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Ichkeul National Park

Tunisia
Factors affecting the property in 1999*
  • Air pollution
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Subsistence hunting
  • Water (rain/water table)
  • Water infrastructure
  • Other Threats:

    Excessive salinity of the water

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Construction of dams;
  • Hunting;
  • Grazing,
  • Air pollution
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1999
Requests approved: 3 (from 1981-1991)
Total amount approved : 90,000 USD
1991 Consultancy, equipment, design and construction costs ... (Approved)   40,000 USD
1989 Financial contribution to the preparation of exhibits ... (Approved)   20,000 USD
1981 Study on Ichkeul National Park (Approved)   30,000 USD
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Summary of previous deliberations: At its last session (Kyoto, 1998), the Committee noted that the Bureau (June 1998), while concerned about the feasibility of the effective rehabilitation of this site and urging the State Party to take all necessary measures to ensure rapid and effective implementation of the rehabilitation programme for Ichkeul, had recommended an expert mission to the site. The mission was intended to give due consideration to the possibility for developing an improved rehabilitation programme for Ichkeul and retain its status as a World Heritage site and to allow the State Party sufficient time for the implementation of the rehabilitation programme. The Committee recommended that the Centre and IUCN ensure that the expert mission (i) establish 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 to the twenty-third 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.

New information: A three-person team representing IUCN, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and the Centre undertook a mission to Ichkeul in February 1999. A detailed report of the mission will be tabled as Information Document WHC-99/CONF.204/INF.11 to the twenty-third session of the Bureau. The mission, while recognizing the uncertainty linked to the feasibility of rehabilitating Ichkeul to conditions that existed at the time of its inscription (1980), noted that the State Party is committed and taking significant efforts to mitigate threats to the site and ensure effective and timely rehabilitation. However, the mission was of the view that monitoring of the effectiveness of rehabilitation would have to be based on a reasonable time frame. Inter-linked indicators such as salinity, availability of preferred species of food plants of birds, and the number of wintering birds arriving in Ichkeul could fluctuate significantly based on annual variations in rainfall and evapo-transpiration which affect water levels in the lake. The mission was of the view that the Committee should defer its judgement concerning the feasibility of the successful rehabilitation of Ichkeul until such time when possible improvements to the ecology of the lake, expected to be derived from the diversion of waters from the Sejnane River via a dam and a canal (of which construction is due to be completed in the year 2000), could be monitored. The mission has proposed an outline for the threat mitigation status report, to be submitted by the State Party to the twenty-third session of the Committee. The proposed outline invites the State Party to define current and expected values for a set of indicators, e.g. water-salinity levels, counts of a selected number of endangered species of birds and the availability of preferred food plants of birds etc., which could provide the basis for monitoring during a 5-year period from 2000 to 2004. In addition, the mission recommends that the State Party undertakes necessary studies and analysis needed for developing the region’s economy based on ecotourism and similar non-extractive resource uses, so that local people who are dependent on grazing their livestock on the Ichkeul marshes could be provided with alternative livelihood options.

Action Required

The Bureau may wish to review the expert mission report, to be submitted as Document WHC-99/CONF.204/INF.11 to its twenty-third session. The Centre and IUCN will propose a set of decisions and recommendations with regard to monitoring the state of conservation of Ichkeul at the time of the twenty-third session of the Bureau.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Summary of previous deliberations:

Twenty-second session of the Committee – paragraph number VII.11. Twenty-third session of the Bureau – paragraph number IV.10

New information: At its twenty-third session in July 1999, the Bureau agreed with the recommendations of a joint IUCN/Ramsar/Centre mission to the site, undertaken in February 1999, in accordance with the wish of Bureau and the Committee expressed at their respective sessions in 1998. The Bureau welcomed the suggestion of the mission team that the State Party include, in its threat mitigation status report to the twenty-third session of the Committee, definitions of current and expected values for a set of indicators, e.g. water salinity levels, counts of selected numbers of endangered species of birds, the availability of preferred food plants etc., that could provide the basis for a 5-year monitoring programme for the implementation of the rehabilitation plan from 2000 to 2004. The State Party has submitted its threat mitigation status report via its letter dated 14 September 1999. The report has been transmitted to IUCN for review and comment. The threat mitigation status report will be presented to the Committee as document WHC-99/CONF.209/INF.9.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1999
23 BUR IV.A.10
Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia)

The Bureau recalled that, at its last session (June 1998), while being concerned about the feasibility of the effective rehabilitation of Ichkeul, it had urged the State Party to take all necessary measures to ensure rapid and effective implementation of the rehabilitation programme for Ichkeul. The Bureau had also recommended an expert mission to the site. The mission was intended to give due consideration to the possibility for developing an improved rehabilitation programme for Ichkeul to retain its status as a World Heritage site and to allow the State Party sufficient time for the implementation of the rehabilitation programme.

The Bureau examined Document WHC-99/CONF.204/INF.11 containing the report of the mission of experts from IUCN, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and the Centre to Ichkeul, fielded in February 1999. The Bureau noted that the experts recognized the uncertainty linked to the feasibility of rehabilitating Ichkeul to conditions that existed at the time of its inscription (1980). However, the Bureau was satisfied to note that the State Party is committed and taking significant efforts to mitigate threats to the site and ensure effective and timely rehabilitation. The Bureau was in agreement with the mission that the monitoring of the effectiveness of the rehabilitation would have to be based on a reasonable time frame. Inter-linked indicators such as salinity, availability of preferred species of food plants of birds, and the number of wintering birds arriving in Ichkeul could fluctuate significantly, based on annual variations in rainfall and evapo-transpiration which affect water levels in the Lake. The Bureau concurred with the view of mission that the Committee should defer its judgement on the success or failure of the rehabilitation of Ichkeul until such time when possible improvements to the ecology of the Lake could be detectable.

The Tunisian Observer informed the Bureau that three of the six dams that would have diverted waters coming into the Lake (see page 12 of the Document WHC-99/CONF.204/INF.11) have been suspended and plans for the provision of fresh water to Lake would become operational by the year 2001. The Delegate agreed with the mission recommendation concerning the longer time frame needed for the ecological monitoring of restoration of wetland ecosystems such as the Ichkeul. He furthermore pointed out that considerable data existed to set up a monitoring programme as recommended by the expert mission, but implementation of a rigorous monitoring programme would require assistance for national capacity-building.

The Bureau invited the State Party to submit a threat mitigation status report to the twenty-third session of the Committee in accordance with the outline proposed by the expert mission report. The proposed outline invited the State Party to define current and expected values for a set of indicators, e.g. water salinity levels, counts of a selected number of endangered species of birds and the availability of preferred food plants of birds etc.  This could provide the basis for a monitoring programme during a 5 year-period from 2000 to 2004. IUCN stressed the need that the selection of parameters for the monitoring programme be related to the values for which the site was originally inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1980. The Bureau recommended that the State Party undertakes necessary studies and analysis needed for developing the region’s economy based on ecotourism and similar non-extractive resource uses so that local people who are dependent on grazing their livestock on the Ichkeul marshes could be provided with alternative livelihood options. The Bureau recommended that the Committee retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger.

23 COM X.A.11
SOC: Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia)

X.11 Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia)

The Committee was informed that the Bureau, at its twenty-third ordinary session in July 1999, agreed with the recommendations of a joint IUCN/Ramsar/Centre mission to the site, undertaken in February 1999, in accordance with the wish of Bureau and the Committee expressed at their respective sessions in 1998. The Bureau had welcomed the suggestion of the mission team that the State Party include, in its threat mitigation status report to the twenty-third session of the Committee, definitions of current and expected values for a set of indicators, e.g. water salinity levels, counts of selected numbers of endangered species of birds, the availability of preferred food plants etc., that could provide the basis for a 5-year monitoring programme for the implementation of the rehabilitation plan from 2000 to 2004. The Committee took note of the threat mitigation status report submitted by the State Party in document WHC-99/CONF.209/INF.9. As suggested by the twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau, and in response to the suggestions made by IUCN during the deliberations of the Committee, the representative of the State Party pointed out that the threat mitigation report has defined some possible parameters that could be useful in monitoring the success of restoration efforts. However, he was willing to discuss with IUCN to mutually agree upon a final set of indicative parameters and to set target values of those parameters that the 5- year restoration effort may endeavour to reach. He pointed out the positive progress that had taken place lately and which had not been reflected in the report. He also stressed his Government's commitment to consider the requirements for Ichkeul Lake during the planning of the utilisation of the water from the Sidi E Barrak dam.

The Delegate of Morocco noted the difficulties in reverting to the "original ecological conditions" of the Ichkeul Lake which restoration efforts may wish to achieve, particularly in light of the crucial rôle that the waters of the Lake play in meeting several development needs of the surrounding areas. The Representative of IUCN, while noting the statement of the Delegate of Morocco, stressed the need to set rigorous targets for parameters that are to be used for monitoring the success in restoration efforts implemented by the State Party. IUCN also called for a specific institutional strategy to coordinate the conservation of Ichkeul and the sustainable use of its water resources.

The Committee decided to retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee invited the State Party, the Centre and IUCN to discuss the threat mitigation report in detail and agree on a set of parameters, frequency of monitoring and the target range of values for each of the selected parameters that could be considered as success of restoration efforts at the end of the 5-year monitoring programme. The Committee invited the Centre and IUCN to report on the outcome of their discussions with the State Party to the twenty-fourth ordinary session of the Bureau in mid-2000. In addition, the Committee invited the State Party to submit its first progress report of the 5-year monitoring cycle to the twenty-fourth session of the Committee at the end of the year 2000.

The Committee may wish to retain this site on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee may examine the threat mitigation status report submitted by the State Party in the light of IUCN comments at the time of its twenty-third session and make additional recommendations for setting up a 5-year (2000 to 2004) monitoring programme for Ichkeul as appropriate.

Report year: 1999
Tunisia
Date of Inscription: 1980
Category: Natural
Criteria: (x)
Danger List (dates): 1996-2006
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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