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World Heritage Convention

Decision 21 BUR IV.B.30
Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)

The Bureau recalled that the Committee, at its twentieth session (Merida, 1996) expressed its concerns regarding the poaching of thirteen Oryx, the damage to the desert habitat caused by construction of a reverse osmosis plant and delays in the completion of the management planning and boundary definition project. The Bureau was informed that the authorities in Oman have provided the Centre an outline of an interim plan which foresees the following:

(a) a new outer boundary which will be fixed and boundaries of the five management zones which will be provisionally accepted for 5 years to allow the Ministry of Resource Management and the Environment (MRME) to map individual zones more accurately;

(b) construction of an MRME Headquarters at or near Al Ajaiz with management, research and monitoring facilities and a visitor centre, a local service centre and a desalination plant for supplying water to Al Ajaiz and its integrated development and access roads to the desalination plant at Al Khumkham, specifically to Haylat at Kharasheef and the Habbab Road;

(c) pilot projects on environmental tourism, environmental tourism plan for the coastal region from Ras Madrakab to Al Khaluf, establishment of a local coordinating committee, range land and livestock management, archaeological studies, particularly in the northern extension to the Sanctuary, and environmental awareness programmes; and

(d) possible MRME financial and human resources to develop the Sanctuary as Oman's first national park.

The Bureau thanked the Omani authorities for providing an outline of the interim plan and encouraged them to develop the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary as Oman's first national park. The Bureau requested the Omani authorities to provide a map indicating the outer boundary and the boundaries of the five management zones and to report to the Centre on the status of the Arabian Oryx population in the Sanctuary and the impacts of the reverse osmosis plant on the desert ecosystem. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to study the map(s) and the report(s) to be provided by authorities in Oman and assess whether a site visit to the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary is necessary. The Delegate of Germany stated that this case clearly demonstrates the danger connected with the inscription of a site without exact boundaries.

Decision Code
21 BUR IV.B.30
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
Context of Decision