1.         Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks (Brazil) (N 1035)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2001

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/1035/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1035/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD100,000, World Heritage Biodiversity Programme for Brazil, USD30,000 Rapid Response Facility support for firefighting. 

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1035/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

In 2010, the World Heritage Centre received reports that the area of Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park (CdVNP), which is one of the two components of the property, had been reduced from the 235,970 ha inscribed by the World Heritage Committee, to its original 65,515 ha - a reduction of 72%.

The original nomination for this serial property consisted of the Chapada dos VeadeirosNational Park (CdVNP), with a surface area of 65,515 ha. Following its May 2001 evaluation of the nomination, IUCN recommended to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee at its meeting in June 2001, that the State Party should explore the possibility of nominating additional relevant sites that would more adequately address the complexity of the ecosystem it was attempting to represent. The Bureau of the World Heritage Committee decided to refer the nomination back to the State Party to prepare a serial nomination including CdVNP. A revised nomination was quickly prepared, this time including Emas National Park. An IUCN Mission returned to the site in August 2001 and advised the State Party that a large buffer area abutting CdVNP would be a welcome addition to the site, contributing to its integrity. 

In reaction to the World Heritage Committee’s concern about the insufficient size of the property, the State Party passed a Federal Decree in September 2001, expanding the size of CdVNP to 235,970ha, making CdVNP the largest national park in the Cerrado ecoregion. This Decree was passed shortly before the meeting of the World Heritage Committee in that year.Based on this expansion, and on IUCN’s recommendation that the property be of sufficient size to include all important areas required for the long-term survival of key species, particularly large predators, the World Heritage Committee inscribed the site at its 25th Session in December 2001. 

In a letter dated 14 January 2010 to the State Party, the World Heritage Centre suggested to the State Party that additional information on the 72% reduction in size of the CdVNP the largest component of the property be provided. The State Party’s reply, dated 27 April 2011, stated that after the inscription of Chapada dos Veadeiros on the World Heritage List, some land owners questioned the legality of the Decree that established the 235,970 ha protected area for the Park. In 2003, the Court’s decision declared the Decree void due to two flaws: (1) the information communicated by the competent federal authority at the time, the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, did not meet the public consultation requirements set out in Law No. 9.985/2000 for expanding the boundaries of a conservation area, and (2) Law No. 9.985/2000 was not effectively regulated or applied in the formulation of the Decree. The writ used for this judgment nullified the Decree that increased the size of Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, returning it to its former size of 65,515 ha. 

The State Party’s letter confirms that since 2003, the Government of Brazil has been trying to re-establish the legal framework for the protection of the area inscribed on the World Heritage List. In 2007, a new body was created for the management of Brazil’s nature reserves and parks, the Chico Mendes Institute for the Conservation of Biodiversity (ICMBio). This change triggered some delays with the procedures for the re-establishment of the Park’s legal protection. In January 2011, ICMBio restarted the legal procedures for a new Decree for Chapada dos Veadeiros. The State Party has indicated that these procedures should be finalized by March 2012. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the World Heritage Committee express its concern that the legal framework protecting 72% of Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, the larger component of this serial property, is no longer valid. They note the State Party’s commitment to re-establish the protection status of the property by March 2012. They are of the view that the legal protection regime of this component of the property should be urgently reinstated, and recall that lack of legal protection of most of the CdVNP’s area jeopardises the World Heritage status of the property as a whole, as such protection is a key requirement of Outstanding Universal Value as per paragraphs 77 and 78 of the Operational Guidelines. They also noted that Paragraph 180(b) (i) of the Operational Guidelines clearly states that the modification of the legal protection status of a property constitutes a potential danger to World Heritage properties. They recommend that the World Heritage Committee states that a continuing lack of legal protection status for the property would require consideration of the inclusion of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.28

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,

2. Considering that the lack of legal protection of most of the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park (CdVNP) poses a significant threat to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property,

3. Expresses its serious concern that the legal framework protecting 72% of CdVNP, the larger component of the Cerrado Protected Areas is no longer in effect;

4. Requests the State Party to continue its work to reinstate the legal protection regime of the property in its entirety;

5. Takes note of the commitment of the State Party to re-establish the legal framework for the protection of the area inscribed on the World Heritage List in a timely manner;

6. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the re-instatement of legal protection of Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.