State of Conservation (SOC)
Ichkeul National Park (2003)
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:140,000USD
|2002||Elaboration d'un plan d'urgence pour la sauvegarde du Parc ...||50,000 USD|
|1991||Consultancy, equipment, design and construction costs for a ...||40,000 USD|
|1989||Financial contribution to the preparation of exhibits for the ...||20,000 USD|
|1981||Study on Ichkeul National Park||30,000 USD|
January 1997: RAMSAR mission; March 2000: joint IUCN / RAMSAR mission ; June 2003: IUCN mission
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Construction of dams;
- Air pollution;
- Problems caused by siltation of the lake;
- Need to update the integrated management plan for the site
Current conservation issues
Representatives of IUCN and the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat (Wetland Research and Conservation Centre, France) visited Tunisia from 17 to 23 June 2002. Their mission was to prepare an institutional framework and work plan for IUCN’s assistance to the State Party under the US$50 000 grant for emergency assistance approved by the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee on April 9, 2002. During this mission, IUCN agreed to provide technical support to the State Party in organising a workshop to launch the process for the sustainable development and conservation of the Ichkeul catchment and lake, and in establishing a mutually agreed programme for monitoring the results of the rehabilitation plan for the Ichkeul Lake ecosystem.
The mission documented the following actions launched by the Agence Nationale de Protection de l’Environnement (ANPE):
· Rehabilitation and mechanization of the Tindja sluice gate (to be completed in mid 2003);
· Establishment of hydrological and meteorological monitoring stations in major tributary rivers and the lake (completed);
· Confirmation of GEF support for a six year US$2.2 million project to assist in the development of a participatory management plan, and for updating the hydrological model (started in latter half of 2002);
· Bathymetric/topographic surveys of Tindja Channel and Joumine / Melah marshes to assist planning of water release (to be started in latter half of 2002); and,
· Establishment of a bio-physical monitoring programme (on-going).
The mission also learned about the construction of three additional dams on the Ichkeul catchment. One of the objectives of the dams is inter-annual water storage for release to Ichkeul during dry years, but the viability of this still has to be tested with the hydrological model.
As requested by the Committee’s decision 26 COM 21(a) 6 taken in Budapest, Hungary, in June 2002, the workshop to launch the rehabilitation programme was held on 28 and 29 January 2003. IUCN worked closely with the MedWet Coordinator (Ramsar Convention), the Tour du Valat Research Station, and the French Research Institute for Development (IRD) to present recommendations to the workshop related to the future restoration work, including the establishment of indicators, benchmarks and a timetable for the scientific monitoring process and the development of a Management Plan. Principal conclusions of the workshop included:
· Confirmation of the need to reinforce the management structure for the Park. In the report of the workshop it is observed that as part of the implementation of the GEF project, the creation of an autonomous and permanent management structure, that takes into consideration the specificities of Ichkeul and the sustainability of its values, with appropriate decision making powers needs to be established.
· Recommendation that the Tunisian authorities should guarantee the release of 80-120 million cubic meters of water annually from upstream dams. In the closing session of the workshop, the authorities for the hydraulic resources management in Tunisia informed that it has recently decided to consider the Ichkeul National Park as a water “consumer” for whom regular quantities of water must be ensured. This is a significant decision showing that the State Party is committed to make the necessary water resources available for maintaining the ecological integrity of the Park and ensure the effective preservation of the site;
· Elaboration of local Agenda 21 strategy that will ensure the necessary integration of the Ichkeul National Park management into regional ecological and socio-economic processes is foreseen. The strategy will acknowledge and sustain Ichkeul’s role as one of the motors driving regional development. The creation of a “committee 21” to pursue this process was recommended by the workshop.
· Presentation by the Chief of Project during the workshop of a GEF/World Bank project to prepare a management plan included indicators for monitoring the performance of the project. Some of those indicators may be adapted to be included in the monitoring programme for measuring the success of the rehabilitation of Ichkeul National Park. Two types of indicators have been considered, scientific and technical. Scientific indicators include the establishment of populations of Potamogeton, an important plant for migratory bird feeding; and increase of the cover of Sirpaies by 50%. Technical indicators include: 100% of the permanent staff of the Park provided refresher training; increasing sensitivity of local communities to water management issues from a baseline of 25% to 70% of the population during a period of 5 years;
· 50% of the local communities to be trained in aspects related to the management of the Park etc.
IUCN considers that the outcome of the workshop and the commitment of the State Party to establish a monitoring programme for the rehabilitation of Ichkeul Lake have been commendable. Fortunately, the winter of 2002-2003 has been particularly wet, and this has allowed the lake to fill and flush out the salt accumulated over four years of recent drought. The return of the numbers of migratory birds to Ichkeul has also significantly increased compared to recent years of low rainfall. IUCN notes that the restoration of the site in the long term however, depends on water resources, about 80 to 120 millions cubic metres being released from dams on an annual basis. The decision of the Secretary of State for Water Resources confirming the State Party’s commitment to this annual release as and when needed in future years is therefore awaited.
The new information provided above has been proposed on a consensual basis between IUCN and the Centre.
Link to the decision
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Congratulates the State Party for successfully convening a workshop, held in January 2003 to identify indicators and benchmarks in order to monitor the recovery of the property, and for demonstrating strong commitment to the rehabilitation of the Ichkeul National Park;
2. Urges the State Party to write to the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee confirming that it will consider the Ichkeul National Park as a water "consumer" and commit to an annual water inflow into the lake of an average of 80 to 120 million cubic metres from the upstream dams through water releases or overflow, as requested in point 2 of the recommendations of the workshop and indicating the expected date of completion of the construction of necessary infrastructure of dams and canals to enable such releases as and when needed;
3. Invites the State Party to create an autonomous and permanent management structure, that takes into consideration the specificities of Ichkeul and the sustainability of its values, with appropriate decision-making powers, and the establishment of a "Committee 21" for elaborating a local Agenda 21 as requested in the recommendations;
4. Recommends that IUCN and the World Heritage Centre co-operate with the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and other partners to ensure timely and effective implementation of the Global Environment Facility/World Bank Project to prepare a participatory management plan for the Park;
5. Urges the State Party to continue implementing the restoration programmes for Ichkeul Lake and co-operate with IUCN, the World Heritage Centre and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat to review annually the progress;
6. Requests the State Party to submit a report by 1 February 2004 to the World Heritage Centre and IUCN on the outcome of Ichkeul National Park rehabilitation, clearly highlighting the scientific and technical improvements put in place, as well as on threats and limitations to the effective rehabilitation of Ichkeul Lake against the benchmarks and indicators that were identified in the above-mentioned workshop;
7. Requests the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to review these reports and to inform the Committee of major achievements, or difficulties encountered in the effective rehabilitation of Ichkeul, as appropriate;
8. Decides to retain the Ichkeul National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Link to the decision
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Following examination of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-03/27.COM/7A),;
2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
- Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam, Afghanistan (27 COM 7A.21)
- Butrint, Albania (27 COM 7A.26 )
- Tipasa, Algeria (27 COM 7A.17)
- Royal Palaces of Abomey, Benin (27 COM 7A.15)
- Angkor, Cambodia (27 COM 7A.22)
- Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park, Central African Republic (27 COM 7A.12 )
- Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, Côte d'Ivoire/Guinea (27 COM 7A.4)
- Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo (27 COM 7A.2)
- Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo (27 COM 7A.2)
- Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo (27 COM 7A.2)
- Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Democratic Republic of the Congo (27 COM 7A.2)
- Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo (27 COM 7A.2)
- Sangay National Park, Ecuador (27 COM 7A.13)
- Abu Mena, Egypt (27 COM 7A.18)
- Simien National Park, Ethiopia (27 COM 7A.3)
- Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve, Honduras (27 COM 7A.14)
- Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, India (27 COM 7A.9)
- Group of Monuments at Hampi, India (27 COM 7A.23)
- Old City of Jerusalem & its Walls (27COM7A.29)
- Timbuktu, Mali (27 COM 7A.16)
- Air & Ténéré Natural Reserves, Niger (27 COM 7A.5)
- Bahla Fort, Oman (27 COM 7A.19)
- Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan (27 COM 7A.242)
- Chan Chan Archaeological Zone, Peru (27 COM 7A.28)
- Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, Philippines (27 COM 7A.25)
- Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, Senegal (27 COM 7A.6)
- Ichkeul National Park, Tunisia (27 COM 7A.8)
- Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Uganda (27 COM 7A.7)
- Everglades National Park, United States of America (27 COM 7A.11)
- Historic Town of Zabid, Yemen (27 COM 7A.20)
Draft 27 COM 7 (a) 8
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Commends the State Party for successfully convening the workshop and demonstrating strong commitment to the rehabilitation of the Ichkeul Lake National Park;
2. Urges the Secretary of State for Water Resource to write to the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee confirming that the authorities for hydraulic resources management in Tunisia will consider the Ichkeul National Park as a water “consumer” and committing to annual releases of 80 to 120 million cubic metres of water, as requested by point 2 of the recommendations of the workshop and indicating the expected date of completion of the construction of necessary infrastructure of dams and canals to enable such releases as and when needed;
3. Invites the State Party to create an autonomous and permanent management structure, that takes into consideration the specificities of Ichkeul and the sustainability of its values, with appropriate decision-making powers, and “Committee 21”for elaborating a local Agenda 21 as requested in the recommendations;
4. Recommends that IUCN and the Centre co-operate with the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and other partners to ensure timely and effective implementation of the GEF/World Bank Project to prepare a participatory management plan for the Park;
5. Urges the State Party to continue implementing the restoration programmes for Ichkeul Lake and co-operate with IUCN, the Centre and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat to annually review the progress;
6. Requests the Centre and IUCN to co-operate with the State Party and other partners to submit annual reports of the outcome of Ichkeul National Park rehabilitation, clearly highlighting the scientific and technical improvements put in place, threats and limitations to effective rehabilitation of Ichkeul Lake and any changes in benchmarks and indicators that were identified in the January 2003 workshop financed by the World Heritage Fund;
7. Decides to retain the Ichkeul National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
View inscribed site documents, nomination file, reports, decisions, ...
SOC Reports2010 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1989 1987 1986 1985
Detailed List of SOC reports
Excessive salinity of the water
Inscription on the Danger ListYear: 1996 -2006
Threats to the Site:
The Park was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger during the 20th session of the Committee (1996) as a result of significant deterioration in the characteristics for which the site was inscribed.
The construction of three dams on rivers supplying Lake Ichkeul and its marshes has cut off almost all inflow of fresh water, causing a destructive increase in the salinity of the lake and marshes.
Reed beds, sedges and other fresh-water plant species have been replaced by halophytic plants, with a consequent sharp reduction in the migratory bird populations dependent on the habitat the lake formerly provided. According to IUCN, all reed-dependent species such as purple heron, purple gallinule and reed warblers have disappeared.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).