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Committee Decisions

32 COM 7B.35

Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park (Costa Rica / Panama) (N 205 bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.36, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Regrets that the States Parties did not submit their reports in one of the two working languages of the World Heritage Convention (French and English);

4. Notes with concern the observations reported by the World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission to the property, in particular:

a) absence of any planned measures to mitigate the impact of the hydroelectric dams on the seven aquatic species which would otherwise be lost from the affected river systems;

b) significant incidence of cattle within the property, including the creation of illegal pastures within its boundaries;

c) longer term risk to the property posed by potential piecemeal development of hydroelectric dams and their associated infrastructure;

d) risk that communities displaced by the dam construction may migrate into the property if their needs are not adequately addressed;

e) low presence of the management authority at the property;

f) absence of an effective participatory management process involving civil society and government authorities;

5. Requests the States Parties to jointly address these concerns by urgently carrying out the following recommendations, noting points a)-e) as priorities:

a) design, implement and monitor the effectiveness of mitigation measures in relation to the need to maintain the migratory corridors of the Changuinola and Bonyic rivers for the affected aquatic species; implement measures downstream to reduce mortality from pollution and illegal fishing (Panama);

b) develop and implement a plan to control and manage cattle within the property; integrating private lands into the property by 2018 (Costa Rica, Panama), and cease or rigorously control and manage the movement of cattle through the property(Panama) to avoid any effects on the Outstanding Universal Value and the integrity of the property;

c) ensure that the needs of all members of communities that may be displaced by the building of the hydro-electric dams are adequately met, ensuring that the property is not negatively affected (Panama);

d) identify and implement appropriate increases in management authority presence to support the effective management of the property (Costa Rica, Panama);

e) re-activate and support the bi-national Biosphere Reserve Committee for the property, incorporating government and non-government stakeholders, providing effective landscape level input into management planning issues, and use existing bi-national cooperation agreements, particularly those existing under the framework of the CCAD, to further enhance this work (Costa Rica, Panama);

f) carry out an analysis of the cumulative effects of potential further dam construction outside of the property (Panama) and of other infrastructure development (Costa Rica, Panama) on the property's Outstanding Universal Value and integrity to better guide future decision-making and restoration/mitigation programmes;

g) implement a systematic ecological monitoring system to improve understanding of the reduction in wildlife numbers reported to be taking place (Costa Rica, Panama);

h) carry out a detailed assessment of observed encroachment taking place on the Caribbean side (Costa Rica), and implement an appropriate response to stop further encroachments and to ensure property boundaries are respected and their control enforced;

i) assess the effectiveness of the follow-up on environmental crimes reporting, and implement corrective measures where necessary (Panama);

6. Reiterates its request to the States Parties to develop jointly, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;

7. Also requeststhe State Party of Panama to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a report on the progress made in regards to the identification and implementation of mitigation measures in relation to the need to maintain the migratory corridors of the Changuinola and Bonyic rivers for the affected aquatic species as noted in point 5a) above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

8. Further requeststhe States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a joint report on the state of conservation of the property and on the implementaiton of the recommendations noted in points 5a)-i) above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.