Decision : CONF 208 VII.B.21/23
SOC: Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia)
VII.21 Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia)
The Committee recalled that at its last session (Merida, 1996), it found that the construction of two dams had limited freshwater flow, dramatically increased the salinity of the lake and marshes and led to sharp reductions of migratory bird populations. In 1996, the Committee decided to declare Ichkeul as a World Heritage site in Danger and requested the Tunisian authorities to provide a programme of corrective measures to reverse the degradation of the site and alerted them to the possibility of the deletion of Ichkeul from the World Heritage List, if rehabilitation of the site is not possible. IUCN informed the Bureau at its twenty-first session in June, 1997, of the following recommendations of a Ramsar mission to the site in January 1997: Tunisian authorities provide a clear indication of the measures they plan to take based on several scientific studies already carried out; establishment of an agreement on the release of water from the dams; setting up of a central authority addressing all management issues, including the long term management of the Tindja sluice; repair of the sluices; filling up of the Joumine Canal to restore the Joumine Marsh; and continuous scientific monitoring of the Park's ecology. The Bureau at its twenty-first session recommended that the Committee establish a three-year time table to review efforts of the restoration of Ichkeul and, in the meantime, retain the site in the List of the World Heritage in Danger.
The Centre informed the Committee that on 14 October 1997 a "Report on the action programme for the safeguarding of Ichkeul National Park" was provided by the "Ministere de l'environnement et de l'amenagement du territoire" and was transmitted to IUCN and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat for review. IUCN informed the Committee that this report does not provide a sufficient response to the recommendations of the Ramsar mission indicated above and that the serious threats to the integrity of the site are not adequately addressed.
The Committee decided to retain Ichkeul in the List of World Heritage in Danger and requested the Centre to write a letter urging the State Party to implement the recommendations of the Ramsar mission and submit a threat mitigation status report to the twenty-third session of the Committee, in 1999.