1.         Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) (N 573)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1991

Criteria  (vii)(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

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

In progress

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/325  

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

In progress

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1999-2019)
Total amount approved: USD 202,316
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 300,000 foreseen from the contribution of the Government of Norway to the World Heritage Fund.

Previous monitoring missions

May 2005 and February 2015: IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2023

On 31 January 2022, 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 contains the following elements:

Following the state of conservation report, the State Party submitted a draft DSOCR on 9 March 2022, and the 2022-2024 Development and Management Plan on 14 April 2022.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The State Party continues its efforts to operationalize the management body of the property, to collaborate with the local authorities to improve surveillance and awareness for the protection of the property and to combat the main threats to the property. It is recommended to congratulate the State Party on the finalization of the 2022-2024 Development and Management Plan (PAG), which provides an in-depth analysis of the state of conservation of the property and the main threats, and recommends emergency measures. The World Heritage Centre is currently in discussion with the State Party and the NGO Wild Africa Conservation to support the implementation of the PAG with funding from the Government of Norway.

Noting that the property has been inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger for 30 years, the development of a draft DSOCR is welcomed. The draft is currently being studied by IUCN and it is recommended that the State Party finalize the DSOCR as soon as the comments from IUCN are transmitted by the World Heritage Centre so that the Committee can adopt it at its next session.

The report does not provide information regarding the status of the development of the surveillance contingency plan and the strategy to combat invasive alien species, funded through international assistance, and whether these documents are being finalized or have been integrated into the PAG. Actions to control the Prosopis juliflora species and desertification are carried out but no details are provided. It is recommended to coordinate these actions with the PAG. Furthermore, in 2021 the World Heritage Centre did not receive the request for International Assistance mentioned by the State Party in the annual report submitted.

Despite the Committee’s requests, the information provided regarding illegal activities is not precise enough to assess the state of conservation of the property. It is recommended to reiterate the request to provide maps showing the location of the main threats, as well as indications of their severity and extent. This information is partly detailed in the PAG and must be synthesized and shared. Regular patrols and reduced sighting of illegal activities are positive, however detailed information on patrol efforts and the area covered is not provided. While the annual report mentions only three offenses related to logging, the PAG mentions many illegal activities in the property, including artisanal gold panning and poaching. The commitment of the State Party to assign additional forest officers is welcomed and it is also recommended to strengthen the collaboration with the chiefs of the valleys and to urgently implement the actions detailed in the PAG.

The ecological monitoring missions have reconfirmed the presence of certain antelope species without, however, specifying the state of their populations; and several emblematic species characteristics of the OUV were not observed. Noting that some species remain critically endangered, such as the dama gazelle for which the property contains one of the four remaining populations, the State Party is encouraged to urgently implement surveillance and ecological monitoring actions presented in the PAG to ensure the effective management and recovery of these species, in consultation with the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Antelope Specialist Group, as appropriate. While noting the assertion by the State Party that the exploration or exploitation permits for gold, uranium and oil are located more than 100 km from the property and have been subject to regulatory procedures and regular monitoring of operations by the competent authorities, the PAG documentation includes a map showing several permits on the south-eastern limit of the property. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide more information regarding the nature and status of these permits.

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

Decision Adopted: 45 COM 7A.12

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7A.48 adopted at its extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online, 2021),
  3. Takes note of the efforts made by the State Party to implement the corrective measures, and requests it to continue their implementation;
  4. Welcomes the finalization and quality of the 2022-2024 Development and Management Plan (PAG), and requests the State Party to urgently implement the actions detailed therein, and to provide clarifications concerning its financing, the partnership mentioned with a non-governmental organization and the link with the emergency surveillance plan as well as the strategy for the fight against invasive alien species (IAS);
  5. Thanks the donors supporting the conservation of the property, in particular the Government of Norway for its support in the implementation of the PAG through the World Heritage Centre;
  6. Once again regrets that the report does not provide detailed information on poaching, illegal gold panning and excessive logging in and around the property, as well as on the actions implemented to combat these threats, and reiterates its request that the State Party provide maps showing the location of the main threats identified, as well as indications of their severity and extent, and of the control actions carried out, partially available in the PAG;
  7. Notes with satisfaction the State Party's commitment to assign additional forestry officers and requests it to recruit sufficient staff and strengthen collaboration with the valley chiefs to ensure the effective management of the property and implement the PAG;
  8. Welcomes the proposed Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), and requests the State Party to finalize it based on the recommendations of IUCN and to transmit it to the World Heritage Centre for adoption at the 46th session;
  9. Takes note of the actions taken to combat the proliferation of the Prosopis juliflora species and mitigate desertification, and requests the State Party to provide details on these actions and include them in the PAG for the property;
  10. Reiterates its concern that some flagship species of the OUV remain highly threatened or endangered, and urges the State Party to develop a monitoring and recovery plan for the signature antelope species in consultation with the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Antelope Specialist Group and implement the actions detailed in the PAG;
  11. While noting the assertion by the State Party that the exploration and exploitation permits for gold, uranium and oil are located more than 100 km from the property and have been subject to regulatory procedures and regular monitoring of operations by the competent authorities, reiterates its concern about the proliferation of exploration and exploitation permits, noting in particular the permits located at the south-eastern limit of the property. It thus requests the State Party to provide more information concerning the nature and status of these permits and to ensure that the impacts of exploitation projects on the OUV of the property are assessed within the framework of environmental and social impact assessments (ESIA), in accordance with the Guidance and Toolkit on Impact Assessments in a World Heritage context;
  12. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2024, 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 46th session;
  13. Decides to retain Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 45 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/23/45.COM/7A, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add.3, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add.4),
  2. Having examined the recommendations of the Advisory Bodies, decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
3.    Recalls that the following properties were inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 18th extraordinary session (UNESCO, 2023):