State of Conservation
Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve
(Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea)
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
- Financial resources
- Ground transport infrastructure
- Human resources
- Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
- Illegal activities
- Land conversion
- Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Influx of refugees
- Agricultural encroachment
- Weak management capacity
- Lack of resources
- Unsatisfactory transboundary cooperation
- Road construction
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
- Iron-ore mining concession inside the property in Guinea
- Arrival of large numbers of refugees from Liberia to areas in and around the Reserve
- Insufficient institutional structure
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Proposed for adoption in the draft Decision below
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Proposed for adoption in the draft Decision below
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019
Total amount granted: USD 25,282 from the Rapid Response Facility in January 2012 (see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/830/)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 20
Total amount approved : 482,588 USD
Missions to the property until 2019**
October/November 1988: World Heritage Centre mission; 1993: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission; 1994: IUCN mission; 2000: World Heritage Centre mission; 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission to Guinea; 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission to Côte d’Ivoire; 2013: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission; January 2019: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 30 January 2019, the States Parties of Guinea and the Côte d’Ivoire submitted a joint state of conservation report on the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/155/documents/, providing the following information:
- A workshop was organized at Lola (Guinea) in December 2018 to revitalize transboundary cooperation after its suspension at the time of the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014. However, with the end of the Steward Programme funded by USAID, there is no further funding to support trans-border cooperation;
- Each State Party has organized surveillance patrols, ecological monitoring restoration activities of the degraded zones and awareness-raising sessions. The interpretation of the SMART data in the Côte d’Ivoire show, for example, a reduction in aggression incidences (117 incidences in 2017 against 54 in 2018). The operational capacities of the surveillance teams were also strengthened through the provision of about thirty agents from the west mobile brigade (Côte d’Ivoire); and the recruitment of 100 agents with their training funded by the national budget (Guinea);
- In the Côte d’Ivoire, Decree N° 2018-459 was issued on 9 May 2018 to modify the boundaries of the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve from 5,000 ha to 5,092 ha in relation to the 1944 Decree. A request for International Assistance was submitted for the preparation of an updated high-resolution map of the boundaries of the property;
- In Guinea, the Sama Resources Company has focused on the graphite outside the property. Environmental and social impact assessments have been undertaken for all mining and/or development projects likely to impact the property;
- The tarmacking project for the Danané-Lola road is being implemented, and does not encroach on the property in the Côte d’Ivoire;
- Funding has been obtained for the next five years in the framework of the Filières Agricoles Durable de Côte d’Ivoire Programme, that will ensure the implementation of the management functions of the property. In Guinea, the ongoing implementation of the projects (GEF-Mano and European Union) is noted.
As requested in Decision 42 COM 7A.46, a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission was organized from 9 to 20 January 2019, and the report is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/155/documents.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019
The 2019 joint mission concluded that the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property is still present and that efforts are deployed by the Centre for Environmental Management of Mount Nimba and Simandou (CEGENS) and the Ivorian Office for Parks and Reserves (OIPR) to effect surveillance patrols, reactivate transboundary cooperation, involving also the Liberian authorities, raise awareness in the communities and ensure ecological monitoring. However, brush fires, increase in agricultural encroachment, fuelwood cutting and poaching represent persistent threats, and invasive species emerge due to anthropogenic activity in the area.
Furthermore, the property has no buffer zone in the Côte d’Ivoire and the one in Guinea is non-operational. In addition, there is no joint surveillance and monitoring mechanism at the property able to provide global and updated data on the characteristic species of the OUV and the threats affecting the property. It is recommended that the Committee request the States Parties to implement the corrective measures updated by the 2019 mission according to the established timetable, and to finalize the proposed Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) for review by the World Heritage Committee at its 44thsession in 2020.
The publication of Decree N° 2018-459, increasing the area of the property in the Côte d’Ivoire to 5,092 ha is noted. The marking of the property boundaries is also completed, the degraded parts have been recovered and the natural regeneration process continues. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to prepare a high- resolution updated map of the boundaries, once the request for International Assistance is approved.
However, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN remain very concerned by the individual and cumulative potential impacts of the mining projects in Guinea. The mission noted that the Société des mines de fer de Guinée (SMFG) continues in the preparation of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the project and pursues characterization studies of the initial state, and that negotiations have been re-engaged with the Government of Guinea concerning the evacuation route of the iron ore. Taking account of the potential impact of the SMFG mining project on the OUV of the property, it is important that the Committee reiterate its request for an independent evaluation of the ESIA as soon as this is available.
The SAMA Resources Society, now exploring graphite outside the property, launched its ESIA and the report should have been available in January 2019. However, the situation remains ambiguous for Zali Mining SA (ex WAE), that holds a mining concession adjacent to the property, and the SMFG concession. The mission was informed that the society possessed an environmental conformity certificate and an exploitation license since 2015 following the non-validated ESIA by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party of Guinea to provide detailed information concerning the different mining licenses, immediately withdraw all the exploitation licenses adjacent to the property, in particular the one for the Société Zali Mining SA (ex-WAE), and submit the available ESIAs. The Committee should reiterate its request that no new exploration or exploitation mining license located around the property be granted without a prior Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment taking place, so as to evaluate the impacts on the OUV of the property, including the cumulative effects of these projects and submit this information to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN.
It is regrettable that the tarmacking project for the Danane – Lola road which crosses through the buffer zone of the Guinean part of the property, was begun with no measures undertaken to mitigate the impacts. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party of Guinea to immediately take mitigation measures to diminish the impacts of this activity.
The ongoing implementation of projects in Guinea and the funding obtained by the Côte d’Ivoire for the implementation of management functions of the property are warmly welcomed. However, progress accomplished in the establishment of an appropriate sustainable funding mechanism, is still mixed. It is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to both States Parties to prepare such a mechanism for the entire property.
Finally, it is recommended that the Committee maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7A.6
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add,
- Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.46, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
- Takes note of the conclusion of the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission of January 2019 that the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property is still intact, but it remains threatened by increasing anthropogenic pressures, notably uncontrolled fires, poaching, the destruction of habitats and the increase in agricultural and forestry practices;
- Notes with satisfaction the efforts deployed by the two States Parties to revitalize transboundary cooperation, initiate awareness-raising campaigns with the neighbouring communities, organizing surveillance patrols and ensuring ecological monitoring using the SMART tool, however, expresses once again its concern as regards the incessant threats affecting the property;
- Regrets that no information has been provided by the State Party of Guinea on the mining projects of the Zali Mining SA (ex WAE) and SMFG Societies, both located in the vicinity of the property, and requests that the new Mining Convention between the SMFG and the Government be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN before its signature, to ensure that its implementation will not impact on the OUV of the property;
- Expresses its deep concern regarding the granting of an environmental conformity certificate and an exploitation license to the Zali Mining SA (ex WAE) for the mining block immediately adjacent to the property; and urges the State Party of Guinea to immediately withdraw this environmental conformity certificate and the exploitation license that has been granted, and that a revised version of the ESIA carried out in 2015 be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, before taking any new decision on the granting of an environmental conformity certificate;
- Also takes note of the information provided by the State Party of Guinea that the new exploration license for the SAMA Resources is located outside the boundaries of the property and the buffer zone of the Biosphere Reserve and that an ESIA is ongoing to assess the impacts of the project, including on the OUV; and also requests the State Party to submit, as soon as available, the results of the ESIA to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN before the granting of an environmental conformity certificate to this Society;
- Reiterates its position, that mining exploration and exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, policy supported by the position statement of the International Council on Mines and Metal (CIMM) not to undertake such activities in World Heritage properties;
- Adopts the following corrective measures, as updated during the 2019 mission, and further requests the States Parties to implement them:
- Ensure that the current and future Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA), (including those of the Zali Mining and SAMA Resources Societies), for mining projects located in the mining enclave and in the immediate vicinity of the property, be carried out in conformity with the highest international standards, submitted to an independent and expert evaluation, and in close consultation with all the key stakeholders,
- Also ensure that these ESIA qualify and quantify the potential effects of these projects on the property, at each stage of their cycle, including construction and exploitation, taking account of their synergetic and collateral impacts, linked also to the transformation in situ of the iron-ore and its transportation, as well as to the socio-economic changes to be expected,
- Submit these ESIA to the World Heritage Committee before any decision approving their conclusions and recommendations is taken,
- Guarantee that no mining exploration or exploitation license encroaches on the property and that no new mining exploration or exploitation license located around the property is granted without a prior Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment and that it is submitted for prior advice to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN to evaluate the impacts, including synergetic impacts, of these projects,
- Correct and establish the property boundaries on the ground in the strategic and vulnerable areas and submit an updated high-resolution map of the boundaries of the property to the World Heritage Committee,
- In Guinea, ensure that the parts of the hevea plantation that encroach on the property be re-incorporated into the property and rehabilitated,
- Strengthen the management capacity of the Centre for Environmental Management of Mount Nimba and Simandou (CEGENS) and the OIPR (Ivorian Office for Parks and Reserves) by: 1) providing a sustainable operating budget for the management of the site, and 2) increasing the capacity of the surveillance agents, their presence on the ground and their technical means, notably rolling stock and techniques, and control their efficacy,
- Implement a functional buffer zone (or an equivalent measure) around the property, in collaboration with the local communities, to enable an effective conservation of the OUV of the property by, for example, resorting to the establishment of communal forests,
- Establish a harmonized ecological monitoring system between the CEGENS and the OIPR, in both parts of the property, to enable a better knowledge of the state and the evolving tendencies of the OUV of the property as a whole,
- Together with the IUCN and the World Heritage Centre, identify a list of critical habitats and remarkable and/or flagship species to be the subject of more specific monitoring,
- Finalize and implement the management plans of the parts of the property located in both countries, harmonized with that of the East Nimba Nature Reserve, Liberia, and prepare a master plan establishing a common vision for the whole property. This framework will serve public and private donors in conservation activities for the property and a sustainable socio-economic development of its periphery,
- Establish a permanent funding mechanism for conservation actions for the property and the sustainable socio-economic development of its periphery, funded, among others, by contributions from the private sector, as the case may be;
- Congratulates the two States Parties for funding obtained for improvement in the management of the property, and capacity-building of the staff, expresses its concern as to the lack of sustainable funding in support of the activities linked to transboundary cooperation, and reiterates its request to the States Parties to prepare a follow-up to the Nimba Project on the integrality of the property;
- Also regrets that the widening and tarmacking project of the Danané – Lola road has begun without taking into account measures to mitigate the impacts of this project, expresses also its keen concern as to the impacts of this project on the OUV of the property and requests furthermore the State Party of Guinea to immediately undertake urgent measures to mitigate the impacts of this activity;
- Requests moreover the States Parties to finalize, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, the proposed Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) developed during the 2019 mission, and to submit it for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020;
- Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, an updated joint report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020;
- Decides to retain Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d'Ivoire,Guinea) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
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”).