1.         Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) (N 573)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1991

Criteria  (vii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1992-present

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

The region having recently suffered from military conflict and civil disturbance, the Government of Niger requested the Director-General of UNESCO to launch an appeal for the protection of the site

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

In progress

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/325  

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

In progress

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1999-2013)
Total amount approved: USD 172,322
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

May 2005 and February 2015: IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 31 January 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/documents/. Updates on its activities and on-going threats are provided as follows:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The State Party did not adequately address all of the Committee’s requests (Decision 40 COM 7A.45) in its report and hence, no updates are available on: (i) the State Party’s progress in recruiting forestry agents and ensuring adequate funding of the Management Unit; (ii) detailed information and data on poaching and timber harvesting along the perimeter of the property; (iii) the current situation of gold mining in Agadez; and (iv) development of the necessary studies with a view to preparing a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR).

Information is provided however on the State Party’s activities in implementing some of the corrective measures. In particular, the State Party’s efforts to improve surveillance and ecological monitoring within the property through local community engagement are appreciated. Nevertheless, it is not clear whether a Surveillance Plan to strategically implement actions has been developed, in particular to focus on the protection of flagship species, as noted in the corrective measures. Recalling that the January 2016 application of the EoH toolkit identified that the property does not have a Management Plan, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide clarifications on the current status of the development of a Surveillance Plan.

It is of great concern that the property continues to face a number of threats, including poaching which has not yet been brought under control, the continued illegal harvesting of timber and the spread of the invasive plant Prosopis juliflora. The IUCN Global Invasive Species Database provides information on the management of the latter, which the State Party may wish to refer to in designing an eradication plan.

The overall KAI for seven observed species is noted, but in order to monitor trends of individual species, the collated data have limited use. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to record data for each key species that contribute towards the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and submit the data to the World Heritage Centre. This should include data on addax antelope, for which there is currently unconfirmed information on their presence within the property.

The North African red-necked ostrich population has declined significantly in Niger in recent years, with captive breeding programmes becoming critical for its recovery. It is therefore of significant concern that the State Party has reported an inadequate support for the programme. In order to ensure the success of a long-term reintroduction plan, it appears necessary to assess the genetic viability of the remaining population, and collaborate with other States Parties to expand the genetic stock under an international or regional action plan for the species. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to seek the support of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.

Further information is required on the camera trap survey, such as the expected aim of the study and how it will feed into the implementation of the corrective measures.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7A.15

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.45, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Regrets that the report on the state of conservation of the property submitted by the State Party did not adequately address the Committee’s requests;
  4. Reiterates its request to the State Party to accelerate the recruitment of forestry agents, and ensure adequate funding of the Management Unit to better control the exploitation of the natural resources within the property;
  5. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to provide detailed information and data on poaching and timber harvesting within the property and its vicinity, as well as the actions taken to combat these threats;
  6. Appreciates the State Party’s efforts to improve surveillance and ecological monitoring within the property through local community engagement, but urges the State Party to develop a Surveillance Plan and a Management Plan for the property as a matter of priority, and submit copies of both to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN;
  7. Notes with concern the spread of the invasive plant species, Prosopis juliflora, across the property, and requests the State Party, in consultation with IUCN’s Species Survival Commission Invasive Species Specialist Group, to design and implement an eradication plan for the species;
  8. Also requests the State Party to monitor the trend of the key species that contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and submit to the World Heritage Centre the results for each species in order to demonstrate their trends;
  9. Noting with concern that there is inadequate support for the captive breeding of North African red-necked ostrich, further requests the State Party to secure necessary funding for the effective operation of the captive breeding centres and closely collaborate with other neighbouring States Parties to develop and implement a regional action plan for the conservation of this species, and encourages the State Party to seek the support of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Conservation Breeding Specialist Group;
  10. Requests furthermore the State Party to provide details of the camera trap survey including how it will contribute towards improving the monitoring and surveillance of the property, and submit its findings to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN once they are available;
  11. Requests moreover the State Party to provide an update on the current status of gold mining in the region of Agadez as well as any other areas outside of the property that has the potential to impact on the OUV of the property;
  12. Further reiterates its request to the State Party to implement all of the recommendations of the 2015 IUCN reactive monitoring mission as well as an action plan on the corrective measures defined in consultation with the State Party during the mission;
  13. Urgently reiterates its requests to the State Party to carry out the necessary studies with a view to preparing a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and to submit the draft DSOCR to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2018, for examination by the Committee at its 42nd session in 2018;
  14. Finally 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 corrective measures and the above points, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018;
  15. Decides to retain Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) 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: