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Decision 45 COM 7B.8
Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary (Senegal) (N 25)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7B.83 adopted at its extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online, 2021),
  3. Takes note of the conclusion of the 2022 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission that, in view of the considerable management efforts undertaken by the State Party and its partners, the conditions for a new inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger are not met, but the ecological integrity of the property remains threatened by water pollution, the proliferation of invasive species induced by agro-industrial projects located in the buffer zone and the vulnerability of local communities adjacent to the property, and that if the threats are not addressed urgently and quickly, the property could soon meet the conditions for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in accordance with paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  4. Notes with satisfaction the efforts made by the State Party and its partners to update the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone, and the legal requirement for an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) or a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in accordance with international standards before any new agro-industrial installation likely to impact the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), however once again expresses its concern about the persistence of the negative impacts of existing agricultural and agro-industrial projects on the OUV of the property;
  5. Requests the State Party to implement the recommendations of the 2022 mission, as follows:
    1. Take urgently, by the end of 2023, all the necessary measures to finalize the construction of the evacuation channel and render effectively operational the polluted water drainage system planned to clean up the waters of the property as well as emergency proactive measures to address the source of pollution from agricultural developments near the property,
    2. Following the efforts undertaken to restore the boundary of the property, initiate discussions with the stakeholders concerned to resolve the encroachments noted and restore the territorial integrity of the property,
    3. Revise the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and the Biodiversity Action Plan for the rice loop road construction project to specifically assess the potential impacts on the OUV of the property in accordance with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context, and that the revision includes alternatives and a no-project option, and that this be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, prior to any approval of the project, in order to ensure that its implementation will not have a negative impact on the OUV of the property,
    4. Carry out discussions with UNESCO and IUCN as soon as possible to draw up a depollution plan for the DNBS, an action plan to solve the problems linked to the increasing salinization of the soil and progressive sedimentation, and to render operational the water quality monitoring system including the monitoring of heavy metals,
    5. Elaborate and implement a development and management plan including actions and a substantial budget on the crucial issues of i) water management, ii) disaster risk management, iii) invasive plants and iv) ecological monitoring,
    6. Maintain the level of vigilance regarding land use in the periphery of the DNBS and carefully monitor the impact of the bankruptcy of the largest agro-industrial unit located on the periphery of the DNBS in order to avoid an anarchic resettlement in the spaces that could be left vacant by the closure of “Compagnie Agricole de Saint-Louis (CASL)”,
    7. Ensure that no new rice plots can be allocated in the buffer zone of the property and that a noise pollution reduction plan can be drawn up and implemented as soon as possible to limit the impacts linked to the use of bird scaring guns,
    8. Continue actions for the control and epidemiological surveillance of avian influenza in a coordinated manner throughout the Senegal River Delta, including the Diawling Park in Mauritania, until eradication of the epizootic is declared, and begin as soon as possible an analysis of the impact of avian influenza on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and implement the recommendations resulting from the study,
    9. Strengthen epidemiological surveillance in the villages on the outskirts of the DNBS and the early warning system, through training in the recognition of HPAI [Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza] symptoms by breeders in the area,
    10. Maintain in post for a reasonable period (at least three years) any Conservator appointed to be responsible for the property and appoint a director with the required qualifications to direct the Biological Research Station, and that this station report hierarchically to the DNBS Conservator who is solely responsible for the state of conservation of the property,
    11. Strengthen the management team with around ten additional trained and equipped agents and consider innovative mechanisms for the sustainable financing of the property,
    12. Reactivate the Management Committee to make the buffer zone of the property operational, governing it by means of a regulatory text which sets out its role, composition, mode of operation as well as a budget estimate necessary for its operation; this action should include the revitalization of the Inter-village Committees (IVC) and its related bodies (eco-guards and eco-guides);
  6. Thanks all donors who continue to support the conservation of the property, in particular the Governments of Luxembourg and Norway for their financial support to improve the state of conservation of the property;
  7. Takes note of the limited funding to ensure the sustainable implementation of all management functions of the property and also requests the State Party, with the support of its partners, to continue its efforts towards the development of a sustainable financing system with a view to improving efficiency in the management of the property;
  8. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2024, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session.
Documents
Context of Decision
WHC-23/45.COM/7B