1.         Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection (Panama) (N 1138rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2005

Criteria  (ix)(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/1138/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1138/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD350,000 for management planning, installation of mooring buoys for diving boats, working with local communities, capacity building, public use planning and improved stakeholder understanding of legal protection measures.

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1138/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

An IUCN reactive monitoring mission visited the property in January 2014. Subsequently, on 31 January 2014, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report and a summary for public access. Both the mission report and the summary are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1138/documents/. The State Party reports on a number of conservation issues raised by the Committee at its previous sessions, as follows:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

Progress has been made by the State Party with the removal of livestock from the property including a commitment to complete all removal by end 2014. The mission concluded that the naval base on Coiba Island does not seem to pose a major threat to the OUV of the property and the State Party’s progress toward implementation of biosecurity measures and naval staff training is positive.

The mission concluded that fisheries, and in particular illegal and sport fisheries, but also industrial fishing, pose a threat to the OUV of the property. The lack of clear information on the scope of extraction and the lack of effective fisheries management and enforcement of regulations is a serious problem. Sport fisheries are of particular concern as they seem to increase rapidly and are targeting zones where spawning/nursing areas, rare corals and high endemism can be found. The implementation of adequate fisheries regulation in the Special Zone of Marine Protection (SZMP) is a key priority and effective management of those areas most under threat and most critical to the OUV of the property needs to be established with immediate effect. The mission also concluded that an increase in tourism visitation, if not well managed, will pose a threat to the long-term conservation of the property’s OUV. The new legislation that is currently under development would permit private development on small islands in the northern part of the property, which is prohibited under the current regulations of the management plan. The proposed new legislation is clearly inconsistent with the property’s OUV.  The Coiba Fund needs to become operational as soon as possible and foresee in the establishment and maintenance of an adequate surveillance and patrolling system that is conducted by professionally skilled staff and ensures regulations for fisheries and tourism throughout the property are enforced. The Executive Council’s decision-making power requires strengthening and should include representatives from the tourism sector and the local communities from the coastal areas opposite the property, in particular those of Zoná and Mariato municipalities, among others.

The Committee may wish to welcome the State Party’s progress with the removal of livestock and its commitment to extend the management plan for the national park, but request the State Party to complete and implement fisheries regulations for the SZMP as a matter of priority, which should include no-take zones and seasonal closures for critical areas (in particular Hannibal Bank, Montuosa Island and Uva Island), establish limits on the amount and capacity of fishing vessels in the property, and set quotas for the total allowable catches and minimum sizes for key species. The Committee may also recommend that the Coiba Fund becomes fully operational as soon as possible and supports the effective management of the property, in particular its fisheries. The Committee may urge the State Party to rigorously ensure that no development will be permitted within the boundaries of the property and reiterate its request to the State Party to ensure that cumulative and combined impacts on the property’s OUV caused by mainland developments are effectively addressed.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.84

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.31, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Welcomes the State Party’s progress with the removal of the livestock from the property and encourages the State Party to fully implement its commitment to have all livestock removed from the property by end 2014;
  4. Also welcomes the State Party’s progress with the development and implementation of biosafety measures and naval staff training and encourages the State Party to remain vigilant in ensuring that the naval base does not become a threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  5. Notes the conclusion of the joint 2014 World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission that the property remains under pressure, and requests the State Party to implement all its recommendations;
  6. Expresses its concern about the negative impact of fisheries, and in particular illegal and sport fisheries, on the OUV of the property, and urges the State Party to complete and implement the management plan for the Special Zone of Marine Protection (SZMP) as a matter of priority, which should include clear regulations related to fisheries management, including no-take zones and seasonal closures of critical areas, such as Hannibal Bank, Montuosa Island and Uva Island, and also requests the State Party to provide an electronic copy and three printed copies of the draft management plan for the SZMP as soon as it is available, for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;
  7. Further requests the State Party to rigorously ensure that no development will be permitted within the boundaries of the property, and that cumulative and combined impacts on the property’s OUV caused by mainland developments are effectively addressed;
  8. Also urges the State Party to ensure the Coiba Fund becomes fully operational at the earliest time possible and the decision-making power of the Executive Council is strengthened, by including representatives from the tourism sector and the local communities from the coastal areas opposite the property;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2015 an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the progress made with the implementation of the recommendation of the reactive monitoring mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E,
  2. Congratulates the States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in their territories;
  3. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC:

    EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA:

    LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARRIBBEANS:

    4.  Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in priority;
    5.  Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

    6.  Takes note that the World Heritage Centre is in the process of harmonising all sub-headings in the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value and, as appropriate, reflects name changes of World Heritage properties throughout the text of the Statements as requested by the Committee at its 37th session, and requests the World Heritage Centre to also update the size of the property and/or its buffer zone, as appropriate, following subsequent Decisions of the World Heritage Committee concerning Minor Boundary Modifications.
    7.  Requests the States Parties to provide support to the World Heritage Centre for translation of the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value into English or French respectively, and finally requests the Centre to upload the two language versions on its website.