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W-Arly-Pendjari Complex

Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Illegal activities
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Terrorism
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Phosphate mining project (issue resolved)
  • Dam project (issue resolved)
  • Lack of monitoring of the implementation of the Management Plan
  • Transhumance
  • Insecurity
  • Poaching
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 5 (from 1997-2012)
Total amount approved : 105,450 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

UNESCO/RAMSAR mission, 8-22 May 2004

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 24 December 2019, the States Parties of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger submitted a joint state of conservation report, available at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/749/documents, containing the following information:

  • The surveillance mechanism for the property has been reinforced through an increase in the number of eco-guards (+139 agents), trained in the strategy of Anti-Poaching Combat (LAB) and with the provision of equipment, including arms and munitions to ensure control of the property;
  • Mixed transnational surveillance patrols with defence and security forces have been initiated to ensure the protection of the property in a context of grave insecurity;
  • In the framework of transnational cooperation, two major decisions have been adopted to guarantee the management of shared resources (24 January 2017) and to harmonize the management of the protected areas of the Complex (Tripartite Agreement of 9 May 2019);
  • Concerted initiatives in the management of the property are carried out with several partners to integrate aspects linked to climate change;
  • To guarantee the sustainable funding of the property, the West African Savannah Fund (FSOA) is functional in Benin; Burkina Faso has a presence since 2019 and the procedure is underway in Niger;
  • Several initiatives are being implemented with support from different technical and financial partners for the sustainable management of transhumance around the property but difficulties persist;
  • Despite the efforts of Benin and Burkina Faso, the map for the boundaries of the buffer zone on the scale of 1/50 000 was not carried out due to financial constraints and UNESCO support was requested by the three States Parties in an official correspondence dated 21 February 2020;
  • An agreed buffer zone was defined for the W National Park in Niger and the new map will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre;
  • In 2019, an aerial census of elephants and the monitoring of large carnivorous with camera traps was carried out. The reports on these activities are under preparation;
  • A landing strip has been built in the Pendjari National Park following an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) that concluded that the work would have no impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  • The principal challenge remains the increased insecurity situation in the region, with the possibility that terrorists seek refuge in the property.

The World Heritage Centre was informed of development work in the Pendjari National Park, including the construction of electric fencing, an aerodrome and paths. Following correspondence from Benin of 27 August and 11 December 2019, the different studies carried out in the framework of this work have been transmitted to the World Heritage Centre for examination by IUCN.

On 12 February 2020, the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party of Burkina Faso to clarify information according to which security problems had caused the evacuation of the staff of the Arly National Park. On 7 July 2020, the Burkina Faso State Party confirmed the increased insecurity situation and the evacuation of the staff from the W and Arly Parks. On 12 November 2020, the World Heritage Centre informed the States Parties of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger of the proposal to inscribe W-Arly-Pendjari Complex on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to the increasing insecurity and total lack of management of the Arly and W components of the property in Burkina Faso, in accordance with paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, and requested a meeting at the convenience of the three States Parties.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The signature, in 2019, of the Tripartite Agreement for harmonized management of the protected areas comprising the property illustrates a strengthening of transnational cooperation for efficient management of the area. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the three States Parties to implement this Agreement and to continue the current initiatives and incorporate the climatic considerations into the management of the Complex to mitigate the effects and implement adaptive activities with the technical and financial partners involved in these initiatives.

Important efforts have been deployed to define in a participative manner a buffer zone for the W National Park in Niger and to prepare a map of the boundaries of the buffer zone of the property on the scale of 1/50 000°. It is recommended that the Committee applaud the efforts of the States Parties and request Niger to submit the new map to the World Heritage Centre through the process of a minor modification to the boundaries of the property, and request that the States Parties complete the map of the boundaries of the buffer zone for the entire property on the scale of 1/50 000°.

The increase in the number of eco-guards, strengthening their operational capacity and the organization of joint surveillance patrols with the defence and security forces are favourably welcomed. However, recent insecurity in the region has become very worrying, as witnessed by the murderous attack of 9 August 2020 in the Kouré zone in the vicinity of the Complex and the ambush on 27 April 2021 of an anti-poaching patrol in the Arly component of the Complex that was newly formed to assist in efforts to secure the property. The property also serves as a refuge to several active terrorist groups in the Sahel thus causing the evacuation of the management staff of the Arly and W Parks in Burkina Faso. In the light of increasing insecurity that has led to a total absence of management presence in these components of the property, the OUV of the property is faced with potential danger, as defined in paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines. Consequently, it is recommended that the Committee inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger to alert the international community of the critical situation of the property, support the three States Parties in the preparation of a road map to improve the state of conservation of the Complex, whilst guaranteeing the necessary funding for its safety. In this context, and with the financial support of the Government of Norway, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN cooperate with the three States Parties and its partners in the organization of national and regional consultations and a high-level meeting to contribute to the sustainable management of the property and its periphery in the face of the security crisis in the Sahel.

Noting the importance of the characteristic species for the OUV of the property, it is regrettable that the results of the 2019 biological inventories are not yet available, and it is recommended that the Committee request the States Parties to provide this information to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible for examination by IUCN.

Furthermore, the pressure of transhumance in the property remains a cause of concern with illegal grazing in the dry season. It is important that the States Parties implement the Development and Management Plans (PAG) for the ecological blocks of the property in strict respect of the defined zonings.

Finally, in the light of these above-mentioned concerns, it is recommended that the Committee request the States Parties to invite, as soon as the security situation permits, a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to evaluate the current state of conservation vis-à-vis the security situation in concertation with the States Parties. This mission should also propose a set of corrective measures and a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), for examination by the Committee at its 45th session in 2022.  

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.79
W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (Benin/Burkina Faso/Niger) (N 749)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 8B.3, adopted during its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the guards killed in the line of duty and to all the staff of the national administrations in charge of the management of the property;
  4. Takes note of the strengthening of the operational capacity of the eco-guards and their numbers, and the organization of joint surveillance patrols with the defence and security forces and considers that this collaboration should be reinforced over a longer period in view of the security situation in the region;
  5. Expresses its grave concern with regard to the increasing insecurity in the region and the property, in particular the presence of armed terrorist groups who operate in the property, causing the evacuation of the management staff of the Arly and W Parks in Burkina Faso, and leading to an increase in illegal activities (poaching, transhumance, gold panning), endangering the lives of the surveillance staff of the Park and integrity of the property;
  6. Also considers that in the light of increasing insecurity and the resulting relative absence of management presence in the two Arly and W components of the property in Burkina Faso, the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property may be affected if the current security measures taken are not effective;
  7. Expresses its concern with regard to the impacts of transhumance in the property, and requests the States Parties to implement the Development and Management Plans (PAG) for the ecological blocks of the property strictly respecting the defined zonings;
  8. Congratulates the States Parties of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger for the signature in May 2019 of the Tripartite Agreement concerning the harmonized management of the protected areas of the transnational W-Arly-Pendjari Complex, and encourages them to implement the provisions of this Agreement;
  9. Warmly welcomes all the activities undertaken in the consensual definition of the buffer zone for the W National Park in Niger, and also requests the Niger State Party to submit the new map to the World Heritage Centre through the procedure of a minor modification to the boundaries of the property to ensure a coherent approach to the buffer zones of the whole W-Arly-Pendjari Complex;
  10. Noting the technical and financial difficulties, further requests the States Parties of Benin and Burkina Faso to submit to the World Heritage Centre a new map of the boundaries of the buffer zone on the scale of 1:50 000 by 1 December 2022 for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session;
  11. Regrets that no information on the results of the different inventories carried out have been provided and therefore requests furthermore the States Parties to make available this information to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible for examination by IUCN;
  12. Welcomes the efforts deployed firstly to incorporate the climatic considerations into the efficient management of the property, and secondly to mitigate the effects by implementing adaptive activities, and also encourages the States Parties to continue their efforts with the technical and financial partners involved in these initiatives;
  13. Requests moreover the States Parties to invite, as soon as possible, a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property to evaluate its current state of conservation;
  14. 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.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.79

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 8B.3, adopted during its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the guards killed in the line of duty and to all the staff of the national administrations in charge of the management of the property;
  4. Takes note of the strengthening of the operational capacity of the eco-guards and their numbers, and the organization of joint surveillance patrols with the defence and security forces and considers that this collaboration should be reinforced over a longer period in view of the security situation in the region;
  5. Expresses its grave concern with regard to the increasing insecurity in the region and the property and in particular the presence of armed terrorist groups who operate in the property, causing the evacuation of the management staff of the Arly and W Parks in Burkina Faso, and leading to an increase in illegal activities (poaching, transhumance, gold panning), endangering the lives of the surveillance staff of the Park and integrity of the property;
  6. Also considers that in the light of increasing insecurity and the resulting total absence of management presence in the two Arly and W components of the property in Burkina Faso, the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property is faced with potential danger, in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Decides to inscribe the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  8. Requests the States Parties, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop a set of corrective measures, a timetable for their implementation, as well as a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session in 2022;
  9. Expresses its concern with regard to the impacts of transhumance in the property and also requests the States Parties to implement the Development and Management Plans (PAG) for the ecological blocks of the property strictly respecting the defined zonings;
  10. Congratulates the States Parties of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger for the signature in May 2019 of the Tripartite Agreement concerning the harmonized management of the protected areas of the transnational W-Arly-Pendjari Complex and encourages them to implement the provisions of this Agreement;
  11. Warmly welcomes all the activities undertaken in the consensual definition of the buffer zone for the W National Park in Niger, and further requests the Niger State Party to submit the new map to the World Heritage Centre through the procedure of a minor modification to the boundaries of the property to ensure a coherent approach to the buffer zones of the whole W-Arly-Pendjari Complex;
  12. Notes the technical and financial difficulties, requests furthermore the States Parties of Benin and Burkina Faso to submit to the World Heritage Centre a new map of the boundaries of the buffer zone on the scale of 1:50 000° by 1 December 2022 for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session in 2023;
  13. Regrets that no information on the results of the different inventories carried out have been provided and therefore requests moreover the States Parties to make available this information to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible for examination by IUCN;
  14. Welcomes the efforts deployed firstly to incorporate the climatic considerations into the efficient management of the property, and secondly to mitigate the effects by implementing adaptive activities, and also encourages the States Parties to continue their efforts with the technical and financial partners involved in these initiatives;
  15. Requests in addition the States Parties to invite, as soon as the security situation permits, a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property to evaluate its current state of conservation in respect of the insecurity situation and to finalize in concertation with the States Parties, a group of corrective measures and a DSOCR, for examination by the Committee at its 45th session in 2022;
  16. 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 in 2022.
Report year: 2021
Burkina Faso Benin Niger
Date of Inscription: 1996
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2019) .pdf
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
Exports

* : 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”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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