State of Conservation
Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
- Civil unrest
- Erosion and siltation/ deposition
- Forestry /wood production
- Human resources
- Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
- Illegal activities
- Invasive/alien terrestrial species
- Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
- Management activities
- Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Political instability and civil strife
- Management constraints (lack of human and logistical means)
- Ostrich poaching and other species
- Soil erosion
- Demographic pressure
- Livestock pressure
- Pressure on forestry resources
- Gold panning
- Illegal activities (increase in poaching threats and timber harvesting)
- Proliferation of the invasive exotic species Prosopis juliflora
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
Corrective Measures for the property
Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/325
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 8
Total amount approved : 202,316 USD
|2019||Elaboration d’un Plan d’aménagement et gestion ... (Approved)||29,994 USD|
|2013||Mission d'évaluation de la réserve naturelle nationale ... (Approved)||29,872 USD|
|2002||Confection des plaques de commémoration de 2 sites ... (Approved)||450 USD|
|2000||Préparation d’un dossier d'inscription du site de l’Aïr ... (Approved)||15,000 USD|
|1999||Financial support for the implementation of the ... (Approved)||75,000 USD|
Action plan for the implementation of Urgent ...
Reapproval: 04 Sep, 2000 (n°1320 - 12,000 USD)
Action plan for the implementation of Urgent ...
Reapproval: 01 Mar, 2001 (n°1341 - 20,000 USD)
|1999||National Sensitising Seminar for the Personnel Charged ... (Approved)||20,000 USD|
Missions to the property until 2019**
May 2005 and February 2015: IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 3 February 2019, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/documents/, which provides the following information:
- As part of the involvement of local communities in the management of the property, some local opinion leaders have been chosen as valley leaders to accompany the surveillance and awareness-raising activities in collaboration with the Protected Area Management Unit (UGAP);
- A conservation and reintroduction strategy for the red-necked ostrich and a funding plan have been developed. The captive breeding programme continues at three sites, including Iférouane, and funding opportunities are being explored. Three release sites in the property have been identified as part of this strategy;
- Research and exploitation permits for uranium, oil and gold have been granted at the edge of the reserve over a distance of between 100 and 400 km. These permits have been the subject of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), and missions are regularly organized as part of the implementation of the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP);
- The extent of illegal activities (poaching, logging and gold panning) in the property decreased by half from 0.14 index / km in 2017 to 0.07 index / km in 2018. This is mainly due to the regular presence of surveillance teams in key areas affected by gold panning, the development of community initiatives (involvement of valley leaders in the property's monitoring strategy) and the organization of several awareness-raising sessions for neighboring communities;
- Two ecological monitoring missions located in the Mount Takoulkouzat area combining direct and indirect observation were carried out in 2018. With the exception of the red-necked ostrich, cheetah and addax, all the other species characteristic of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including the dama gazelle, the dorcas gazelle, the bighorn sheep and the jackal, have been observed;
- A project proposal for funding was submitted to the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) to develop an Invasive Alien Species Management Plan (IAS) for the species Prosopis juliflora. In 2018, 40 ha colonized by juliflora and 524.2 ha of degraded land were treated with the participation of various stakeholders, including local communities;
- A revised international assistance request has been submitted by the State Party to update the management plan for the property, develop an action plan for the implementation of corrective measures, and develop a Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR).
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019
The State Party has made significant efforts to operationalize the management body of the property. The positive collaboration with the local authorities marked by the effective involvement of the valley leaders in the surveillance strategy of the property should be continued.
Despite these efforts, the property still does not have a development and management plan integrated with a monitoring plan. In addition, the property is still vulnerable to poaching, illegal logging, the proliferation of invasive alien species, and threats related to the exploration and exploitation of uranium, oil and gold near the property. Although the report mentions that the extractive activities are carried out in close proximity to the property in all legality since they are covered by a certificate of environmental compliance are are regularly monitored, it is regrettable that the State Party has not transmitted to the World Heritage Centre the EIA reports of these different mining projects in order to assess their potential impacts on the OUV. In addition, the Committee had previously requested the State Party to provide maps clearly indicating the location of the sites associated with these permits in relation to the property, but these have unfortunately not been submitted. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that no new mining exploration or exploitation permits around the property are granted without a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) being conducted to assess the impacts on the OUV of the property, including the cumulative effects of these projects.
Regarding the extent of poaching and logging, the State Party report indicates that they have decreased compared to 2017, without specifying the area covered by the monitoring for a better assessment of these two pressures. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide maps showing the location, severity, and extent of these threats. The State Party should put in place an effective ecological monitoring system using the SMART tool to better understand the extent of anthropogenic pressures, and the evolution trends of the OUV of the property as a whole.
Regarding the mammalian fauna, although some ecological monitoring efforts have confirmed the presence of several characteristic species of the OUV, it is feared that the red-necked ostrich, addax and cheetah are locally extinct, as they have not been reported for many years. The situation of the cheetah and the red-necked ostrich is disturbing and deserves detailed investigation to determine the true status of these two species.
The State Party has also made efforts to develop the strategy for the conservation and reintroduction of the red-necked ostrich, but these documents have unfortunately not been submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit them. While it is positive that the State Party is exploring funding possibilities, it is disturbing to note that this has not yet been assured, and it is imperative that the State Party clarify the situation of this financing agreement with the Sahara Conservation Fund for the development of the red-necked ostrich restoration strategy.
In addition, the proliferation of the species Prosopis juliflora remains a major concern. It is therefore recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to include in the management plan a strategy to combat the spread of invasive species.
The State Party is continuing its efforts to implement the corrective measures, but given the magnitude of the threats to the OUV, further progress is needed. The development and implementation of the development and management Plan of the property integrated with a monitoring plan, the intensification of community initiatives with the neighbouring communities, as well as the strengthening of the technical and operational capacities of the management team remain imperatives. It is also urgent to define the DSOCR for this property, in accordance with paragraph 183 of the Operational Guidelines.
It is finally 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.14
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A,
- Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.54, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
- Takes note of the efforts made by the State Party to implement the corrective measures, and the positive collaboration with the local communities through the involvement of the valley leaders in raising awareness and monitoring of the property, but considers that further progress is needed in view of the magnitude of the threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
- Notes that ecological monitoring has confirmed the presence of several characteristic species of the OUV, but reiterates its deep concern that other species appear to be extinct locally and requests the State Party to continue ecological monitoring efforts;
- Also requests the State Party to develop and implement as a matter of urgency the General Management Plan of the property and the monitoring plan, as well as a strategy to combat the spread of invasive species;
- Expresses its concern about the proliferation of exploration and exploitation permits for uranium, oil and gold in the immediate vicinity of the property, as well as the pursuit of illegal gold panning and further requests the State Party:
- To provide further information (location maps, concessions, permit details) on these different mining projects,
- To ensure that the impacts of these projects on the OUV of the property are assessed in the framework of Strategic Environmental Impact Assessments (SEIA), in accordance with the IUCN World Heritage Advisory Note on Environmental Assessment before new permits are granted,
- To submit, as soon as available, a copy of these SEIAs to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN,
- That no new mining exploration or exploitation permits be granted around the property without a SEIA being conducted to assess the OUV impacts of the property, including the cumulative effects of those projects;
- Regrets that the report submitted by the State Party does not provide detailed information on poaching and logging in and around the property, as well as on actions taken to combat these threats, and request furthermore it to provide maps showing the location, severity, and extent of the main identified threats;
- Reiterates its encouragement to the State Party to seek the advice of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to prepare a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
- Finally 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 Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) 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”).