Climate change threatens the coastal villages in Banc d’Arguin

While the Arab region boasts more cultural sites (76), natural sites (5) are slowly increasing as the interest in environmental conservation and sustainability transform the mindset of the region’s perspective. Banc d’Arguin National Park, located in Mauritania, is a key spawning and nursery area for a wide range of fish, which supplies recruitment to stocks in the broader upwelling area. These are an essential global fisheries resources, including and particularly for EU countries. It is also a site experiencing factors that are affecting and impacting the conservation and sustainability of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), as well as the safety of the local community living within and around the park.

Several measures have been taken by the State Party of Mauritania to safeguard the property, including the establishment and strengthening of a permanent concertation committee, which includes administrative and municipal, regional and communal authorities to improve management capacities and systems.

Effective measures are also being taken to protect endemic threatened species by banning the fishing and hunting of  threatened species (shark and ray fish), and has been requested by the Committee to continue the close monitoring of fishing and collection of aquatic resources, both within and outside of the national park.

The impact of the climate change has encouraged the Mauritanian Authorities to develop a project to relocate villages threatened by these implications and threats..  However, this issue could cause other challenges and impacts on the natural setup of the property. Consequently, the Committee has requested that the State Party provide further information regarding the framework of the project, predicted for 2018.The World Heritage Committee and IUCN welcomed the  State Party’s efforts in mitigating detrimental factors affecting the property, which include impacts caused by tourism and recreational activities, deficient management plans and systems, extension of the Tasiat gold mine, oil and gas exploration, renewable energy facilities, local utilities, illegal activities and ground transport.