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Outline Hawar Master Plan

The Hawar Islands and the Natural World Heritage List
Initiating the Hawar Master Plan

Howard King
June 2002

It is important to note that, on the submission of the nomination file for the inclusion of the Hawar Islands on the Natural World Heritage List, Bahrain is committing and obligating itself to a predefined course of action as set out under The World Heritage Convention that includes as a condition of acceptance, Management Plans for the Islands.

The relatively rapid and recent developments on Hawar have not been accompanied by any corresponding growth in management capacity for the Islands, also the agencies charged with the management and administration of Bahrain’s obligations under International Conventions have yet to provide any “Codes of Conduct” for the Islands management.

A Hawar Management plan is therefore, if it is to participate in the protection of Hawar, required to redress this imbalance by providing the means and necessary tools to administer the Islands in accordance with Bahrain’s obligations and commitments under the World Heritage Convention.

The World Heritage convention states the following under:

Article 5

To ensure that effective and active measures are taken for the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage situated on its territory, each State Party to this Convention shall endeavour, in so far as possible, and as appropriate for each country:
a)    To adopt a general policy which aims to give the cultural and natural heritage a function in the life of the community and to integrate the protection of that heritage into comprehensive planning programmes;
b)    To set up within its territories, where such services do not exist, one or more services for the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage with an appropriate staff and possessing the means to discharge their functions;
c)    To develop scientific and technical studies and research and to work out such operating methods as will make the State capable of counteracting the dangers that threaten its cultural or natural heritage;
d)    To take the appropriate legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary for the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and rehabilitation of this heritage; and
e)    To foster the establishment or development of national or regional centres for training in the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage and to encourage scientific research in this field.

Article 6

a)    Whilst fully respecting the sovereignty of the States on whose territory the cultural and natural heritage mentioned is situated, and without prejudice to property right provided by national legislation, the States Parties to this Convention recognize that such heritage constitutes a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to cooperate.
b)    The States Parties undertake, in accordance with the provisions of this Convention, to give their help in the identification, protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage if the States on whose territory it is situated so request.
c)    Each State Party to this Convention undertakes, not to take any deliberate measures which might damage directly or indirectly the cultural and natural heritage situated on the territory of other States Parties to this Convention.

In summary, Bahrain will be obligated to the People of Bahrain, UNESCO and the International Community to
·    protect and manage the Islands of Hawar,
·    present the opportunity to the community to visit and experience the natural environment, and
·    pass on to future generations the protected natural heritage of Hawar.
 
Procedure and timetable for the processing of nominations

The nomination file for the inclusion of the Hawar Islands on the Natural World Heritage List was submitted through diplomatic channels to UNESCO HQ in Paris France on June 17th 2002.

The format and content of the nomination was that as approved by the World Heritage Commission Committee, as per all nominations and submission for cultural and natural properties, and provided information and documentation on the following items:
·    Identification of the Property
·    Justification for Inscription
·    Description
·    Management
·    Factors Affecting the Site
·    Monitoring
·    Documentation
·    Signature on behalf of the State Party

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
 
The General Conference of UNESCO adopted the World Heritage Convention in 1972, to date, more than 170 countries have adhered to the Convention, making it one of the most universal International legal instruments for the protection of cultural and natural heritage.
There is an annual schedule established within UNESCO for the receipt and processing of nominations to the World Heritage List.  This schedule will result in the final report being passed to the World Heritage Committee's session of January 2004 for issue to the member states.  This report will include its decision, the criteria under which the nominated site has been inscribed, the justification of their application as well as any recommendation the Committee may wish to make on that occasion.

Evaluation procedures

To ensure that the World Heritage List be as representative as possible of natural properties, which meet the Convention's requirement, the natural criteria and the conditions of authenticity or integrity as adopted by the Committee each natural site is evaluated relatively, that is, it is compared with other sites of the same type, both inside and outside the State Party's borders, within a biogeographic province or migratory pattern.

Between September 2002 to April 2003, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) will be undertaking a full evaluation of the application (including a site visit) in respect of the integrity and authenticity of the stated natural condition of the Islands.

IUCN will also make comments and recommendations on the future management of each property during its presentation to the Committee.

Therefore it is essential to the success of the application that measures have already been taken, by September 2002, to 
·    implement the establishment of a management plan and a management authority,
·    provide adequate public access and
·    provide the required facilities to display the natural environment

The preparation and consideration of this report and subsequent directives to implement its proposals, in part or in whole, could be considered to represent the measures necessary to satisfy the evaluation procedures

In the event that the application for inclusion in the World Heritage List is unsuccessful the formation of A National Park may still be pursued with objectives identical to those stated above.