Decision : CONF 204 IV.B.36
Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)
The Bureau recalled that in 1997, the authorities of Oman submitted an interim zoning plan that foresaw a new outer boundary, and provisional boundaries for five management zones. In addition, they provided brief descriptions of their plans for implementing several projects and a report on the population status of the Arabian Oryx in the Sanctuary. At its twenty-second session (June 1998), the Bureau agreed with IUCN’s position that it would be better to review the zoning plan and other associated proposals after the overall management plan and the boundaries for the site are finalised. Hence, the Bureau invited the State Party to inform the Centre about progress with regard to the finalisation of the management plan and submit the plan to IUCN and the Centre for review. At its twenty-second extraordinary session (November 1998), the Bureau had noted with concern that the boundaries of the site remain undefined since the inscription of the site in 1994 and that the management plan has yet to be finalised. Hence, the Bureau invited the State Party to submit the final plan for review by IUCN and the Centre before 15 September 1999 and requested the Centre and IUCN to submit the findings of their review to the twenty-third session of the Committee in 1999.
The Centre informed the Bureau that a letter dated 30 June 1999 addressed to the Centre from the Office of the Adviser for Conservation of the Environment, the Diwan Royal Court, the office responsible for the reintroduction of the Arabian Oryx in the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, indicated that the oryx population has dropped drastically in the last three years due to heavy poaching. IUCN informed the Bureau that they have been alerted by recent reports to the fact that the Arabian oryx could be threatened with extinction in the wild in Oman for the second time in the last thirty years, and that data indicates that the numbers of wild Arabian oryx in Oman have fallen from 400 (in October 1996) to 100. With the successful re-introduction since 1982, and the increase in the number of oryx, poachers were attracted back.
IUCN further informed the Bureau that recommendations from a recent conference in Abu Dhabi suggested the creation of a co-ordinating body, with a permanent secretariat, in one of the range states, to enhance co-operation and exchange of experience among concerned countries of the Arabian Peninsula in order to prevent illegal transboundary movement of poaching and trade in the Arabian oryx. IUCN also reported that an Environmental Impact Assessment for oil exploration within the Sanctuary was recently undertaken.
The Bureau agreed that, in addition to the final management plan, including the boundaries of the site and its management zones, the State Party be requested to produce a report on the status the Arabian oryx within the Sanctuary and the proposed oil exploration for review by IUCN and the Centre before 15 September 1999 and that the findings of the Centre/IUCN review of this information be submitted to the twenty-third session of the Committee.