1.         Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman) (N 654)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/654/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1994-2003)
Total amount approved: USD 95,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/654/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

IUCN mission in 2000

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Poaching ;

b) Gas and oil exploration ;

c) Overgrazing by domestic stock ;

d) Boundary marking, management planning and management regime.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/654/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

The State Party has provided a report on 10 February 2006 informing of the measures taken to address the main management threats to the property. The establishment of trained and equipped ranger units within the Sanctuary is particularly welcome.

Proposals to review the 2000 management plan and delineate boundaries are welcomed; however, there is a concern as regards the slowness of this process. The revision of the management plan will provide the opportunity to improve the management of the property in accordance with proposed boundary and management zones amendments. The State Party should be urged to accelerate this process so that a clear map showing the proposed revised boundary for the property may be submitted to the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session in 2007. This map should include management plan Zones 1 and 2 within the World Heritage Property but excludes the buffer zone (Zone 3).

In the process of revising the management plan, the State Party should take into consideration the detailed suggestions made in the State of Conservation report to the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee (Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev). In particular the revised management plan should include a work plan with clear timeframes for implementation. It is also reiterated that the provisions within the current management plan which conditionally permit mining activity (exploration and production of oil, gas and minerals) in the World Heritage Property are not supported and should be excluded from the management plan.

The State Party reports no known cases of Arabian Oryx poaching in 2005. However, there are discrepancies between the report from March 2005 and the most recent report on the numbers of Oryx estimated in the wild (120 in March 2005 and 90 in February 2006). The State Party should provide an accurate estimate to clarify the conservation status of the Oryx population and any trends. The State Party should also provide an update on the state of implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding prepared between the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates, related to illegal wildlife trade.

The State Party references plans to construct a ‘tourism lodge in the Sanctuary’. It is presumed that any such development would be consistent with the provisions of the current management plan as it relates to tourism and environmental impact assessment procedures; further that any such infrastructure would be located in appropriate zones (Utility Zones under the current management plan).

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.10

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.6, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Notes with concern that progress on reviewing the 2000 management plan and delineating boundaries remains very slow and that the State Party is yet to submit a revised boundary for the World Heritage property;

4. Notes with concern recent reports indicating that the current management plan would conditionally permit mining activity (exploration and production of oil, gas and minerals) in all zones of the World Heritage property and requests the State Party to urgently provide clarifications;

5. Notes with serious concern the new information received by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN indicating that the State Party has transferred an Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement for an area within the property from one international oil company to another, reinforcing the concerns over the deficiencies in the current management plan expressed above and in the report of the 2000 IUCN monitoring mission;

6. Recalls that, according to paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, any current and planned exploitation of oil, gas or minerals in the property would make the case for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

7. Requests the State Party to provide, as a matter of urgency, the World Heritage Centre with detailed information about the status of any oil exploration and production activities within the property and their potential impacts on the property;

8. Urges the State Party to invite a joint monitoring mission of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to assess the state of conservation of the property, including the status of any oil exploration and production activities within the property and their potential impacts on the property;

9. Requests the State Party to prepare a draft version of a map showing the proposed revision of the boundaries of the property, to be submitted to IUCN and the World Heritage Centre by 30 November 2006 for comments, in view of its finalization and submission by 1 February 2007;

10. Further requests the State Party to submit by 1 February 2007 a draft revised management plan based on the revised boundaries of the property and a report on the state of conservation of the property, including an accurate estimate of the status and trends of the Arabian Oryx population and an update on the state of implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding prepared between the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session in 2007.