1.         Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon) (N 407)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (ix)(x)

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/407/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1987-1997)
Total amount approved: USD 84,700
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/407/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

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

Previous monitoring missions

March 1998: UNESCO monitoring mission; June 2006, December 2009, February-March 2012 and November-December 2015: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/407/

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:

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 Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

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 mission also made the following observations:

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.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.79

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.