Sangha Trinational (Cameroon,Central African Republic,Congo) (N 1380rev)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2012
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1380/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1380/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount granted: 250,000 Euros from 2008 to 2013 through the Central African World Heritage Forest Initiative funded by the European Commission
Previous monitoring missions
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Civil unrest
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1380/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015
On 29 January 2015, the three States Parties submitted a joint report on the state of conservation of the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1380/documents/. The report contains the following information:
- Although existing financial resources are still available to the property, additional funding is necessary, notably to facilitate the involvement of local communities in conservation activities and to ensure optimal surveillance and efficient monitoring of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
- The number of guards has been increased through the recruitment of ecoguards and the availability of the army to strengthen surveillance. The number of anti-poaching missions has increased to 797 in 2014 (641 in 2013). Training in the tool SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tools) was organized;
- Poaching remains an important threat, in particular due to an increase in commercial hunting. Illegal fishing and the traffic of parrots are also mentioned. The delinquents apprehended often do not receive appropriate sentences on the part of the justice, which engenders a high level of reoffending;
- No mining company exists in the property nor in its buffer zone but explorations have been carried out in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Congo in 2013. Since that date there has been no activity. In the Congo the exploration concession has not been renewed. In the CAR, the Ministry of Water and Forests has undertaken steps to request the Ministry of Mines to cancel mining permits infringing on the property. Illegal gold mining is noted in the buffer zone of the Cameroon;
- Studies are underway for the construction of a road Ouesso-Bangui. These studies, which include an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be available end-2015;
- The work on the optical fibre project in the vicinity of Ouesso, 17 km to the west of the property, has begun and the EIA report is available. However, this report has not been submitted to the World Heritage Centre;
- Two exploitation and development permits have been granted to industrial forestry companies in the dense Special Forest Reserve, in the buffer zone of the Central African component of the property. The collateral risk effects such as hunting and demographic explosion are recognized;
- There are several monitoring projects in the property and its buffer zone, including ecological monitoring and monitoring of good practice in forestry exploitation.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
The efforts undertaken by the States Parties and their partners to strengthen security in and around the property, combat poaching and to ensure the funding of the property have been noted. However, commercial poaching remains an important threat. The lack of strict enforcement of the law by the judicial administration contributes to a climate of impunity for wildlife crimes. It is therefore recommended that the States Parties continue to strengthen surveillance, notably with tri-national patrols. Further, a stricter enforcement of the law and punishments to dissuade the network of commercial poaching is advisable. These actions should be accompanied by activities to benefit the local communities in managing the issue of man-elephant conflicts, the promotion of alternative income-generating activities and the strengthening of capacities for the management of natural resources.
Although there are no mining activities in the Congolese and Central African components of the property, it is recommended that the Committee request the three States Parties to cancel the mining concessions that might encroach upon the property and its buffer zone and to confirm their categorical commitment that no mining exploitation or exploration will be permitted within the property, in conformity with the position of the Committee that these activities are incompatible with World Heritage status. It is also recommended that the Committee request the Cameroon State Party to strengthen its efforts to eliminate all illegal gold mining within the property and to ensure the ecological restoration of the exploited sites.
Information regarding the infrastructure development projects is very limited. The EIA for the optical fibre project was not submitted. The Ouesso-Bangui road project could have an important direct and indirect impact on the integrity of the property, but the report provides no details of the planned route. A media report dated 31 July 2014 notes that the work for the road linking Ouessou to Enyellé, which is part of the Ouessou-Bangui road, had already begun. IUCN notes the request for public interest published in 2011 for a “study of the road Ouesso-Bangui-N’Djamena and the river navigation of the Congo, the Oubangui and the Sangha” and considers that the river navigation of the Sangha could also have an important impact on the property. It would be important that an EIA evaluate the potential impacts of the road and river transport project on the OUV of the property, in conformity with the IUCN Advice Note on Environmental Assessments for World Heritage and that it be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for evaluation by IUCN, before a decision is taken on this project.
The granting of two development and forestry exploitation permits in the Special Reserve presents certain risks to the integrity of the property. The measures foreseen to mitigate these collateral effects linked to forestry exploitation are vague. It is recommended that the Committee request the Central African State Party to establish precise specifications with measures to ensure the integrity of the property, notably by ensuring control of the access and a surveillance of the Special Reserve. It would also be advisable that the companies in question seek to certify their concessions.
Finally, it is recommended that the Committee request the States Parties to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property as soon as the EIA of the road and river transport project is available, to evaluate the state of conservation of the property, in particular the potential impacts of the infrastructure development projects, impacts on the security crisis at the project, impact of illegal activities such as poaching and the implementation of recommendations prescribed at the time of inscription of the property (Decision 35 COM 8B.4).
Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.2
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.87, adopted by the Committee at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
- Commends the States Parties of Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR) and the Congo for having undertaken measures to increase the security mechanisms in and around the property, and warmly welcomes the information provided by the States Parties that no mining activity was present in the Central African and Congolese components of the property;
- Notes with concern that poaching of protected species and illegal fishing are on the increase in the property, and requests the States Parties to intensify their surveillance efforts by making available the necessary financial and human resources to ensure an optimal surveillance and increase the tri-national patrols, and ensure the strictest enforcement of the laws and punishments to dissuade the network of commercial poaching;
- Encourages the States Parties to reinforce cooperation with local communities by seeking solutions to manage the man-elephant conflict, the promotion of activities to generate alternative income and capacity strengthening in the management of natural resources;
- Also requests the States Parties to repeal possible mining permits that encroach upon the property and its buffer zone, to confirm their categorical commitment that no mining exploration or exploitation would be allowed within the property, in accordance with the position of the Committee that these activities are incompatible with World Heritage status and that no mining activity will be permitted in the vicinity of the property because of the possible negative impact on its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and further requests the Cameroon State Party to strengthen its efforts to eliminate all illegal gold mining within the property and to ensure the ecological restoration of the sites;
- Also notes with concern the road and river transport project that could have an impact on the integrity of the property and reiterates its request to the respective States Parties to carry out a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to identify the possible impacts on the OUV of the property caused by this project, in accordance with the IUCN Note concerning the environmental assessments concerning World Heritage, and to submit them to the World Heritage Centre before approval of the project;
- Requests furthermore the States Parties to submit the EIA of the optical fibre project planned to pass in the vicinity of the property;
- Further notes that the granting of two development and forestry exploitation permits in the Special Forest Reserve in the buffer zone of the Central African component presents certain risks for the integrity of the property, and requests moreover the Central African State Party to develop concise specifications with measures to ensure the integrity, in particular by controlling access and surveillance of the Reserve, and also encourages the companies concerned to certify their concession;
- Requests in addition the States Parties to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property as soon as the EIA of the road and river transport project is available, to evaluate the state of conservation of the property, in particular the potential impacts of the development projects, impacts of the security crisis on the property, the impact of illegal activities such as poaching and the implementation of the recommendations made at the time of inscription of the property (Decision 35 COM 8B.4);
- Finally requests that the States Parties submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above points, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.