1.         Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal) (N 153)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2007-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

Adopted, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4087
Revised (finalization of indicators) in 2015, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6232  

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6232 

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6232

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1982-2017)
Total amount approved: USD 206,799
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 250 000 from the government of Norway (2021-2022)

Previous monitoring missions

2001, 2007 and 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions, 2011: IUCN mission and 2015: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 31 January 2020, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.org/en/list/153/documents/, containing the following information:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

Continued monitoring of the evolution of certain animal populations (hartebeest, Derby eland and Lycaon), their habitat as well as the main threats that affect the property is warmly welcomed. However, the report provides no indication on the current state of conservation or the tendencies of these species. Further, the present situation of several characteristic species of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), notably the elephant, chimpanzee, lion and leopard is not indicated. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to strengthen its ecological monitoring mechanism so as to provide reliable data on the evolution of the populations of all the characteristic species of the OUV. To this end, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, with funding from the Government of Norway, will contribute to the State Party's efforts to improve the state of conservation of the property.

The estimation of 15 individuals as the number of chimpanzees in the impact zone of the PMC is noted, but the threats that menace this endangered species and its habitat remain very worrying. It is recommended that the Committee request that the measures undertaken to mitigate the impact of the major threats affecting the conservation of the species be reinforced.

The semi-mechanised mining exploitations have contributed towards damage to the aquatic habitat and to a significant increase in the level of suspended sediments in the Gambia River. It is important that the State Party continue efforts, with support from the prefectural authorities, to eliminate illicit extractive activities inside and in the vicinity of the property immediately and undertake urgent measures to restore the damaged habitats and control pollution.

The high concentrations of nitrate, sulphate and iron in the underground waters and aluminium in the waters of the Gambia River remain a cause for concern. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to continue monitoring the groundwater and surface water quality to detect the causes of these anomalies, carry out microbiological analyses of the waterways likely to be affected by the project and to undertake urgent measures to limit the impact of this pollution.

It is regrettable that the report has not provided information concerning the combat against invasive species and it is recommended that the Committee request the pursuance of the efforts to eliminate this threat.

The absence of animal mortality following the introduction of speed controls of vehicles on the RN7 is positive and the Committee could request assurance that these traffic and safety standards are respected, whilst continuing to raise awareness of the motorists.

The materialization of the entire non-naturel boundaries of the property is warmly welcomed. However, the negative impact of the Mansadala quarry on the OUV of the property is of great concern. Taking account of the confirmation by the State Party regarding the non-closure of the quarry before mid-2021, contrary to the decision of the Committee concerning its closure, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request in this respect.

The suspension of construction work for the Sambangalou Dam due to lack of funding is noted, however, it is important that an ESIA be undertaken, in conformity with the Advice Note of IUCN, and that it be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, before the commencement of the work.

The submission to the World Heritage Centre of the ESIA carried out by the Barrick Gold Company to ensure that the implementation of the mining project does not impact on the OUV is noted. It is recommended that the State Party does not deliver a certificate of environmental conformity to this Company before the ESIA is examined by IUCN.

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

Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7A.50

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 42 COM 7A.55 and 43 COM 7A.15, adopted respectively at its 42nd (Manama, 2018) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions,
  3. Takes note of the efforts undertaken by the State Party to implement some of the corrective measures, especially those concerning the monitoring of certain populations of threatened and key species for the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), improvement in the marking of the boundaries of the property and the speed limit of traffic on the section of National Road N°7 within the property;
  4. Also takes note of the results of the ecological monitoring, but regrets the absence of data on some characteristic species of the OUV and requests the State Party to strengthen its ecological monitoring mechanism to provide reliable data on the state of conservation and the current population trends of all the characteristic species of the OUV;
  5. Thanks the donors who continue to support the conservation of the property, notably the Government of Norway through its contribution to the World Heritage Fund;
  6. Expresses its grave concern regarding the continued menace that weighs on the threatened population of 15 chimpanzees present in the impact zone of the Petowal Mining Company (PMC) and also requests the State Party to continue implementation of the actions aimed at mitigating the impact of the major threats hindering the conservation of the species;
  7. Warmly welcomes the progress made by the State Party in the control and elimination of illicit mining exploitation, but expresses its grave concern as regards damage to the aquatic habitat and the significant increase in the level of suspended sediments in the Gambia River following illegal mining exploitation, and further requests the State Party to continue its efforts in eliminating this threat in the property, while undertaking urgent measures to restore the damaged habitats and control pollution;
  8. Reiterates its grave concern regarding high concentrations of nitrate, sulphate and iron in the groundwater, and aluminium in the waters of the Gambia River, and requests furthermore the State Party to continue monitoring the quality of the groundwater and surface waters to detect the causes of these anomalies, carry out microbiological analyses of the waterways likely to be affected by the project and to take urgent measures to limit the impact of this pollution;
  9. Also regrets that the State Party has not provided any information concerning the combat against invasive species and requests moreover that it continues its efforts to eliminate this threat;
  10. Further regrets the postponement until mid-2021 of the closure of the Mansadala quarry, reiterates its request to the State Party to proceed immediately to the closure of the quarry given its negative impact on the OUV of the property, and urges the State Party to undertake urgent measures to mitigate the impacts of this activity;
  11. Further takes note of the suspension of the construction work for the Sambangalou Dam due to lack of funding and requests in addition the State Party not to undertake work before an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) has been realized in conformity with the IUCN Advice Note and submitted to the World Heritage Centre;
  12. Takes note furthermore of the submission to the World Heritage Centre of the ESIA of the Barrick Gold Company mining project, and requests the State Party not to deliver a certificate of environmental conformity to the Company before the examination of the ESIA by IUCN;
  13. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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 45th session;
  14. Decides to retain Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal) 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: