Decision : CONF 204 IV.B.27
Whale Sanctuary of El Viscaino (Mexico)
The Bureau recalled that the Committee, at its twentieth session (Merida, 1996) reviewed a report on a project for industrial salt production at the site and its potential threats to the site's whale population and noted that the project had not yet been authorized and that a Scientific Committee to review the proposed project had been established by the Ministry of Environment.
The Bureau was informed that the seven member Scientific Committee has elaborated, through consultations with the public, rigorous and comprehensive terms of reference for its work and for the environmental impact study of the proposed San Ignacio industrial salt production project. The Scientific Committee is expected to document the actual situation of the World Heritage area prior to the commencement of the industrial salt production project, assess the impact of the project's proposed construction and operational activities on the ecological, biological and protected area management aspects of the World Heritage area and undertake a 26-issues driven socio-economic evaluation of the project. The Bureau was satisfied to note that the Scientific Committee, in its preliminary report, had indicated that the proposed industrial salt production project will only be authorized if the Committee finds that the project will not compromise the conservation of natural resources in the region and does not pose a risk to the protection of the biological heritage of the Mexican people.
The Bureau requested the Centre to transmit its appreciation for the State Party's efforts to ensure a rigorous evaluation of the environmental impacts of the proposed industrial salt production project and requested the State Party to provide a progress report on the work and findings of the Scientific Committee for the consideration of the World Heritage Committee, at its twenty-first session, in December 1997.