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 2000-2016)
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, September 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/1257/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 8 February 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/documents/, presenting its progress achieved in implementing the Committee’s decisions and the 2015 mission recommendations as follows:

Progress towards the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) is reported as follows:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The State Party’s continued effort to address the threats on the property is appreciated. In particular, the issuance of the Decree to operationalize Act No 2015-056 creating a special tribunal to adjudicate wood traffickers and reinforce penalties, allocation of resources to undertake stock inventory, and the multiple projects to strengthen the monitoring, management and governance towards reducing illegal logging planned through international donor support and collaborations are welcomed.

Although the last report submitted by the State Party to the CITES Secretariat is yet to be discussed, the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (COP17) in September 2016 led to the decision to further strengthen the protection given to Dalbergia and Diospyros species in Madagascar. Furthermore, the Government of Madagascar adopted a Biodiversity Management Plan at COP17, which presents activities and indicators to strengthen the protection of World Heritage and protected areas, including by enacting a decree to punish offenders relating to rosewood and ebony exploitation, and formation of joint forces (the State Party, police and the military) to ensure regular patrols of the property. It is therefore recommended that the Committee strongly encourage the State Party to continue to implement the CITES Action Plan and the Biodiversity Management Plan.

It is noted that fewer lemur traps were detected in 2016 compared to the preceding year, but data since 2009 indicate annual fluctuations, which remain relatively stable overall. Positive progress however has been made by the State Party in restoring degraded areas across three of the components of the property, including local community consultations on the restoration approaches, and the implementation of SMART software in the monitoring of all six components of the property.

In spite of the State Party’s ongoing efforts, it is regrettable that an increase in demand for precious woods and minerals are leading to further exploitation of the property. Notably, the rise in the number of cases of illegal logging and the staggering increase in the percentage of forest clearance, which has exceeded the DSOCR indicator of 0.01% in the property for the first time since 2013, are of significant concern.

The entry of artisanal miners into the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor and the subsequent squatting is also of much concern, especially considering that the Committee recommended the State Party to review potential future addition of protected areas forming corridors of natural forest between existing reserves within the property, at the time of inscription (Decision 31 COM 8B.9). The reported prioritization by the State Party to resolve this issue is appreciated in this regard.

Regarding the Conservation and Management Assistance Project (USD 100,000 from the International Assistance, Decision 34 COM 15.2), the second phase was implemented by the Foundation for Protected Areas and Biodiversity of Madagascar, producing encouraging results. The relay structures of Masoala and Marojejy National Parks have been strengthened in their logistical and operational capacities in the fight against illegal trafficking of precious wood. Local communities have been made aware of the conservation and sustainable management of the property through the organization of an information campaign and the development of information media.

Whilst acknowledging the State Party’s progress, further efforts are still needed to meet the DSOCR indicators, especially in light of the reported increases in illegal logging and forest clearance, and it is therefore recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7A.14

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add.2,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.44, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Welcomes the issuance of a decree to operationalize Act No 2015-056 creating a special tribunal to adjudicate traffickers and reinforce penalties, which should contribute towards halting the illicit trafficking of precious wood;
  4. Appreciates the international donor support provided in strengthening the monitoring, management and governance of the property towards reducing illegal logging;
  5. Notes with appreciation the progress achieved in restoring degraded sites and requests the State Party to report on the remaining sites to be rehabilitated and ensure continued engagement with the local workforce;
  6. Notes with significant concern that illegal logging and forest clearance have increased in 2016, particularly in Masoala and Andohahela National Parks, exceeding for the first time since 2013 the indicator for forest clearance of maximum 0.01%, as defined in the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), and also requests the State Party to further enhance its monitoring activities in these two components of the property;
  7. Strongly encourages the State Party to continue to fully implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Action Plan and the Biodiversity Management Plan;
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018;
  9. Decides to retain Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Madagascar) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 41 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/17/41.COM/7A, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add and WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: