At its 27th session, the Committee requested the State Party, with the support of the UNESCO/UNF/IUCN “Enhancing our Heritage project” and the Fundación Natura “Sangay project”, to provide a detailed update to the Centre on the state of conservation of Sangay National Park, including benchmarks and indicators relevant to monitoring programmes that could facilitate the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. A report by the coordinators of the “Enhancing Our Heritage Project” and the “Fundación Natura Project” was received on 10 February 2004, though without any reference to benchmarks and indicators. No formal report from the State Party has been received.
The report noted that that the construction of the Guamote – Macas road is expected to be completed by mid-2005 with the digging of a small tunnel section of about 800 m. Though the report states that an environmental impact study was undertaken prior to the construction of this section, there is no information on mitigation measures applied. At its 27th session, the Committee urged the State Party that all possible mitigation measures be applied to reduce the impacts of the road on the property. The Centre has not received any information with regard to the application of such measures.
The report also notes that no oil or mining activities are taking place either within, or surrounding the property, and that an army corps of engineers continues to lend support to the control of illegal removal of timber in the Andean zone of the Park. Since 2002, the State Party has introduced new forest management norms and a system of forest monitoring (called “Vigilancia Verde”). This monitoring mechanism provides for controls on the main roads against the illegal removal of timber in the Sangay National Park and its buffer zone.
In 2001, Fundación Natura supported two studies on hunting in the Amazon buffer zone inhabited by local Shuar communities. Both studies point to a reduction in hunting activities in the buffer zone. This is apparently due mainly to the distance that separates the Shuar communities from the property and the significant involvement of these indigenous groups in hunting management activities. In the farms along the Guamote-Macas road, the conflict between wildlife and agriculture remains unchanged.
The studies note that since 1999, the relationship between protected area staff and the local communities, which had been problematic in the past, has improved significantly and that an environment of mutual trust, understanding and respect has developed. Furthermore, the Ministry of Environment has established new mechanisms to promote greater stakeholder participation in protected area management, including management committees and technical support groups, involving local governments, universities, non-governmental organizations and the business sector. This strategy has been implemented successfully in several protected areas and is now tested for Sangay National Park.
In the Guamote-Macas area, the Park administration and the settlers have jointly established management criteria and zoning for land use activities in the area adjacent to the road. At present the “Sangay Project” is working with local communities to implement alternative sustainable use practices for natural resource management. The goal is to reduce poverty in the area, which is an underlying factor that triggers deforestation and other non sustainable activities.
The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with “Sangay project” prepared a census of properties in the vicinity of the Guamote-Macas road. This report provides current information on land tenure and resource status. This information should provide a basis for the resolution of land tenure issues and the prevention of further immigration to the area.
In response to a call to bilateral and multilateral donors to fund priority activities in the management plan, IUCN notes that additional financial support has been provided by the Government of the Netherlands.
Subject to the results of an evaluation mission and to the State Party’s agreement, a recommendation with regard to the removal of this property from the List of World Heritage in Danger shall be presented to the 29th session of the Committee in 2005.