1.         Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Madagascar) (N 1257)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2007

Criteria  (ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2010-present

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

Illegal logging of precious wood species (ebony and rosewood) and its secondary impacts; poaching of endangered lemurs were identified as threats for the site’s integrity.

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/4344

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4344 

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4344

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2000-2010)
Total amount approved: USD 155,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 1,890,000 from the United Nations Foundation and the Nordic World Heritage Foundation; USD 1,039,000 from the Government of Norway.

Previous monitoring missions

May 2011: Joint monitoring mission World Heritage Centre / IUCN 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 29 January 2015, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/documents/. The mission to the property, requested by the Committee at its 38th session (Doha, 2014), is postponed until after the 39th session, at the request of the State Party and in agreement with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to provide more time for addressing the stockpile issue in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) recommendations. The report notes the following progress:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The State Party’s re-affirmation, which was also restated by the President of Madagascar at the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress, of its high political commitment to address the illegal logging and trafficking of rosewood and other precious timbers should be welcomed. 

Progress has been made in implementing the CITES Action Plan and several preparatory studies were carried out, which should enable liquidation of all remaining rosewood stockpiles and develop a forestry sector which is transparent and respectful of the law and regulations. The liquidation of all stockpiles is of utmost importance to terminate illegal export and avoid the replenishment of stockpiles by further cuts. The Committee is recommended to request the State Party to fully implement the CITES Action Plan and recommendations. In particular, it is crucial that all stockpiles should be confiscated as soon as possible and their legality established, and that holders of illegal stockpiles should be prosecuted. The Utilization Plan confirms the conclusion of the 2011 monitoring mission that most of the declared stockpiles held by private businesses are to be considered as illegal. The recommendations, which propose to sell most of the stockpiles through international auctions, should be noted and the State Party urged to strictly adhere to the recommendations which will be issued by the CITES Standing Committee after its review of the Utilization Plan, and to guarantee the transparency and international oversight over the process. It will also be important to ensure that the sale will not trigger new illegal logging campaigns and that a substantial part of any revenue generated from possible sales is made available for the conservation of the property.

The on-going efforts described by the State Party to stop illegal logging and trafficking of rosewood are well noted. While the data in the report indicate that illegal rosewood logging in the property has diminished slightly in 2014 compared to 2013, it is clear that the situation remains problematic, in particular in the Masoala National Park component of the property. The report acknowledges that rosewood logs continue to be moved to the coast and shipped out illegally. The Utilization Plan also mentions the confiscation of 640 tonnes of rosewood in Kenya in May 2014 and 3372 tonnes in Singapore in March 2014, which confirms that the problem of illegal trafficking continues. Significant efforts are thus needed to immediately crack down on the remaining centres of illegal logging and trafficking, which are well known.

Progress in implementing the corrective measures, including strengthening collaboration with the local communities, reduction of deforestation and poaching of Lemur species and the ecological restoration of degraded areas, which is crucial to achieving the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR),is well noted. In order to enable removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, the announced policy by the Government of zero stocks, zero tolerance toward illegal trafficking and the elimination of illegal logging of rosewood needs to be effective. It is therefore recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee is also recommended to reiterate its request for a joint UNESCO/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to be invited to the property.

Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7A.11

The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.44, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the restated political commitment of the State Party, which was also reiterated by the President of Madagascar at the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress to address the illegal trafficking of natural resources, in particular rosewood and other precious timber species;
  4. Acknowledges the progress made in implementing the CITES Action plan, in particular the preparatory studies, which were carried out in order to achieve the liquidation of all remaining rosewood stockpiles in the country and develop a forestry sector which is transparent and respectful of the law and regulations;
  5. Requests the State Party to fully implement the CITES Action Plan and recommendations and to ensure that all stockpiles be confiscated as soon as possible as a conservatory measure, their legality established, and that holders of illegal stockpiles be prosecuted;
  6. Takes note of the recommendations of the “Utilization Plan for precious timber stockpiles”, which was submitted to CITES in December 2014 and which proposes to sell most of the stockpiles through international auctions, and urges the State Party to strictly adhere to the recommendations which will be issued by the CITES Standing Committee after its review, to guarantee the transparency and international oversight over any possible sale and to ensure that a substantial part of any revenue generated from possible sales is made available for the conservation of the property;
  7. Expresses its concern that, while illegal rosewood logging in the property has diminished slightly in 2014 compared to 2013, it is continuing to affect the property and in particular Masoala National Park, and also urges the State Party to intensify efforts to immediately crack down on the remaining centers of illegal logging and trafficking;
  8. Further takes note of the progress towards achieving the Desired State of Conservation for the Removal of the Property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), but considers the announced policy by the Government of zero stocks, a zero tolerance toward illegal trafficking and the elimination of illegal logging of rosewood needs to be effectively implemented to guarantee the integrity of the property and achieve the DSOCR;
  9. Notes that the Reactive Monitoring mission requested at the 38th session in 2014 was postponed at the request of the State Party and in agreement with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to provide more time for addressing the stockpile issue in accordance with the CITES recommendations, and reiterates its request to the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess progress achieved in the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), and to update, if necessary, the corrective measures and the timetable for their implementation;
  10. 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, including an evaluation of the implementation of the corrective measures, and information on progress made towards achieving the DSOCR, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  11. Decides to retain Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Madagascar) 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: