VII.11 Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia)
The Committee inscribed Ichkeul National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1996 and requested the Tunisian authorities to provide a programme of corrective measures to reverse the degradation of the site. The Committee was informed that the Bureau, at its twenty-second ordinary session (June 1998), received a report from IUCN, which provided technical data to indicate that the salinity of the water in the lake may have reached excessively high proportions and that the chances of recovery of the World Heritage values of the site may be fast receding. IUCN expressed its concern at the slow pace and effectiveness of the implementation of the rehabilitation programme by the State Party.
The Committee noted that the Observer of Tunisia had informed the Bureau of several measures undertaken by his Government to retain freshwater in the lakes on a year-round basis and thereby reduce salinity of the lake. He had described other measures taken for providing: (i) irrigation and water supply needs of the population; (ii) economic incentives to reduce the dependence on the resources of the nearby mountain which constitutes part of an area from where the waters drain into the lake; and (iii) monitoring the number of migratory birds in Ichkeul during the European winter. The Observer of Tunisia had disagreed with some of the data presented by IUCN to the Bureau.
The Committee noted that the Bureau, while being concerned regarding the feasibility of effectively rehabilitating this site and urging the State Party to take all necessary measures to ensure rapid and effective implementation of the programme for rehabilitating Ichkeul, had also recommended an expert mission to the site. The intention of the Bureau in recommending such an expert mission was to give due consideration to the possibility for developing an improved rehabilitation programme for Ichkeul and retain its status as a World Heritage site. The Committee agreed with the Bureau's suggestion that the State Party needs to be allowed sufficient time for the implementation of the rehabilitation programme. The Committee noted that the State Party has already invited an expert mission to visit the site in the second half of December 1998.
The Committee decided to retain Ichkeul National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger and requested the Centre and IUCN to co-operate with the State Party to field the expert mission as soon as possible. The Committee recommended that the Centre and IUCN ensure that the expert mission (i) establish the baseline data and information necessary for evaluating the effectiveness of rehabilitation measures which are being currently implemented; (ii) prepare a report on the adequacy of conservation and rehabilitation measures; and (iii) if necessary, propose additional measures that may be needed for the conservation of the site. The Committee requested the Centre to submit a report of the expert mission for review by the twentythird session of the Bureau, and invited the State Party to provide a comprehensive report on the results of the implementation of the rehabilitation measures to the twenty-third session of the Committee, in 1999.