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Banc d'Arguin National Park

Mauritania
Factors affecting the property in 2006*
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Financial resources
  • Fishing/collecting aquatic resources
  • Human resources
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Oil and gas
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Illegal fishing;

b) Mechanical shellfish harvesting;

c) Oil exploitation;

d) Tourism and increased accessibility due to the new Nouadhibou-Nouakchott road;

e) Lack of management capacity and resources.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2006
Requests approved: 2 (from 2004-2004)
Total amount approved : 35,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2006**

World Heritage Centre consultative missions: September 2002 and June 2003; World Heritage Centre/World Bank mission, June 2004.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

The State Party submitted (2 March 2006) a report on the property in the form of a periodic report, accompanied by a copy of the Institutional and Organisational Audit and an approved Summary of the Development and Management Plan (2005-2009). The State Party’s reports, however, do not respond specifically to all of the requests of the Committee decision (29 COM 7B.5), notably in relation to oil extraction and ratifying international agreements, and it is not clear if the full Development and Management Plan has been completed.

IUCN carried out an informal field trip to the property in July 2005 in collaboration with the Park authority, and has regular contact with the State Party through the IUCN Mauritania Liaison Office. IUCN notes that in the past five years important progress has been made by the State Party, working with key partners such as the Fondation Internationale du Banc d’Arguin (FIBA), to set up an effective management authority and work with the local Imraguen community to ensure the long term protection of the Park and its resources. However, a special law for Banc d’Arguin National Park (BANP) was passed in 2000 (2000/24) and two decrees for its implementation have not been approved, causing some difficulties for current management. This requires urgent attention and there are plans to have the decrees approved in 2006.

A major Regional Marine and Coastal Conservation Programme for West Africa (PRCM) currently linking 47 governmental and non-governmental organizations, includes the BANP as one of its core marine protected areas (www.prcmarine.org). The ambitious programme (2004-2008) led by IUCN, WWF, FIBA and Wetlands International, in partnership with the Subregional Fisheries Commission (CSRP), seeks to protect the coastal waters and resources of 7 West African countries. This programme highlights the importance of BANP as a critical habitat contributing to the protection of species like mullet and meagre in the region. Lessons learned in the World Heritage property will support sustainable coastal development in the region, while the Park is also set to benefit from exchanges with other marine protected areas, the pooling of resources and expertise, research, training, communication and advocacy action in general.

The first tanker of oil was exported from Woodside’s Chinguetti project, a single hull floating production facility off the coast of Nouakchott, 200km south-west of the World Heritage property, in March 2006. The risk to the property is linked with the potential for spills from routine operations or shipping accidents and the lack of an emergency response plan. A spill from the Chinguetti project or other oil and gas developments and/or transportation in the area could also threaten the Senegal Delta Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (which includes the Djoudj and Diawling National Parks, the City of Saint-Louis) to the South-East. At the same time new explorations have begun to the north of the Banc d’Arguin National Park.

Members of the Woodside company met with various stakeholders, including IUCN and the World Heritage Centre, in January 2006, and noted that its Oil Spill Contingency Plan includes training and equipment stockpiles in a number of key locations such as the BANP, and that it is working with the Mauritanian and Senegalese governments to develop national oil spill contingency plans. The company has also committed to support the BANP in the event of a spill from any source. It appears, however, that these actions have not yet been fully implemented and a national system for response and decision-making is not yet in place. The State Party report makes no reference to activities in this regard.

It appears that no progress has been made in ratifying the 1992 Conventions[1] relating to compensation and civil liability, or in seeking designation of a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA), under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization, around BANP, as requested by the Committee, at its 29th session. There is an urgent need for the State Party to implement the Marine Environment Code (MEC) in order to implement MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) provisions, including an emergency response plan, and to ratify the 1992 Conventions on compensation and liability (CLC 92, FUND 92).

The Mauritanian Government has recently signed up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and has created a Commission for its implementation. In addition, the President of Mauritania recently requested IUCN’s assistance in ensuring that offshore oil exploitation at the Chinguetti project comply with the best international environmental protection standards (10 February 2006). IUCN is proposing to facilitate discussions between oil and gas companies and the Government and to convene an independent panel: i) to review the social and environmental aspects of their agreement with Woodside; ii) to evaluate whether the environmental and social assessments conducted by the company meet international standards; and iii) to assess whether appropriate measures are in place to implement the necessary social and environmental management plans. This process should also take into account the need for the Government to take all necessary precautions in case of oil spill.

The Banc d’Arguin National Park celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2006 and events and festivities are being organized throughout the year to raise awareness and support for the Park and the Imraguen people. The Management Authority also plans to launch a Trust Fund for the property.



[1] The 1992 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage and the 1992 International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund. 

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Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2006
30 COM 7B.9
State of Conservation (Banc d'Arquin National Park)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.5, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Commends the State Party and its partners for their efforts to protect the Banc d'Arguin National Park, including through the implementation of the Regional Marine and Coastal Conservation Programme for West Africa (PRCM);

4. Congratulates the State Party for the 30th anniversary of the Banc d'Arguin National Park and the associated programme of events to raise awareness and support for the property and encourages international donors to support the Banc d'Arguin National Park Trust Fund;

5. Encourages the State Party to implement the Marine Environment Code (MEC) in order to implement MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) provisions, and to ratify the 1992 Conventions on compensation and civil liability (CLC 92, FUND 92) as soon as possible;

6. Takes note of the proposal of IUCN to oil and gas companies and the Government of Mauritania to convene an independent panel to review the social and environmental aspects of the agreement between the Government and Woodside, and recommends that the above review process also take into account the need for the State Party to take all necessary precautions in case of an oil spill;

7. Requests the State Party to complete the Development and Management Plan (2005-2009) with all relevant stakeholders and submit a copy to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2007;

8. Urges the State Party to adopt the two decrees necessary for the implementation of the Special Law for Banc d'Arguin National Park (2000/24);

9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2007, a report on progress with the implementation of each of the above mentioned points and further details with respect to implementing the Recommendations contained in Decision 29 COM 7B.5, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.

Draft Decision: 30 COM 7B.9

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.5, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Commends the State Party and its partners for their efforts to protect the Banc d’Arguin National Park, including through the implementation of the Regional Marine and Coastal Conservation Programme for West Africa (PRCM);

4. Congratulates the State Party for the 30th anniversary of the Banc d’Arguin National Park and the associated programme of events to raise awareness and support for the property and encourages international donors to support the Banc d’Arguin National Park Trust Fund;

5. Encourages the State Party to implement the Marine Environment Code (MEC) in order to implement MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) provisions, and to ratify the 1992 Conventions on compensation and civil liability (CLC 92, FUND 92) as soon as possible;

6. Takes note of the proposal of IUCN to oil and gas companies and the Government of Mauritania to convene an independent panel to review the social and environmental aspects of the agreement between the Government and Woodside, and recommends that the above review process also take into account the need for the State Party to take all necessary precautions in case of an oil spill;

7. Requests the State Party to complete the Development and Management Plan (2005-2009) with all relevant stakeholders and submit a copy to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2007;

8. Urges the State Party to adopt the two decrees necessary for the implementation of the Special Law for Banc d’Arguin National Park (2000/24);

9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2007, a report on progress with the implementation of each of the above mentioned points, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007. 

Report year: 2006
Mauritania
Date of Inscription: 1989
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 30COM (2006)
Exports

* : 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”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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