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Dja Faunal Reserve

Cameroon
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Commercial hunting
  • Forestry /wood production
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Mining
  • Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of entire approval and implementation of management plan
  • Agricultural and forest encroachment
  • Mining exploitation project close to the property
  • Industrial agriculture in the buffer zone
  • Threats exerted by commercial hunting and deforestation around the property
  • Mékin hydroelectric dam
  • Poaching
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2016

Total amount granted: USD 60,000, UNESCO FIT Netherlands. USD 193,275 and USD 118,725, respectively in 2008 and 2009, in the framework of the Central Africa World Heritage Forest Initiative (CAWHFI) in the south-west of Cameroon. USD 263 700 from Franz Weber Foundation for the sustainable conservation of the Dja Faunal Reserve

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 4 (from 1987-1997)
Total amount approved : 84,700 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 7 February 2016, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://wc.unesco.org/en/list/407/documents, containing the following information:

  • Strengthening of the surveillance teams is foreseen in 2016. The operating budget has increased and an investment budget of 80,000,000 FCFA was granted, specifically for the construction of the home base at Lomié. Moreover, the property continues to benefit from technical and funding support from several partners;
  • The State Party has reinforced the means of the surveillance teams in arms and ammunition, enabling them to carry out 97 anti-poaching patrols involving 9,512 man/days. Of the 465 poachers arrested, only 16 legal prosecutions were initiated (against 21 in 2014). A total of 79 ivory tusks were seized (against 37 in 2013), as well as 5,396.5 kg of animal hides;
  • A wildlife inventory carried out in 2015 by the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF), in partnership with IUCN, shows that the flagship species are still present, but revealed a reduction in the elephant population (estimated at 420), a slight reduction of gorillas (estimated at 6,613) and stability in the chimpanzee population (estimated at 3,630);
  • With regard to a Strategic and Social Environmental Evaluation (SSEE) recommended by the Committee, the report indicates that the terms of reference of the SSEE and the funding strategy have been approved by the Ministry for the Environment. The SSEE was funded by the Franz Weber Foundation;
  • An interpretation map of satellite pictures of the forest cover shows that deforestation is only present at the periphery of the property;
  • The boundaries of the mining permits have been reviewed to eliminate all overlapping or encroachment of the property by Order No.01502/MINMIDT/SG/DM/SDCM of 3 February 2015. The State Party confirms that the GEOVIC Mining Company is no longer operational at the site west of the property;
  • Concerning the project of the Sud Hévéa company, the report highlights the support of this Company in the protection of the property and support to the local communities through the implementation of its Environmental and Social Management Plan (PEGS). The MINFOF and the Ministry of Art and Culture (MINAC) have urged the Hydro Mékin Company to take into consideration the conservation of wildlife and archaeological sites

A joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission was carried out at the property from 28 November to 5 December 2015. The report of that mission is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/407/documents.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The efforts undertaken by the State Party, confirmed by the 2015 mission, should be warmly welcomed. This primarily concerns the creation of an interministerial committee on Dja to strengthen the sustainable conservation of the property, the increase in the operating and investment budgets, improved knowledge of the state of conservation of large mammals, regular control of the forestry development units (FDU), and the approval of the terms of reference and the funding strategy of the SSEE for large-scale projects around the property. All the concerned partners involved with the State Party in contributing towards the protection and the sustainable conservation of the property, notably the Franz Weber Foundation, African Wildlife Foundation, Zoological Society of London, Prague Zoo, RAPAC/ECOFAC 5 should be thanked.

In addition, there is confirmation that no mining activity has developed in the property since end-2014, and that the exploration permits in and around the property have not been renewed.

The 2015 mission has however noted that the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property remains under serious threat:

  • The construction of the Mékin dam represents a major threat to wildlife and habitat within the property. Construction work is almost completed without any measures to mitigate the negative impact being undertaken, as the Hydro Mékin Society does not have an environmental expert in its team to coordinate the implementation of the PGES of the project. This situation represents an ascertained danger for the property, in conformity with Paragraph180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  • The increase in poaching also constitutes an important threat to the wildlife, because it leads to a worrying decrease in the numbers of large mammals, in particular the elephant, estimated in 2015 to number a population of around 420 individuals. The mission considers that if elephant poaching continues in the property, its local extinction in the near future can be expected. Increased poaching activities, noted by the reactive monitoring missions of 2006, 2009 and 2012, and confirmed once again by the 2015 mission, qualifies poaching as a true scourge and represents a proved threat, in conformity with paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines.

The mission also made the following observations:

  • Although deforestation appears to be limited to the periphery of the property, it represents a threat to the habitat of the rare and threatened large mammals and is likely to affect the integrity of the property;
  • The perspectives concerning the extension of the activities of the Sud Cameroun Hévéa Society risk resulting in continued demographic increase and thus exercise additional human pressures on the property;
  • The conservation service of the property suffers from insufficient means, both human and material, to effectively combat poaching and the other threats to the property.

In the light of these conclusions, it is recommended that the Committee decide to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, that it adopt the corrective measures proposed by the mission, and that it requests the State Party to establish, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, a Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), for examination by the Committee at its 41st session in 2017.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7B.79
Dja Wildlife Reserve (Cameroon) (N 407)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.1, 37 COM 7B.1, 38 COM 7B.86 and 39 COM 7B.1, adopted at its 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013), 38th (Doha, 2014) and 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions respectively,
  3. Warmly welcomes the efforts undertaken by the State Party, notably the creation of an Interministerial Committee on Dja to strengthen the sustainable conservation of the property, the increase of the operational and investment budgets, improved knowledge of the state of conservation of large mammals, regular control of forestry development units (FDU) and the approval of the terms of reference and the funding strategy of the Strategic and Social Environmental Evaluation (SSEE), for the major projects around the property, and thanks all the partners assisting the State Party in contributing to the protection and the sustainable conservation of the property;
  4. Notes with satisfaction that no mining activity has been developed inside the property since end-2014, and that the mining exploration permits inside and around the property have not been renewed, and reiterates its position regarding the incompatibility of mining exploration or exploitation with the status of World Heritage, policy supported by the declaration of the International Council for Mining and Metal (ICMM) not to undertake such activities in World Heritage properties;
  5. Also notes with satisfaction the measures taken by the State Party to address poaching;
  6. Expresses, however, its concern regarding the findings of the 2015 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission regarding the serious threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in case the Mékin Damn is completed without any mitigating measures being taken to diminish the negative impacts, as well as the increase in poaching resulting in a worrying decrease in the numbers of large mammals, in particular the elephant;
  7. Adopts the following corrective measures and strongly urges the State Party to implement them by the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee in 2018:
    1. Ensure the recruitment of an environmental expert within the Hydro Mékin Society and urgently implement the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) ensuring that the measures mitigating the negative impacts of the dam to the property have been implemented,
    2. Prepare a precise map of the flood zone that will result from the Mékin dam,
    3. Prepare and implement a safeguarding plan for the wildlife living in the flood zone of the Mékin dam,
    4. Continue to strengthen the staff of the eco-guards and their operational capacities in the different bases for an effective surveillance of all human pressure, including improved consultation and coordination of the actions of the technical and financial partners of the property involved in the anti-poaching combat,
    5. Continue to strengthen the prosecution system concerning poachers and improve collaboration with the decentralised services of the State in information sharing concerning the anti-poaching combat (sub-prefecture, national police force, etc.) to ensure the completion of the legal process and discourage the poachers and avoid demotivation of the eco-guards,
    6. Continue to reinforce control of traditional hunting and poaching inside the property and at its periphery, in liaison with the vigilance committees,
    7. Develop alternatives to bush meat for indigenous and local populations through, among others, the enhancement of non-ligneous forest products and the promotion of a sustainable family agricultural system in the periphery of the property;
  8. Notes with concern the other conservation problems noted by the 2015 mission, namely deforestation at the periphery of the property, the perspectives of an extension of activities by the Sud Cameroon Hévéa Society with the demographic increase which might result, and the insufficient human and material means of the conservation service of the property;
  9. Requests the State Party to implement all the other recommendations of the 2015 mission;
  10. Launches an appeal to the international community to support the efforts of the State Party in the implementation of these corrective measures and also requests all the concerned partners around the property to continue and strengthen their support for its sustainable conservation;
  11. Encourages the State Party to reinforce dialogue and communication with all the stakeholders in particular the World Heritage Centre and IUCN regarding the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations;
  12. Further requests the State Party to submit, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the corrective measures and the above points, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018, with a view to considering, in case significant progress is not recorded in respect of the conditions enumerated above, the possibility of inscribing the property on the World Heritage List in Danger.
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7B.79

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.1, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Warmly welcomes the efforts undertaken by the State Party, notably the creation of an Interministerial Committee on Dja to strengthen the sustainable conservation of the property, the increase of the operational and investment budgets, improved knowledge of the state of conservation of large mammals, regular control of forestry development units (FDU) and the approval of the terms of reference and the funding strategy of the Strategic and Social Environmental Evaluation (SSEE), for the major projects around the property, and thanks all the partners assisting the State Party in contributing to the protection and the sustainable conservation of the property;
  4. Notes with satisfaction that no mining activity has been developed inside the property since end-2014, and that the mining exploration permits inside and around the property have not been renewed, and reiterates its position regarding the incompatibility of mining exploration or exploitation with the status of World Heritage, policy supported by the declaration of the International Council for Mining and Metal (ICMM) not to undertake such activities in World Heritage properties;
  5. Expresses, however, its deep concern regarding the findings of the 2015 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission regarding the serious threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, namely the construction of the Mékin dam that is nearing completion without any mitigating measures being taken to diminish the negative impacts, and the increase in poaching resulting in a worrying decrease in the numbers of large mammals, in particular the elephant, and considers that these threats clearly represent an ascertained danger to the property and a potential danger, in conformity with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Decides to inscribe the Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  7. Adopts the following corrective measures and strongly urges the State Party to implement them by the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee in 2018:
    1. Ensure the recruitment of an environmental expert within the Hydro Mékin Society and urgently implement the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) ensuring that the measures mitigating the negative impacts of the dam to the property have been implemented,
    2. Prepare a precise map of the flood zone that will result from the Mékin dam,
    3. Prepare and implement a safeguarding plan for the wildlife living in the flood zone of the Mékin dam,
    4. Strengthen the staff of the eco-guards and their operational capacities in the different bases for an effective surveillance of all human pressure, including improved consultation and coordination of the actions of the technical and financial partners of the property involved in the anti-poaching combat,
    5. Strengthen the prosecution system concerning poachers and improve collaboration with the decentralised services of the State in information sharing concerning the anti-poaching combat (sub-prefecture, national police force, etc.) to ensure the completion of the legal process and discourage the poachers and avoid demotivation of the eco-guards,
    6. Reinforce control of traditional hunting and poaching inside the property and at its periphery, in liaison with the vigilance committees,
    7. Develop alternatives to bush meat for indigenous and local populations through, among others, the enhancement of non-ligneous forest products and the promotion of a sustainable family agricultural system in the periphery of the property;
  8. Requests the State Party to prepare, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), for examination by the Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  9. Notes with concern the other conservation problems noted by the 2015 mission, namely deforestation at the periphery of the property, the perspectives of an extension of activities by the Sud Cameroon Hévéa Society with the demographic increase which might result, and the insufficient human and material means of the conservation service of the property;
  10. Also requests the State Party to implement all the other recommendations of the 2015 mission;
  11. Launches an appeal to the international community to support the efforts of the State Party in the implementation of these corrective measures and further requests all the concerned partners around the property to continue and strengthen their support for its sustainable conservation;
  12. Further requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the corrective measures and the above points, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
Report year: 2016
Cameroon
Date of Inscription: 1987
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2016) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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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