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Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves

Niger
Factors affecting the property in 2008*
  • Civil unrest
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Forestry /wood production
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    poverty

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Political instability and civil strife;

b) Poverty;

c) Management constraints;

d) Ostrich poaching;

e) Soil erosion;

f) Demographic pressure;

g) Livestock pressure;

h) Pressure on wood resources.

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Political instability and civil strife. 

Corrective Measures for the property

The following corrective measures were identified during the 2005 IUCN mission and adopted by the Committee at its 29th session (Durban, 2005):

a) Re-establish physical presence of the management authority in Iférouane and provide adequate resources to the management authority to allow better control of natural resource use within the property;

b) Establish Land Commissions (Commissions foncières) in the four Municipalities and clarify respective land-use and resource access rights for local residents;

c) Significantly improve monitoring and surveillance of the property in order to address poaching and illegal natural resource extraction;

d) Immediately halt all commercial collection of timber and thatch from the property;

e) Initiate soil and vegetation stabilization actions to control soil erosion, and measures to reduce destabilization of soils by motorized traffic.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2008
Requests approved: 6 (from 1999-2002)
Total amount approved : 142,450 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

The State Party report was received on 22 May 2008. The report presents information on the declining status of many wildlife species, the continued degradation of the ecosystem and the continued threats affecting the integrity of the property. However, the report does not provide information on the progress made in the implementation of the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session (Durban, 2005).

The report notes that since February 2007, the insecurity increased in the northern sector of the property, mainly North Gougaram and North Iférouane, with regular armed attacks taking place. The northern Agadez zone is currently under a state of alert and inaccessible to park staff. This instability reduces effective monitoring, surveillance and management by the forest rangers and the “Co-management of natural resources of Aïr-Ténéré and its surrounding areas” (COGERAT) project teams. However, staff maintains a presence in the southern part of the project area, allowing some management activities to take place.

The report provides information on the values for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage, and which appear to be substantially degraded. Whilst no systematic wildlife inventories were conducted since 1992, the report presents some trends in wildlife populations based on observations by park and project staff and data collected with the local communities. These data indicate a serious degradation of populations of key species since the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. While scimitar Oryx and desert warthog probably were already extinct at the time of inscription (the last sightings dating back to the eighties), addax and several species of vultures and eagles became locally extinct since then. Many other species are at the brink of extinction, including red-neck ostrich (one male reported remaining in the wild), striped hyena, dama gazelle, and cheetah. Other species have seen serious declines including Barbary sheep and dorcas gazelle, whose population has fallen from 12,000 in 1991 to 7,000 in 2000 and has probably further declined since.

Poaching pressure remains extremely high in the property, but also climatic factors such as drought are reported to play a role. The report further notes important changes in the vegetation since the time of inscription, with a generalized decreasing vegetation cover, the extinction of certain species and increasing problems with invasive species such as Prosopis juliflora. Poaching, thatch harvesting, overgrazing, firewood collection, fires, soil erosion and agricultural encroachment are continuing to put pressure on the fragile natural resources and these threats could lead to irreversible damage to the outstanding universal value of the property. These threats are further exacerbated by an increasing demographic pressure, as a result of the growth or urban centres in the Agadez region and the forced return of immigrants from neighbouring countries. The report also notes continued problems with the removal of archaeological artefacts from the region by professional groups and tourists, as a result of the limited surveillance in the area.

The COGERAT project, co-funded by UNDP and GEF, is providing essential support to the State Party to try to address these threats by engaging local communities and the 10,000 inhabitants of the property to encourage sustainable land use practices which have less impact on the natural values of the property. However, given the current state of degradation and the need to change current land use and resource use practices, it will take time to reverse the current trends and achieve an ecological restoration of the property. The implementation of this ambitious project is further seriously hampered by the return of insecurity in the northern part of the property. The State Party further reports on some institutional changes, with the creation of a new Direction for National Parks and Reserves within the Ministry for Environment and expects that this will be beneficial for the management of the two World Heritage properties of the country. The State Party report also includes three project proposals to hold a workshop on the impact of armed conflict on the biodiversity of arid zones of the Sahara, to promote the value of peace in schools around the property and to support emergency actions linked to climatic factors.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are extremely preoccupied by the degradation of the natural resources in the property and by the fact that renewed insecurity is hampering the efforts of the State Party to address urgent threats. To allow a precise evaluation of the impact on the outstanding universal value, a comprehensive survey of the status of the values of the property, in particular population size and distribution of threatened species is considered necessary. The State Party should also consider working with the IUCN Species Survival Commission and its relevant specialist groups to discuss population recovery and rehablitation programmes. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2008
32 COM 7A.10
Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) (N 573)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7A.3, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Expresses its utmost concern about the continued degradation of the Outstanding Universal Value for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, in particular the reduction in key wildlife populations and the degradation of the vegetation cover as well as about the renewed insecurity in the northern part of the property, which is hampering efforts by the State Party to halt this degradation;

4. Appreciates the support already provided by the international donor community and calls upon it to increase its support to the State Party for the protection and ecological restoration of the property;

5. Notes the State Party's interest in holding a regional workshop looking at the impact of conflict on natural resources and biodiversity in the region and encourages the State Party to collaborate with partners to hold such a workshop with a focus on improving security and protection of World Heritage properties during times of conflict;

6. Requests the State Party to organize, in cooperation with the IUCN Species Survival Commission and its relevant specialist groups, a comprehensive survey of the property, in particular populations' size and distribution of threatened species in order to evaluate the status of its Outstanding Universal Value and to develop population recovery and rehabilitation programmes;

7. Urges the State Party to continue its work on the corrective measures adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005);

8. Reiterates its request to the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity, 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, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by               1 February 2009, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including on the status of the vulnerable species and ecosystems, as well as progress in the implementation of the corrective measures and the implementation of the COGERAT project, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

10. Decides to retain Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Draft Decision: 32 COM 7A.10

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7A.3, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Expresses its utmost concern about the continued degradation of the outstanding universal value for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, in particular the reduction in key wildlife populations and the degradation of the vegetation cover as well as about the renewed insecurity in the northern part of the property, which is hampering efforts by the State Party to halt this degradation;

4. Calls upon the international donor community to increase its support to the State Party for the protection and ecological restoration of the property;

5. Notes the State Party’s interest in holding a regional workshop looking at the impact of conflict on natural resources and biodiversity in the region and encourages the State Party to collaborate with partners to hold such a workshop with a focus on improving security and protection of World Heritage properties during times of conflict;

6. Requests the State Partyto organize, in cooperation with the IUCN Species Survival Commission and its relevant specialist groups, a comprehensive survey of the property, in particular populations size and distribution of threatened species in order to evaluate the status of its outstanding universal value and to develop population recovery and rehablitation programmes;

7. Urges the State Party to continue its work on the corrective measures adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005);

8. Reiterates its request to the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop a draft Statement of outstanding universal value including the conditions of integrity, 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, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including on the status of the vulnerables species and ecosystems, as well as progress in the implementation of the corrective measures and the implementation of the COGERAT project, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

10. Decides to retain Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

 

Report year: 2008
Niger
Date of Inscription: 1991
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1992-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 32COM (2008)
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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