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Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves

Niger
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Civil unrest
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Forestry /wood production
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Political instability and civil strife
  • Poverty
  • Management constraints
  • Ostrich poaching
  • Soil erosion
  • Demographic pressure
  • Livestock pressure
  • Pressure on forestry resources
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

The region having recently suffered from military conflict and civil disturbance, the Government of Niger requested the Director- General of UNESCO to launch an appeal for the protection of the site

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/325

Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/325  

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Adopted, see pages https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/325  and https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4623
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 7 (from 1999-2013)
Total amount approved : 172,322 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 30 January 2015, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property. From 8 to 20 February 2015 an IUCN reactive monitoring mission visited the property. Both reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/documents. The State Party provided the following information:

  • An inventory of large wildlife and their habitat was conducted in June 2014, with support from the World Heritage Fund. This inventory makes no mention of Addax, red-necked ostriches and Saharan cheetah. However, the Dorcus gazelle and Barbary sheep are still present. The presence of the Dama gazelle was confirmed in the property, although there had been no sightings since 2002. However, the numbers and actual distribution of the species in the property still remains unknown. In total, 14 species of mammal and 55 bird species were recorded;
  • A manager and 12 forestry agents are attached to the Management Unit based in Iférouane;
  • The demining of the area following the period of armed conflict between 2005 and 2009 is progressing;
  • Based on observations of the Addax in the vicinity of the property, the State Party expressed its hope that with the return of peace and with the continual maintenance and care of the property, this species could return to the property itself;
  • Funding (Land Commissions) has been established to support activities involving all the stakeholders at the property in the management and conservation of its natural resources and to reduce poaching and logging pressures;
  • The primary conservation problems identified by the State Party are the effects of climate change to its biodiversity and the use of motorized vehicles and rifles in poaching;
  • A red-necked ostrich farming project is based at Iférouane managed by a volunteer family with support from a local NGO;
  • The Niger Fauna Corridor Project (NFCP), financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has as goal the creation of corridors between the three protected areas in northern Niger, including the property, with improved management efficiency, the protection of natural habitats and the establishment of the requisite conditions for their connectivity;
  • Discussions are underway between the State Party and GEF for the funding of a third phase of the Co-Management of Natural Resources in the Air and Ténéré (COGERAT).
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

The mission evaluated the progress accomplished by the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures. The most important issues are examined below.

The mission notes that with the establishment of the Management Unit in Iférouane there is now a physical presence of a management body in situ but which, unfortunately, does not have the human and logistical means to ensure its sovereign function of surveillance and ecological monitoring of the property. The Conservator, who is also the Departmental Director of Iférouane, can only devote a minimal amount of time to the management of the property. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to establish functional management bodies such as surveillance, ecological monitoring, planning and social mobilization and community support services, with the technical and financial means and sufficient staff, including a conservator exclusively responsible for the management of the property, for an improved rehabilitation process.

Based on discussions with local communities, the mission considered that the Land Commissions that are already in place are almost non-existent and clearly do not fulfil their function of protection of the property. With regard to the surveillance of illegal activities, and in particular poaching and commercial logging, the present management body for the property has no means to control these demographic pressures. The mission noted the lack of a surveillance programme for the property due to the insufficient human and financial operational means allocated to the property. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to reinvigorate the Land Commissions, in cooperation with local leaders, to ensure their surveillance function. Not having had the opportunity to verify the degree of soil erosion, the mission considers that the current urgency is the control of the primary threats: poaching and commercial logging. In view of the vast area of the property, an emergency surveillance plan should be developed to install an efficient surveillance mechanism, focusing in particular on areas that shelter the last surviving populations of flagship species and ensuring, with support from the forestry service, the control of all the road networks by which the wood is transported to the large cities and gold-mining sites (a large part of the timber is sold to gold miners operating in the vicinity of the boundary between Niger and Algeria).

Finally, the mission considers that with the exception of soil stabilization actions, the corrective measures proposed by the 2005 reactive monitoring mission have mostly not been implemented and should therefore be retained in their quasi totality. The corrective measures, as updated by the mission, are proposed for adoption by the Committee.

The mission should also establish, in consultation with the State Party, a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR). Details contained in the inventory submitted confirm that species are still present at the property, but data concerning the numbers of wildlife in the property as well as the degree of demographic pressure is lacking. This data is essential to define indicators for the DSOCR. However, an action plan is proposed in the mission report.  It is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to undertake studies to remedy this lack of data. It is finally recommended that the Committee retain the property on the Danger List.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7A.12
Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) (N 573)
The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.45, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the establishment of a Management Unit at Iférouane, in the periphery of the property, but notes with concern the comments of the Reactive Monitoring mission of February 2015 that there is a lack of human and logistical means to ensure the sovereign functioning of this Management Unit, surveillance and ecological monitoring of the property;
  4. Expresses its deep concern that the inventory of large wildlife and its habitat conducted in June 2014 makes no mention of Addax, red-necked ostrich and Saharan cheetah and that the Dama gazelle appears to be reduced to a relict population;
  5. Notes the conclusion of the Reactive Monitoring mission of February 2015, according to which, excepting soil stabilization actions, the corrective measures proposed by the 2005 mission have barely been implemented and adopts the updated corrective measures, as follows:
    1. Establish functional management bodies such as surveillance, ecological monitoring, planning and social mobilization and community support services, together with technical and financial means and sufficient staff, including a conservator exclusively responsible for the management and conservation of the property, and better control the exploitation of natural resources in the perimeter of the property,
    2. Reinvigorate, in cooperation with local leaders, the land commissions in the four municipalities and clarify the respective rights of land use and access to resources of the local populations,
    3. Develop and implement an emergency surveillance plan to significantly improve the surveillance of the property and combat poaching and the illegal exploitation of natural resources for commercial ends, in particular focusing on the areas that shelter the last surviving populations of flagship species,
    4. Immediate halt of timber harvesting from the property for commercial purposes, through reinforced cooperation with the forestry service in the control and collection of data on the volume and types of timber from the property, the road networks used to transport the timber to the big cities and the gold mining sites outside the property;
  6. Requests the State Party to implement all the other recommendations of the 2015 mission and to implement the action plan prepared by the mission in consultation with the State Party;
  7. Urges the State Party to conduct the requisite studies to respond to the lack of data on the numbers of wildlife in the property as well as on the level of demographic pressure, to enable the preparation of a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  9. Decides to retain the Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
39 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of the World Heritage in Danger

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-15/39.COM/7A and WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 39 COM 7A.38)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 39 COM 7A.39)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 39 COM 7A.18)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosi (Decision 39 COM 7A.44)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 39 COM 7A.45)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.3)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.4)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.5)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.8)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 39 COM 7A.24)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.10)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 39 COM 7A.40)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 39 COM 7A.41)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.20)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 39 COM 7A.15)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 39 COM 7A.25)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 39 COM 7A.26)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 39 COM 7A.27)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 39 COM 7A.11)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 39 COM 7A.21)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 39 COM 7A.22)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 39 COM 7A.12)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 39 COM 7A.28)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 39 COM 7A.29)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 39 COM 7A.46)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 39 COM 7A.47)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.13)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 39 COM 7A.42)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 39 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 39 COM 7A.30)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 39 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 39 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 39 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 39 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 39 COM 7A.35)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 39 COM 7A.23)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 39 COM 7A.43)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.14)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.17)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 39 COM 7A.48)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 39 COM 7A.37)
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7A.12

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.45, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the establishment of a Management Unit at Iférouane, in the periphery of the property, but notes with concern the comments of the reactive monitoring mission of February 2015 that there is a lack of human and logistical means to ensure the sovereign functioning of this Management Unit, surveillance and ecological monitoring of the property;
  4. Expresses its deep concern that the inventory of large wildlife and its habitat conducted in June 2014 makes no mention of Addax, red-necked ostrich and Saharan cheetah and that the Dama gazelle appears to be reduced to a relict population;
  5. Notes the conclusion of the reactive monitoring mission of February 2015, according to which, excepting soil stabilization actions, the corrective measures proposed by the 2005 mission have barely been implemented and adopts the updated corrective measures, as follows:
    1. Establish functional management bodies such as surveillance, ecological monitoring, planning and social mobilization and community support services, together with technical and financial means and sufficient staff, including a conservator exclusively responsible for the management and conservation of the property, and better control the exploitation of natural resources in the perimeter of the property,
    2. Reinvigorate, in cooperation with local leaders, the land commissions in the four municipalities and clarify the respective rights of land use and access to resources of the local populations,
    3. Develop and implement an emergency surveillance plan to significantly improve the surveillance of the property and combat poaching and the illegal exploitation of natural resources for commercial ends, in particular focusing on the areas that shelter the last surviving populations of flagship species,
    4. Immediate halt of timber harvesting from the property for commercial purposes, through reinforced cooperation with the forestry service in the control and collection of data on the volume and types of timber from the property, the road networks used to transport the timber to the big cities and the gold mining sites outside the property;
  6. Requests the State Party to implement all the other recommendations of the 2015 mission and to implement the action plan prepared by the mission in consultation with the State Party;
  7. Urges the State Party to conduct the requisite studies to respond to the lack of data on the numbers of wildlife in the property as well as on the level of demographic pressure, to enable the preparation of a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  9. Decides to retain the Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2015
Niger
Date of Inscription: 1991
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1992-present
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 39COM (2015)
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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