Hawar Field Party Unesco Mission to Bahrain -
4 -11 January 2003
Dr. Nicholas Pilcher - Malaysia
Dr. Ron Phillips - Ukraine
Simon Aspinall - United Arab Emirates
Henning Schwarze - Germany
Clare Gillespi - Qatar
Dr. Benno Boer - Qatar
Sarah Wood - United Arab Emirates

(country of current residence)

Representing Bahrain in the field
Isa Al Farraj
Mubuark Al Dosery
Howard King

The UNECO Management Plan is available at the address below
I have tried making it link but for some reason it never works in Nescape - it does in Internet explorer if you are persistant

Hawar Island Seagrasses
Dr.Ronald Phillips
January 2003

I.    January 5, 2003. Between north tip of Jazirat Hawar and Rubud Ash Sharqiyah.

Snorkeled over Halodule beds from 0.75 m inshore at Rubud Ash Sharqiyah offshore to 4 m deep. There are extensive carpets of this species from 0.75 m to 2.5 m deep. This is a continuous carpet. There are numerous grazed patches (estimated to be 2.5 m long and 1.0 to 1.5 m wide and oval) done by turtles at these depths. Assumed to be done by turtles, since all the growth had leaves from 6 cm to 15 cm long, and within these patches, the leaves were only half this length or less. It can only be estimated that this grazing had been done within the week. Dr. Nicholas Pilcher observed a turtle over the shallow Halodule beds which quickly surfaced and submerged again when it observed us.

There were little to no epiphytes on the seagrass leaves. Two-thirds of the leaves were covered by a fine white silt. This lack of epiphytes indicates clean water, e.g., lack of anthropogenic nutrient discharges in the area.

The Halodule was abundant down to 4 m depth at least, but deeper than 2.5 m, growths of Halodule were patchy, mostly due to the loss of continuous soft sediments and the presence of a rocky base in large patches.

All sediments underlying the seagrasses were a very soft muddy substrate.

The seagrass understory is a lush growth of Halophila stipulacea. All seagrasses were in a very active state of growth, e.g., new leafy shoot production, and root and rhizome growth. Leaf blades of Halophila stipulacea were very long – longer and larger than I  have seen in the Gulf previous to this trip. This Halophila species was found everywhere we sampled.

II.    Quantitative Sampling of Seagrasses.

A.    Between Jazirat Hawar and Rubud Ash Sharqiyah.

Station close to Rubud Ash Sharqiyah, Depth – 0.75 m. Coordinates: 25.67819 N; 50.79413 E.

Solid carpet of Halodule uninervis. A small amount of Halophila stipulacea is mixed in as understory. A very small amount of Halophila ovalis was also found in the understory.

Leaves of Halodule estimated to be: new leaves: 3-6 cm long, but mostly 6-10 cm long with a leaf blade width of 1 mm.

There was a large amount of leaf litter trapped on the sediment at the shoot bases. This indicates that the plants are dense enough to trap their sloughed off leaves, which are then decaying and mineralizing into detritus-sized particles. It is known from the scientific literature that these mineralizing leaves release a great quantity of dissolved organic matter (DOM) as well as particulate organic matter (POM) which form the basis of food chains which support commercial fisheries.

There is a great quantity of Amphiroa (a coralline red alga) encrusting the Halodule rhizomes.

Quantitative samples: four replicates were taken at each station. A 1/16 m-2 quadrat frame was used. All plants within the frame was collected and brought to the hotel for counting.

Replicate            No. of Shoots/ 1/16 m-2

      Halodule    H. stipulacea    H. ovalis

1            309        10

2            199         4

3            233         2

4            221         4          2

B.    Immediately west of north tip of Jazirat Hawar Island. Depth – 7 m. Coordinates: 25.73446 N; 50.79507 E

Solid carpet of H. stipulacea and H. ovalis with a small amount of Halodule mixed in. A small amount of leaf litter accumulated at sediment surface (actively decaying leaf material).

Halodule leaf dimensions (estimates): length – up to 6 cm. long – 1.0 mm wide.

Replicate            No. of Shoots/ 1/16 m-2

      Halodule    H. stipulacea    H. ovalis

1             53          182          17

2             95          42            30

3             21          33            17

4             67          33            33

C.    Just northeast of Ras Suwad on east side of Jazirat Hawar.  Depth – 3 m. Coordinates: 25.68067N;
50.79833 E.

Halodule fairly continuous but growth does not appear overly dense nor luxuriant (leaves not too long).

Halodule leaf dimension estimates: length – 6-10 cm. Leaf widths – mostly 1.0 mm.

There is a large quantity of decaying Halodule leaf material at the shoot bases on the sediment surface.

There are an estimated 2 leaves per shoot for Halodule and 2 leaves per shoot for both species of Halophila.


Replicate            No. of Shoots /  1/16 m-2

         Halodule    H. stipulacea    H. ovalis
1             86            46

2            231           70          5

3             69           102        15          

4            154           15         16

D.    Just east of Umm Jinni on east side of Jazirat Hawar. Depth – 0.75 m. Coordinates: 25.67819 N;
50.79413 E.

Extremely luxuriant Halodule in large patches. Leaves very long.  There are numerous turtle grazing patches (ca. 2.0 – 2.5 m across and long within the meadow of Halodule. In the grazed patches, the Halodule leaves are not as dense and the leaves are only half as long the as ungrazed plants. It appears that the turtles might be pulling out some of the plants as they graze.

Within the samples were found the following algae:  four Avrainvillea thalli, there was a Digenia simplex thallus in one sample, and a Caulerpa mexicana in one sample.

There were three leaves per shoot for each mature Halodule shoot and only two leaves per shoot for the Halophila stipulacea. H. ovalis was not found at this site.

Leaf dimensions (estimated):  length – 10 – 20 cm.; width – 1.5 – 2.0 mm. (on mature shoots of Halodule).


Replicate            No. of Shoots/   1/16 m-2

        Halodule        H. stipulacea

1            401                21

2            487                49

3            366                51

4            529                26

Notes:  at shallow stations where Halodule is most abundant, there is a dense, thick leaf baffle in the water column. There is an accompanying  thick interlocking matrix of rhizomes in the sediment. There is a resulting abundant decaying leaf litter built up on the bottom, comprised of dehisced leaves and litter in all stages of decay. It is obvious that this leaf baffle is effective in consolidating sloughed-offleaved and holding them until they are mineralized. In so doing, the seagrass bed/s are producing a prodigious quantity of DOM and POM which is known to support direct feeding food chains (turtles and dugongs in this case) and the detritus food chains which support marine fisheries. This also indicates that the plants have been here a long time in an unspoiled state, especially since there are no epiphytes on the leaves.

The soft sediments are extremely deep (well over 1 m deep). This leaf baffle consolidates autochthonous as well as allochthonous particulate matter.  This indicates that detritus food chains here are very important in these shallow beds. These shallow beds should be conserved. I believe that they contribute greatly to fisheries in the area, given their extent, abundance, luxuriance, and characteristics observed.

There is an abundant global literature, as well as documentation for the Arabian Gulf, which documents the value of seagrass beds as critical marine habitats. Seagrasses in the Gulf with the characteristics I observed consolidates and stabilizes bottom sediments, they create and maintain good water quality (clarity), produce a surfeit of oxygen in the water column, and generate food and a nursery habitat for a myriad of animals,  which includes the dugongs, turtles, and fisheries.

III.    Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2003.

Field trip from Umm Hazwarah to the south tip of Jazarat Hawar to Dawat Al Manazil on east side of Jazirat Hawat.

Inshore to 4 m deep, solid carpet of densely-packed Avrainvillea. Occasional groups of Halodule sticking through (5-15 shoots with leaves up to 15 cm long). A brown alga and an occasional red algal clump.

There was an almost total lack of epiphytes on the seagrass leaves at all locations, indicating water devoid of anthropogenic pollution.

In my experience with seagrasses all over the world, I have never observed this kind of habitat previously.  It is a unique habitat. It should be conserved and research as a possible habitat should be explored.


The seagrass grows at Jazirat Hawar Island are luxuriant and worth conserving.  I suggest that a great amount of research be conducted on these seagrass beds. There is an almost total lack of research on the Gulf seagrasses. Studies needed are those on density, biomass, primary productivity, and growth rates of the seagrasses. Until these studies are done, there is no real way to quantity their contribution to the Gulf fisheries. This work has been done elsewhere in the world. This work is badly needed for the Arabian Gulf.

Simon Aspinall
January 2003

The populations of eight species of breeding bird [out of the 22 breeding in Hawar] are considered to be of international importance (Tables xx), namely western reef heron, white-cheeked tern, bridled tern, lesser crested tern, Caspian tern, sooty falcon, Socotra cormorant and osprey (King 1999). The islands are also of international importance for over-wintering slender-billed gulls (King 1999). International importance is when the number of a species present exceeds 1% of its estimated regional or biogeographical population (Table xx). 

Table xx. Internationally important breeding and visiting species

BREEDING SPECIES                        Population (pairs)    1% level (pairs)*
Socotra Cormorant P.nigrogularis                          20539    2000
Western Reef Heron E.gularis                                 325+    30
White-cheeked Tern S.repressa                              3408    2000
Bridled Tern S.anaethetus                                       1850    500
Lesser Crested Tern S.bengalensis                            644    200
Caspian Tern S.caspia                                                28    5
Sooty Falcon F.concolor                                            15    2
Slender-billed Gull L.genei               7500+ (individuals)    1500 (indivs.)
* 1% levels from Rose & Scott 1994 & Evans 1994

In addition are many thousands of passage and wintering shorebirds, although further survey appears to be necessary to assess the true significance of Hawar to this group. At present, sufficient data on shorebirds is available only for the Rubuds, the northernmost islands in the archipelago. Other known feeding areas warrant more attention.

Table xx. Percentages of regional or world population represented in Hawar

                                                          Percent     Region
Socotra Cormorant P.nigrogularis           10% + World
Western Reef Heron E.gularis                 11%    SW Asia
White-cheeked Tern S.repressa               2%    World
Bridled Tern S.anaethetus                     3-4%    Red Sea/Gulf
Lesser Crested Tern S.bengalensis           3%    Gulf/S. Asia
Caspian Tern S.caspia                             6%    Gulf
Sooty Falcon F.concolor                       7.5%    World
Slender-billed Gull L.genei                       5%     SW Asia

The location of colonies and nest sites of solitary breeding species, waterfowl feeding areas, flyways and recommended exclusion zones (to prevent disturbance during the respective breeding seasons of different species) are shown in Fig xx

As can be seen from Fig. XX, only the main island, Jazirat Hawar, lacks significant populations of nesting birds, with the exception of a single nesting pair of ospreys in the north. All outlying islands hold breeding populations of one more of those species for which the archipelago is deemed internationally important, which, regardless of other fauna present, is alone sufficient to warrant biosphere reserve status being given to the entire area.  

Hawar has already been declared a Ramsar Site, under the 1971 convention of the same name, which relates to wetlands of international importance especially for waterfowl.


Evans, M.I. (comp.) 1994. Important Bird Areas in the Middle East. BirdLife International, UK.

King, H. 1999. The Breeding Birds of Hawar. Ministry of Housing, Kingdom of Bahrain.

Rose, P.M. & Scott, D.A. 1994. Waterfowl Population Estimates. IWRB Publication 29, Slimbridge, UK.

Report on Human Activity on the Hawar Archipelago
Clare Gillespie
Co-ordinator Qatar Archaeology Project 2000
January 2003

To date, no archaeological excavations have taken place on the Hawar group of islands.

In 1995 Prof. Paulo Costa of the University of Palermo paid a one day visit, together with Mr Khalid Alsendi of the Bahrain National Museum, during which he noted the presence of six cemeteries, including a children’s cemetery, dams, water cisterns, gypsum quarries, ancient mosques and prayer walls.

In December 1998 a four-day survey was carried out by Prof. Ernie Haerinck and two colleagues from the University of Ghent in Belgium, during which they visited, and briefly recorded, some 40 sites covering a period of around 6000 years.

In October 2000 Mr Peter Hellyer, Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey [ADIAS], made a two day visit to the Hawar archipelago, which included not only the main island of Jazirat Hawar but also the smaller islands of Rubud Ash Sharqiyah, Jazur Al Hajiyat, Umm Hazwarah and Suwad Al Janubiyah.

In January 2003, over a period of three days, as part of the UNESCO team, the author and a colleague, Miss Sarah Wood, visited a number of sites on Jazirat Hawar and the islands of Umm Hazwarah, Suwad Al Shamaliyah and Jazur Al Hajiyat.  We were assisted in the location of sites by two staff members of the NCWP and two officers of the Bahrain Defence Force stationed on the islands.  We acknowledge the valuable help we received from Mr Howard King, who has lived in Bahrain for many years and has noted many archaeological remains in the Hawar Islands.

Despite the increased presence since 1986 of the Bahrain Defence Force, which has established a number of defensive fortifications, camps and depots on the main island, and recent construction of the resort hotel and buildings belonging to the Royal Family, minimal disturbance appears to have occurred to archaeological sites, and none to sites on the outlying islands. There are very few vehicles on the main island. Among the first was a car brought by Sheikh Salman [grandfather of the present ruler] in the 1940s.

The archaeology of the Hawar archipelago is, therefore, unique in being virtually undisturbed, and is worthy of further investigation.

Jazirat Hawar is separated by a narrow strait of some 3 km from the small peninsula of Ras Abaruk on the west coast of Qatar, and the geomorphology of the east coast of the island is very similar, consisting of indentations and bays backed by low, sandy limestone cliffs and raised beach deposits of the Early Holocene period, many of which form the locations of prehistoric camp sites. There are also two regions of soft sandstone jebel, created from cemented dune sands, which weather into cavernous holes [trefoni] and provide a site for many examples of prehistoric rock carvings.

The islands of Hawar at first sight appear barren and little suited for human habitation, being devoid of a natural groundwater supply, as is reflected by the limited vegetation. However it is immediately obvious, from the extraordinary variety of remains, that human activity has continued here for many millenia.  Lack of sweet water must always have presented serious problems, even when the climate was wetter than the present, but the islands’ inhabitants showed remarkable ingenuity in the harvesting and conservation of rainfall. On the two areas of jebel, deliberately enlarged natural striae in the surface, possibly dating to prehistoric times, lead downwards to sites where water could be collected.  All over the main island are large water cisterns with channels leading to them.

Historical records of the Hawar islands date back only to 1783 when, after the defeat of the Persian garrison of the main island of Bahrain by the Al-Khalifah clan who had moved there from their home in Zubara on the NW coast of Qatar,  a branch of the Dowasir tribe from Saudi Arabia petitioned the ruler of Bahrain for permission to settle on the Hawar islands. The request was granted by the Qadi of Zubara, the highest-ranking official of the Al Khalifah government.  In 1845 the Howar Dowasir were invited to settle in Bahrain by the ruler, and established the villages of Budaiya and Zellaq on the west coast.  Thereafter they appear to have commuted between the Hawar islands and Bahrain, spending the five months of the pearling season in Bahrain and the remaining months in regular habitation in their villages, pearling, fishing, hawking and collecting sea birds’ eggs.

A British Navy Officer, Captain George Brucks, was commissioned to conduct a survey of the Arabian Gulf coast from 1821 to 1829. His findings include the comment on the Hawar islands [which were named the Warden Islands on British maritime maps], that, ‘The principal [island] is called Al Howahk…it has two fishing villages on it and belongs to Bahrain.’

In 1908 JG Lorimer published his Gazeteer of the Persian Gulf, in which he stated, ‘The main island of Hawar is about ten miles long,  north and south, and roughly parallel to the Qatar coast. There are no wells but there is a cistern to hold rainwater built by the Dowasir of Zellaq in Bahrain who have houses in two places on the island and use them in winter…’   A report in the following year by Captain Prideaux [the British Political Agent in Bahrain] confirms this, stating that ‘the Dowasir of Budaiya and Zellaq in Bahrain are in the habit of every winter partially migrating to the Howar islands for fishing… and hawking.’ He also refers to the two villages established on Jazirat Howar.

As well as the traditional activities of fishing, pearling and hunting, gypsum quarrying provided a source of income to the seasonal inhabitants of the islands. Carved gypsum from Hawar was used to face houses and palaces such as the residence of Sheikh Isa bin Ali, constructed on Muharraq in 1800.

The last inhabitants of the coastal villages left only between three and four decades ago, and there are still elderly people living in Bahrain who can recall their youth in the Hawar islands.  Nasser bin Makki Al Dosari, who was born on Jazirat Howar in 1922, said, ‘When I was young, I used to help the guards of the islands before the police fort was built…we would check that the gypsum cutters who used to come from the main island of Bahrain had a valid permit…’ 

Other elderly people, Hamoud bin Muhanna al Dosari, born in 1920, and Abdullah bin Ali Al Dosari, born in 1924, have recalled that the people used to go to Bahrain for about five months for the pearling season, and spend the remaining seven months inhabiting their villages on Jazirat Hawar. The above references to oral testimony are from the website http://www.gna.gov.bh/bahrain-qatar/news/news-14.htm

Five villages and smaller settlements of the more recent Islamic period have been identified on Jazirat Hawar, with rectangular stone-built houses and mosques, one of which is still in good condition.  Some houses have walls up to roof height and beams still in place. A settlement on the south-east coast, apparently abandoned some considerable time ago,  may well be one of the villages observed by Captain Brucks in the 1820s. It has a number of ashy middens between the buildings and the beach, yielding a variety of shells including the hinges of very large pearl oysters, and a range of eighteenth and nineteenth century potsherds including Chinese ceramics, and fragments of Indian glass paste bangles.

A single large circular grindstone, bearing the engraved name Rashid Sad, lies near the beach not far from this site.  It seems unlikely that the villagers ever grew cereal crops, especially as water, plentiful in the main Bahrain island, was precious on Hawar, and people did not inhabit the island all year round. The presence of this grindstone is as yet unexplained, but it may perhaps have formed part of a ship’s ballast.

There are several large, deep cisterns on Jazirat Hawar and evidence of a water-catchment system on Umm Hazwarah. The cisterns have small, shallow channels to drain water into them from the gulleys, which ran towards the coast. All are still in good condition, stone-lined and plastered, with steps, usually of concrete blocks, on the inside. They show obvious signs of quite recent maintenance, but may be of some antiquity, as with regular care they could have lasted for many generations. One open cistern has a second, covered tank divided from it by a low wall containing an opening in which a simple filter could have been fitted.

On the north-eastern side of the jebel outcrop nearest the resort hotel is a cistern of a different type, a well c. 2 m in diameter, filled with sediment but still about 5m deep. It would have collected water running off the rock surfaces nearby.

Both the long jebel south-east of the hotel, and another rocky outcrop on the north-east coast of Jazirat Hawar and enclosed by the perimeter fence of a BDF camp, bear numerous examples of rock carvings. They closely resemble the carvings occurring on the mainland of Qatar on nine major sites around the northern half of the country, eight of them coastal, and as isolated instances on other smaller coastal jebel outcrops.  On all these sites there are shallow, circular cup-marks, either single or in pairs or in configurations of double rows of cups, usually seven in each row but sometimes more, and ‘rosettes’ of nine cups surrounding a larger central cup. Associated features are narrow, oval shapes which have been interpreted as footmarks.

The carving sites on Jazirat Hawar contain several examples of the parallel rows of cups, seven in each row, plus numerous isolated shallow holes and several instances of three small holes arranged in a triangle. [These triangular formations do not occur in Qatar.] The jebel within the BDF compound has, in addition, two examples of the nine-cup rosette formation.  ‘Footprints’, always in pairs, occur on both jebels. 

Some authorities have interpreted the double rows of holes on the Qatari coastal jebel as examples of a very ancient game, known to archaeologists by its Egyptian name of mancala. In Qatar it was known as Al Ailah and in Bahrain as Umm Al Judairah. The rosette game was known in Qatar as Al Huwais.  But the extraordinary number of these ‘game boards’ [at Jebel al Jusasiyah on the NE coast of Qatar there are 333 double rows of cups and 71 rosettes] makes it most unlikely that all of them are games.

Of great interest is the presence on the two Hawar jebel outcrops of numerous carvings of boats, as these are known on only one site in Qatar, that at Al Jusasiyah. Many of them very closely resemble some of the Al Jusasiyah carvings, depicting lozenge-shaped vessels, pointed at both ends. [A small clay model of this type of boat, from Sumeria and dating back 5000 years, is in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.]  Such boats, known locally as badan, are known to have been in use for inshore fishing in the Arabian Gulf until the end of the nineteenth century. Others differ from the Qatari carvings in that the boats are long and narrow with rounded ends and have a distinct flange around the edge. Unlike the Qatari carvings, none have banks of oars. They range in length from 7 cm to a massive 2.14 m, and in one group, on the jebel south-east of the hotel, there are 23 vessels, all aligned along the natural direction of the rock surface, as in the Al Jusasiyah carvings.. The smallest trails a rope with a triangular stone anchor clearly depicted. Such anchors, either triangular or circular [known as sinn in Arabic ] were in use in the Arabian Gulf for many thousands of years. The four-pronged metal grapnel anchor was introduced in the thirteenth century AD, but according to a guide for pearl fishers published in Bahrain in 1920, the stone anchor was still in use at that time and was preferred to a grapnel for certain anchorages.

The carvings have clearly been made over a long period of time. Some of the boat carvings on the south-eastern jebel are so worn and faint they are hardly visible except when the sun is at a low angle. Others look comparatively recent and appear to have been made with metal tools. Some boats depicted on the north-eastern jebel appear rather more recent and are placed across the natural line of the jebel.

Dating such carvings has always presented a problem. Professor Ernie Haerinck considers that the examples on Hawar were made by Neolithic hunters, and this is a possibility, especially as Neolithic camps, probably dating back 6000 – 7000 years, are located at the foot of the jebel. The carvings are all at the southern end, above the camp sites. However, the very similar boat carvings at Jebel al Jusasiyah in Qatar and the configurations of cup marks on that and other sites are not associated with Neolithic settlements, and no one has so far suggested a date for them.

There are numerous sites on Jazirat Hawar of small, oval, graves made of stone slabs but without a covering mound, and  groups of burial tumuli. All are pre-Islamic and may well be very ancient, but without detailed excavation it is not possible to suggest a date. Similar groups of burial cairns, some containing over a hundred tumuli, exist on the nearby Ras Abaruk peninsula on Qatar’s western coast  and were examined, and a number excavated, by the Danish Expedition in 1961-2 and the British Expedition in 1972-3. No definite conclusion was reached as to their date, although the Danes tentatively suggested a date of 300 BC, based on the finding of a single Seleucid rim sherd beside one of the cairns.

Most of the Hawar burial tumuli show obvious signs of disturbance, probably by grave robbers in antiquity, although one or two appear to be intact.

Flint artefacts and debitage occur on Jazirat Hawar both in and around the Neolithic camps, on the ashy middens beside the coastal village site and among a scatter of pottery of widely differing dates among the sandy mounds on the narrow southern tail of Jazirat Hawar. The flint varies in colour from pure white, through a range of rippled honey-shades to a deep brownish-red. A poor-grade flint, grey with a dull surface and a thin white cortex, occurs as a scattering of small pieces on the island of Umm Hazwarah and some of the artefacts on Jazirat Hawar may have been made from this, but most of the tools are undoubtedly manufactured from the high-quality flint, widely varying in colour, plentifully available along the western coast of Qatar.

The brief visits to some of the small islands in the Hawar archipelago made by Peter Hellyer in 2000 and Sarah Wood and myself in January 2003 revealed evidence of a freshwater catchment system on Umm Hazwarah, and a group of six tumuli on this island closely resembles those on the oasis plateau on Ras Abaruk.  A straight line of irregularly placed boulders running NE – SE, c. 15m in length, leads to a semi-circle of stones. There is a very similar feature, but with a longer double line of stones, on the above-mentioned site in Qatar.

Suwad Al Shamaliyah has what appears to be a small, unwalled Islamic cemetery of thirteen or fourteen small oval graves outlined with stones on a coastal gravel bank on its southern side. All were aligned on a N-S axis. No signs of a settlement were observed.  The northern-most islet of the Jazur Al Hajiyat trio has the remains of a small rectangular stone building near its highest point, and the southern-most islet has the remains of further stone structures and some pottery provisionally identified as being Late Islamic in date. Four archaeological sites on Suwad Al Janubiyah were identified by Peter Hellyer, including a possible pre-Islamic grave, hearths and circular stone structures. No date can as yet be assigned to these.

It is probable that visits to the outlying smaller islands were of a temporary nature, made by fishermen, pearlers, and collectors of seabirds’ eggs and nestlings.

In conclusion, it is clear from the wealth of sites identified on brief visits to the Hawar Islands
by archaeologists over the past seven years that human activity has continued, perhaps intermittently, over many thousands of years.  Future excavations should reveal more about the way of life of the islands’ inhabitants.

Reference:  1 / SCI / PR / BH / 2003                5.January 2002

Press Release

Dear Sir,

Subject: World Heritage Site & Biosphere Reserves

Please find attached herewith, a press release issued from the UNESCO Office Doha, due to recent activities towards the development of a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site in Bahrain.

Please take appropriate action to publish it in full, or as an essence, in your esteemed news paper.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Benno Boer
Science Advisor, UNESCO Doha Office
A process towards the establishment of a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site makes substantial progress  -
UNESCO cooperates with the National Commission for Wildlife Protection
·    Being listed as a World Heritage Site is a recognition of the global significance of the sites natural and cultural heritage.

·    On the 3rd of January this year an UNESCO expert team arrived in Bahrain in order to conduct a rapid assessment of the ecosystems, natural and cultural heritage, both in the Al Areen Wildlife Park, and in the Hawar Islands archipelago for their potential as  Biosphere Reserve status. Based on this survey, and analysed data, UNESCO will present a science-based project document to the NCWP “Towards the establishment of a Biosphere Reserve Study, Kingdom of Bahrain”.
·    Furthermore, the Bahraini experts from the NCWP and the international UNESCO experts work towards the development of a draft World Heritage Site management plan, to be submitted with the nomination form to the World Heritage Committee.
·    The Bahraini national expert team, which acts under the umbrella of HH Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad al Khalifa, is lead by NCWP Secretary General Dr. Ismail Al-Madany, supported by mammal expert Mubarak Al Dosary, forage and forestry expert Ahmed Khalifa, ornithologist Eisa Al-Farraj, and other experts from the NCWP team, as well as environmentalist Howard King from the Ministry of Works & Housing. The international expert team consist of world reknown seagrass specialist Professor Ron Phillips (Ukraine), marine biologist Dr. Nicholas Pilcher (Republic of Palau), ornithologist Simon Aspinall (United Arab Emirates), archaeologists Clare Gillespie (Qatar), and Sarah Wood (UK), eco-geographer Henning Schwarze (Germany), and Natural Sciences Programme Specialist Dr. Benno Böer (UNESCO).

·    The team commenced its work on Saturday in the Al Areen Wildlife Park, and on Sunday moved to Hawar, and started a rapid assessment of the globally endangered dugong, and marine turtles, their feeding habitats, which are the seagrass beds, as well as internationally important bird populations, and their habitats, and archaeology of the islands. The area around Hawar has some of the most productive seagrass beds in the world, is part of the second largest dugong population in the world, and one of the two largest breeding colonies of socotra cormorants in the world, and is of international importance for wildlife conservation.

·    The short term objective is to initiate a process of World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve establishment in Bahrain. The long-term objective is to have the areas nominated, develop professional management plans, master plans, and conduct all the required ecological research, which is essential for effective conservation and development. The establishment of the reserves will allow for a process of reconciliation of conservation and development. This is believed to be of particular relevance towards the development of sustainable tourism, as well as the conservation of ecosystems and biological diversity. Particular important wildlife flagship species, are the Arabian Dugong, Socotra Cormorant, and Seagrass beds, among numerous other biological diversity. Furthermore, the archaeological sites date back 5000-6000 years, and have not yet been studied in detail.

·    Professor Ronald Phillips, the world's leading seagrass specialists, indicated that the seagrass meadows in the Gulf are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth, and deserve scientific attention.

·    Simon Aspinall, Gulf leading ornithologists points out, that the Hawar hosts one of the two the largest documented breeding colony of Socotra Cormorant, among numerous other bird species.

·    Marine Biologist Dr. Nicholas Pilcher, assisting UNESCO with the development of World Heritage Site nominations for the Middle East region, has indicated that the Hawar Islands play a crucial role in ensuring the survival of endangered marine wildlife in the Arabian Gulf.

·    In addition, and of similar importance, UNESCO underlines the national value of several archaeological sites in Hawar in terms of cultural heritage. Furthermore, traditional and sustainable land use methods, such as traditional fishing methods, pearl fishing, and eco-tourism etc. are of high conservation value and will potentially play a role in future.

·    There are currently over 400 Biosphere Reserves in the world, with over 90 countries participating in the World Biosphere Reserve Network, none of which exists yet in the entire Arabian Peninsula. UNESCO strongly encourages Bahrain and other countries in the Gulf to try and establish Biosphere Reserves, and in this context, to function as a model for the entire region.

·    The NCWP and UNESCO will soon discuss on how best to proceed with this issue, which is not only valuable for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, but it is also valuable in terms of environmental education, environmental awareness, and it will positively contribute towards eco-tourism development.

UNESCO's financial support of the above activities should also be clearly mentioned for some time on the CONTRACTOR's home page.

Provide a detailed and signed financial statement on the use of the totality of UNESCO/WHC contribution with relevant justification on expenditure incurred and submit the finalised Nomination File, including the Draft Management Plan.

(hereinafter called 'UNESCO') the headquarters of which are situated in Paris
National Commission for Wildlife Protection
 Kingdom of Bahrain
(hereinafter called 'UNESCO') the headquarters of which are situated in Paris
POBox 28690, Kingdom of Bahrain 
 (hereinafter called 'the Contractor')
hereby agree as follows:

Article I.


(a)  The Contractor shall [describe activity to be performed]: 

1.  The CONTRACTOR shall provide the World Heritage Centre, upon signature of the contract, with a detailed workplace, prepared in close consultation with the UNESCO Office Doha 

2. The CONTRACTOR shall recruit international expert Dr. Nicholas Pilcher to visit Bahrain from 4th-11th of January 2003, who will conduct a fact finding survey on Hawar Islands, and who will produce a Draft Management Plan according to the requirements of a nomination file for the Hawar Islands to be included on the World Heritage List. The international expert has to function as the team leader for the compilation of the Draft Management Plan, which needs to be added to the existing draft nomination file, for the inclusion of Hawar Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Dr. Pilcher will collect environmental ground data and obtain data from scientific literature on the marine biology in the waters surrounding the Hawar Islands, with a special view towards Dugongs, other mammals, and turtles, and other organisms and marine habitats. Dr. Pilcher will receive a minimum of xxxx US$, of which he has to  cover all his expenses, including air ticket, and visa. Dr. Pilcher will bring his own wet-suite, and diving mask. All other diving equipment, a handhold GPS, and a small boat will be made available by the CONTRACTOR. The Draft Management Plan has to be finalised and submitted to the World Heritage Centre at UNESCO, Paris, France, no later than 1st of February 2003. Mr. Pilcher and all other team-members will also assist Mr. Simon Aspinall as co-authors for a simultainuous project document on biosphere reserves in Bahrain, which will support the nomination file. The CONTRACTOR will support Dr. Pilcher with all conditions set out in 1.1.-1.7., in order to guarantee smooth project execution. 

3. The CONTRACTOR shall recruit international expert Dr. Ron Phillips, to visit Bahrain from 4th-11th of January 2003 who will conduct a fact-finding survey on Hawar Islands, and who will assist production of a Draft Management Plan jointly with Dr. Pilcher and all other team-members, according to the requirements of a nomination file for the Hawar Islands to be included on the World Heritage List. The international expert has to function as an assistant to the team leader for the compilation of the Draft Management Plan. Dr. Phillips will collect environmental ground data and obtain data from scientific literature on the marine biology in the waters surrounding the Hawar Islands, with a special view towards seagrasses and algal communities. Dr. Phillips will receive a minimum of xxxx US$, of which he has to cover all his expenses, including air-ticket, and visa. Dr. Phillips will bring his own wet-suite, and diving mask. All other diving equipment, a handhold GPS, and a small boat will be made available by the CONTRACTOR. 

4. The CONTRACTOR shall recruit Gulf local experts for the assistance of the preparation of the nomination file. In detail the Gulf local experts are Dr. Ismail Al Madany, Dr. Howard King, who shall compile a Draft Nomination File of the Hawar islands for inclusion into the World Heritage List, and later to assist Dr. Pilcher. Dr. Al Madany and Mr. King will receive a consultant fee of approx. xxxx US$ each. Additionally the CONTRACTOR will provide economy-class air-tickets Qatar-Bahrain-Qatar, both, for Dr. Benno Boer, and Mrs. Clare Gillespi, both who will assist Dr. Pilcher's team as Gulf local experts (archaeology, botany) for the survey and the compilation of the draft management plan and nomination file mentioned in 1.1.    
Article I.  [activity to be performed, continued]

Mr. Aspinall, and Mr. Schwarze will assist Dr.Pilcher and provide data and input with a special view towards terrestrial ornithology, mammalogy, herpetology, fauna, wildlife management, and conservation, as well as eco-geography. Mr. Aspinall and Mr. Schwarze will travel to Bahrain on their own cost.

5. The CONTRACTOR shall arrange for a three day seminar for training in site management planning, and use a maximum of 5,000 US$ for this activity.

6. The CONTRACTOR shall be responsible for the arrangement of supporting services, and spend a maximum of 2,000 US$ on photography, photocopying, computer related activities, etc.

7. The CONTRACTOR will be responsible for the finalisation, of the nomination file and publication, and spend a maximum of 5,000 US$ on these items. Mr. Schwarze will assist Dr. Pilcher with digital photography, and the technical compilation, editing, production, and mailing of the final nomination file/draft management plan, and a CD-Rom. Mr. Schwarze need to receive a minimum of xxxx US$ which will be used for the timely technical editing, production, and mailing of the final product to Paris. 

8. The CONTRACTOR shall spend a minimum of 3,000 US$ to provide suitable boats, vehicles and accommodation and food for all above mentioned team-members, during their visit to Bahrain in the period 4-11.1. 2003.

 (b)  The Contractor undertakes to publicize the financial support of UNESCO in the following manner:
1. Relevant documents produced in the course of this activity should include an acknowledgement section, which clearly states that the products were financially supported by UNESCO.
2. Relevant documents produced in the course of this activity should clearly carry the logos of the CONTRACTOR alongside with the logo of UNESCO. The World Heritage Centre, as well as UNESCO Office Doha will also be acknowledged whenever feasible, preferably with their logos.
3. At least three national and one regional  press release should clearly report about the activity, and state that "Generous funding for the development of a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve in Bahrain has been made available by UNESCO". A similar statement should be made in all other media coverage.
4. UNESCO's financial support of the above activities should also be clearly mentioned for some time on the CONTRACTOR's homage.
5. Provide a detailed and signed financial statement on the use of the totality of UNESCO/WHC contribution with relevant justification on expenditure incurred and submit the finalised Nomination File, unclosing the Draft Management Plan.
(a)  The financial obligations of UNESCO shall be set at the maximum indicated in Article III.2 below.
(b)  The activity to be performed by the Contractor shall be financed by UNESCO, in accordance with its financial regulations and the terms and conditions laid down in this agreement. In particular, the last payment foreseen in this contract will be conditional on submission by the Contractor to UNESCO of an itemized financial statement certified by the Contractor together with any required supporting documentation.

Article II.  Duration of contract

(a)  If the contract is not signed by the Contractor and returned to UNESCO by 30.11.2002 at the latest, it will be considered null and void
(b)  The effective date of the contract is the date of signature by the Contractor and its expiry date is the date UNESCO is satisfied that the activity has been completed by the Contractor or otherwise, at the latest, the deadline corresponding to the final payment indicated in Article III.2 below.
(c)  After expiration of the contract, the Contractor cannot claim payment for an activity or phase of activity not performed on time as stipulated in Article III.2 below.
Article III.  Conditions of payments

UNESCO shall pay the Contractor a financial support as follows [insert the total amount of support in words and figures, the currency, the instalments and other conditions of payment as applicable]:


Financial support expressed and payable in US$
total amount of United States dollars   [in figures]   -30,000-[in words] . -Thirty thousand- US$
Financial support expressed in US$ and converted into another currency
total amount equivalent to United States dollars      [in figures]        [in words]  in [currency of payment]
at the official UNESCO rate of exchange in force on the date of payment.
Financial support expressed and payable in a currency other than US$ -  total amount of   [in figures] [in words] [currency]

The financial support is payable in the following instalments only upon certification by the UNESCO Officer responsible for this contract of satisfactory fulfilment by the Contractor of the conditions corresponding to each payment:


 Upon submission to and approval by UNESCO  of the following:
 Article I.1(a)
 Latest date for submission
 First payment upon signature of the contract and submission of a work plan
 25,000 US$ 
 Last payment upon submission of finalised nomination form, management plan, financial statem. financial statement
 5,000 US$

(a)  One of the above payments represents an 'advance payment', i.e. a payment of part of the financial support in advance of the performance of contractual activity phases:
Yes: Payment No.  1                No
(b)  If yes, the amount of this advance payment shall not exceed the expenses which the Contractor will need to pay before completion of the activity phases referred to in Article I.1(a) above, and which are:
 Object of expense
 Project Costs
 25,000 US$ 

(a)  If the conditions corresponding to any or all of the above instalment payments are not fulfilled, UNESCO shall have the right to reimbursement of full or partial payments made (including the advance payment).

(b)  Any sums to be reimbursed shall be returned to UNESCO in the currency in which payment was made.
Article IV.  Other contractual conditions

Neither the Contractor, nor anyone whom the Contractor employs to carry out the activity is to be considered as an agent or member of the staff of UNESCO and, except as otherwise provided herein, they shall not be entitled to any privileges, immunities, compensation or reimbursements, nor are they authorized to commit UNESCO to any expenditure or other obligations.


The Contractor shall not use the name, acronym, or emblem (logo) of UNESCO except with the specific prior authorization in writing of UNESCO.


The Contractor, in the case of an individual, certifies that he (she) is not the father/mother, son/daughter or brother/sister of a UNESCO staff member, of an employee of the ancillary services or of a person who, at the same time, holds a contract of supernumerary or consultant or a fee contract, or is receiving a fellowship from UNESCO; the Contractor also certifies that he (she) is not the spouse of a staff member or of an employee of UNESCO's ancillary services belonging to the sector/bureau/office which is to conclude the contract.


(a)  The Contractor attests that the performance of the activity does not prejudice the rights of third parties and is not in violation of any applicable law.
(b)  Unless otherwise provided herein, the Contractor shall bear all the expenses of carrying out the activity.
(c)  The Contractor shall indemnify UNESCO and absolve it of any responsibility for any prejudice, loss or damage sustained as a result of the non-observance of the above mentioned obligations and for any court action, claim or charge of any kind which may result from a wrongful act or omission perpetrated by the Contractor or by any of its employees in the execution of the contract. The Contractor shall also bear, or reimburse UNESCO for any legal costs and/or other legitimate expenses incurred in connection with any legal action in which the Organization may come to be implicated as the result of an offence committed by the Contractor.
(d)  The Contractor undertakes full responsibility for the purchase of any health and medical, accident or other insurance which may be necessary in respect to any loss, injury, damage or illness occurring during the execution of the contract.


In the event of a dispute, the parties shall make a good faith effort to settle it amicably. In the event an amicable settlement cannot be reached, any dispute arising out of, or relating to the present contract, shall be settled by binding arbitration by a sole arbitrator appointed by mutual agreement, or, failing this, by the President of the International Court of Justice at the request of any party.

Article V.  Amendments

This contract may be amended by a letter of amendment specifying all modifications and signed by both UNESCO and the Contractor. If the Contractor wishes to propose amendments, these proposals should be communicated to UNESCO who will prepare the letter of amendment for mutual agreement and signature.

Signed on behalf of the Director-General of UNESCO [please type]:

 Dr. Abdalla Bubtana
 Director of the UNESCO Office Doha, and UNESCO Representative (Gulf Arab States) State
states  Signature

Contractor [please sign, return to UNESCO three copies of the contract and retain the original for yourself]:
 Dr. Ismail Al-Madany
 Secretary General
*    If the Contractor is an individual