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.