1.         Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) (N 573)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1991

Criteria  (vii)(ix)(x)

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

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 identified

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

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1999-2013)
Total amount approved: USD 172,322
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

May 2005 and February 2015: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/

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:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

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.

Decision Adopted: 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.

Decision Adopted: 39 COM 8C.2

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: