1.         Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d'Ivoire,Guinea) (N 155bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (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

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 http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/7464 


Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

In progress

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/155/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1981-2019)
Total amount approved: USD 540,649
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/155/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted:  USD 25,282 from the Rapid Response Facility in January 2012 (see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/830/), USD 31,214 from the Government of China Funds for Capacity Building and cooperation for World Heritage in Africa (https://whc.unesco.org/en/280/?id=1058&&&)

Previous monitoring missions

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

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/155/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 1 February 2020, the States Parties of Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea submitted a joint report on the state of conservation of the property and on 30 January 2021 they submitted additional information, all of which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/155/documents and provides the following information:

In September 2019, the mining project of the Société des mines de fer de Guinée (SMFG) to exploit the Mount Nimba iron deposit was taken over by High Power Exploration (HPX), which set an ambitious timetable to develop the project. An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the project is currently underway. Following a request from the SMFG and the CEGENS to the World Heritage Centre and the IUCN for technical advice on carrying out the ESIA, an independent expert has been suggested by IUCN to provide said advice on the process, and an independent technical review of the ESIA will be undertaken.

On 2 September 2019, the World Heritage Centre sent a communication to the State Party of Guinea concerning the granting of a new mining exploration permit to the company Gui-Appro authorizing operations in the areas of Lola and N'zérékoré near the property. No response has been received to date. On 16 April 2020, the World Heritage Centre received the terms of reference to update of the ESIA of the iron-ore mining project of the Zali Mining Company to which it provided, with IUCN, technical recommendations.

The discovery of a new endemic bat species, Myotis nimbaensis, was announced in January 2021. Another endemic bat species, Hipposideros lamottei, was already known within the property.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The strengthening of transboundary cooperation between the two countries, resulting in the organization of joint surveillance patrols and the harmonization of the ecological monitoring system on the scale of the property, is welcomed. At this stage, the data from this joint ecological monitoring are partially available, and efforts to improve the monitoring of species characteristic of the OUV must be continued. Also, with the persistence of poaching, it is recommended to strengthen this cooperation to reduce the threats to the property. The discovery of a new endemic bat species is further evidence of the exceptional biodiversity of Mount Nimba, which is characterized by a pronounced endemism.

The submission of a proposed DSOCR is positive and IUCN will review the submission in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre for consideration by the Committee at its 45th session. In this context, the launch of the PAPFor will contribute to improving the effectiveness of the management of the property and it is recommended that the Committee request States Parties to ensure that this programme prioritizes the achievement of the DSOCR indicators and the further implementation of corrective measures.

The development of the management plan for the Guinean component is encouraging, and all management plans should be finalized. The lack of a buffer zone in Côte d'Ivoire remains worrying. However, the alternatives considered by OIPR are welcomed and it is recommended that the forests in the vicinity of the property be officially designated as a buffer zone following the procedure of minor boundary modifications with reference to paragraphs 107 and 164 of the Operational Guidelines. In addition, the monitoring of community forests must be strengthened so that their management objectives are compatible with the management of the property. Therefore, the updated high-resolution map of the boundaries of the property should be finalized and submitted to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible.

It is regrettable that no information has been provided on the measures to mitigate the impacts of the asphalting project of the Danané - Lola road which crosses the buffer zone of the property in its Guinean portion. It is recommended that the Committee request Guinea to implement all the provisions of the environmental and social management plan regarding the impacts on the project.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN remain deeply concerned about the potential individual and cumulative impacts of mining projects in Guinea. It is regrettable that no follow-up was given to the correspondence of 2 September 2019 concerning the granting of a new exploration mining permit near the property, and that the ESIA of the SAMA Resources company has not been submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN. Also, the report also does not provide any information on the current state of the Zali Mining concession and the environmental certificate obtained by this company, although during the meeting in August 2019, the State Party of Guinea mentioned that the certificate would no longer be valid. With regard to the update of the ESIA for the Zali Mining project, it is recommended that the terms of reference be revised to ensure that the ESIA is carried out in accordance with the IUCN advice note on Environmental Assessment. Furthermore, the process of developing the ESIA for the SMFG mining project is noted. Considering the potential impact of this project on the OUV of the property, it is important that the ESIA be carried out according to the highest international standards and that the Committee reiterates its request for an independent evaluation of the ESIA as soon as it becomes available before any decision to approve the project, including the issuance of an environmental compliance certificate to the SMFG.

The proliferation of mining permits around the property remains very worrying and it is recommended that no new permits for mining exploration or exploitation near the property be granted without a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment being carried out in order to assess the impacts on the OUV of the property, including the cumulative effects of these projects.

Finally, it is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7A.40

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.6 adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Commends the States Parties for their efforts in strengthening transboundary cooperation which has resulted in the establishment of a joint ecological monitoring system and the organization of joint surveillance patrols, and encourages them to strengthen this cooperation to reduce the current threats to the property and continue efforts to improve the monitoring of species characteristic of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and to finalize a management plan for the entire property;
  4. Welcomes the discovery in 2021 of a new endemic species of bat, Myotis nimbaensis, thus demonstrating the strong endemism of the site;
  5. Appreciates the support of donors, in particular the European Commission, the Government of China Funds for the safeguarding of World Heritage in Africa, the German Commission for UNESCO and technical partners for their support for the conservation of the property, and requests the States Parties of Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea to ensure that these various projects / programmes prioritize the implementation of corrective measures;
  6. Recalls the importance of having a functional buffer zone (or an equivalent measure) around the property in Côte d’Ivoire, and also requests the State Party of Côte d’Ivoire to designate such an area following the Guidelines procedures, and to strengthen the monitoring of community forests around the property, while ensuring that their management objectives are compatible with the management of the property, and to submit as soon as possible the updated high resolution map of the boundaries of the property to the World Heritage Centre;
  7. Further requests the State Party of Guinea to provide detailed information on the measures taken to mitigate the impacts caused by the asphalting of the Danané-Lola road, which crosses the buffer zone of the property in its Guinean area in accordance with provisions of the environmental and social management plan on the impacts of the project;
  8. Takes note of the resumption of the activities of the proposed mining project of the iron deposit of Mount Nimba by the Société des mines de fer de Guinée (SMFG), as well as of its willingness to carry out an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) of the proposed project in accordance with the IUCN Advice Note on World Heritage and submit it to an independent technical review, and reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure that:
    1. The ESIA will be carried out in accordance with the highest international standards, subject to independent and expert assessment, and in close consultation with all key stakeholders,
    2. The ESIA qualifies and quantifies the potential effects of the project on the OUV of the property, at each phase of its cycle, including construction and operation, taking into account the synergistic and collateral impacts also linked to on-site transformation of the ore and its transport, as well as the socio-economic changes to be expected,
    3. The ESIA should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN before any decision to approve the project and the issuance of a certificate of environmental compliance to the Company;
  9. Reiterates its deep concern regarding the issuance of an environmental compliance certificate and an operating permit to Zali Mining SA (ex West Africa Exploration) for the mining block immediately adjacent to the property, in the absence of appropriate ESIA, and urges the State Party of Guinea to confirm the cancellation of this environmental compliance certificate and the granted operating permit, and that the ESIA will be undertaken in accordance with the IUCN Advice Note on World Heritage before any decision to approve the project;
  10. Expressing its deepest concern about the proliferation of mining permits around the property, in particular the granting of a new exploration mining permit to the company Gui-Appro, and the potential cumulative impacts of mining on the OUV of the property, requests furthermore the State Party of Guinea to not grant any new exploration or mining permits around the property without carrying out a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment and submitting it for prior consideration to the World Heritage Centre and for examination by IUCN in order to assess the impacts, including synergistic ones, of these projects;
  11. Reiterates its position that mining exploration or exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, a policy supported by the position statement of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) not to undertake such activities in World Heritage properties;
  12. Takes note of the submission by States Parties of a proposal for a 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 updated in 2021, and further notes that this document will be reviewed by IUCN in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session;
  13. Finally requests the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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 45th session;
  14. Decides to retain the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 44 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/21/44.COM/7A, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: