State of Conservation (SOC)
Sian Ka'an (2001)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:0USD
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
Current conservation issues
In August 2001, IUCN received a report informing that land on the strip of dunes between the ocean and the coastal lagoon of Sian Ka’an was being advertised for sale by a real estate agent in the town of Akumal. While this is consistent with State Party law and regulations on protected areas that maintains ownership of private lands, including the right to sell those lands, the rapid escalation of tourism development in the area since the mid 1980’s is of considerable concern.
However, in the framework of the UNF “Linking biodiversity conservation and sustainable tourism at World Heritage sites” project, it is noted that most of the beach front is in private hands. This has been the case since the Reserve’s conception. The management plan has set a policy that private lots can be sold, but not divided, limiting tourism development within the Reserve. The management plan for the site also sets a moratorium on further construction on the private land until the preparation of the Ecological Land Use Plan has been finalised for the site. Authorities wish to fix tourism regulations in the near future to try to raise the quality of tourism and to control its’ growth. These initiatives will be complemented by a new one from the Sian Kaan authorities on a transferable development rights strategy to deal with all the beach front holdings. The authorities hope to identify receiving areas and remove the density (development potential) from critical portions of the World Heritage site, while compensating property owners in those areas.
IUCN has received notification from the Municipality of Solidaridad, Playa del Carmen, State of Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula of a scientific gathering planned for 5-10 November 2001. The event – “RIVIERA MAYA ECO’01: Safeguarding the Fragile Ecosystems of Solidaridad” is being convened with the aim of developing integrated programmes that consider protection, conservation, recovery and management of the areas unique biodiversity on a sustainable basis. The Municipality of Solidaridad, which includes part of the World Heritage site and the Biosphere Reserve, expects the construction of approximately 80,000 hotel rooms in the Municipality in the next 10-15 years, associated with a 24% annual population growth. Currently, the area receives 5,500 tourists a day.
IUCN believes the transferable property rights strategy holds some promise for reducing development pressures, and if successful, may have the potential to be applied in other World Heritage sites. IUCN therefore acknowledges the innovative attempt by the Park authorities to find a solution to the development problems facing the site, and requests the State Party to provide more information on the strategy.
Link to the decision
Reports on the state of conservation of natural properties inscribed on the World Heritage List noted by the Committee
Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
Fraser Island (Australia)
The Sundarbans (Bangladesh)
Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)
Gros Morne National Park (Canada)
Nahanni National Park (Canada)
Los Katios National Park (Colombia)
Caves of the Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (Hungary/Slovakia)
The Committee noted that the issues raised concern only the Slovak part of this transboundary site.
Sundarbans National Park (India)
The Delegate of India informed the Committee that there is no National Waterways Project that is planned or likely to impact this site.
Kaziranga National Park (India)
Komodo National Park (Indonesia)
Lorentz National Park (Indonesia)
The Observer of Indonesia thanked the Australian authorities for their financial assistance. He informed the Committee that it would be difficult to comply with the deadline of 1 February and that a report could be provided by the end of March 2002.
Aeolian Islands (Italy)
The Observer of Italy confirmed that there was a court decision on 4 December 2001, which is not yet public, but that it is hoped to be available soon. She informed the Committee that the collaboration between the autonomous regional Government and the central Government has commenced and that a meeting will take place to find a solution.
Banc d'Arguin National Park (Mauritania)
The Delegate of Egypt brought to the attention of the Committee the importance of protecting the wetlands, which are known to be important rest places for the migratory birds along their routes. He suggested that the World Heritage Centre should have a plan defining the wetlands, which are important for the birds and to use this information for establishing "satellite" World Heritage sites. IUCN informed of the co-operation between the World Heritage Centre and the Ramsar Convention as well as with Bird Life International for the protection of the wetlands. He also highlighted the importance of the surrounding areas to the World Heritage sites and the links with the Man and Biosphere programme for the protection of the sites. The Secretariat informed of the on-going discussions with the Secretariat of the Convention of Migratory Species to establish a Memorandum of Understanding between these two Conventions.
Gunung Mulu National Park (Malaysia)
Sian Ka'an (Mexico)
The Delegate of Mexico informed that the confirmation of the Ecological Land-Use Plan is in its final phase and consequently she asked that the deadline for the report requested by the Bureau be set for 15 May 2002 for examination at the twenty-sixth session of the Committee in June.
Royal Chitwan National Park (Nepal)
Western Caucasus (Russian Federation)
Golden Mountains of Altai (Russian Federation)
Doñana National Park (Spain)
Sinharaja Forest Reserve (Sri Lanka)
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast (United Kingdom)
St Kilda (United Kingdom)
Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (United States of America)
Canaima National Park (Venezuela)
The Bureau may wish to adopt the following decision:
“The Bureau requests the State Party to provide a report on the impact of increased tourism development on the World Heritage site and strategies to address negative impacts. It also requests a report on progress achieved with the revision of the management plan for the World Heritage site by 1 February 2002.”
View inscribed site documents, nomination file, reports, decisions, ...
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”).