1.         Wood Buffalo National Park (Canada) (N 256)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1983

Criteria  (vii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/256/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/256/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Construction of a dam on the Slave River (issue resolved)

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/256/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1989

Over 50% of the hydrid bison herd in the park have been found to be infected with either tuberculosis and/or brucellosis. These diseased animals pose a threat to humans, domestic livestock, and disease-free wood bison herds. An environmental assessment panel is currently exploring at least four options of how to control this problem including the elimination of all diseased animals. As the bison herd is one of the major values of this site, the Committee should request to be kept informed of the results of the Panel review.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1989

IUCN reported to the Bureau in June that over 50% of the hydrid bison herd in the park have been found to be infected with either tuberculosis and/or brucellosis. These diseased animals pose a threat to humans, domestic livestock, and disease-free wood bison herds. An environmental assessment panel is currently exploring at least four options of how to control this problem including the elimination of all diseased animals.

More recently, reports have come to hand of potential pollution of the national park that may be caused by proposed pulp and paper mill development in the country of Athabasca. The Canadian Parks Service of Environment Canada reports that a proposal for a bleached kraft mill is simply a large component of a major industrial development phase commencing in the north of the Province of Alberta fuelled by strong international markets for pulp and paper. The Parks Service says that due to the scale of these individual proposals and the potential for cumulative impacts, Federal interests would be affected including Wood Buffalo National Park.

As a result, the Federal Minister of the Environment has negotiated with the Alberta Government to ensure a federal presence in the environmental assessement process and a joint Federal/Provincial Environmental Assessment Review Board has been set up to review, among other things, potential impacts on Wood Buffalo National Park, and to recommend whether the proposed new mill could be constructed and operated in an environmentally satisfactory manner and, if so, what safeguards are needed and what conditions should be attached to any approval. The Canadian Parks Service stand is that "no impacts on... lands within the Park boundary are acceptable."

The Federal input into the issue is being coordinated by Dr. Len Good, Deputy Minister, Department of Environment, Canada and the Committee may consider it appropriate to draw to the attention of the Federal and Provincial authorities its concern that the integrity of Wood Buffalo National Park as a World Heritage site is maintained.

 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

As the bison herd is one of the major values of this site, it is recommended that the Committee request to be kept informed of the results of the Panel review.

Decision Adopted: 13 BUR IV.B.12

The IUCN representative also gave reports on the conservation status of Rio Platano (Honduras), Manu National Park (Peru), Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia), Sagarmatha (Nepal), Wood Buffalo National Park (Canada).

Decision Adopted: 13 COM VIII.16

Wood Buffalo National Park (Canada)

The Committee noted the report of IUCN and the clarification made by the Canadian delegation on the environmental assessment now proceeding into disease in the park's hybrid buffalo herd and the external threat which may result from proposed industrial development upstream from the park. The Committee noted the commitment of the Canadian delegation to maintain the site's integrity and asked that IUCN continue to contact the Canadian authorities and report back to the Bureau at its next session.