State of Conservation (SOC)
Iguaçu National Park (2000)
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:0USD
March 1999: IUCN mission
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Administration of the falls (Argentina);
- Sound pollution (helicopters);
- Illegal reopening of the Colon road
Current conservation issues
On 16 July 2000, a Brazilian pipeline importing oil from Colombia burst spilling four million litres (1.06 million gallons) of crude oil into the Barigüí River, a tributary of the Iguacú River, causing Brazil’s biggest oil spill in 25 years. The leak happened 20 km downstream from the state capital of Curitiba at the Getulio Vargas oil refinery; oil seeped downstream towards the Iguaçu Falls, located within the Iguaçu National Park and World Heritage site. The state-owned oil refinery company, Petrobras, responsible for the spill, put in place three floating barriers across the river and dug ditches off the river banks to divert and collect the contaminated water. Information received from the State Party has confirmed that due to the rapid cleaning operations implemented by national and international experts, the spill spread only 40 km along the river. Thus there seems to be no impact to the Iguaçu National Park which is located 600 km from the site of the oil spill.
At the time of the oil spill, the Argentinian Delegation to UNESCO met with Centre staff to discuss concerns regarding potential threats from the oil spill to the Iguazu National Park of Argentina and was contemplating requesting emergency assistance from the World Heritage Fund. However, no such request for emergency assistance from Argentina has been received at the time of the preparation of this report.
In relation to the Colon Road, the State Party reported that the Federal Ministry of Justice and IBAMA continue to pressure the State government to close the road. IBAMA allocated 1 million Reals (about US $560,000) to support action related to the closure of the road and to restore areas affected by road construction. IUCN has however, received a number of communications from its network members who are aware of on-site conditions expressing concerns about the lack of action from local authorities to implement the decision of the Federal Court to close the road.
Analysis and Conclusion
Link to the decision
VIII.3 Iguacu National Park (Brazil)
The Committee noted that an oil spill that occurred 600 km from the site did not have any major impact on the site. The Committee recognised that the illegal opening and the use of the Colon Road is the most immediate threat to the site and learned that IBAMA has allocated the equivalent of US $560,000 to support action related to the closure of the road and to restore areas affected by road construction. The Committee was informed that the Brazilian participant at the workshop held in Amman, Jordan had informed the Centre and IUCN of other potential threats posed by expanding agricultural lands outside of the northeastern sectors of the Park that would require systematic monitoring. The Committee commended the State Party for its persistence in strictly enforcing the Federal legal decision to close the Colon Road and urged the State Party to communicate the reasons for the closure of the road to the wider public and take all necessary actions to restore the World Heritage area affected by road construction activities. The Committee invited the State Party to report to the Centre, before 15 April 2001, on progress to ensure effective closure of the Colon Road and rehabilitate impacted areas. The State Party was also requested to provide an up-date on the results of monitoring the impacts of the oil spill that occurred in July 2000. The Committee retained the site in the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Committee may wish to adopt the following decision:
“The Committee commends the State Party for its persistence to strictly enforce the Federal legal decision to close the Colon Road. The Committee urges the State Party to communicate the reasons for the closure of the road to the wider public and take all necessary actions to restore the World Heritage area affected by road construction activities. The Committee invites the State Party to report to the Centre, before 15 April 2001, progress on its efforts to ensure effective closure of the Colon Road and rehabilitate impacted areas, as well as an up-date on the results of monitoring the impacts of the oil spill that occurred in July 2000. The Committee decides that the site be retained in the List of World Heritage in Danger”.
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SOC Reports2014 2012 2010 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1992 1991
Detailed List of SOC reports
Inscription on the Danger ListYear: 1999 -2001
Threats to the Site:
The Committee noted that an IUCN/UNESCO mission was carried out to this site in March 1999 and dealt with four issues relevant to the integrity of this World
- The Colon road,
- Helicopter flights,
- Dams on the Iguaçu River,
- Management planning.
The Committee recognized the efforts made by the State Party to implement the recommendations of the mission. However, in the absence of satisfactory progress with regard to the permanent closure of the road and the implementation of the recovery plan, the Committee decided to include Iguacu National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger.
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”).