1.         Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal) (N 153)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2007-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

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/4087

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4087

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4087

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1982-2015)
Total amount approved: USD 177,125
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

2001, 2007 and 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN reactive monitoring missions. 2015: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 17 January 2015, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/documents. From 10 to 17 May 2015 an IUCN reactive monitoring mission visited the property; its conclusions are included in this report.

According to the State Party report and the conclusions of the mission, progress achieved in the implementation of the corrective measures is noted below:

The following information was also provided by the State Party:

Finally, the State Party provided information to the mission concerning the existence of a gold prospection permit granted to the Toro Gold Society since 2009. The boundaries of this permit are about a kilometer from the eastern boundary of the property, at Mako.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The mission notes that the State Party has made commendable efforts in the implementation of the corrective measures, especially concerning the strengthening of surveillance staff and the implementation of the combat strategy against the invasive species encroaching the ponds. All the same, most of the threats remain current and it is recommended that the Committee adopt the corrective measures as updated by the mission, as well as indicators for the Desired state of conservation of the property for removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR).

The available data on ecological monitoring is inconclusive for purposes of comparison, thus complicating the analysis of the situation of the threatened species in the Park. However, thanks to the inventories of 2014 and 2015 and observations conducted by the rangers, the mission has noted positive signs of increased wildlife within the property. The lion, assumed absent from the property for several years, is now present. The most noteworthy observations concern the wild dog that has been regularly observed by Park rangers and researchers. However, the numbers of wildlife in the property remain low and the situation of the elephant is particularly precarious with only one individual observed on a regular basis. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to update the ecological monitoring programme and integrate it into the management plan, which must be updated and urgently implemented.

The permanent presence of rangers in the Park appears to have reduced poaching incidents. However, the mission noted that the level of loss of animals increases in with distance between fixed guard posts. Moreover, information obtained by the mission from rangers and the Direction for National Parks indicates that poaching remains an important issue affecting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to significantly increase patrols and to introduce the SMART tool (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) to facilitate the collection of surveillance data. Aerial support should also be ensured to further improve the surveillance of this vast Park.

The combat against the encroachment of the ponds by Mimoso must be continued and further strengthened, using fire management and other measures appropriate for this type of habitat.

A future dam development project on the River Gambia at Sambangalou, upstream from the property could have serious impacts on its OUV, in particular aggravating  the current drying up of the ponds. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to conduct an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) to specifically assess the possible impacts on the OUV of the property, before the project is implemented, in accordance with the IUCN World Heritage advisory note on environmental assessment.

The mission is particularly concerned about the granting of a gold prospecting license in the immediate vicinity of the property. Although the ESIA of this project is not yet available (foreseen to be submitted to the Senegalese authorities by end of June 2015), initial studies already conducted demonstrate that this part of the property, as well as the area covered by the license, constitute a priority habitat for chimpanzees. Indications of the presence of lions, elephants and Derby elands have also been observed in this part of the property adjacent to the area covered by the prospection license. Moreover, the boundary of the permit is crossed by the River Gambia upstream from the property, involving possible water pollution. It is recommended that the Committee recall that mining prospection and exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status and that it requests the State Party to prohibit all extraction activity in the vicinity of the property in view of the fact that such an activity could have a negative impact on the OUV of the property, including its integrity. It is also recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure the permanent closure of the basalt quarry at Mansadala and implement measures to ensure the rehabilitation of the site and avoid its encroachment by exotic species.

Finally, it is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7A.13

The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.46, adopted by the Committee at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Commends the efforts of the State Party in implementing the corrective measures, especially those concerning the strengthening of surveillance staff and the implementation of a strategy to combat the encroachment of the ponds;
  4. Notes with satisfaction that data indicates an increase in wildlife, however, reiterates its concern as regards the low density of large wildlife in the property and requests the State Party to implement the corrective measures as updated by the 2015 mission, as follows:
    1. Establishment and strengthening the anti-poaching mechanism based on combined aerial (according to the means available) and land measures,
    2. Capacity building of staff at the property by providing training and equipment adapted to the new technologies, including the application of the SMART tool (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool),
    3. Reinforced implementation of the emergency programme for the restoration of the ponds in the perimeter of the property and implementation of alternative measures for the ponds as water points in the property,
    4. Rehabilitation of the impassable trails in the property, concentrating on the southern part of the Park,
    5. Updating of the ecological monitoring programme of the Park, based on indicators that are simple, reliable and inexpensive to measure, and on statistics drawn from reliable inventories of threatened populations of key species for the Outstanding Universal Value of the property (lion, Derby eland, elephant, chimpanzee and wild dog) and integrated into the management plan of the property, which must be updated and implemented urgently,
    6. Improvement of grazing areas and water points in the village territories around the property to minimise the encroachment of domestic cattle inside the property,
    7. Improved marking of the boundaries of the property, including the removal of obsolete markers, and the introduction of better communication means through signage adapted to the specificities of each of the local communities of the property,
    8. Implementation of speed control measures for traffic on the part of Route Nationale 7 within the property (for example, video-surveillance, increase of speed bumps, radars) and reinforcement of controls at strategic points,
    9. Prohibition of any extractive activity (traditional or industrial) within the property, as well as outside of the property insofar as such an activity could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property (OUV), including conditions of integrity;
  5. Adopts the indictors of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), as updated by the mission and considers that these indicators should be achieved by end-2018;
  6. Expresses its deep concern regarding the granting of a gold prospection license in the immediate vicinity of the property and considers that if this license is converted into an exploitation license there could be a negative impact on the OUV of the property, in particular on the habitats of threatened species such as the chimpanzee, lion, elephant and Derby eland;
  7. Requests the State Party to ensure that the development does not affect the OUV of the property and that a high quality Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) be established according to international best practices, if the exploration permit were to be converted into an exploitation licence;
  8. Reiterates its position regarding the fact that mining exploration and exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, policy supported by the declaration of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) not to undertake such activities in World Heritage properties;
  9. Also requests the State Party to ensure the permanent closure of the basalt quarry at Mansadala by 2018, and implement measures to ensure the complete rehabilitation of the site;
  10. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit a specific assessment on the impacts of the dam project at Sambangalou on the OUV of the property before any decision on its construction, in accordance with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and the IUCN World Heritage Advisory Note on environmental assessment;
  11. Further 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;
  12. Decides to retain the Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal) 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: