Outline Hawar Master Plan

Hawar Islands National Marine Park

Guidelines for a Draft Management Plan

 Discussion paper

By Howard King
August 2002


Strategic Objectives 
Draft Management Plan Guidelines
Declaration of Policy
Zoning Plans 
Zoning Categories 
Definition of Terms 
Review Procedures 
Management Executive 
Environmental Impact Assessment
Ancestral Lands and Rights over them  
Survey for Energy Resources 
Areas Under the Management of other Departments and Government bodies 
Park Funds 
Field Officers 
Prohibited Acts 
Judicial Proceedings and Penalties 


 The inclusion of a mandatory national obligation to establish “Protected Areas” in order to protect natural habitats and apply a code of conduct to their management is inherent in the international Conventions to which Bahrain is a signatory - The Ramsar Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity. The extent of those obligations as outlined, commits the State of Bahrain to legally facilitate the protection of natural habitats and biodiversity and is applicable to the Islands of Hawar, which were nominated as a protected area by Bahrain on ratification of the Ramsar agreement on 26 February 1997 (Amiri decree No. 3 1997).

 The agencies charged at that time with the management and administration of Bahrain’s obligations under those International Conventions, applicable Royal decrees and National Laws have not provided any “Management Plans” for the Islands. The relatively rapid and recent development on Hawar has not therefore been accompanied by the necessary growth in management capacity. The lack of management tools for Bahrains protected areas in particular Hawar, were highlighted in 2001 by the National Commission for Wildlife Protection (NCWP) during an open seminar about Hawar, attended by the general public, NGO’s, stakeholders and government agencies. It was apparent that this omission could heighten conflict over access, use and control of the Hawar protected area.

In July 2002 the NCWP submitted an application to UNESCO to have the Islands of Hawar and the seas about them nominated as a “World Heritage” natural site. A valid management plan for nominated sites is conditional for the acceptance of any such application to the World Heritage Commission.

The Islands were nominated under sections 44a(ii) and 44a(iv) of “The World Heritage Convention”

44a(ii) be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals

44a(iv) contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation

Bahrain has therefore a mandatory obligation to develop a management plan.

In recent years, the Ministry of Housing and Agriculture (MOHA – previously the Ministry of Housing, Municipalities and Environment - MOHME) the primary Ministry responsible for the development of Hawar had commissioned a series of extensive conceptual “Master Plans” acting as agents of “The Committee for the Development of Hawar”. The conceptual Master Plans produced would, had they been executed, an environmental disaster for Hawar. The consultants at the MOHA were extensively lobbied and provided with details of Bahrains International obligations and commitments with respect to the protected area of Hawar and documentary evidence of zoning principles as a management tool for protected areas. This successfully resulted in the commissioned Master Plan proposals being scaled down and on the creation of local municipalities and a regional Governor with responsibilities for Hawar; the MOHA drafted themselves a further-reduced document titled the “Hawar Management Action Plan” replacing the original conceptual “Master Plan”. The following had been suggested to the MOHA for the basis of the Hawar Master Plan

·          The Hawar master plan should have the force of law as its statutory instrument and provide in lieu of an outlined strategy
·          Use an Ecosystem based management system
·          Define specific geographic areas or zones with boundaries so as to control development with lateral spatial separation from core areas of primary scientific value
·          A vision for Hawar and describe how Hawar, in particular its coastal and marine habitats are to be managed
·          Deal with the major issues for species and biodiversity management
·          Encourage all to use coastal zones wisely so they continue to contribute to our lifestyles and livelihoods as well as maintaining their intrinsic values
·          Set an example as a regional development management plan for a protected area
·          Advocate sustainable use and development through the use of alternative technologies and materials

That the Hawar Master plan must also recognised that people are an essential and integral part of Ecologically Sustainable Development and that ecosystem functions are the result of plants and animals (including humans) interacting with each other and with the physical components of their environment. The Hawar master plan therefore, should seek to use an Ecosystem based management system that attempts to regulate the use of Hawar’s ecosystems so that we can benefit from them while at the same time minimizing the impacts of development upon them so that their basic ecosystem functions are preserved.

This Hawar Management Action Plan was drafted concurrent to the World Heritage Commission application and intended to complement that application.

It however only considers and presents proposals on
·          The current status and obligations of the Wildlife Commission application
·          The need to establish a management authority
·          The provision of improved access to Hawar
·          The reduced scale development required by the obligations of the Wildlife Commission application

The report was forwarded by the MOHA in July 2002 to the Ministry of Finance for budgetary consideration however the concept of introducing environmental constraints into the MOHA planning procedures was considered inappropriate by the MOHA management team. In consideration of these facts, Bahrains’ international obligations and the time frame for the World Heritage application, the NCWP recognized that it must assume responsibility for the Management Plan. One that provides the basis of an effective administration for the nominated protected area and is consistent with the principles of biological diversity and sustainable development and should have as its basis Zoning Plans.

The NCWP also considered that with the advent of the newly formed Southern Area Governate and Municipality region with responsibility for the Islands of Hawar and in consideration of the projected establishment of a “Hawar Commission” under the authority of the Royal Court to replace “The Committee for the Development of Hawar” it should itself establish the initial guidelines for the draft.

Strategic Objectives

The management plan should outline the strategic objectives for the protected area, based on historical, cultural, conservation, recreation, education, and scientific needs while providing for the protection and conservation of Hawar's unique marine biodiversity while allowing recreational activities to be provided. However the strategic objectives should remain in general, consistent with lUCN Categories that form the basis for the management of the National Marine Park protected area.

Draft Management Plan Guidelines

The draft National Marine Park Management Plan has to be based on national obligations and commitments as outlined by Royal Decrees, National laws, International Declarations and Convention ratified, covering the nominated area. It must provide a vision for Hawar and defines for the Islands “Management Authority” specific geographic zones, as the instruments to manage the protected area and to control touristic development through lateral spatial separation from core areas of primary scientific value. It also must provide for the means of controlling access into and around the protected area while regulating and defining the development, planning and architectural constraints required.

The National Marine Park Management Plan should be regarded as a dynamic integrated process, one that seeks to organize human use of the protected area in order to strike a balance between benefiting from the natural resources available while maintaining the areas ability to provide or support these at a sustainable level. To obtain sustainability, it is necessary to realise that future development requires that the use of resources, supporting economic policies, technological development and institutional structures be in harmony with the natural environment, enhancing both the current and future potential of the protected area rather than depleting it. It is recommended that the plan should have the force of law as its statutory instrument and must describes the administrative authorities intent, in conjunction with other policy and wildlife protection instruments in delivering the objectives of the required sustainable economic, social and conservation requirements for Hawar.

Declaration of Policy

Aware of the impact of man's activities on all components of the natural environment and recognizing the critical importance of protecting and maintaining the natural biological and physical diversities in the area nominated as the Hawar Islands National Marine Park, the NCWP on behalf of the people of Bahrain, present and future generations, seeks to ensure the perpetual existence of all native plants and animals through the establishment of a National Marine Park with boundaries as described in figures one and two.

The NCWP hereby recognized that this area, although distinct in features, possess common ecological values that could be incorporated into a National plan for all other existing and future protected areas of Bahrain, representative of our natural heritage and that effective administration of such areas is possible only through National co-operation and that the use and enjoyment of such protected areas must be consistent with the principles of biological diversity and sustainable development.

In initiating an application of nomination for inclusion on the World Heritage Natural list and initiating the draft management plan. The NCWP hereby recognises that the nominated area contains in full the protected area known as the Islands of Hawar, one that contains habitats of rare and endangered species of plants and animals, biogeographic zones and related ecosystems, both terrestrial, wetland and marine, all of which are subject to preservation and protection under existing International conventions and Royal Decrees.

Zoning Plans

 As far as is possible, the Zoning Plans will present classification zones covering all the nominated Islands of Hawar and surrounding sea within both existing protected and the nominated area for different uses.
·          A description of the activities that are permitted or not permitted in each zone including any restrictions, to effectively manage specific activities
·          Codes of Conduct (guidelines) for undertaking certain activities, which are the regulations to be adopted by developers, operators and visitors both individual and groups
·          Processes for obtaining permission from the Hawar Authority to undertake a particular activities or development including scientific study in any zone
·          Strategy to facilitate the research and monitoring of the zones for the protection of rare, threatened and depleted communities, species and biological populations
·          Contingency plans, periodic closures and conflict mediation procedures

As far as is possible the zoning plans will provide in conjunction with other legislation, a coordinated and integrated management and administrative framework for the ecologically sustainable development of Hawar and for the protection, conservation, rehabilitation and management of the marine park, including its resources and biological diversity.

Zoning Categories

The following categories of zoning will be used

(DZ) Development Zone

·          Tourism (DT)
·          Infrastructure and Support (DIS)

(NP) Nature Park Zone

·          Buffer Zone (NPB)
·          Wilderness Reserve (NPR)

(MP) Marine Park Zone

·          General Reserve (MPG)
·          Resource Reserve (MPR)

(WR) Wildlife Reserve Zone

(PSR) Preservation and Scientific Research Zone

Definition of Terms

For purposes of this draft the following terms shall be defined as follows:
"Hawar Islands National Marine Park " is the area nominated by the NCWP for inclusion on the World Heritage Natural sites List

“National Marine Park Management Plan” refers to the Zoning maps and legal description initially as commissioned by the NCWP or thereafter as modified through the stipulated review procedures constituting the only official documentary representation of the Hawar Islands National Marine Park Management Plan.

"Protected Area" refers to identified portions of land and water set aside by Royal Decree for reason of their unique physical or biological significance and protected under Bahrains National Laws

“Zoning Plan” Describes the process of allocating areas for particular uses to provide varying levels of protection for different areas of the Marine Park allowing potentially conflicting activities to be separated spatially and providing for specific activities such as development, nature based tourism and scientific study.

“Development Zone” A composite area which should be characterized by the harmonious interaction of man and his environment while providing opportunities for public enjoyment through recreation and tourism within the normal cultural lifestyle and economic development as permitted within this zone.

“Tourism Development Zone” A subpoena of the “Development Zone” of limited and specific economic activity designated for tourism, cultural, sporting or related activities and development to be managed to maintain the harmonious interaction of nature & culture.

“Infrastructure and Support Zone” A subpoena of the “Development Zone” and the least restrictive of all zones allowing for a diverse range of recreational and commercial activities, consistent with the Region's long-term conservation.

 “Nature Park Zone " a terrestrial composite zone to be the primary method of separation between the development zones and core areas of higher scientific value intended to provide public access into the protected area allowing opportunities for its appreciation and enjoyment.

“Buffer Zone” A subpoena of the “Nature Park Zone of minimal development pending the establishment of objectives which are based upon appropriate knowledge and planning, providing public access into the protected areas of the Islands allowing opportunities for their appreciation and enjoyment.

“Wilderness Reserve" normally a small area within the Nature Park zone focused on the protection and preservation of significant natural feature designated on account of their special interest or unique characteristics.

“Marine Park Zone” a Marine composite zone to be the primary method of separation between the development zones and core areas of higher scientific value intended to provide public access into the protected area allowing opportunities for its appreciation and enjoyment.

“General Reserve” A subpoena of the “Marine Park Zone of minimal development pending the establishment of objectives which are based upon appropriate knowledge and planning, providing public access into the protected areas of the Islands allowing opportunities for their appreciation and enjoyment.

“Resource Reserve an area of sea designated so as to protect the natural resources and species contained therein for future use and prevent extractive activities that could endanger or adversely affect those resources.

“Wildlife Reserve Zone” comprises an area of natural conditions deemed necessary to protect core areas of nationally significant species, groups of species, biotic communities or physical features of the environment where these may require specific human intervention protection or manipulation for their perpetuation.

“Preservation and Scientific Research Zone" is an area possessing an outstanding ecosystem, feature and/or species of flora and fauna of national scientific importance maintained to protect nature and maintain processes in an undisturbed state in order to have ecologically representative examples of the natural environment available for scientific study, environmental monitoring, education, and for the maintenance of genetic resources in a dynamic and evolutionary state.

“Archaeological Site” Historic site or monument nominated by the appropriate authority and enclose within a specified reserve.

"National park" refers to a reservation essentially of a natural wilderness character which has been withdrawn from settlement, occupancy or any form of exploitation except in conformity with approved management plans and set aside as such exclusively to conserve the area or preserve the scenery, the natural and historic objects, wild animals and plants therein and to provide enjoyment of these features in such areas.

“Master Plan” refers to Ministry of Housing and Agriculture (previously Ministry of Housing Municipalities and Environment - MOHME) planning documentation either conceptual or physical for MOHA proposals for the development of Hawar.

“Hawar Management Action Plan” refers to the July 2002 MOHA submission to The Ministry of Finance for budgetary consideration of MOHA proposals of infrastructure developments for Hawar. 

Review Procedures

Existing Bahrain laws, rules and regulations and the recommended practice and procedures of the World Heritage Commission shall govern the initial components of the draft management plan. Only the Zoning maps and legal description initially as commissioned by the NCWP or thereafter as modified through the stipulated review procedures shall constitute the official documentary representation of the Hawar Islands National Marine Park Management Plan.

Within one (1) year from the publication/submission of the draft to the appropriate authority, the NCWP shall submit to the Government of Bahrain, its representatives or appropriate authority completed definitive maps and legal description or natural boundaries for each of the zoned areas, the rules and regulations governing them, copies of public notices of, and reports submitted to regarding pending additions, limitations, or modifications of the reviewed documents.

All NCWP records pertaining to the said nominated area, including maps and legal descriptions or natural boundaries and copies of all legal documents pertaining to the nominated areas shall be available to the public at the NCWP office at Al Areen Wildlife Park.

Within one (1) month from the publication/submission of the draft to the appropriate authority, the NCWP shall initiate the review process through a series of public meetings and for each
·          Notify the public of the proposed action through publication in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation, and such other means as is deemed necessary thirty (30) days prior to a public hearing and invite individuals to submit their views.
·          Advise all local government bodies, national agencies, people's organizations and non-government organizations at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of a hearing and invite officials to submit their views.
·          On the proposed action at the hearing allow not more than thirty (30) days following the date of the hearing for the submission of additions, limitations, or modifications for consideration.
·          The NCWP shall announce at the end of the hearing the timings of future hearings deemed necessary to undertake the full review agenda.
           One (1) month after a public hearing and upon receipt of all recommendations the NCWP shall under the auspices of the Southern Area Governate convene a working group to
·          Give due consideration to all submission, additions, limitations, or modifications received
·          Give due consideration to the recommendations established at the public hearing
·          Provide sufficient explanation for recommendations contrary to the general sentiments expressed in the public hearing.
·          Provide instructions for the modification of zoning plans, definitive maps, legal description or natural boundaries for each of the zoned areas and the rules and regulations governing them.

Thereafter, the working group shall send to the NCWP or its representatives recommendations with respect to the designations of zones or reclassification of each zone on which review has been completed, together with annotated maps and legal descriptions of boundaries, proposed alteration of existing boundaries of any or all zones, additions including physical extension to the nominated area or exclusions and modifications to guidelines and codes of conduct for inclusion in the Management Plan.

Within Three (3) years from the publication/submission of the draft, the NCWP shall study and review each zone of the Hawar Islands National Marine Park within the protected area according to the categories established and report its findings to the appropriate authority as soon as each study is completed.

Management Executive

Although the Government has a fundamental responsibility in maintenance and support for the continued preservation and conservation of Hawar responsibility for the execution of the Management Plan within the existing framework of national legislation rests with National Commission for Wildlife Protection (NCWP).

The National Commission for Wildlife Protection under the control and administration of the Ministry of the Royal Court recognises that its current manpower is inadequate to undertake the task immediately and therefore recommends that for the purpose of the future execution of the Management Plan. A new division at the NCWP should be created called the Protected Areas Division/Directorate which shall be under the supervision of a Technical Director, and shall include subordinate Officers, Ranger, Wardens, clerks, and employees as may be proposed by the NCWP, duly responsible to the Secretary General of the NCWP, supported the Minister at the Royal Court and financed by the Ministry of Finance.


The Service thus established shall manage the Hawar National Marine Park and promote the permanent preservation, to the greatest extent possible of its natural conditions.

            To carry out the mandate of the Management Plan in the interim the Secretary General of the NCWP has been empowered by the Minister at the Royal court to initiate, commission or perform any and all of the following acts
·          To initiate a program of monitoring of key species and Habitat surveys
·          To conduct studies on various characteristic features and conditions of the different zoned areas, using commonalties in their characteristics, classify and define them into categories and prescribe permissible or prohibited human activities in each category in the plan
·          To adopt and enforce a zoning plan for the preservation and control of activities that may threaten the ecological balance of the protected area
·          To cause the preparation of and exercise the power to review all plans and proposals for the management of the protected area
·          To promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of the Management Plan
·          To call on any agency or Government body as well as academic institutions, non-government organizations and the private sector as may be necessary to accomplish the objectives and activities of the Management Plan
·          To determine the specification of the class, type and style of buildings and other structures to be constructed in protected areas and the materials to be used;
·          Control the construction, operation and maintenance of roads, trails, waterworks, sewerage and sanitation systems and other public utilities within the protected area

Environmental Impact Assessment

Proposals for activities that are outside the scope of the Management Plan for the Hawar National Marine Park area shall be subject to an environmental impact assessment as required by Bahrain law but submitted through the NCWP for comment and consideration in the decision making process. No actual implementation of such activities shall be allowed without the required Environmental Compliance Certificate under the Bahrain Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) system. In instances where such activities are allowed to be undertaken, the proponent shall plan and carry them out in such manner as will minimize any adverse effects and take preventive and remedial action when appropriate. The proponent shall be liable for any damage due to lack of caution or indiscretion.

Ancestral Lands and Rights Over Them

 Ancestral lands and customary rights and interest arising shall be accorded due recognition. The NCWP shall prescribe rules and regulations to govern ancestral lands within the protected areas:

Survey for Energy Resources

Consistent with Government policies declared for the area, energy resource surveys or exploration maybe permitted in all zones except in or close proximity to Wildlife Reserve Zone Preservation and Scientific Research Zones for the purpose of gathering information on energy resources and only
·          If such activity is carried out with the least damage to surrounding areas
·          Surveys shall be conducted only in accordance with a program approved by the NCWP
·          Do not involve changes or alterations to the normal tidal flushing regime
·          The result of such surveys are made available to the NCWP
·          Any exploitation and utilization of energy resources found within the nominated areas shall be allowed only at the direction of the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain

Areas Under the Management of Other Departments and Government bodies

            Sections within the nominated area and the existing protected areas, or portion thereof, under the jurisdiction of government bodies or representative bodies other than the NCWP, excluding those required for defensive purposes, such jurisdictions shall, prior to the acceptance of “The Hawar National Marine Park Management Plan”, can remain in the said department or government control, Provided, that the department or government instrumentality exercising administrative jurisdiction over said protected area or a portion thereof shall co-ordinate with the NCWP in the preparation of a management plan for the site.

Park Funds

The NCWP may solicit and receive donations, endowments, and grants in form of contributions for the benefit or study of or improvements to the Hawar National Marine Park and is authorized to establish a fund to be known as “Hawar Islands Fund***” for the purposes of financing such projects.

All incomes generated from the operations of the Hawar National Marine Park maybe utilized directly by the NCWP for the above purpose. These incomes can be derived from
·          Such fees and incomes derived from the operation of the protected area
·          Proceeds from concessions and permits
·          Proceeds from the lease of multiple-use areas
·          Contributions from industries and facilities directly benefiting from the protected areas
·          Taxes from the permitted sale and export of flora and fauna and other resources from protected areas

            Disbursements from the Fund shall be made solely for the protection, maintenance, administration, and management of the Hawar National Marine Park, and duly approved by and in the amounts authorized by the NCWP.

(Note “Hawar Islands Fund***” indicates name subject to change)

Field Officers

All Officers Rangers and Wardens employed in the protected area service or all persons deputized by the NCWP, upon recommendation of the Royal Court shall be considered as field officers and shall have the authority to investigate and search premises and buildings and make arrests in accordance with the rules on criminal procedure for the violation of laws and regulations relating to the protected area. Persons arrested shall be brought to the nearest police Station for investigation.

             Nothing herein mentioned shall be construed as preventing regular law enforcers and police officers from arresting any person in the act of violating any of Bahrains laws and regulations.


The Ministry of Justice shall prosecute violations of laws, rules and regulations in the protected areas.

Prohibited Acts

 Any act inconsistent or in breach of Bahrains existing Laws and except as may be allowed by the nature of their categories and pursuant to rules and regulations governing the same, the following acts are prohibited within the Hawar National Marine Park.
·          Hunting, destroying, disturbing, or mere possession of any plants or animals or products derived there from without a permit from NCWP
·          Dumping of any waste products detriment to the protected area, or to the plants and animals or inhabitants therein
·          Use of any motorized equipment without a permit from the NCWP within protected zones.
·          Mutilating, defacing or destroying objects of natural beauty, or objects of interest to cultural communities
·          Damaging and leaving roads and trails in a damaged condition
·          Squatting or otherwise occupying any land
·          Constructing or maintaining any kind of structure, fence or enclosures, conducting any business enterprise without a permit
·          Leaving in exposed or unsanitary conditions refuse or debris, or depositing in ground or in bodies of water
·          Altering, removing destroying or defacing boundary marks or signs
·          Development that alters the normal tidal flushing regime

Judicial Proceedings and Penalties

It is recommended that the NCWP establish a qualified review body in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice to review all Bahrains’ current Wildlife legislation together with the General rules and regulations as outlined in the preceding section.

It is recommended that whoever violates the established rules and regulations or whoever is found guilty by The Ministry of Justice of any offence in respect to Bahrains Wildlife protection Laws shall be fined a minimal stipulated or maximum stipulated amount, exclusive of the value of the thing damaged or imprisonment a minimal stipulated or maximum stipulated sentence or both, as determined by the court: -
·                 If the area requires rehabilitation or restoration as determined by the court, the offender shall also be required to restore or compensate for the restoration to the damage
·                 If the offender is an association or corporation, the president or manager shall be directly responsible for the act of his employees and laborers, and that the court shall be empowered to order the eviction of the offender from the land and the forfeiture in favor of the Government of materials including all equipment, devices in connection therewith, and any construction or improvement made thereon by the offender.

Nominated extent of The Hawar Islands World Heritage Park

The designated (nominated) protected area known as the Hawar Islands Marine National Park*** is that as defined lying south and east of and enclosed by boundary lines from a point, as defined at the Northwest corner of the site by the intersection of line of Lat 25° 50’ 30” North with line of Long 50° 39’ 30” East, extended due east and south respectively to intersect at the International Boundary at the line of delineation with the State of Qatar and enclosing an area of approximately 581 sq kms +/- including the archipelago of Hawar comprising of six major and over thirty smaller islands of various sizes having a total land area of over fifty sq. kms,

Named major Islands

Jazirat Hawar (main island)
Rubud Al Gharbiyah
Rubud Ash Sharqiyah
Suwad Ash Shamaliyah
Suwad Al Janubiyah
Umm Hazwarah
Umm Jinni

Named Island groups
Jazur Al Hajiyat
Jazur Al Wakur
Jazur Bu Sa’adad
Jazur Bu Tammur

(note *** Official name of Site subject to change) 

Figure 1. Protected Area outlined on Hydrographic chart of The Kingdom of Bahrain Hawar Islands Marine National Park

Figure 2. Hawar Islands Marine National Park Site Location Map with indicator coordinates.