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Banc d'Arguin National Park

Mauritania
Factors affecting the property in 2008*
  • 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 2008
Requests approved: 2 (from 2004-2004)
Total amount approved : 35,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2008**

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 2008

The State Party did not submit a state of conservation report which was requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007). Therefore progress on the implementation of previous decisions is difficult to assess. However, IUCN’s regional office for West Africa has conducted a management effectiveness review of Banc d’Arguin National Park and has found that the management of the property has been improved. The property was found to have a valid management plan, for the period 2005-2009, and there is a sufficient number of staff with adequate skills, although their spatial distribution within the property could be improved.

Transportation means and logistics are quite good in the property, and communication means are operational. The property has been supported financially by the government of Mauritania and other international donors. A trust fund is being launched and should be operational in the coming year. The property has developed good relations with the Imraguen local communities. Although the restrictions on access to some resources are still a source of conflict, the communities strongly support the exclusive fishing access which they have been granted within the property. They expect the park administration to be more proactive and to lobby the Nouakchott health and education administrations for additional attention to their needs. One of the recommendations of this study is that the zoning of PNBA needs to be finalized in order to clarify the role of the different territories.

The IUCN study found that coastal changes are causing birds to abandon their nesting sites and that sand dune are encroaching on water holes apparently as a result of climate change. Illegal bird poaching and illegal logging continue to occur as well as overgrazing by camels during years with good rainfall. The illegal fishing in the marine portion of the property continues. The population of monk seal, one of the most threatened species of mammals which occurs in the Cap Blanc area, is being disturbed by line fishing from the seashore, resulting in a reduction of their habitat. Ghost fishing from lost nets also causes increased monk seal and fish deaths. In addition, this portion of the property faces threats from coastal erosion of cliffs, further reducing the key habitat for the seals, and wind-blown deposits of fine particles of iron. Marine aquaculture development also poses a potential threat to the marine values and integrity at Cap Blanc. No impact assessments or monitoring activities have been carried out. The State Party faces also political pressure from fishing lobbies, which are currently permitted not to fish within the property as marine resources outside the property are over fished but to date has resisted these lobbies. In the terrestrial portion of the property, invasive plants are depriving native plants of water though there has been successful management of one species- Salvinia molesta. An additional problem is the entry of polluted water from the Senegal River, containing agricultural run-off including pesticides.

The State Party did not provide an update on its progress in implementing the following previous decisions by the World Heritage Committee:

a) To seek “particularly sensitive sea area” (PSSA) status from the International Maritime Organisation;

b) To implement a programme to monitor the threats to marine resources;

c) To produce and implement an Oil spill emergency response plan;

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

e) Recommendations on the legal framework of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that whilst the management effectiveness of the Banc d’Arguin is improving there are still a number of conservation issues and threats that require urgent attention, in particular in relation to the marine and coastal environment. A proper assessment of the situation is difficult because the State Party has not responded to the requests of the World Heritage Committee to report on progress and the status of the outstanding universal value of the property.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2008
32 COM 7B.6
Banc d'Arguin National Park (Mauritania) (N 506)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.12, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Regrets that the State Party did not submit a state of conservation report as requested at its 31 session (Christchurch, 2007);

4. Welcomes the findings of the IUCN Management Effectiveness Assessment on the positive progress in managing the property; but notes with concern the many threats which the property continues to face;

5. Requests the State Party to implement the recommendations of its previous decisions; and in particular to report on the following issues:

a) monitoring the status of values of the property;

b) protection of marine resources from overexploitation and pollution; and

c) status of the proposed Oil spill emergency response plan;

6. Also requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2009 a report on the state of conservation of the property, including progress in implementing the previous recommendations, together with a copy of the management plan for the next period, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.

Draft Decision: 32 COM 7B.6

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.12, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Regrets that the State Party did not submit a state of conservation report as requested at its 31 session (Christchurch, 2007);

4. Welcomes the findings of the IUCN Management Effectiveness Assessment on the positive progress in managing the property; but notes with concern the many threats which the property continues to face;

5. Requests the State Party to implement the recommendations of its previous decisions; and in particular to report on the following issues:

a) Monitoring the status of values of the property;

b) Protection of marine resources from overexploitation and pollution; and

c) Status of the proposed Oil spill emergency response plan;

6. Also requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2009 a report on the state of conservation of the property, including progress in implementing the previous recommendations, together with a copy of the management plan for the next period, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009. 

Report year: 2008
Mauritania
Date of Inscription: 1989
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 32COM (2008)
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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