7 of the above 9 countries with long periods of dormancy are African. It is amazing really that Grand Bassam got through this year considering the political situation in Cote d'Ivoire in recent years - and last year particularly (Though ICOMOS didn't recommend it and see the reality from a review on this web site http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/grandbassam.html
). Indeed, for most of these countries the years between their last inscription and the present have been problematic. So, out of interest, I have time-lined the "World Heritage activity" of Niger alongside its political history! Ghana, Zambia and Cameroon may currently have a better prognosis than Niger but its history across the period can be taken as being reasonably typical of the entire group. Among my conclusions are
a. Progress only occurs with external assistance
b. 10 + years is normal from start of activity to nomination
c. Given the events taking place on the ground it is surprising that any progress is made - I guess there must be a number of committed individuals who carry on working amongst the chaos.
d. Government representatives continue to attend WHC despite coups etc!
e. Inscribed sites struggle
f. Agadez is unlikely to meet western standards of protection etc - inscription would have to contain a large "political" aspect. Given the recent history of nearby Timbuctou, inscription could be regarded as either irrelevant or an international gesture which could have unforeseeable positive or negative results.1961 Niger independence – rule by a single party civilian regime1974 Military coup1980 IUCN/WWF project (with support from Denmark/Switzerland) commences installing "active management" into Air et Tenere area1987 Col Saibou takes over after death of first military leader 1988 Air and Tenere reserve created1991 After a period of some liberalisation Col Saibou agrees to stand down so that a multi party democratic system can be implemented.1991 Air and Tenere inscribed. Budget from IUCN etc project is $1.4 million pa "The reserve authorities are well-equipped with vehicles, radios and a headquarters" . IUCN notes that concept of protected area is still not accepted by many locals
.1992 Air and Tenere put on "Danger list" at Niger's request because of civil disturbance – but a request for financial assistance for a mission is not supported as the WHC notes that 6 reserve staff are being held hostage! Remains on the Danger List 20 years later.1991 to 1993 Caretaker government creates constitution for the "3rd Republic" but the economy deterioriates1993 to 1998 – Niger is a member of the WHC1995 election leads to rival president/prime ministers and governmental paralysis1996 Col Bare Mainassera overthrows the 3rd Republic. Creates 4th Republic and rules on after flawed presidential and parliamentary elections. International Donors will not restore assistance. He turns to Libya1999 Bare killed in coup by Maj Daioud Wanke. 5th Republic created!! Reasonably fair elections
. 2002 A new second term government of the Fifth Republic takes office on 30 December 2002. In August 2002, serious unrest within the military occurrs in Niamey etc, but the government is able to restore order within several days2002 The Budapest WHC in 2002 records - "26 COM 25.1.1 CULTURAL (Niger) Preparation of the nomination file of the City of Agadez US$30,000 for funding in 2003, the Bureau requests the State Party to prepare a management plan along with the nomination dossier"2006 Agadez (and other sites) added to T List2007-9 Second Tuareg Rebellion – roads to Agadez mined, tourism abandoned2010 Another Military coup when the president tries to extend his period in offiice for a 3rd term by creating a "6th Republic"2011. Military step down and there are presidential and parliamentary elections2012 Jan 31 - Niger tables nomination documents for consideration in 20132012 Oct . France, UK and US among others advise against ALL travel to the Agadez area because of terrorism and risk of kidnap.