Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1981
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger 1984-1988, 2000-2006
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/25/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 332,493
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/25/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount granted: USD 300,000 from the Government of Norway for the period 2020-2022
Previous monitoring missions
September 2000: UNESCO/IUCN/Ramsar mission; April 2004: UNESCO and IUCN participation in a multi-stakeholder workshop; May 2005: UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/25/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021
On 31 January 2020, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/25/documents, which provides the following information:
On 23 March 2019, the World Heritage Centre received the technical documents of the project for the construction of a bund and a canal. In its technical review of 12 March 2020, IUCN recognized the need to act to preserve the site and the value of the proposed project given the various threats to the property. It insisted on the need to ensure that the project clearly identifies and avoids any potential negative impact on the property and its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).
In addition, the World Heritage Centre, with funding from the Government of Norway, also contributes to the establishment of protective measures to mitigate the impacts of agro-industrial projects located near the property and to the strengthening of the resilience of the communities.
On 23 January 2021, the State Party reported the death of at least 750 juvenile white pelicans in the property. The results of laboratory analyses confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza. UNESCO thus organized, on 11 February 2021, a virtual meeting with the Senegalese and Mauritanian authorities in charge of the management of the property and the National Parks of Diawling (PND) and Banc d’Arquin (PNBA), as well as the representatives of the FAO, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the CMS Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds, the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), the RAMSAR Convention, IUCN, the MAVA Foundation, The Regional Partnership for the Conservation of the Coastal and Marine Zone of West Africa (PRCM) and Migratory Birds of the Western Palearctic (OMPO).
The request for Emergency Assistance to contain the epizootic and sensitize neighbouring communities was approved on 9 March 2021.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
It is recalled that the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2000 due to the proliferation of invasive species, in particular Pistia and Typha. The removal of the property from this List in 2006 was justified by the implementation of an action plan that made it possible to better control this problem. Unfortunately, it is of great concern that the accelerated development of agro-industrial projects in the buffer zone is causing pollution of the waters of the property and the exponential proliferation of several invasive species, again threatening the OUV of the property. It is crucial that the State Party take urgent actions to intercept the flow of pollutants into the watershed and define an emergency plan for the decontamination of the water.
The commitment of the State Party to address the above issues, including through the proposed Luxembourg-funded project, and to restore the ecological integrity of the property is noted with satisfaction. However, it is important that the Committee reiterates the need to ensure that this project clearly identifies and avoids any potential negative impact on the OUV of the property. UNESCO is providing financial support for the implementation of certain development works with the support of the Government of Norway.
The proliferation of agro-industrial projects in the buffer zone of the property is of great concern. It is regrettable that the World Heritage Centre has not been informed of the development of these multiple projects and it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party that no new projects be developed in the vicinity of the property without an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) or Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) being carried out in order to assess the impacts on the OUV of the property, including the cumulative effects of these projects.
Noting the persistence of livestock straying and illegal fishing within the property, it is recommended that the Committee requests the State Party to strengthen monitoring and management efforts and encourages it to continue the patrols and awareness-raising actions among communities, while implementing the Land Use and Allocation Plans to better control these threats. Other threats to the property mentioned in the past (sedimentation, water softening, reduction of natural periods of drying out) must also be addressed.
The avian influenza epidemic is worrying. Recognizing also the potential impacts in migration areas on a regional scale, it is recommended to apply the orientations provided by the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds to contain the epizootic, to work in regional and international collaboration, and to monitor and report impacts on the OUV of the property.
Furthermore, it is regrettable that the State Party has not provided any information on the results of the ecological monitoring, in particular on population trends of resident and migratory birds, and it is recommended that the Committee requests the State Party to continue its efforts to improve the monitoring and protection of species characteristic of the OUV, and inform the World Heritage Centre accordingly.
In view of the threats described above, it is recommended that the Committee requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property, in particular the impacts on the OUV of the property of the proliferation of invasive species and water pollution linked to the multiplication of agro-industrial projects in the buffer zone of the property, and to assess whether the conditions for a new inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger are met.
Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7B.83
The World Heritage Committee,