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Dja Faunal Reserve

Cameroon
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Commercial hunting
  • Forestry /wood production
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Mining
  • Water infrastructure
  • Other Threats:

    Risk of loss of ecological connectivity

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Mining exploitation project close to the property
  • Lack of implementation and full approval and of the management plan
  • Agricultural and forest encroachment
  • Industrial agriculture of Hévéa in the contiguous zone
  • Threats exerted by commercial hunting and deforestation around the property
  • Mekin hydroelectric dam
  • Poaching
  • Risk of loss of ecological connectivity
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2021

Total amount granted: USD 60,000, UNESCO Netherlands Funds-in-Trust; USD 263,700 from Franz Weber Foundation (2012 to 2017); USD 600,000 in the framework of the Central Africa World Heritage Forest Initiative (CAWHFI) (2017 to 2021); and USD 250,000 from the Government of Norway for the period 2021-2023.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 4 (from 1987-1997)
Total amount approved : 84,700 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

March 1998: UNESCO monitoring mission; June 2006, December 2009, February-March 2012 and November-December 2015: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions, February 2019: and January 2020: UNESCO advisory missions organized in the framework of CAWHFI to evaluate the ESIA of the Hévéa SUDCAM plantation and the Mekin hydroelectric dam.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 30 November 2020, the State Party submitted a report of the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/407/documents/, which provides the following information:

  • Although some methodological biases remain between the census data of 2015 and 2018, the results confirm a significant decrease in the numbers of elephants, gorillas or chimpanzees compared to the data of 1995. The 2018 results are considered as the new benchmarks;
  • Indices of human pressure are mainly recorded in the north-west of the property, which is correlated with the low rate of wildlife encounters in this area;
  • The renewal of the management team associated with the strengthening of the surveillance system made it possible to increase the patrol effort by integrating the hotspots, the rehabilitation of surveillance posts, the provision of the teams with equipment as well as the arrest and the conviction of poachers. And this, In addition to awareness-raising actions for the communities, the signing of Reciprocal Environmental Agreements and discussions for the creation of community hunting areas in the periphery of the property as an alternative to poaching;
  • The progress of the ISO 9001 certification of the Sud-Cameroun Hévéa company (SUDCAM) is evaluated at 70% and the company is strengthening its actions to reduce its environmental impacts;
  • The property and its periphery have a Development Plan for the period 2020-2024. Consultations are continuing on the regime for the use of concessions retroceded by SUDCAM. The buffer zone of the property has not been created but is envisaged within the framework of the implementation of the Development Plan in consultation with the local populations and the various entities involved. The State Party confirms that the Forest Management Units adjacent to the property remain permanent forests;
  • Forest cover decreased from 94% to 85% between 2010 and 2020 in the peripheral zone of 20km around the property;
  • A site for the relocation of people impacted by the Mekin hydroelectric development has been identified;
  • New projects, notably the Integrated Planning and Development Programme for the Dja Mining Loop and the Adjacent Border Area (PADI-DJA) are being developed near the property. The State Party undertakes to ensure that the guidelines of the IUCN Advice Note on environmental assessments at natural World Heritage sites are taken into account, to closely monitor the implementation of Environmental and Social Management Plans (ESMP) of these projects and to inform the World Heritage Centre of any new project. The Strategic and Social Environmental Evaluation (SSEE) of development projects around the property is still ongoing.

As part of the Central African World Heritage Forest Initiative (CAWHFI), the World Heritage Centre organized from 24 January to 1 February 2020 an advisory mission to assess the impacts of the activities of the Mekin hydroelectric dam on the property and define adequate corrective or mitigation measures.

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

The efforts made by the State Party and its partners to improve the management of the property are welcomed. The support of the CAWHFI programme funded by the European Union and the funding of the Government of Norway are very important in this regard. However, the low density of characteristic species of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), including threatened and endangered species, combined with the persistence of signs of poaching within the property remain of great concern. It is recommended that surveillance, law enforcement, community awareness-raising and the development of community-based alternatives to poaching be intensified. In addition, on the basis of the methodology used in 2018, it is recommended that the State Party plans for a new wildlife census in 2023 to assess the trends of these flagship populations.

The finalisation of the Development Plan (2020-2024) for the property and its peripheral zone is noted. However, the document does not respond to several requests from the Committee, notably the clarification of the zoning of the property and the creation of a functional buffer zone. While noting that the Forest Management Units (FMU) adjacent to the property remain permanent forests, the forest cover around the property has decreased by 9% in 10 years. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party for the creation of a functional buffer zone around the property that is in line with the recommendations of the International Advisory Board on Biosphere Reserves, as well as the classification of the concession returned by SUDCAM in the State forest domain. It is also recommended that efforts to maintain ecological connectivity with the other protected areas of the Dja-Odzala-Minkébé tri-national landscape (TRIDOM) be continued in order to guarantee the integrity of the property in the long term, in particular through the implementation of the tentative agreement to take into account the migration corridors of large mammals in the preparation of the Regional Planning and Sustainable Development Scheme (SRADDT) of the South and East Regions, and development plans and ESMPs of private sector operators crossed by the corridors.

While noting that the current ISO 9001 certification of SUDCAM is not an environmental certification, it is advised that the recommendations of the 2019 UNESCO advisory mission, included in Decision 43 COM 7B.29, continue to be implemented. In particular, it is important to ensure independent certification of the latex processing plant in order to meet international environmental standards.

It is worrying that the 2020 UNESCO Advisory mission to the Mekin hydroelectric dam indicates that the ESIA did not assess the project's impacts on the OUV, and that the construction of the dam generated numerous environmental damages. It is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to implement all the recommendations of the mission.

On 18 December 2019, the World Heritage Centre contacted the State Party regarding the resumption of mining activities by the mining company GEOVIC near the property. No response was received. The World Heritage Committee, in its decisions 36 COM 7B.1, 35 COM 7B.1, 34 COM 7B.1 and 33 COM 7B.1, had expressed concern about the GEOVIC project and requested the State Party to suspend mining works in order to assess any negative impacts on the OUV of the property. It is regrettable that no information was provided and it is recommended that the Committee reiterates its request to the State Party to provide all the documents relating to this project (Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, maps and assessment reports on the sites of high conservation value located in the project area).

Finally, in relation to the developments of new structuring projects around the property, it is regrettable that the SSEE  recommended by the Committee, and recalled in Decision 40 COM 7B.79, has still not been finalized, as is the case for the SRADDT of the South and East Regions. It is recommended that the State Party accelerate the development of these strategic documents which will be important to ensure that the cumulative impacts of the envisaged projects will not affect the OUV of the property and will not jeopardize its ecological connectivity, and to submit them to the World Heritage Centre for evaluation by IUCN, prior to approval of any project.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.173
Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon) (N 407)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling decisions 33 COM 7B.1, 34 COM 7B.1, 35 COM 7B.1, 36 COM 7B.1, 40 COM 7B.79 and 43 COM 7B.29 adopted at its 33rd (Seville, 2009), 34th (Brasilia, 2010), 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 36th (Saint Petersburg, 2012), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively;
  3. Welcomes the efforts made by the State Party and its partners to improve the efficiency of the management of the property;
  4. Thanks the donors who continue to support the conservation of the property, in particular the European Commission through the Central African World Heritage Forest Initiative (CAWHFI) and the Government of Norway through its contribution to the World Heritage Fund;
  5. Reiterates its greatest concern at the low numbers of characteristic species of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and the persisting signs of poaching within the property, and requests the State Party to intensify surveillance efforts, law enforcement of wildlife crime, community awareness and popularization of community alternatives to poaching, and initiate a new wildlife census no later than 2023 by considering the same methodological approach as in 2018 to assess trends in these flagship populations;
  6. Welcomes the efforts undertaken to implement the recommendations of the UNESCO advisory mission to assess the impacts of the activities of the Sud-Cameroun Hévéa company (SUDCAM) on the property, and urges the State Party to ensure that SUDCAM continues to implement sustainable and responsible production standards in the rubber sector, in particular independent certification of the latex processing plant in order to comply with international environmental standards;
  7. Expresses its great concern regarding the conclusions of the UNESCO advisory mission on the Mekin hydroelectric dam according to which the Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) did not consider all of the infrastructure related to the project and were not undertaken in accordance with the IUCN World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and that the construction of the dam has generated significant environmental damage; and urges the State Party to implement all the recommendations of this mission;
  8. Takes note of the finalization of the Development Plan (2020-2024) for the property and its peripheral zone, and reiterates its request to create a buffer zone for the property, in consultation with the local populations and the various entities involved, in line with the recommendation of the International Advisory Council on Biosphere Reserves to include the rural complexes and forest concessions which adjoin most of the property, as well as the classification of the concession returned by SUDCAM in the forest domain of the State while observing sustainable usage regimes;
  9. Also urges the State Party and its partners to continue efforts to maintain ecological connectivity with the other protected areas of the Dja-Odzala-Minkébé tri-national landscape (TRIDOM) in order to guarantee the long-term integrity of the property, in particular through the implementation of the tentative agreement to take into account the migration corridors of large mammals in the process of drawing up the Regional Planning and Sustainable Development Scheme (SRADDT) for the South and East Regions, and development plans and environmental and social management plans (ESMP) of private sector operators crossed by the corridors;
  10. Notes with concern that no information has been provided on the status of the GEOVIC mining project in the vicinity of the property, reiterates its request to the State Party not to authorize this project before an evaluation of its potential impacts on the OUV of the property, in accordance with the IUCN World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and reiterates its request to the State Party to transmit all available documents relating to this project to the World Heritage Centre for consideration by IUCN;
  11. Expresses concern about the proliferation of development projects near the property, in particular the Integrated Development and Planning Programme of the Dja Mining Loop and the Adjacent Border Area (PADI-DJA) and further urges the State Party to ensure that no exploration or mining permits around the property are granted without carrying out an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, to finalize the Strategic and Social Environmental Evaluation (SSEE) confirmed in Decision 40 COM 7B.79 as well as the SRADDT of the South and East Regions, and submit them to the World Heritage Centre for examination by IUCN;
  12. 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.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.173

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling decisions 33 COM 7B.1, 34 COM 7B.1, 35 COM 7B.1, 36 COM 7B.1, 40 COM 7B.79 and 43 COM 7B.29 adopted at its 33rd (Seville, 2009), 34th (Brasilia, 2010), 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 36th (Saint Petersburg, 2012), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively;
  3. Welcomes the efforts made by the State Party and its partners to improve the efficiency of the management of the property;
  4. Thanks the donors who continue to support the conservation of the property, in particular the European Commission through the Central African World Heritage Forest Initiative (CAWHFI) and the Government of Norway through its contribution to the World Heritage Fund;
  5. Reiterates its greatest concern at the low numbers of characteristic species of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and the persisting signs of poaching within the property, and requests the State Party to intensify surveillance efforts, law enforcement of wildlife crime, community awareness and popularization of community alternatives to poaching, and initiate a new wildlife census no later than 2023 by considering the same methodological approach as in 2018 to assess trends in these flagship populations;
  6. Welcomes the efforts undertaken to implement the recommendations of the UNESCO advisory mission to assess the impacts of the activities of the Sud-Cameroun Hévéa company (SUDCAM) on the property, and urges the State Party to ensure that SUDCAM continues to implement sustainable and responsible production standards in the rubber sector, in particular independent certification of the latex processing plant in order to comply with international environmental standards;
  7. Expresses its great concern regarding the conclusions of the UNESCO advisory mission on the Mekin hydroelectric dam according to which the Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) did not consider all of the infrastructure related to the project and were not undertaken in accordance with the IUCN World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and that the construction of the dam has generated significant environmental damage; and urges the State Party to implement all the recommendations of this mission;
  8. Takes note of the finalization of the Development Plan (2020-2024) for the property and its peripheral zone, and reiterates its request to create a buffer zone for the property, in consultation with the local populations and the various entities involved, in line with the recommendation of the International Advisory Council on Biosphere Reserves to include the rural complexes and forest concessions which adjoin most of the property, as well as the classification of the concession returned by SUDCAM in the forest domain of the State while observing sustainable usage regimes;
  9. Also urges the State Party and its partners to continue efforts to maintain ecological connectivity with the other protected areas of the Dja-Odzala-Minkébé tri-national landscape (TRIDOM) in order to guarantee the long-term integrity of the property, in particular through the implementation of the tentative agreement to take into account the migration corridors of large mammals in the process of drawing up the Regional Planning and Sustainable Development Scheme (SRADDT) for the South and East Regions, and development plans and environmental and social management plans (ESMP) of private sector operators crossed by the corridors;
  10. Notes with concern that no information has been provided on the status of the GEOVIC mining project in the vicinity of the property, reiterates its request to the State Party not to authorize this project before an evaluation of its potential impacts on the OUV of the property, in accordance with the IUCN World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and reiterates its request to the State Party to transmit all available documents relating to this project to the World Heritage Centre for consideration by IUCN;
  11. Expresses concern about the proliferation of development projects near the property, in particular the Integrated Development and Planning Programme of the Dja Mining Loop and the Adjacent Border Area (PADI-DJA) and further urges the State Party to ensure that no exploration or mining permits around the property are granted without carrying out an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, to finalize the Strategic and Social Environmental Evaluation (SSEE) confirmed in Decision 40 COM 7B.79 as well as the SRADDT of the South and East Regions, and submit them to the World Heritage Centre for examination by IUCN;
  12. 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 in 2022.
Report year: 2021
Cameroon
Date of Inscription: 1987
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2020) .pdf
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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