It is 57 years to the day that Ivory Coast (or Côte d’Ivoire, as it likes to be called) gained independence from the French, led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, affectionately known as The Old One. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up some interesting tidbits about the nation on Africa’s western flank.
1. It boasts the largest church in the world
The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro surpasses even St Peter’s Basilica, with an exterior area of 30,000 square metres. Finished in 1990, its design is said to have been inspired by its Vatican City sibling, with a hefty dose of Renaissance and Baroque style. It can hold about 18,000 worshipers, though is very rarely full.
Krakow, Poland, 4 July—The World Heritage Committee meeting in Krakow since 2 July has decided to take Comoé National Park, the Ivorian World Heritage site, off the List of World Heritage in Danger following improvements in the conservation of its fauna and habitat.
In its decision, the World Heritage Committee congratulated Côte d’Ivoire for its work to fight poaching. It noted that populations of iconic species such as elephants and chimpanzees that were thought to have disappeared from the site are reproducing again and that the state of conservation of habitats is now very positive. Targets for fauna conservation have in fact been met and even surpassed.
Comoé National Park, one of the largest protected areas in West Africa, is characterized by its great plant diversity.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recommended withdrawing in-danger status from Comoé National Park in Côte d’Ivoire after seeing chimps and elephants return to the park.
The nature conservation body also recommends the Landscapes of Dauria in Russia and Mongolia to become a new World Heritage site. This advice is included in a set of reports for the World Heritage Committee, issued on Friday, June 2, 2017 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Situation improving in Ivoirian site in danger
Inscribed on the Danger List since 2003, Comoé National Park in Côte d’Ivoire has been facing threats such as poaching and illegal gold mining, fuelled by political instability. Since the country’s situation stabilised in 2012, conservation efforts have succeeded in improving populations of species, including elephants and chimpanzees, which were thought to have disappeared from the park.