concern the insufficient progress in implementing the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st (Christchurch, 2007) and 32nd (Quebec City, 2008) sessions, and urges both States Parties to intensify their efforts to pursue the implementation of corrective measures and other recommendations of the World Heritage Committee;

7. Requests the State Party of Guinea to encourage periodical monitoring of the effectiveness of the management of the property, using the tool “Enhancing Our Heritage”, to better implement the current priorities for the management of the property;

8. Further requests both States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a detailed report on the state of conservation and the progress made in implementing corrective measures and other recommendations of the 2007 and 2008 missions, and in eliminating threats linked to mining prospecting, for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012;

9. Decides to retain the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 2011
Côte d'Ivoire Guinea
Date of Inscription: 1981
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1992-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 35COM (2011)
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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