State of Conservation
Iguaçu National Park
Factors affecting the property in 2001*
- Ground transport infrastructure
- Illegal activities
- Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
- Input of excess energy
- Management systems/ management plan
- Surface water pollution
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Administration of the falls (Argentina);
- Sound pollution (helicopters);
- Illegal reopening of the Colon road
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2001
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2001**
March 1999: IUCN mission
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2001
Twenty-fourth session of the Committee – paragraph VIII.3.
Twenty-fourth ordinary session of the Bureau - paragraph IV.2
New information: The Ministry of the Environment of Brazil, via a letter dated 12 April 2001, has informed the Centre that: (a) financial resources have been provided to IBAMA to close the Colon Road and rehabilitate impacted areas; (b) contacts with Federal Agencies, particularly the Ministry of Justice, are being maintained to ensure the closure of the road; and (c) a project to implement the Management Plan for the site has been developed and submitted to donors for funding. In addition, the Ministry of Environment has informed the Centre that the oil spill that occurred on 16 July 2000 did not have any impacts on the Park.
In October 2000, the first workshop on the Management of Natural World Heritage sites in South America was convened in Foz do Iguacu. Since then staff from Iguacu of Brazil and Iguazu National Park of Argentina have held monthly meetings for transborder co-ordination of management activities. Visitor facilities in Iguacu of Brazil have been improved. Introduction of bus transport in the Park is expected to reduce visitor traffic by 70% by the end of 2001. Brazilian authorities are also proposing to carry out an environmental impact assessment of helicopter flights over the waterfalls.
Action RequiredThe Bureau acknowledges the State Party's continuing efforts to close the Colon Road but expresses its concern over the delay that may be incurred in ensuring the ultimate closure of the road. The Bureau invites the State Party to persist in its efforts to enforce the law and close the Colon Road as soon as possible. The Bureau notes with satisfaction the efforts taken by the State Party to improve visitor flow and management in the Park. The Bureau welcomes the increasing transborder co-operation with Iguazu National Park of Argentina and urges the two States Parties to harmonize their strategies on key management issues and problems.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2001
In September 2001, the Ministry of Environment of Brazil informed the Centre of actions that its Government has taken in order to minimize the social impacts caused by the closure of the Colon road despite protests from local communities. FUNPAR (Fundação da Universidade do Paraná) has been hired to carry out appraisal studies on how seven municipalities around the Park could benefit from projects and activities that will be launched soon. The Government of the State of Paraná has developed a joint project with the surrounding populations focusing on organic agriculture and sustainable use activities, including development of craftmanship and ecotourism. Private enterprises and public agencies have set up infrastructure projects with the aim of fostering ecotourism and organic agriculture. These projects will employ approximately 450 persons. Another project aiming at the development of sustainable activities in co-operation with the surrounding communities is under elaboration and donors such as the UN Foundation will be approached for financing of that project.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2001
Iguaçu National Park (Brazil)
V.2 The Bureau was informed that the Minister of State for the Environment, by letter of 19 June 2001, notified the Centre that the Colon Road had been definitively closed as of 13 June 2001. Nearly 300 cadres belonging to the Brazilian Federal Police took part in the operation, sinking the raft used as transport and scarifying the 17 km road. Replanting of the impacted area with native species is now completed. The local people are not happy about the closure of the road and the Government of Brazil is seeking the co-operation of all concerned, including the World Heritage Centre, to improve relations with the people. The Minister has requested that since the legal order to close the Colon Road is now effectively enforced the Committee consider removing Iguacu from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
V.3 The Delegate of Brazil noted that a guard-post is being established at a point where the entrance to the road was located to prevent any illegal entry. A new management plan for Iguaçu is ready for implementation and includes measures to improve relations with local communities affected by the road closure. The Delegate noted that the declaration of Iguaçu as a World Heritage site in Danger by the Committee played an important role in his Government’s decision to enforce the legal mandate to close the road, despite opposition from local people, and thanked the Bureau, the Centre and IUCN for their support and co-operation to preserve the World Heritage values of the site.
V.4 Visitor facilities in the site have improved; introduction of bus transport in the Park is expected to reduce visitor traffic by 70% by the end of 2001 and an environmental impact assessment of helicopter flights over the waterfalls is proposed. In October 2000, the first workshop on the Management of Natural World Heritage sites in South America was convened in Foz do Iguaçu. Since then, staff of Iguacu of Brazil and Iguazu National Park of Argentina meet on a monthly basis for transborder co-ordination of management activities.
V.5 The Bureau commended the Government’s courageous and decisive action in closing the Colon road. The Bureau noted that the closure of the road has alienated the local communities and invited the State Party, IUCN and the Centre to co-operate to build goodwill and support of the people for the conservation of Iguacu. The Bureau noted with satisfaction the efforts taken by the State Party to improve visitor flow and management in the Park and welcomed the increasing transborder co-operation with the Iguazu National Park of Argentina. The Bureau recommended that, subject to continued positive developments, the Committee, at its forthcoming session, would consider the removal of Iguacu from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Iguaçu National Park (Brazil)
VIII.2 The Committee learned that the Colon road was effectively closed in June 2001 through the intervention of the Brazilian Federal Police. The Committee was informed that the State Party provided information by a letter dated 5 December 2001 to the Centre on several steps taken: on the one hand to ensure permanent closure of the road and rehabilitate areas damaged by the illegal use of the road; and on the other, to assist local communities affected by the closure of the road.To ensure permanent closure of the road, the
VIII.3 Brazilian authorities sunk a ferry boat, scarified the whole of the 18 km of the road to render it unuseable, destroyed three bridges along the road and established a guard-post at the entrance to the road manned by 12 Federal Police personnel to prevent any attempt by dissidents to begin illegal use of the road again. Soon after the closure of the road on 13 June 2001, 5000 seedlings of native tree species were planted to rehabilitate areas damaged by the road; an additional 20,000 saplings are being planted during December 2001.
VIII.4 An interministerial Working Group has been created with the participation of the State Government of Paraná, and under the leadership of the Ministry for National Integration, to promote sustainable development initiatives among local populations inhabiting the vicinity of the Iguaçu National Park. FUNPAR (Fundação da Universidade do Paraná) has been hired to carry out appraisal studies on how municipalities around the Park could benefit from projects and activities that will soon be launched. The Government of the State of Paraná has developed a joint project with the surrounding populations focusing on organic agriculture and sustainable use activities, including development of craftmanship and ecotourism. Private enterprises and public agencies have set up infrastructure projects with the aim of fostering ecotourism and organic agriculture. These projects will employ approximately 450 persons.
VIII.5 The twenty-fifth session of the Bureau that met in Paris from 25 to 30 June 2001 had recommended that if the positive developments are sustained, the Committee could remove this site from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee concluded that the State Party had met the conditions it had set at its twenty-third session (1999), i.e. ensuring the permanent closure of the Colon road, to remove the site from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee invited the State Party to continue forest rehabilitation efforts and monitor their outcome and build co-operative programmes to enhance income generation and employment opportunities for local communities in municipalities bordering the Park. The Committee decided to remove the site from the List of World Heritage in Danger and requested that IUCN and the Centre undertake a site visit during 2002/2003 to prepare a status report for submission to the twentyseventh session of the Committee in June 2003. Based on the suggestions made by the Delegate of Argentina and the Observer of Brazil, the Committee welcomed the idea to study a permanent mechanism for transborder co-operation between the World Heritage sites of Iguaçu (Brazil) and Iguazu (Argentina) National Parks, in particular for sustainable tourism.
Remove from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Furthermore, the Committee decided to remove Iguaçu National Park (Brazil) from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Committee may wish to adopt the following:
“The Committee welcomes State Party actions to minimize the social impacts of the closure of the road and to launch projects to bring employment and social benefits to impacted communities. The Committee commends the decisive manner in which the State Party acted in June 2001 to close the illegally opened Colon road and for its commitment to successfully enforce the law to maintain that road closed. The Committee invites the State Party to submit to the Centre, before 1 March 2002, a detailed report, with photographic and other supporting documentation as appropriate, on: (a) progress in the enforcement of the legal decision to maintain the road closed; (b) description of measures to rehabilitate impacted areas and the outcome of measures implemented; and (c) progress in the design and execution of projects to benefit communities impacted by the closure of the road and the response of communities to co-operating with the Park management. On the basis of a review of that report to be submitted by IUCN to its twenty-sixth session in Hungary in June 2002, the Committee may consider removing the Iguacu National Park from 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”).