1.         Los Katíos National Park (Colombia) (N 711)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2009-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4628

Corrective measures identified

Updated technical measures adopted; see https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4628

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet established

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2002-2009)
Total amount approved: USD 73,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

November 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring Mission to Bogota in lieu of visit to the property

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

On 1 February 2013, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report to the World Heritage Centre, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012). In its Decision 36 COM 7A.16, the World Heritage Committee urged the State Party to implement the updated technical corrective measures and endorsed a set of indicators related to the Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The latter distinguishes current threats (settlements and illegal and uncontrolled resource extraction) from potential threats (planned mega projects and security). Compliance with the indicators is the decisive measure for eventual removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The State Party focuses on reporting on activities and progress made in response to the above Committee decision, and IUCN also has worked directly with the State Party, on request, to provide advice.

a) Settlements within the property

An indigenous community established itself in an area within the property, which they consider their ancestral land. Agreements are required to balance legitimate rights with conservation objectives in the property. The State Party reports several meetings between the indigenous Phu Juin Wounaan Buur community and conservation authorities in 2012. The first exchanges resulted in a voluntary agreement between the community and park management in April 2012 with a focus on joint spatial planning, zonation and research on the community’s ancestral history. A follow-up workshop in October 2012 refined the first agreement, highlighting mutual respect and consideration of divergent cultural views and concepts. The extended agreement sets out guidance for shared governance and management, a coordination mechanism (committee and rules), and monitoring of the implementation of the agreement. Important progress is noted, and a final agreement should be reached.

b) Illegal logging, hunting and fishing

The limited governmental presence in the property over an extended period of time due to security reasons, among other factors, has favoured illegal resource extraction, in particular of timber, fish and wildlife. Following up on the Action Plan ‘Plan Choque’, the State Party describes a process of regaining control, including through investments in communication devices and a new control post. Arrangements for the restoration of river banks have been established with several communities along the Cacarica and Atrato Rivers.The State Party further highlightsan agreement on fisheries management in the Tumaradó Swamp signed between the conservation authorities and the Tumaradó Community Council. A comparable agreement is underway with the Puente America community. External support contributes to the promotion of sustainable production systems through material support, capacity development and monitoring. These activities are designed to improve local livelihoods, thereby relieving pressure from the property.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN acknowledge both the considerable progress and the need for additional efforts after years of severely limited operations. They consider that the combination of control and law enforcement and participatory cooperation with local communities is adequate and should be further pursued.

c) Planned mega projects with possible impacts on the property

The World Heritage Committee, in Decision 36 COM 7A.16, noted that mega projects did not pose an immediate threat to the property.  In the absence of any notification of such projects, as per Paragraph 172 of the Opertational Guidelines, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN assume that status has not changed.  The Committee’s request to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the electrical utilities corridor planned near the property’s boundaries has not been addressed. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note the ongoing need to carry out such an assessment, and this should include explicit consideration of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, unless a decision has been taken to abandon the project.

d) Security and conflicts

Despite occasional reports on armed groups believed to cross the property, the multiple activities by conservation authorities within and near the property provide clear evidence of an improving overall security situation. The State Party reports efforts to reduce the risks posed by antipersonnel mines. While further improvements are needed to fully restore effective management, the current security level allows the conservation authorities to carry out their mandate and to conduct routine management and control operations. In the view of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN the improving situation may permit a monitoring mission to the property in the not too distant future, pending United Nations security clearance. The State Party has indicated a willingness to host such a mission.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The State Party has reported a significant investment in governance, management and law enforcement, thereby embarking on a systematic process of regaining control. External support has contributed to this positive development. Management measures are moving from emergency measures to more structured and systematic approaches. The government has re-established its presence, improved the understanding of the situation and has made significant efforts to engage with local communities, including communities of indigenous and African origin. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are of the view that these efforts should be continued and regular communication with these communities should be ensured. The presence of Wounaan within the property can now be considered an integral part of the governance and management of the property. The explicit integration of local interest and views, including diverse cultural perceptions is promising but likely to take time in a post-conflict setting. The final resource management agreements will need to demonstrate that the property’s OUV will not be undermined before it can be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.  These resource agreements may prove a critical tool for the future integrity of the property in parallel to control and law enforcement. The analysis of lessons learned may yield valuable results for sustainable use in World Heritage properties. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN therefore recommend that the Committee encourage the State Party to document and share the experience. The positive tendencies deserve further consolidation, including through additional external support.

Major infrastructure projects do not appear to be a major concern at this stage. However, any changes will need to be communicated to the Committee. There is a need to report on the status of the EIA for the electrical utilities corridor planned near the property’s boundaries and, if the project is still under consideration, to carry out the assessment and inform the World Heritage Centre in line with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are of the view that the State Party has made notable progress under adverse circumstances. However, the corrective measures are yet to be fully implemented and the indicators of the Desired State of Conservation are yet to be fully achieved. The successful consolidation of ongoing trends would enable the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, possibly within 2-3 years if current progress is sustained.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7A.17

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A,

2.  Recalling Decision 36COM 7A.16 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Acknowledges the notable progress made by the State Party in response to the updated corrective measures and towards the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;

4.  Encourages the State Party to consolidate the current efforts in order to be able to meet the indicators established for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and in particular, to ensure that any agreement signed with the communities established within the Park take full and explicit consideration of the need to ensure the long term conservation of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value;

5.  Regrets that the State Party did not provide further information on the status of the electrical utilities corridor planned near the property’s boundaries, and requests the State Party to report on the status of the Environmental Impact Assessment for this project to the World Heritage Centre, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines , or otherwise to confirm that the project has been abandoned;

6.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the remaining corrective measures and recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

7.  Decides to retain Los Katíos National Park (Colombia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-13/37.COM/7A, WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add and WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add.
  2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: