1.         Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (Mexico) (N 1290)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2008

Criteria  (vii)

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/1290/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1290/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

January 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1290/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 5 February 2014, the World Heritage Centre wrote to the State Party of Mexico requesting further information in relation to media reports that the 2013-2014 overwintering population of Monarch butterflies in the property had plummeted to cover an area of only 0.67 hectares, compared to its 1996-1997 peak of 18.19 hectares.

On 3 March 2014, the State Party replied, noting that the issue of the Monarch butterfly migration had been discussed at the February 2014 North American Leaders’ Summit, where a Trilateral High Level Working Group for the conservation of the Monarch butterfly migration was established.

On 9 and 26 February 2015 respectively, the State Party submitted a communication issued by SEMARNAT and an update on activities following the February 2014 North American Leaders’ Summit, where a Trilateral High-Level Working Group for the conservation of the Monarch butterfly migration was established.  On 27 February 2015, the World Heritage Centre requested the States Parties of Canada and the United States of America to provide additional information on the implementation of the measures following the trilateral agreement from the February 2014 Summit. The State Party of Canada responded on 15 April 2015. The United States of America sent on 20 April 2015 excerpts from the Pollinator Strategy Monarch Butterfly Conservation drafted on 29 March 2015.

The reports present the following:

A trilateral meeting was held on 12 April 2015, and an update by the State Party of Mexico has been requested by the World Heritage Centre.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

It is recommended that the Committee express utmost concern at the reported decline in the overwintering population of Monarch butterfly in the property. Notwithstanding the 69% increase recorded in 2014-2015, the area covered remains significantly lower than the historical peak, and the second lowest since the monitoring started in 1993.

Considering the responses provided by the States Parties concerned, it is recommended that the Committee commend the States Parties for their considerable efforts to conserve the Monarch butterfly, including through the establishment of a Trilateral High Level Working Group. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party of Mexico to submit the trilateral action plan, once completed, to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, and to report on the outcomes of trilateral meeting held in April 2015 and the upcoming North American Leaders’ Summit in late 2015.

It is noted with appreciation that the State Party reports continued progress in controlling illegal logging within the property. Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.32, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party for an update on progress achieved with the implementation of the recommendations of the 2011 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission.

Considering the significance of the Monarch butterfly migration as an outstanding natural phenomenon and the justification of the property’s inscription on the World Heritage List, it is recommended that the Committee request the three States Parties to provide, by 1 February 2016, a joint progress report on the activities undertaken, and the results achieved, to conserve the Monarch butterfly, and by 1 December 2016, a joint report on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the Committee at its 41st session in 2017.

Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.31

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.32, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),
  3. Expresses its utmost concern about the reported decline in the overwintering population of Monarch butterfly in the property, notwithstanding the increase recorded in 2014-2015;
  4. Commends the States Parties of Mexico, Canada and the United States of America for their considerable efforts to address the decline of the Monarch butterfly population, including through the establishment of the Trilateral High Level Working Group;
  5. Notes with appreciation the continued progress reported by the State Party in controlling illegal logging within the property, and requests the State Party to provide an update on progress achieved in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2011 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission;
  6. Also requests the State Party to submit the trilateral action plan, once completed, to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, and to report on the outcomes of the trilateral meeting held in April 2015 and the upcoming North American Leaders’ Summit in late 2015;
  7. Further requests the State Party of Mexico, in consultation with the States Parties of Canada and the United States of America, to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, a progress report, and by 1 December 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.