Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1994
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger 2009-present
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4628
Corrective measures identified
Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4628
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measuresIn progress
Previous Committee Decisions see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 73,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
November 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to Bogota in lieu of visit to the property; January 2015: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission.
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015
An IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission visited the property in January 2015. Subsequently, the State Party submitted a State of conservation report on 9 February 2015. Both reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/documents. The State Party report details further progress towards achieving the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), specifically:
Tangible measures reported include a stronger response to illegal logging, overfishing and overharvesting of shellfish based on improved understanding of the challenges and increased presence on the ground. The dialogue with the Wounaan community (Juin Phubuur) within the property is ongoing, following up on a signed agreement. The State Party reaffirms that there is no legal basis for major infrastructure within the property. However, possible impacts from planned electricity transmission infrastructure which may pass near the boundaries of the property are acknowledged. Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia has established contact with the involved bi-national consortium and a consulting company involved in impact assessment of the project. While no conclusion can be made at this stage, the State Party commits itself to full consideration of the World Heritage status of the property.
The State Party describes the security situation as considerably improved, also allowing for a number of activities in the surroundings of the property, including further communication and coordination with Community Councils within the areas de facto functioning as a buffer zone. One Community Council could be supported in declaration of a protection category of Regional Integrated Management District and natural resource management guidelines in several others are in the process of being updated.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
Significant further progress with the implementation of the corrective measures and towards the achievement of the DSOCR is evident, and also confirmed by the mission. Increased governmental presence and investment involving various governmental institutions and partnerships with other actors is bearing fruit. Illegal and previously uncontrolled resource use is now better monitored and could be further reduced. While still not fully under control, illegal logging does not appear to constitute a fundamental concern for the time being. Fishing and harvesting in the lagoons and the Atrato River by local communities is much better understood and agreements have been put in place. While an adequate local measure, the mission’s findings suggest excessive fishing and harvesting levels at the vicinity of the property. Eventually, efforts at much larger scale are needed, if the resources are to be managed sustainably.
Building upon a formal agreement, there is an ongoing dialogue with the indigenous Wounaan living within the property. The settlement is in line with rights granted to indigenous peoples in Colombia and World Heritage status. The balance between the livelihood needs of the community and conservation objectives has become an integral part of the management of the property. Direct communication with indigenous representatives during the mission suggests that the eventual objective of the Wounaan is recognition as a so-called “resguardo”, a communal landholding status compatible with protected area status in Colombia. The ongoing process is of major conceptual and practical interest to the World Heritage Convention and thus deserves documentation and analysis.
It now seems unambiguous that there is no legal basis for major infrastructure of any kind within the property. The planned electricity transmission corridor between Colombia and Panama could pass in the immediate vicinity of the property, which may impact on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) indirectly. It is therefore necessary for the State Party to follow up on its commitment to fully consider the World Heritage status of the property in the assessment of the planned project.
While important challenges remain, the State Party is considered to have complied with the approved indicators set for the DSOCR. It is therefore recommended that the Committee remove the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. At the same time, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to maintain and further strengthen its efforts. In particular, the State Party should be encouraged to further invest in land use planning and natural resource management in the surroundings of the property, including in coordination and cooperation with Panama.
Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7A.19
Decision Adopted: 39 COM 8C.3
The World Heritage Committee,