Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1991
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger 1992-present
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Political instability and civil strife.
Corrective measures identified
See Decision 29 COM 7A.6 (https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/29COM)
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/documents/
Requests approved: 0
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 mission; May 2005: IUCN reactive monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
a) Political instability and civil strife;
c) Management constraints;
d) Ostrich poaching;
e) Soil erosion;
f) Demographic pressure;
g) Livestock pressure;
h) Pressure on forestry resources.
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011
On 1 February 2011, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property. The report highlights recent progress made towards the implementation of the five corrective measures adopted by the Committee at its 29th session (Durban, 2005), but adds little new information compared to that received in 2010. The report notes that the implementation of corrective measures has been hampered by the prevailing insecurity in the area between 2006 and 2009. Currently, this insecurity continues to restrict the movement of conservation agents. In this regard, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN received reports that armed groups which continue to plague the perimeter of the property, have left a large number of mines on the ground. Information has been received suggesting that apart from some major roads used by local communities and linking the main villages in and around the reserves, the rest of Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (ATNR) remain at considerable risk due to the presence of mines.
a) Re-establish physical presence of the management authority in Iférouane and provide adequate resources to allow better control of natural resource use within the property
As mentioned in previous reports, the team responsible for the conservation of the property partially reintegrated its base at Iferouane in 2008. The Co-management of Resources in the Air and Ténéré Nature Reserve project (COGERAT), in collaboration with the conservation team, enabled the creation of community surveillance units at Timia and Tabelot. The State Party notes that this activity increased in 2010, and that 6 new community surveillance brigades comprising 30 rangers have been created and trained. Nevertheless, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN received information indicating that the presence of the management authority is very limited on the property, mainly due to security concerns. Therefore, it is uncertain whether the establishment of ranger stations in the villages of Timia and Tabelot has had an impact on the management of the site.
b) Establish Land Commissions in the four Municipalities and clarify the respective land-use and resource access rights for local residents
The State Party recalls that three regional Land Commissions have been established, as well as two municipal Land Commissions, to sustain prevention and management of conflicts related to access and use of natural resources. In 2010, workshops for the official establishment of commissions for Timia and Iférouane and training for the members of these commissions were organized.
c) Significantly improve monitoring and surveillance of the property in order to address poaching and illegal natural resource extraction
The State Party recalls that the COGERAT project supported the establishment of a structure for inter-community management of natural resources of the Reserve called Intercommunal Association of Natural Resources Management (AIGRN). In September 2010, aState / Municipalities co-management agreement was signed in Niamey between the Minister of Water, Environment and Fight Against Desert Encroachment, and the Managing Directors of the four Municipalities (Gougaram, Iferouane, Tabelot and Timia) to elaborate a development and management plan for the property, as well as plans for communal management of natural resources, actions for sustainable land management, and their sustainable financing mechanism. However, the State Party’s report provides no information on the ability of surveillance and co-management units to address the problems of poaching and extraction of natural resources, and the impact of insecurity on their operability.
d) Immediately halt all commercial collection of timber and thatch from the property
The State Party notes that during 2010, meetings were held in collaboration with the Nigerien Coking Coal Society to promote the installation of equipment and the use of carbonised mineral coal. These meetings were used to conduct several activities in order to create interest among the population in the use of mineral coal. As was the case in 2010, the State Party’s report provides no information on current levels of timber and thatch collection in the property, or on the impact of these activities on the ecosystem.
e) Initiate soil and vegetation stabilization actions to control soil erosion, and measures to reduce destabilization of soils by motorized traffic
The report states that the COGERAT project continued actions to restore land and to stabilize the vegetation to control soil erosion and promote groundwater recharge and bank protection. These have been completed: 1716 filter strips in an area of 286 ha; the planting of 390 ha of local wood species; the planting of 11,000 forest plantations and the protection of 5000 seedlings for natural regeneration; 200 km of fire protection strips; and the installation of 2,000 ml of stone bunds. Although the increase in the land restored is significant, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that much remains to be done to achieve the COGERAT project objective, namely restoring 55,000 ha of degraded habitat in the perimeter of the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that action plans for sustainable management of the property and the restoration of degraded soils have not yet been submitted, as requested by the Committee in its Decision 33 COM 7A.10.
f) Petroleum and Mining Operations
IUCN has received information concerning uranium mining and petroleum prospecting in and around the property. According to this information a petroleum prospecting block covering much of the Ténéré is currently licensed with the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are requesting the State Party to provide information in order to clarify the status of this concession, and any other mining or petroleum prospecting activity that may affect the property. They recall that several years ago the Committee adopted a clear position on issues of mining and petroleum prospecting and exploration in the inscribed properties, deeming them incompatible with World Heritage status. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that no petroleum or mining prospecting or exploitation should be permitted within the property.
g) Wildlife population and assessment mission for the property
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN received information that pressure from poaching by the local population and defense and security forces in and around the Reserve remains significant. The poaching concerns essentially Dorcas gazelles and Nubian bustards, but also Dama gazelles that are captured to be sold in urban centres or in neighboring countries. IUCN has also received information that the oryx and red-necked ostriches have totally disappeared from the ATNR, although a breeding programme for the ostrich has been initiated by the State Party. It was also informed that the addax has temporarily disappeared (however there remains a population of addax not far from ATNR, in the desert of Erg Tin Toumma and the Erg of Bilma, which could one day return to the property), and that the Dama gazelle and cheetah are either extinct or near extinction in the ATNR because of extensive poaching. The numbers of Dorcas gazelles and Nubian bustards are so drastically reduced that poachers are obliged to operate in more southern areas, in the zones of Gadafawa and Taguedoufat.
The State Party confirms that massive damage suffered by the property during the 2006-2009 period of insecurity definitely had an impact. It proposes to conduct an assessment mission to the property, if security allows, to identify and assess the damage to habitats and species, and which also responds to the Committee’s request in its Decisions 33 COM 7A.10 and 34 COM 7A.10. In February 2011, the State Party resubmitted a request for international assistance from the World Heritage Fund to support this project. This application is being reviewed by IUCN with the support of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN's comments will be forwarded to the State Party in order to facilitate this request.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note the State Party's efforts to implement corrective measures identified by the IUCN monitoring mission in 2005, through the COGERAT project. Yet they continue to receive alarming reports on poaching activity and degradation of the biodiversity which were a major justification for the inscription of the property on the World Heritage List. Loss of biodiversity will also cause the loss of outstanding universal value (OUV) of the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN acknowledge that given the substantial size of the property of 7.7 million ha, it will take some time before the positive impact of these remedial measures will revive the property's outstanding universal value.
In the absence of data on the current state of the OUV of the property, and taking into account reports on the critical state of wildlife and poaching in the property, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that the property must be maintained on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that amongst the corrective measures, addressing the threats of poaching and the illegal use of other resources remains the priority, by deploying guard patrols composed of rangers and community surveillance units, and allocating these surveillance activities an adequate yearly budget. Nevertheless, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN are aware that the implementation of these urgent actions continues to be hampered by the prevailing insecurity in the ATNR and its surroundings.
Finally, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that an inventory of the property is essential to determine the current state of its OUV, and to define the desired state of conservation in view of the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, as well as the timetable required to achieve this. They welcome the proposal of a mission, if the security situation allows, but reiterate that an inventory should be carried out before the mission.
Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7A.11
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7A,
2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7A.10, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),
3. Expresses its grave concern over the incessant degradation of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property on the basis of reports received, indicating that several species of antelope and other large wildlife have disappeared from the property, or are about to disappear, due to extensive poaching within and around the property;
4. Notes with concern the lack of progress in implementing corrective measures, mainly because of continuing insecurity;
5. Urges the State Party to pursue and intensity its efforts to fully implement all corrective measures, and in particular the fight against poaching, and other recommendations proposed by the 2005 monitoring mission, and invites the international community to increase its support to the property;
6. Expresses its concern about reports regarding the existence of a petroleum concession in the Ténéré, and requests the State Party to clarify the status and location of this concession, and any other mining or petroleum prospecting activities that may affect the property, and to submit studies on their potential environmental impacts;
7. Recalls that several years ago the Committee adopted a clear position on issues of mining and petroleum prospecting and exploitation in the inscribed properties, deeming them incompatible with World Heritage status;
8. Reiterates its request to the State Party to conduct by the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee in June-July 2013, and in cooperation with the IUCN Species Survival Commission, an inventory of the remaining large wildlife, in order to assess the status of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and develop rehabilitation and re-establishment programmes of the wildlife populations. The State Party should invite a joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission to the property as soon as the inventory is available;
9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, particularly on the implementation of corrective measures and other recommendations of the World Heritage Committee, especially the inventory of the fauna within the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012;
10. Decides to retain the Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8C.2
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: