World Heritage in West Africa: state and value of the label, a priority for conservation?

pic1West Africa presents a very rich biodiversity, notably in its protected areas, the most outstanding of which are inscribed on UNESCO natural world heritage list. Named natural properties, they are nine in the region and located in five countries: Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Niger. This sample of protected areas is globally distributed in the West African large four ecological areas; however, there are probably other high potential sites which could be considered for a future inscription.

Most of these natural properties are not yet equipped with an appropriate management system which enables to conserve the outstanding universal values that led to their inscription on this prestigious list. Actually, these sites are characterized by a shortage of human and financial resources, combined with high pressures and threats that seriously jeopardize their future. Five of them are inscribed on the list of UNESCO endangered sites. The results of this study show that the situation is worrying and it is imperative to implement in these PAs a management system that will help improve the results, and consequently the effectiveness of conservation actions. Recommendations have been made to the World Heritage Committee, to State parties concerned by this study and to advisory organizations for a better protection of these sites which have an international statute.

Download the study (in French)….