Decision : 35 COM 8B.14
Mixed Properties - Saloum Delta (Senegal)
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Documents WHC-11/35.COM/8B, WHC-11/35.COM/INF.8B1 and WHC-11/35.COM/INF.8B2,
2. Refers the nomination of the Saloum Delta, Senegal, back to theState Party under criterion (x) to allow the State Party to further develop studies on endangered species and biological diversity within the property;
3. Inscribes the Saloum Delta, Senegal, as a cultural landscape on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (iii), (iv) and (v);
4. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:
The region of the Saloum Delta is a remarkable testimony to the synergy between a natural environment with extensive biodiversity and a style of human development that is still present albeit fragile. Sustainable shellfish gathering and fishing practices in brackish water, and the processing of the harvest for its preservation and export was developed here. The shell mounds and the tumulus mounds form specific and exceptional cultural landscapes.
The numerous shell mounds in the Saloum Delta are generally well-preserved and they sometimes have imposing dimensions. They are direct testimony of sustainable and very ancient socio-economic practices. Over the centuries, they have led to the formation of numerous man-made islets contributing to the stabilisation of the delta's land and channels. With their characteristic vegetation within the delta's natural environment, the shell mounds form typical cultural landscapes. Some mounds include tumuli; they form, with their baobab vegetation and their undulating forms, funerary sites with specific landscape features.
Criterion (iii): With its numerous shell mounds, associated landscapes and the presence of a rare and well-preserved ensemble of funerary tumulus mounds, the Saloum Delta provides exceptional testimony to a coastal lifestyle, in a Sahelian subtropical environment, with brackish water rich in shellfish and fish.
Criterion (iv): All the shell mounds built up over a 2,000 year-long cultural process have formed a physical structure of stable islets and reclaimed land within the Saloum Delta. The resultant cultural landscapes are exceptional and illustrate a long period of the history of human settlement along the West African coast.
Criterion (v): The Saloum Delta is an eminent example of traditional human settlement. It represents a lifestyle and sustainable development based on the gathering of shellfish and fishing, in a considered interaction with a natural environment of extensive but fragile biodiversity.
The conditions of cultural integrity of the Saloum Delta are in theory very adequate, even if some shell mounds have been damaged, but the integrity remains fragile. The shell mounds and the cultural landscapes and the biodiversity of the natural environment may be threatened by poorly controlled socio-economic behaviour.
The conditions of authenticity of the mounds, tumulus mounds and their landscapes are generally adequate. They are complemented by the anthropological authenticity of the shellfish gathering practices and to a lesser degree of the fishing practices.
Protection and Management requirements
The protection of the shell mounds and the tumuli mounds is ensured by adequate regulatory measures. However, the active protection of the cultural sites in the field is recent and must be extended to the property as a whole, and not just concern the National Park. Additionally, the general policy for the property's conservation is closely tied to the conservation of the natural environment and the sustainable development programmes for the delta as a whole.
The property's management relies on numerous individuals in the field. Together they form an adequate management system for the property, with the key stakeholders and those in charge clearly identified, notably the National Park, the rural communities and the United Nations MDG-Fund. However, this management system is evolving and the multiplicity of programmes and stakeholders tends to make some situations somewhat confused. The overall management committee still has to be set up (2011), its resources confirmed, and the homogeneous handling of management and conservation for the entire property needs to be improved.
5. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
a) Prioritise attention on the simultaneous protection and conservation of the property's cultural elements and associated natural elements within the context of the Management Plan and economic and social development programmes. Ensure this joint protection-conservation is of the same level across the entire property, especially by means of eco-guards throughout the whole property,
b) Confirm the official promulgation of the Management Plan (2010-2014) and the establishment of the Management Committee tasked with its implementation and coordination; stipulate the Management Committee's human and material resources as well as its ties with, on the one hand, the Community House in Toubacouta and, on the other hand, the Saloum Delta National Park,
c) Consider specific conservation measures for the shell mounds threatened by erosion and/or by currents,
d) Improve waste and wastewater management in order to limit pollution of the environment and to protect the inhabitants' health and traditional lifestyle, and those cultural landscapes near inhabited áreas,
e) Pay particular attention to the landscape management aspects of tourism development,
f) Pay particular attention to the complete integration of the protection-conservation of the property's cultural elements in the property's management and development programmes,
g) Specify the frequency of, and the responsibility for, the implementation of monitoring. It should be extended with respect to the most significant cultural landscapes. The publication of an annual report on the state of the property's cultural and landscape conservation is also desirable;
6. Also recommends the State Party, in relation to the associated natural values of the property, to seek assistance via the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme and the Ramsar Convention, in order to ensure that the international recognition of the Saloum Delta as both a Biosphere Reserve and as a Ramsar Site contributes to the effective conservation of the site, and also assists the development of well-planned and equitable approaches to sustainable development within the property and the surrounding area, including via sustainable tourism;
7. Further recommends the State Party to clarify and strengthen the legal protection of the property, and to increase the available human and financial resources to ensure the protection and conservation of the site, including the protection, and restoration where appropriate, of the important natural values within the area, including the high quality mangrove habitat, dry forest areas capable of supporting conservation of the Red Colobus, the important bird and turtle conservation area of the Île aux Oiseaux, and to also put in place an effective protection and management regime to secure the conservation of the nearby Île de Kousmar.;
8. Requests the State Party to submit a report by 1 February 2012 on the implementation of its protection and management system for the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.