Decision : CONF 204 IV.A.11
Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia)
The Bureau recalled that the Committee at its twentieth session noted that the construction of two dams had limited freshwater flow and devastated the wetland values of Ichkeul National Park, leading to dramatic increases in the salinity of the lake and marshes and sharp reductions in migratory bird populations. Hence, the Committee included Ichkeul in the List of World Heritage 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 that the report of an official mission to the site by the Ramsar Convention Secretariat had suggested that the Tunisian authorities give a clear indication of the measures they plan to take based on a number of studies already carried out and which have identified conservation actions. Furthermore, an agreement on the release of water from the dams should be reached and a central management authority addressing all management issues in the site, including the long-term management of the Tindja sluice needs to be established. The Ramsar mission recommended the repair of the sluices, the filling of the Joumine Canal to restore the Joumine Marsh, and continuous scientific monitoring of the Park's ecology.
In its discussions on the potential delisting of Ichkeul, the Bureau recalled the Committee's discussions with regard to another wetland, i.e. Srebarna Nature Reserve (Bulgaria) and that the Committee had given the Bulgarian authorities a three-year time frame to restore the site.
The Bureau requested the Centre to transmit the recommendations made by the mission of the Ramsar Secretariat to the Tunisian authorities and invite them to provide their views with regard to the implementation of the recommendations, by 15 October 1997. The Bureau also recommended that the Committee set up a three-year time table to review the outcome of efforts to restore Ichkeul National Park and in the meantime retain the site in the List of World Heritage in Danger.