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Sanganeb Atoll Marine National Park was the first marine protected area to be declared by the Government of Sudan under the Federal Protection of Hunting and National Parks Law of 1986 on 1st April 1990. Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island National Park was declared by the President of Sudan in October 2004 under the same Law.
Site Specific Master Plans were prepared for both National Parks with the support of the PERSGA Strategic Action Programme (SAP) in 2004. A new five-year Management Plan has since been prepared for Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island National Park 2016 to 2021, with support from the World Bank Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded PERSGA Strategic Ecosystem Management (SEM) project. The Final Draft Management Plan for Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island National Park 2016-2021 replaces the Site Specific Master Plan of 2004 and it is intended to serve as the primary reference document for the WCGA to guide the management of the park.
In July 2016, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO awarded the Sudanese MPAs and the surrounding area the status of marine World Heritage, the highest achievable status for a protected area at the international level. The Sudanese marine World Heritage site is the first to be inscribed in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and it is only one of four areas to be awarded World Heritage status in the wider Indian Ocean, the others being the Socotra Archipelago in Yemen, Aldabra Atoll in Seychelles and iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZula-Natal, South Africa.