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World Heritage Convention

Decision 45 COM 7A.13
Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal) (N 153)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7A.50 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, notably those concerning the monitoring of certain key species for the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and the monitoring of the property, and requests the State Party to continue the implementation of these measures as updated by the 2015 Reactive Monitoring mission, the various recommendations formulated by the workshops of November 2021, June 2022 and June 2023, in support of the implementation of corrective measures and the achievement of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  4. Welcomes the considerable increase in the means of surveillance brought to the property and the decline of illegal gold mining among the recorded offences during the past three years, requests the State Party to provide precise additional data and maps showing the location of the main offences and threats identified, as well as information on their severity and extent, and on the actions taken to combat them, and reiterates its request to the State Party to take urgent measures to restore habitats degraded by illegal gold mining;
  5. Notes with satisfaction the progressive improvement of the ecological monitoring system and also requests the State Party to provide precise data on the state of conservation and the population trends of all the species characteristic of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), notably the elephant and the lycaon, in critical situation within the property;
  6. Reiterates its deep concern at the persistence of threats endangering the population of 15 threatened chimpanzees present in the impact zone of the Petowal Mining Company and urges the State Party to continue the annual ecological monitoring of this population and the implementation of actions to mitigate the impact of the main threats to the conservation of the species;
  7. Welcomes the controls carried out in relation to mining pollution and the installation of water and soil testing equipment at the property, but reiterates its utmost concern over high concentrations of ammonium, manganese and sulphate in the groundwater, and iron and heavy metals in the surface waters of the Gambia River, and further requests that water analyses be continued, that additional microbiological analyses be carried out, and that urgent measures be taken to identify the cause of this pollution and to control it permanently;
  8. Notes with satisfaction the identification and planning of the fight against the invasive species Mimosa pigra in three ponds of the property, but further requests the State Party to provide additional information on the other invasive species throughout the property and to develop an associated control strategy;
  9. Takes note of the protection and restoration measures planned at the time of the closure of the Mansadala quarry but reiterates once again its request to the State Party to immediately close this quarry given its negative impact on the OUV of the property;
  10. Noting that the financing for the Sambangalou dam has now been secured and that construction work is already underway, reiterates its concern about the potential impacts of the dam on the OUV of the property, notably on the hydrological regime of the Gambia River, downstream of the dam and on the distribution of large and medium-sized mammalian fauna, as indicated by the preliminary analysis of the complementary studies carried out on the environment and biodiversity of the Niokolo-Koba National Park and requests the State Party to provide, on the one hand, the Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) from which the complementary studies were derived, and on the other, the report of the working group responsible for producing the synthesis of the various studies on the analysis of potential impacts and the proposal of selected compensation measures retained for examination by IUCN, to ensure that a full assessment of the potential impacts on OUV has been carried out in accordance with World Heritage impact assessments guidelines and best practices, and that the proposed mitigation measures, including any adjustments to project implementation, will effectively reduce these unavoidable residual impacts;
  11. Also expresses its concern about the numerous major potential impacts highlighted by the ESIA of the Barrick Gold mining project on the OUV of the property and its peripheral zone, and takes note that the State Party has not provided an environmental approval for its launch;
  12. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, to assess the state of conservation of the property, including with regard to the above issues, the implementation of the updated corrective measures and recommendations of the 2015 Reactive Monitoring mission, and the progress made in achieving the indicators of the DSOCR;
  13. Finally 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;
  14. Decides to retain Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Context of Decision