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 1994-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 55,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/654/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

May 2000: World Heritage Centre mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2000

Previous deliberations:          
Twenty-third session of the Committee – paragraph X.28 and Annex VIII
Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – paragraph IV.36

New information: IUCN has informed the Centre that a Co-ordination Committee for the Conservation of the Arabian Oryx has been recently formed and that the first meeting of this Committee was held in Muscat in January 2000. This meeting agreed to the formation of a working secretariat, which will be hosted by Abu Dhabi (UAE). The Committee will address the subject of illegal trade of the Arabian Oryx.  The Deputy Director of the Centre and an IUCN expert visited Oman in early May 2000. The “Regional Capacity Building Training Workshop for the Promotion of Awareness in Natural Heritage Conservation” for which the twenty-second session of the Committee approved a sum of US$40,000, will be held from 24 to 27 September 2000 and will provide an added opportunity for discussions on the conservation of this site between the State Party, IUCN and the Centre.

Action Required

The Bureau, based on new information that is likely to be available at the time of its session, may wish to take appropriate decisions thereupon.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2000

In a letter dated 29 September 2000 addressed to the Centre following a mission undertaken by the Centre from 7 to 13 May 2000, the Permanent Delegate of Oman to UNESCO, referring to a letter from the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Environment, informed the Centre that :  « The Ministry agrees with the fact that it is necessary for Park personnel in the field of  Sanctuary Management as well as for national personnel to participate in the protection of National Heritage» as proposed by the mission. The World Heritage Regional Capacity Building Workshop was held from 25 to 27 September 2000 for which the twenty-second session of the World Heritage Committee approved a sum of US$40,000. A report on the workshop is expected from the State Party for circulation. Several issues relating to tourism, regional planning, mining and off-road vehicle impact can be noted concerning this site. IUCN expresses strong support for the initiative to develop appropriate nature-based tourism opportunities within the site.  There is a need for broad scale, participatory socio-economic assessment and regional development planning to ensure that the site is fully integrated into overall development agendas.  The mining activity, both oil and gas and other forms of extraction, pose a potentially significant threat to the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary.  IUCN believes these activities are incompatible with the objectives of management for World Heritage sites, and are therefore incompatible with the management of the site. IUCN acknowledges that mining activities and rights already exist within the Sanctuary prior to its inscription.  IUCN does not, at this time, believe the threats to the site warrant it being placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.  IUCN notes the positive progress made by the State Party in halting the poaching of Arabian Oryx and other wildlife species from within the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 24 BUR IV.B.34

The Bureau was informed that in May 2000, IUCN undertook a mission to the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, with the participation of the Centre. Issues covered in the mission report include: the status of the Arabian Oryx population where the report noted that poaching was severe from 1996 to 1999, but has been stopped over the past sixteen months, particularly with the input from ‘The Sultan’s Special Forces’; and that, as regards the adequacy of the management plan, sharper boundaries are being developed, and questions of oil and gas exploration, off road vehicles and overgrazing should be taken into consideration.  IUCN further informed the Bureau that the above issues are covered in more detail in the mission report. Overall, IUCN observed that the efforts being made represent good progress but significant challenges remain.

The Bureau noted that a Co-ordination Committee for the Conservation of the Arabian Oryx has been recently formed and that the first meeting of this Committee was held in Muscat in January 2000, during which a working secretariat to be hosted by Abu Dhabi (UAE) was formed to address the subject of illegal trade of the Arabian Oryx.

IUCN further informed the Bureau that it has provided input to the planning of a World Heritage Regional Capacity Building Workshop to be held from 24 to 27 September 2000 for which the twenty-second session of the Committee approved a sum of US$40,000 and recommended that this be a small workshop, focused on key issues raised in the mission report.  IUCN observed that this Workshop could provide an opportunity for Oman to adopt and launch the Management Plan for this site. IUCN proposed the circulation of the mission report and further discussion on this site at the twenty-fourth session of the World Heritage Committee, in Cairns, Australia.

The Bureau requested that the report of the mission be submitted to the twenty-fourth extraordinary session of the World Heritage Bureau as Information Document.

Decision Adopted: 24 COM VIII.iii

 State of conservation reports of natural properties noted by the Committee

Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)

Pirin National Park (Bulgaria)

Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon)

Gros Morne National Park (Canada)

Canadian Rocky Mountains Parks (Canada)

Comoe National Park (Côte d'Ivoire)

Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

Komodo National Park (Indonesia)

Lorenz National Park (Indonesia)

Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest (Kenya)

Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand (New Zealand)

Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)

Huascarán National Park (Peru)

Danube Delta (Romania)

Lake Baikal (Russian Federation)

Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal)

Doñana National Park (Spain)

Sinharaja Forest Reserve (Sri Lanka)

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda)

Gough Island (United Kingdom)

Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania)

Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)

Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)