State of Conservation (SOC)
Los Katíos National Park
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Requests Approved: 0
Total Amount Ap proved: 0USD
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Conflicts between armed groups
- Decentralization process of the management of the property
Current conservation issues
Twenty-second session of the Committee – page 96 of Annex IV.
Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – Chapter IV. 29
New information: IUCN notes that the Ministry of the Environment is in the process of preparing a Management Plan for the area. This new Management Plan will include participatory management arrangements for involving local communities as well as a programme to promote transboundary co-operation with the Darien National Park World Heritage site in Panama. A number of workshops involving local communities and the Special Unit for National Parks of the Ministry of the Environment have been held to discuss how to implement community management arrangements that would enhance the protection of this site. Despite the on-going armed conflict, park authorities continue to provide some level of management and control in several sectors of the park. In those areas controlled by park authorities there has been a reduction in the illegal extraction of natural resources by local communities. However, there is little information provided in the report on what is happening on those sectors of the park controlled by armed groups. IUCN also notes the statement to the twenty-third session of the Bureau by the Observer of Colombia which noted actions taken by his Government, in particular concerning: (1) community participation; (2) inter-institutional cooperation among local authorities, NGOs and communities; (3) progress made with the second phase of the management plan; and (4) with transfrontier cooperation with Darien National Park in Panama. He emphasised the commitment of his Government to the protection of the site but did not support the recommendation to include it on the List of World Heritage in Danger. IUCN acknowledges the progress made towards the preparation of the management plan for this site and commends the State Party for these efforts despite the difficult situation facing this site. However, IUCN notes uncertainty in relation to impacts of a number of threats, including that:
(a) the Park is not fully under the control of the management agency;
(b) the impacts of the proposal to grant collective land ownership over 100,000ha of the Park are unclear and should be assessed; and
(c) the impacts on wetlands from forest fires need to be reviewed.
Analysis and Conclusion
Link to the decision
In November 1997, IUCN was informed that conflicts between armed groups had rendered a significant portion of the Park off-limits to staff and that tourism to the area had come to a halt. The twenty-second session of the Bureau requested IUCN to review a report from the Colombian authorities to the Centre and submit its findings to its twenty-second extraordinary session. IUCN informed the Bureau in November 1998 that a major restructuring of Colombia’s conservation administration was underway for devolving responsibilities for the site management to the provincial level. However, IUCN was of the view that the site was under serious threat and should be considered for inclusion in the List of World Heritage in Danger. A second report from the Colombian authorities informed the Bureau that the Park was affected by the confrontation between guerrilla and paramilitary groups and that four sectors of the Park received only limited attention from the staff. However, in 1997 and 1998 activities to strengthen protection of the Park through control units and other activities such as inter-institutional meetings, collaboration with local communities, definition of the buffer zone and the elaboration of the management plan, had been undertaken. Support for the creation and consolidation of the Darien Special Management Area (DSMA) to co-ordinate the management of the two World Heritage sites (Darien of Panama and Los Katios of Colombia) has been provided and actions to create a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve were being considered. The Bureau noted the State Party’s conclusion that, although there have been impacts, the Park has not been invaded by colonists and pressure on the Park and its natural resources had reduced considerably. Preventive measures had been taken for the security of the personnel and the Park had returned to a certain normalcy and calm, allowing the staff to control the area and to implement operations. The State Party did not see any need for inclusion of Los Katios in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to remain in contact with the State Party to monitor progress and to report back to the twenty-third session of the Bureau. The Bureau reiterated the Committee’s recommendation made at the time of the inscription of the site, to establish a single World Heritage site linking Darien (Panama) and Los Katios (Colombia).
In its review of the November 1998 report submitted by the State Party, IUCN has acknowledged progress made in the preparation of the management plan. IUCN has also noted improvements in co-operation with the local communities, promoting transboundary co-operation with Panama and preventing illegal extraction of resources in areas of the Park controlled by the staff. IUCN recommended that the Bureau compliment the State Party for these efforts despite the difficult situation facing this site. However, IUCN has reiterated its concern about the serious threats facing Los Katios and its integrity, highlighting that:
(a) the Park is not fully under the control of the management agency;
(b) the proposal to grant collective land ownership over 100,000 ha of the Park should be assessed; and
(c) the impacts on wetlands from forest fires need to be reviewed. IUCN recommended that a joint IUCN/Centre mission be carried out to the site.
The Observer of Colombia underlined the actions taken by his Government, in particular concerning:
(1) community participation; (2) inter-institutional co-operation among local authorities, NGO’s and communities; (3) progress made with the second phase of the management plan; and (4) with transfrontier co-operation with Darien National Park in Panama. He emphazised the commitment of his Government to the protection of the site and did not support the recommendation to include it on the List of World Heritage in Danger. He welcomed a technical mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the site.
The Bureau considered new information provided by the Government of Colombia and IUCN and requested the Centre and IUCN to keep in contact with the State Party to monitor progress made and to report back to the twenty-third session of the Committee, as well as concerning the organization of the proposed mission. The Bureau commended the States Party for progress made with regard to transfrontier management and reiterated the Committee's recommendation made at the time of the inscription of the site to establish a single World Heritage site linking Darien (Panama) and Los Katios (Colombia) World Heritage sites.
Link to the decision
X.28 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-99/CONF.209/6) included as Annex VIII to this report. Additional observations made during the Committee session are reflected below.
Shark Bay, Western Australia (Australia)
Wet Tropics of Queensland (Australia)
Heard and McDonald Islands (Australia)
The Delegate of Australia thanked IUCN for the consultative process started, which could be a model for other State Parties. He also informed the Committee that the area of marine protection around Macquerie Island had been extended and now comprises 16 million ha, the world's largest highly protected marine zone.
Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)
Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon)
Los Katios National Park (Colombia)
The Delegate of Colombia informed the Committee that a visit by a delegation from the Ministry for Environment to Los Katios was recently carried out. The visit included areas that were previously not accessible. He emphasized that the proposal to grant collective land ownership over 100,000ha would be outside the Park in the buffer zone. He commented that his Government would be pleased to receive the visit of the monitoring mission to this site in 2000. The Colombian authorities have enhanced transboundary co-operation with Darien National Park (Panama) and strengthened the protected area system.
Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Dominica)
Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
The Observer of the United States underlined his Government's role in safeguarding Galapagos Islands and congratulated the Government of Ecuador on progress made. He noted the landmark decision of the Galapagos Law and questioned whether it had been implemented, in particular concerning the forty-mile zone. The Secretariat informed the Committee that some threats related to illegal fishing have been reported. IUCN noted the implementation of this pioneering legislation is vital and specific regulations need to be developed and implemented as soon as possible. The Delegate of Ecuador provided information from the Ministry of Environment noting progress concerning control of introduced species and general improvements in relation to biodiversity conservation at the site. Concerning the control of the 40-mile zone, she stated that the law has not yet been implemented, but that the basis for the conservation and environmental control is there. She thanked the Committee for all its efforts to safeguard the Galapagos.
Kaziranga National Park (India)
Komodo National Park (Indonesia)
Mount Kenya National Park (Kenya)
Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal)
The Observer of Nepal expressed his gratitude for the international support for the important project on tourism carried out at Sagarmatha National Park. The Observer of the United Kingdom noted that it is a ground-breaking project.
Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand (New Zealand)
Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)
The Delegate of Thailand noted the raised serious concerns raised by the Bureau regarding the management of this site, given the decline in numbers of the Arabian Oryx and the fact that the boundary marking and management planning is long overdue for completion. He recalled that the Committee inscribed the site without legislation and management plan in December 1994. He highlighted the Operational Guidelines in relation to the deletion of properties. The Delegate of Benin noted that rigour was not always applied in the past years and that a number of sites would not have been accepted if they were presented today. Concerning the question of deletion, a site would be put first on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Delegate of Thailand made it clear that he had not proposed the deletion of the site from the World Heritage List and that he was totally aware of the modalities in that respect. The Observer of the United Kingdom noted that similar problems concerned a number of sites and that these issues would certainly be dealt with by the periodic reporting process. IUCN pointed out that it had consistently raised concerns about this site. IUCN noted that legislation does not have effect if there is not sufficient resources for its implementation. The Chairperson reminded the Committee members about the rarity of Arab natural sites on the List. In concluding, the Chairperson thanked the Committee for the debate and noted that awareness needs to be raised in countries about the World Heritage Convention, its obligations and World Heritage values to be preserved for future generations, in particular among decision-makers. He thanked the Delegate of Thailand for his statement and encouraged the Committee to further reflect on how to enhance the protection of World Heritage sites.
Huascaran National Park (Peru)
Lake Baikal (Russian Federation)
The Observer of Russia requested that the information provided during the adoption of the report of the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau on this site be included in the Bureau report.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda)
Gough Island (United Kingdom)
Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania)
Canaima National Park (Venezuela)
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)
The Bureau may wish to adopt the following text and transmit it to the Committee for noting:
“The Bureau recommends that a monitoring mission to this site be carried out in 2000, which could address the issues noted by IUCN and encourages the State Party to invite such a mission. The Bureau commends the State Party for its efforts to strengthen transfrontier co-operation and urges it to accelerate efforts towards the establishment of a single transfrontier World Heritage site linking Darien (Panama) and Los Katios (Colombia) as recommended at the time of inscription in 1994.”
Los Katíos National Park
- Civil unrest
- Management systems/ management plan
Inscription on the Danger List
Threats to the Site:
- Illegal logging,
- Unauthorized settlements,
- Fishing and hunting,
- Threats from major infrastructure projects.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).