State of Conservation
Rainforests of the Atsinanana
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
- Fire (widlfires)
- Illegal activities
- Land conversion
- Society's valuing of heritage
- Subsistence hunting
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Hunting and poaching of endangered species, including lemurs
- Artisanal mining
- Illegal logging of precious wood species (ebony and rosewood)
- Weak governance and law enforcement to prevent the illegal logging end export of precious wood species
- Need to strengthen the engagement of and benefit-sharing with local communities
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
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019
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 (2014-2016)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 3
Total amount approved : 155,000 USD
|2018||Renforcer la capacité des communautés locales et des ...|
|2016||Conservation et gestion des forêts humides de ... (Not approved)||0 USD|
|2010||Forêts Humides de l’Atsinanana (Approved)||100,000 USD|
|2005||Elaboration of a a serial nomination for the humid ... (Approved)||25,000 USD|
|2000||Technical Assistance for Building Capacity for World ... (Approved)||30,000 USD|
Missions to the property until 2019**
May 2011, September 2015: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions
|2015||Rapport de la mission conjointe de suivi réactif Centre du patrimoine mondial/UICN aux forêts humides d’Atsinanana, ...|
|2011||Mission de suivi de l’état de conservation des Forêts humides de l’Atsinanana, Madagascar, 23-31 mai 2011|
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 4 February 2019, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, the summary of which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/documents/, and reporting the following:
- Implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Action Plan and the Biodiversity Management Plan is ongoing. Eight cases of offences have been referred to the now operational special court for rosewoods and ebonies, and 79 cases are in progress in the general courts of law (2017-2018). So far, 1/6 of the existing stockpiles have been inventoried. Madagascar submitted reports to the 71st session of the CITES Standing Committee (https://cites.org/sites/default/files/fra/com/sc/71/F-SC71-14.pdf, in French only) and to the 18th meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (COP18) (https://cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/cop/18/doc/E-CoP18-030-01.pdf);
- A protocol signed in August 2018 between the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and Madagascar National Parks appointed 16 Judiciary Police Officers in sites prone to illicit exploitation of precious timber and poaching;
- Strengthened surveillance patrols cover almost the entire property, with 51 patrols undertaken by mixed brigades and 1,732 by park rangers in 2018. Aerial surveillance remains a challenge due to the elevated costs;
- Illegal logging of precious wood, mainly palisander, increased in 2018 (116 trees) compared to 2017 (83). The shift from rosewood to palisander can be attributed to rosewood with commercial value becoming rare, and the strengthening of enforcement measures to prevent the illegal logging of rosewood;
- In 2018, 22 lemur species were subject to ecological monitoring carried out with the use of SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tools) and 179 lemur traps were recorded, which although much higher than in previous years, the State Party argues can be partly explained by increased surveillance;
- 48 ha of degraded areas were rehabilitated in the property. Funding for the implementation of a rehabilitation project was secured in June 2018;
- The percentage of forest clearance remained below the 0.01% indicator as defined in the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
- Some measures were taken in response to illegal mining in Ranomafana National Park, such as an information by the local police on prohibitions and sanctions for exploiting the park’s natural resources. Three offenders have been arrested and brought to justice;
- Management plans are being developed for each national park, followed by an integrated management plan for the property.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019
The State Party’s continued efforts to address the factors affecting the property and implement the corrective measures are appreciated. Surveillance, ecological monitoring and rehabilitation of degraded areas have continued and the projects and measures put in place to strengthen the management of the property, to increase community involvement and to promote sustainable development, with the support of international donors, are welcomed.
The results of the ecological monitoring of 22 lemur species and information that deforestation rates remain below the 0.01% indicator of the DSOCR are well noted. However, the State Party does not provide clear data on the deforestation rates for each component of the property since 2009, as requested by the Committee, and the data and map for the changes in annual deforestation only refers to the 2010-2017 period. The 2018 report had also indicated higher deforestation rates for the 2016-2017 period compared to the 2019 report. While the rehabilitation of an additional 48 ha of degraded areas is appreciated, the State Party did not report on the remaining sites to be rehabilitated, as requested by the Committee (42 COM 7A.53).
In spite of the State Party’s efforts, the increasing number of reported cases of illegal logging of precious wood and lemur traps is of significant concern. The total number of reported traps (179) is considerably higher than any other figures reported since 2009, and the number of illegal logging cases (116) is highest since 2014. The State Party should continue to strengthen control and law enforcement measures against these illegal activities.
Some progress appears to have been made towards the implementation of the CITES Decision 17.204 and recommendations of the CITES Standing Committee despite the limited resources available. It is particularly noteworthy that the special court for rosewoods and ebonies is now functional, hopefully strengthening the rule of law. However, the audited inventories of at least one third of the stockpiles of precious woods has not yet been completed, hindering progress towards both the implementation of the CITES decision and the DSOCR. It needs to be recalled that previous monitoring missions considered that undocumented stockpiles were the main driver behind continued illegal logging and exports. It will be important for the State Party to fully implement the CITES decisions in relation to ebony (Diospyros spp.), palisander and rosewood (Dalbergia spp.). The report of the CITES Standing Committee to the CITES COP18 is available online (https://cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/cop/18/doc/E-CoP18-030-02.pdf).
The State Party report offers limited information concerning threats from illegal mining and does not include an update on the implementation status of the five-year Action Plan on illegal mining as requested in Decision 42 COM 7A.53. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request that such information is provided. Furthermore, it is important to assess the damage from past and on-going mining activities, notably in Ranomafana National Park and undertake the required restoration activities.
The on-going work on the development of the Management Plans for each component and the Integrated Management Plan for the property is welcome. It should be used as an opportunity to revise the outdated timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures by developing a costed and time-bound action plan as part of the Integrated Management Plan. All draft Management Plans should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review prior to approval.
Whilst acknowledging the State Party’s progress, further efforts are still required to meet the indicators for the DSOCR, and therefore it is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7A.13
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A,
- Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.53, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
- Welcomes progress achieved by the State Party towards the implementation of the corrective measures, in particular the strengthened surveillance, ecological monitoring and rehabilitation of degraded areas;
- Notes the reported decrease in the 2018 deforestation rate for the whole property but reiterates its request to the State Party to provide further information on deforestation rates for each component of the property since 2009, including an analysis of satellite imagery, and to report on the results of ecological monitoring and remaining sites to be rehabilitated;
- Regrets that the State Party did not provide information on the implementation status of the five-year Action Plan on illegal mining, which was previously considered to be an increasingly severe threat to the property, in particular Ranomafana National Park, and also reiterates its request to the State Party to provide an update on the implementation status of the Action Plan as well as an assessment of the damage from mining activities to the property, and to undertake the required restoration activities;
- Urges the State Party to continue implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Action Plan and Biodiversity Management Plan, and strongly encourages it to implement all the CITES decisions in relation to ebony, palisander and rosewood;
- Notes with concern the significant increase in the reported number of lemur traps and cases of illegal logging demonstrating that poaching and illegal logging remain persistent threats to the property, and requests the State Party to strengthen control and law enforcement measures against these illegal activities;
- Also requests the State Party to update the timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures by developing a costed and time-bound Action Plan as part of the new Integrated Management Plan, and to submit the draft Management Plans for each components of the property and the Integrated Management Plan to the World Heritage Centre, for review prior to approval;
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, 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 44th session in 2020;
- Decides to retain Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Madagascar) 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”).