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Decision : 29 COM 8B.13
Nominations of Natural Properties to the World Heritage List (Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection )

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-05/29.COM/8B, WHC-05/29.COM/8B.Add 2 and WHC-05/29.COM/INF.8B.2,

2. Recalling Decision 28COM/14B.10 adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Commends the State Party of Panama, and the NGOs supporting conservation efforts in Coiba National Park, for their excellent response to address the key issues requested by the Committee at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004), in particular for the adoption of National Law No. 44 which established Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection;

4. Inscribes Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection (Panama) on the World Heritage List under natural criteria (ii) and (iv):

Criterion (ii): Despite the short time of isolation of the islands of the Gulf of Chiriquí on an evolutionary timeframe, new species are being formed, which is evident from the levels of endemism reported for many groups (mammals, birds, plants), making the property an outstanding natural laboratory for scientific research. Furthermore the Eastern Pacific reefs, such as those within the property, are characterized by complex biological interactions of their inhabitants and provide a key ecological link in the Tropical Eastern Pacific for the transit and survival of numerous pelagic fish as well as marine mammals.

Criterion (iv): The forests of Coiba Island possess a high variety of endemic birds, mammals and plants. Coiba Island also serves as the last refuge for a number of threatened species that have largely disappeared from the rest of Panama, such as the Crested Eagle and the Scarlet Macaw. Furthermore the marine ecosystems within the property are repositories of extraordinary biodiversity conditioned to the ability of the Gulf of Chiriquí to buffer against temperature extremes associated to El Niño/Southern Oscilation phenomenon. The property includes 760 species of marine fishes, 33 species of sharks and 20 species of cetaceans. The islands within the property are the only group of inshore islands in the tropical eastern Pacific that have significant populations of trans-Pacific fishes, namely, Indo-Pacific species that have established themselves in the eastern Pacific.

5. Requests the State Party to consider options to expedite the preparation, adoption and further implementation of the revised management plan for the property, and to very carefully control and monitor fisheries management. The State Party may wish to consider requesting international assistance under the World Heritage Fund to support the effective implementation of this important task;

6. Also requests the State Party to confirm the name of the property to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible.

Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
Focal Point: LAC
States Parties: Panama
Year: 2005
Decision Code: 29 COM 8B.13