Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Banc d'Arguin National Park

Mauritania
Factors affecting the property in 2009*
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Financial resources
  • Fishing/collecting aquatic resources
  • Human resources
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • 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 2009
Requests approved: 2 (from 2004-2004)
Total amount approved : 35,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2009**

No formal monitoring missions. World Heritage Centre missions in the framework of activities in Mauritania in 2002, 2003 and 2004

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

In its Decision 32 COM 7B.6, the World Heritage Committee requested the State Party to submit a report on efforts made in relation to the above threats, together with progress towards establishing an oil spill emergency response plan. On 26 February 2009, a report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party. It included information on surveillance, measures to address marine resource over-exploitation and pollution, fisheries, and progress towards the preparation of an oil spill emergency response plan. However, the State Party did not provide an update on its progress in implementing the following previous decisions of the World Heritage Committee:

a) Seek ‘particularly sensitive sea area’ (PSSA) status from the International Maritime Organisation;

b) Progress on mitigation measures for the new Nouadhibou-Nouakchott road;

c) Monitoring status of the values of the property.

 

The State Party continues to improve the management capacity at the property through its close collaboration with the Banc d’Arguin Foundation (FIBA) and is currently developing a new plan to replace the existing 2005-2009 management plan. It is noted that this plan could be developed in coordination with the use of the ‘Enhancing Our Heritage’ (EoH) management effectiveness tool. IUCN’s office for West and Central Africa has begun to engage with the management of the property to carry out EoH. The review of the management of the property also offers an opportunity to incorporate the World Heritage Committee’s Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies (Decisions 31 COM 7.2 and 31 COM 7.3). In 2004, the State Party developed a National Action Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change, which should be considered during the review of the management plan for the property to help incorporate climate change and disaster risk reduction.

In 2008 a financing fund (‘fonds fiduciaire’) was created to provide sustainable and regular financing to the property. An annual subsidy of 1 million euros from the EU-RIM 2006-2012 fishing agreement has been accorded in recognition of the role of the property in regenerating marine resources. Of this subsidy 30-50% will be reserved for the financing fund of the property.

As the large size of the property makes surveillance challenging, the State Party is engaging with the French remote sensing agency Maison de la Télédétection (MDT) to explore collaboration on monitoring. In addition, with the support of UNESCO and Centre National d’ Etude Spatiale CNES, (the French National Centre for Spatial Studies), a proposal is being considered to aid management and develop geographical information systems to help use satellite imagery for monitoring and management.

The State Party reports that in contrast to the maritime area of the property, the terrestrial area has suffered from degradation, reduced vegetation cover and falling wildlife populations, due in part to climatic conditions in the late twentieth century, decreasing rainfall, as well as due to poaching and wood gathering. Terrestrial surveillance consists of carrying out 4 missions in each sector of the property. With assistance of funding from the Principality of Monaco, the property has established a camel patrolling brigade in areas with the highest illegal activities. No specific monitoring information was presented on habitat or wildlife.

The State Party reports that a doctoral thesis on pastoralism in the property has demonstrated that the property contains varied and representative samples coastal pastoral biotopes. The research highlighted the value of this pastoral resource and has lead to the hiring of a pastoral ecologist to prepare a management plan for the terrestrial portion of the property. This work is being undertaken in collaboration with the Centre International de Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) and the results intend to provide information on pastoralism and nomadic populations within the property.

The managers of the property are also working with the Institut Mauritanien de Recherches Océanographiques et des Pêches (IMROP) to monitor fisheries. The managers of the property and IMROP have formed a working group to discuss adaptive management measures with the national fisheries committee, which is made up of fisheries stakeholders including the Imraguen community. This work has lead to an agreement, Service note No. 263, which defines fishing seasons, permitted fishing gear and methods and fishing zones. The note also defines monitoring methods and outlines the procedure for fishing vessel inspections.

To contribute to the sustainable management of resources, on-going research is providing the necessary understanding of ecosystem function and biodiversity within the property. To date, 145 fish species have been identified to be targeted by fishermen by either or both trawling and beach sein. Fishing effort within the property has increased by 2.7 % since 1997 leading to an increase in capture from 411 tons to 2,879 tons in 2007. During this period fishing gear and methods and target species have changed. The targeting of rays and sharks using specialized nets has been prohibited since 2004 but species such as meager/ stone bass have increased in importance. However, bycatch of these rays and sharks still occurs. It should be noted that the State Party has not reported whether it considers the fisheries to be in healthy condition and the yield sustainable.

The State Party has increased its capacity to patrol the marine portion of the property. In 2008 it carried out 390 patrol missions over 2250 hours and inspected 172 vessels. Almost 400 km of mono filament nets were seized and burnt and 44% of the missions were carried out at night, representing a significant increase in night surveillance. This maritime surveillance capacity has been increased through a parternship with ‘l’Office Français de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage.’ As a result of increased patrolling, illegal commercial fishing has been significantly reduced.

The two main sources of risk for oil pollution are West Africa international shipping lane and oil extractive industries. While no oil exploitation is permitted inside the property, concessions have been granted outside and adjacent to the property and exploitation has been in operation offshore in Mauritania since 2006. There is no national capacity to respond to an oil spill. The various private oil exploration and exploitation operators have capacity to respond to a level 1 oil spill, and possibly a level 2 oil spills. However, the State Party does not have the experience, institutions, or means to take responsibility particularly for level 2 or 3 oil spill. Initiatives have been launched to develop action plans (PANGRP and POLMAR); however these action plans have not been completed and would not be available for use in an emergency. Any level 2 or 3 spill would require a rapid emergency response from international agencies with the required capacity to combat such spills. The report notes that due to the offshore aspect of the companies involved in the petroleum industry and the number of actors, the State Party and civil society do no have a good understanding of the players/ actors and the functioning of the petroleum industry.

The State Party further notes that it does not have a disaster management system. The IUCN Panel of experts on petroleum has recommended that the concessions and their sectors in proximity to the property represent a high risk to its integrity. As such; the Panel has recommended that no oil exploration take place in Blocks 7, 8, 9, and 10. These recommendations are supported by oceanographic studies on currents. The State Party also notes that oil exploration outside the national jurisdiction of Mauritania could also threaten the property.

The State Party considers that increased research is needed on the interactions between the Canaries current and the upwelling and oceanographic interrelations to understand the risk from oil spills and appropriate required response. A previously identified option would be to use Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) as a means to alter the international shipping route as well as to strictly regulate and control that only double-hulled vessels use this shipping route thus reducing risks to the property and ecosystem as a whole. The State Party report did not provide information on steps taken towards designation of PSSA in this region.

 

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recognize the efforts of the State Party to manage and monitor the marine portion of the property and to engage with stakeholders and partners. However, several of the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee, particularly relating to the development of an emergency oil spill response plan and monitoring the status of the values of the property, have not been implemented fully.

 

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note with concern the threats to the terrestrial values of the property and encourage the State Party to engage with other States Parties with properties facing similar climate change threats to discuss management adaptation measures to climate change. Similarly, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN recognize the very strong partnerships and progress on management within the property and encourage the State Party to share its experiences with other States Parties with marine World Heritage and habitat for migratory bird species.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2009
33 COM 7B.11
Banc d'Arguin National Park (Mauritania) (N 506)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.6, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes the State Party's efforts to manage sustainably the marine resources of the property; and establish a fund to ensure sustainable financing for the property;

4. Also notes the significant international support of International Banc d'Arguin Foundation (FIBA) and international partners and welcomes the partnerships being developed on remote sensing;

5. Urges the State Party to complete the «Plan d'Intervention en cas d'Ecoulement d'hydrocarbures et de substance chimiques dangereuses » (POLMAR) and to provide a copy to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible and preferably before 1 February 2010;

6. Further notes with concern that threats from ongoing low rainfall are contributing to a decline in terrestrial habitats and wildlife; and encourages the State Party to assess adaptation measures to respond to climate change and other environmental phenomena with assistance from the international community;

7. Also encourages the State Party to continue and enhance its efforts against poaching and wood harvesting, which have degraded the terrestrial portion of the property, and to establish a thorough terrestrial monitoring programme which includes wildlife populations, vegetation cover, and threats to the property;

8. Requests the State Party to pursue its efforts to designate a 'particularly sensitive sea area' (PSSA) in and near the property, in recognition of risks from the international West African shipping lane;

9. Also requests the State Party to provide three printed and electronic copies of the new management plan to the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;

10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the progress made in addressing the threats to the terrestrial portion of the property and in implementing the previous decisions of the World Heritage Committee;

11. Request the State Party to work with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to strengthen cooperation on management and research activities in conserving migratory species along the East Atlantic Flyway.

Draft Decision: 33 COM 7B.11

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.6, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes the State Party’s efforts to manage sustainably the marine resources of the property; and establish its fund to ensure sustainable financing for the property;

4. Also notes the significant international support of FIBA and international partners and welcomes the partnerships being developed on remote sensing;

5. Urges the State Party to complete the «Plan d’Intervention en cas d’Ecoulement d’hydrocarbures et de substance chimiques dangereuses » (POLMAR) and to provide a copy to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible and preferably before 1 February 2010;

6. Further notes with concern that threats from ongoing low rainfall, which are contributing to a decline in terrestrial habitat and wildlife; and encourages the State Party to assess adaptation measures to respond to climate change;

7. Also encourages the State Party to continue and enhance its efforts against poaching and wood harvesting that have degraded the terrestrial portion of the property, and to establish a thorough terrestrial monitoring programme to include wildlife populations, vegetation cover, and threats to the property;

8. Requests the State Party to further its efforts to designate a ’particularly sensitive sea area’ (PSSA) in and near the property, in recognition of risks from the international West African shipping lane;

9. Also requests the State Party to provide three printed and electronic copies of the new management plan to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the progress made in addressing the threats to the terrestrial portion of the property and in implementing the previous decisions. 

Report year: 2009
Mauritania
Date of Inscription: 1989
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 33COM (2009)
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.


top