1.         Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Dominica) (N 814)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1997

Criteria  (viii)(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/814/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 9,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/814/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Cable car construction project

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/814/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Summary of previous deliberations: At its twenty-second session (June 1998), the Bureau was informed of a cable car construction project that would traverse this Park, proposed by a private individual concerned with tourism development. The feasibility of the project was questionable due to the heavy rains, high winds and the steep terrain that characterises this site. The Bureau noted that construction of such major access facilities was not consistent with the management plan of the Park and agreed with IUCN that the Dominican authorities need to exercise great caution when evaluating the feasibility of this proposal. At its twenty-second extraordinary session (November 1998), the Bureau was informed that in view of the Director of the Centre, based on a site visit, the proposed project is unlikely to be compatible with Dominica’s obligations under the Convention for the conservation of this site. The Bureau noted that the Government of Dominica has prepared the terms of reference (TOR) for an EIA of the proposal. The proposal and the TOR for the EIA have been reviewed by the Natural Resource Management Unit of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the TOR has been forwarded to the proponent of the cable way system. The Bureau invited Dominica to submit a report on the outcome of the EIA and the status of the cable car development proposal before 15 April 1999.

New information: Recent communications from the State Party indicate that the proposed alignment of the aerial tramway will not enter the Park, but will terminate on State Lands, 500 m. from the boundaries of the World Heritage site. The State Party has assured UNESCO that the Government intends to maintain these adjoining State Lands as a buffer zone, limiting the activities to be undertaken there. IUCN welcomes this development that shows the State Party's commitment to the protection of this site. However, IUCN is still concerned that the aerial tramway will terminate too close to the boundary of the site. The State Party, via its letter of 19 April 1999, has transmitted a report on the EIA of the cable car project. The report has been sent to IUCN for review.

Action Required

The Bureau, based on IUCN’s comments on the report of the EIA of the cable car project to be submitted at the time of its session, may take appropriate decisions thereupon.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Previous deliberations:

Twenty-second session of the Committee – page 96 of Annex IV.

Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – Chapter IV. 31

 

New information: IUCN has noted recent correspondence of 16 September 1999 from the State Party covering various aspects associated with the proposed cable car; including: (a) information on the operation plan including details in relation to waste disposal; (b) the location of the cable car and visitor impact; (c) time frame for the project; (d) state of conservation and management planning.  IUCN notes the key elements from the material submitted are: (a) the indication that the aerial tramway will terminate approximately 500 metres from the boundary of the National Park; (b) that adjoining state lands will be maintained as a buffer zone; and (c) that the State Party considers the visual impact on visitors is expected to be minimal.

IUCN commends the efforts of the State Party to construct the aerial tramway outside of the park, but notes the potential impacts to the park associated with increased visitation related to the development of the tramway.  It notes specifically that the planned linking of the top/return station to the existing nature trail to the Valley of Desolation and Boiling Lake may lead to an increased level of visitation.  

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 23 BUR IV.B.31

At its twenty-second session, the Bureau was informed of a cable car construction project that would traverse this Park, proposed by a private individual concerned with tourism development. The feasibility of the project was questionable due to the heavy rains, high winds and the steep terrain that characterises this site. The Bureau noted that construction of such major access facilities was not consistent with the management plan of the Park and agreed with IUCN that the Dominican authorities need to exercise great caution when evaluating the feasibility of this proposal. At its twenty-second extraordinary session, the Bureau noted that the Government of Dominica has prepared the terms of reference (TOR) for an EIA of the proposal. The proposal and the TOR for the EIA have been reviewed by the Natural Resource Management Unit of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the TOR has been forwarded to the proponent of the cable car system.

Recent communications from the State Party indicated that the proposed alignment of the cable car will not enter into the Park, but will terminate on State Lands, 500 m from the boundaries of the World Heritage site. The State Party has assured UNESCO that the Government intends to maintain these adjoining State Lands as a buffer zone, limiting the activities to be undertaken there. IUCN noted: (a) that the cable car will be outside of the Park and that there will be no construction within the Park; (b) was concerned about the cable car development, as there needs to be effective planning to ensure that the increased visitation does not increase impacts on the World Heritage values; and (c) that the EIA should give more consideration to the aesthetic and visual impacts of the cable car on the site and to seek to minimise visual impacts.

The Bureau noted that the cable car would be located outside the World Heritage site. The Bureau requested the State Party to provide more detailed information on the operational plan, the location of the cable car in relation to the site, the potential visitor impact and the time frame for the implementation of this project.  The Bureau furthermore requested the State Party to provide this information, as well as a report on the state of conservation of the site and the management planning, by 15 September 1999 in time for the twenty-third session of the World Heritage Committee. 

Decision Adopted: 23 COM X.B.28

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)