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Sukur Cultural Landscape

Nigeria
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Civil unrest
  • Illegal activities
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

Damage to the Hidi’s Palace, the Palace Square, the Black Smith Homestead, paved walkways and ritual structures by insurgents

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

Total amount granted: USD 22,296 in 2016 through the Hungary Funds-in-Trust for rehabilitation and conservation activities

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 3 (from 1997-2017)
Total amount approved : 47,017 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

May 2018: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission (in Abuja, Nigeria)

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 29 November 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/938/documents/, and reports the following:

  • Relative calm has returned to the Sukur World Heritage property and, at the time of submission of the report, it is not under any resurgent threat. As a result, the residents of the property have returned and reconstructed their homesteads;
  • In September 2016, a revised and updated Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 2017-2021 was finalized following a process that involved the active participation of all key stakeholders;
  • The property has also been entered onto the World Monuments Fund (WMF) Watch List, and there are plans to undertake the first part of an inventory and community mapping of cultural features at the property, as well as to further develop guided tours and other visitor information tools such as guidebooks. Additionally, site wardens will be selected and trained, and the manufacture of traditional crafts will be stimulated to bolster the local economy;
  • The area of the property has become a refuge for residents from the plains surrounding the high mountain land. This has led to the construction of inappropriate structures utilizing non-traditional materials and methods such as zinc roofs and cement instead of the traditional thatch roofs, negatively impacting the vernacular architecture of the property. This construction process has been employed, in part, due to the scarcity of grass as a result of climate change and the use of pesticides. Erosion has impacted negatively on the property in general, but specifically on the paved ways (civi mungan) – an essential attribute of the property. The State Party is planning to restore and in-part reconstruct the damage inflicted by Boko Haram, particularly the Hidi’s Palace. A request for international assistance was granted in March 2017, but at the time of reporting the funds that had been transferred to the State Party had not yet been received and no restoration had been undertaken;
  • In May 2017, a locally based NGO constructed three chalets as eco-lodges at Sukur hilltop under the supervision of the site manager with a view to providing accommodation to visitors and researchers at the property. This project was carried out under the World Heritage Volunteers (WHV) 2017 programme.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

Despite the State Party’s invitation for a mission to visit the property in January 2018, no mission could be undertaken due to the continuing levels of threat at the property and in the region in general. This analysis therefore relies on reporting only.  A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission however was carried out on 22-25 May 2018 to the Nigerian capital, Abuja, as secure access to the property is still not possible.

The updating of the CMP 2012-2016 for a new 5-year period 2017-2021 is noted with appreciation as it aims at ensuring a gapless transition into the application of the new Plan.

In the aftermath of the insurgent attacks of 2014 on the property, a temporary dislocation of parts of the local population was observed up until 2016. People have been returning in growing numbers and are settling in the area, in particular in and around the hilltop due to its relative and perceived safety. However, this growing population brings with it inappropriate construction through the use of zinc roofs and cement, as well as environmental degradation, such as erosion, leading to increased scarcity of local resources and materials. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to take appropriate measures to encourage the use of local materials for the development of the site and to ensure increased control of erosion on the site, as foreseen in the new CMP.

With regard to the Hidi’s Palace and the paved walkways, which were already in need of conservation before the attacks in 2014, they still need further conservation despite the restoration works undertaken and it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to continue its efforts in that regard.

The State Party has reportedly engaged with the problems facing the property, but requires additional assistance to strengthen research and support conservation and management. There have been changes to the property since the 2014 attacks and these need to be clearly documented as do other changes since inscription and lack of conservation. In order to strengthen the resilience of the local communities and their traditional structures, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to undertake the proposed detailed mapping of cultural features as soon as funds are available, and that this include traditional structures and practices.

There also remains the need for additional assistance towards rebuilding some of the demolished community structures, such as a primary health care centre, school structure and interpretation centre and the replacement of stolen or vandalized equipment for conservation of the property.

It is worth noting the efforts undertaken or foreseen to further sustainable development, in particular through promoting eco-tourism at the site, despite the precarious security situation in the area. Such efforts include the construction, in May 2017, of three chalets/eco-lodges at Sukur hilltop by a locally based NGO and the proposal for the creation of an "International Peace Park" (presented in the CMP) which encompasses a number of interventions on the infrastructure at the property and the development of activities. These initiatives favouring the development of the property are to be welcomed in principle, but the State Party should be encouraged to provide any information on major interventions at the property in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines before any detailed approvals are made.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7B.48
Sukur Cultural Landscape (Nigeria) (C 938)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add2,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.17, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Commends the actions undertaken by the State Party to address the impacts of the insurgent attacks of 2014 on the Sukur Cultural Landscape, and notes with appreciation the elaboration of the new Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 2017-2021;
  4. Noting that conservation works to address the damage caused by the 2014 attacks to the Hidi place, paved walkways and other structures still need to be undertaken, welcomes the assistance given to the State Party by the international community to address the impacts of those attacks on the property and its communities;
  5. Encourages the State Party to pursue its efforts for continued conservation and requests it in particular to undertake detailed mapping of cultural features as soon as funds are available, including traditional structures and practices;
  6. Notes that people displaced from other areas are settling in growing numbers in the property area, leading to a scarcity of resources and to the construction of buildings using inappropriate materials;
  7. Requests the State Party to take appropriate measures to ensure sustainable use of local materials, and to ensure increased control of erosion on the site;
  8. Takes note of the initiatives for the development of eco-tourism at the property, and also encourages the State Party to keep the World Heritage Committee informed of any future development project within the vicinity of the property, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, before any irreversible decisions are made;
  9. Also takes note that for security reasons, the planned Reactive Monitoring mission to the property was not feasible, but that a mission has been undertaken to meet national experts and property staff in Abuja (Nigeria) in May 2018;
  10. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, as well as on the recommandations of the May 2018 mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7B.48

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add.2,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.17, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Commends the actions undertaken by the State Party to address the impacts of the insurgent attacks of 2014 on the Sukur Cultural Landscape, and notes with appreciation the elaboration of the new Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 2017-2021;
  4. Noting that conservation works to address the damage caused by the 2014 attacks to the Hidi place, paved walkways and other structures still need to be undertaken, welcomes the assistance given to the State Party by the international community to address the impacts of those attacks on the property and its communities;
  5. Encourages the State Party to pursue its efforts for continued conservation and requests it in particular to undertake detailed mapping of cultural features as soon as funds are available, including traditional structures and practices;
  6. Notes that people displaced from other areas are settling in growing numbers in the property area, leading to a scarcity of resources and to the construction of buildings using inappropriate materials;
  7. Requests the State Party to take appropriate measures to ensure sustainable use of local materials, and to ensure increased control of erosion on the site;
  8. Takes note of the initiatives for the development of eco-tourism at the property, and also encourages the State Party to keep the World Heritage Committee informed of any future development project within the vicinity of the property, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, before any irreversible decisions are made;
  9. Also takes note that for security reasons, the planned Reactive Monitoring mission to the property was not feasible, but that a mission has been undertaken to meet national experts and property staff in Abuja (Nigeria) in May 2018;
  10. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, as well as on the recommandations of the May 2018 mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.
Report year: 2018
Nigeria
Date of Inscription: 1999
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(v)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2017) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 42COM (2018)
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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