TABE'A Program

IUCN’s Natural World Heritage Programme for the Arab States hosted and implemented in partnership with Arab Regional Center for World Heritage (ARC-WH).


TABE'A is IUCN's regional programme for natural World Heritage in the Arab States hosted and implemented in Partnership with the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) in Kingdom of Bahrain. It is designed to meet the specific needs of states, stakeholders and sites within the region and ensure World Heritage contribution to IUCN's wider regional programme and the Regional Centre's strategy. The priorities of TABE'A are:

  • Capacity building to encourage the effective use of the World Heritage Convention across the Arab Region.
  • Support the identification and nomination of potential World Heritage Sites within the Arab States, and correcting the underrepresentation of Natural World Heritage in the region.
  • Ensuring the conservation and effective management of existing World Heritage sites
  • Ensuring World Heritage delivers equitable benefits to communities from World Heritage, through the development of sustainable tourism, supporting traditional practices and ensuring community engagement and empowerment through World Heritage listing.


To facilitate the establishment and sustainability a repetitive network of Arab Regional Natural World Heritage sites.

TABE'A Programme has two strategic tools for its mid-term strategy that focus on:

  • Building the capacity of authorities dealing with Natural Heritage, in addition to building network of experts.
  • Advocacy of the World Heritage programme and its principles, and encourages states parties to put it goal on their national priorities and agenda.


The Arab States are home to a wealth and diversity of natural heritage, with desert landscapes and marine being particularly noteworthy. The number of natural sites currently listed is, however, the smallest of any of the UNESCO regions by a considerable margin.

The situation of the Arab States has been assessed during the periodic report process in 2009, which was undertaken by UNESCO and the States in the Region. Moreover, an analysis for natural heritage was undertaken by IUCN in 2010, entitled TABE'A. Key conclusions of the TABE'A report on the state of natural World Heritage in the region are:

  • Lack of recognition to the potential of World Heritage sites to support nature conservation and sustainable development within the region.
  • Natural sites from the Arab States are substantially underrepresented on the World Heritage List Tentative lists of potential sites require significant strengthening list to ensure appropriate sites are nominated.
  • The six natural sites in the region include very well-managed sires, but all face the same challenge where additional support for conservation is needed.
  • The capacity of regional stakeholders in the World Heritage Convention needs further enhancement.


To assist Arab States Parties in enhancing and implementing the 1972 World Heritage Convention through effective appreciation of the decisions and recommendations of the World Heritage Committee, through:

  • Information in Arabic, in addition to the convention official languages.
  • Professional training workshops and activities to promote inscription of new properties.
  • Promotion and advocacy for Arab World Heritage protection by hosting technical meetings and conferences in addition to joining major events regionally and globally.


IUCN is the Advisory Body on nature to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and supports its wider work on World Heritage through its global network of members, volunteer experts and partners. IUCN's regional office in West Asia is the best actor to meet regional needs to strengthen natural World Heritage, and lead and develop activities that complement IUCN's global advisory role.

  • Partnership:All our activities are carried out in partnership with other organizations and stakeholders.
  • Sound science:One of the IUCN's major strengths is its scientific credibility, consistency and objectivity. We maintain this by drawing on the expertise of our scientific networks.
  • Practical solutions:An important part of our network is to identify threats to world sites, but we also seek practical and innovative solution to conservation problems.
IUCN’s official advisory role includes:
  • Evaluating all natural and ‘mixed’ sites nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List.
  • Monitoring the state of conservation of existing natural World Heritage sites through our worldwide network of specialists and member organizations.
  • Undertaking training and capacity building for site managers, government, scientists and conservationist.
  • Promoting practical on-the ground conservation action in natural World Heritage sites.


  • Promote new thematic studies and the use of existent ones, to achieve a credible World Heritage List of the Arab Region, which represents its most outstanding natural sites at a global level. This will fill the gaps in protection of the most critical ecosystems and landscapes.
  • Expand the programme's interventions to develop projects or activities that support the existence of long-term well-managed natural World Heritage Sites within the Arab States region that will serve the credibility of conservation and provide protection for the last refuges of many endangered species.
  • Expand current events and activities that gather regional experts to strengthen the regional network including young professionals, national and regional institutions and reinforcing the Advisory Bodies' network to enhance the implementation of World Heritage Convention to achieve its goals.
  • Initiate dialogue between different stakeholders for broadening partnerships, enhancing the coordination between concerned parties and supporting natural heritage institutions that can fully engage all partners, including local communities, private sector, indigenous people, and non-governmental organizations in creating, conserving and managing World Heritage Sites.
  • Promote access and equitable benefits sharing to ensure that natural Word Heritage Sites need to be planned and managed by the connecting management authority of the surrounding landscapes and communities.
  • Strengthen communication between the advisory bodies (lCOMOS, IUCN and ICCROM) to work together in joint activities, with state parties and other regional and national stakeholders to implement and achieve regional priorities.


The Arab States are home to a wealth and diversity of natural heritage, with desert landscapes and marine sites being particularly noteworthy. The number of natural sites currently listed is, however, the smallest of any of the UNESCO regions by a considerable margin.

  • Banc d’Arguin National Park (Mauritania), inscribed in 1989 as a natural site (criteria ix and x), area 1,200,000 ha (12,000 Km2). More information click here.
  • Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia), inscribed in 1980 as a natural site (criterion x), area 12,600 ha (126Km2). More information click here.
  • Socotra Archipelago (Yemen), inscribed in 2008 as a natural site (criterion x), area 410,460 ha (4104.6 Km2). More information click here.
  • Wadi Al Hitan (Egypt), inscribed in 2005 as a natural site (criterion viii), area 20,105 ha (201.05 Km2). More information click here
  • Tassili n’Ajjer (Algeria), inscribed in 1982 as a mixed site (criteria i*, iii*, vii, viii), area 7,200,000 ha (72000 Km2). More information click here.
  • Wadi Rum Protected Area (Jordan), inscribed in 2011 as a mixed site (criteria iii*, v*, vii), area 74,000 ha (740 Km2). More information click here


  • Arabic Publication
  • English leading to main page


Haifaa Abdulhalim
Programme Specialist – Natural Heritage
IUCN World Heritage Coordinator for Arab States and West Asia;