Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1987
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/402/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 80,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/402/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
The December 2010 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission was the first monitoring mission to the site.
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
a) Agricultural encroachment;
b) Livestock keeping;
c) Deforestation/ Illegal logging;
d) Hydrocarbon concesssions;
e) Infrastructure developments (road construction);
f) Human occupation in the National Park;
g) Illegal hunting, fishing and extraction of non-timber forest products;
h) Coca cultivation;
i) Management capacity and financing.
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/402/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011
On 4 March 2011, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property to the World Heritage Centre. The report provides information on the current status of threats to the property, identified by the World Heritage Committee at earlier sessions. From 5 to 14 December 2010 a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission visited the property to assess its state of conservation, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010). The mission report is available online at the following web address: http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/35COM.
a) Demographic trends
The State Party reports 2,203 indigenous people living within the Park, compared to 1,645 in 2003 with a growth rate of 4.7% over the past 7 years. These do not include a smaller number living in voluntary isolation. Distributed across a small number of communities, these people are gradually adopting small-scale farming lifestyles and clearing forests in order to do so in areas traditionally used in semi-nomadic fashion. There are also reports of indigenous people moving into the property from the Camisea River in the northwest of the property, possibly as a result of the decimation of wildlife in the Camisea River Basin. The sedentary indigenous communities within the property are likewise growing and there seems to be no clear policy in place for managing this growth. New settlements are forming and groups in initial contact in the headwaters of three smaller rivers are reported to become sedentary. Whilst these different changes are not yet a critical issue, the mission notes the importance of a proactive policy by the State Party to consider their implications and develop appropriate action.
b) Agricultural encroachment / livestock keeping / coca plantations
The zonation of the property includes recuperation zones and special use zones. The management objective of the 17,500 ha recuperation zone, according to Peruvian protected areas legislation, is restoration and subsequent consideration as a different zone. However, despite major efforts, the poverty of local communities remains fundamentally unchanged, as well as their significant impacts on the Park through livestock keeping, agriculture and use of fire in land management. Hence, the mission considers that a more decisive management response is required. The special use zones of the property cover around 39,000 hectares where non-commercial resource use, including subsistence agriculture, is permitted. However, population growth of sedentary indigenous communities, as well as increasing migration into the agricultural community of Callanga, leading to expanding agricultural activity and numbers of livestock in the area, are a concern that needs to be addressed. In addition, the movements of domestic livestock within the property present the risk of spreading disease. The mission recommends that policy, equipment and infrastructure for managing the import of domestic animals into the Park, where currently permitted, be developed, including vaccination and quarantine arrangements and corresponding training for both staff and farmers. Furthermore, the mission notes that hunting with firearms is having significant impacts on mammal populations locally around sedentary indigenous communities. The mission also recommends more systematic law enforcement as a priority. The mission notes that lands on either side of the Alto Madre de Dios River, the left bank of which falls in the buffer zone of the property are occupied by small communities engaged in subsistence and small-scale commercial agriculture. Depending on future road access, these areas are likely entry points for future agricultural encroachment, logging and other resource use. While currently not out of control, the mission considers that management interventions at this early stage appear to be a wise investment, including as a means of conflict prevention. The mission also notes that small, reportedly growing areas in the southern part of the property are planted with unlicensed coca. Though controlled and licensed coca production is permitted in Peru, the mission considers that this development, which is known to be accompanied by security concerns and violence elsewhere in Peru, requires attention through an updated evaluation of the extent of illegal coca cultivation within the National Park and appropriate follow-up interventions.
c) Illegal logging
The State Party reports that there are only isolated and insignificant incidents of illegal logging within the property. The mission notes that there is a very specialized small timber processing facility in Boca Manu based on the use of trees that topple as a result of natural bank erosion during the rainy season. Such operations are known to sometimes rely on illegal supply, as the natural supply does not allow planning, and consequently require monitoring. The mission further notes that most if not all of the logging taking place near the property is unregulated and unlicensed, and thus technically illegal. Government agencies responsible for forest management are absent. More aggressive illegal logging has been reported in the Alto Purus National Park to the north. As access to the property improves and resources outside protected areas are depleted, logging pressure within the property will become a growing concern. The mission notes that the southern part of the property is likely to eventually be targetted by illegal loggers if current trends are not soon reversed. No significant deforestation within the property was noted, save small areas in the recuperation and special use zones.
d) Hydrocarbon concessions / hydrocarbon pipeline
The impacts of the nearby Camisea gas field, including reported movements of indigenous peoples into the property as a result of the decimation of wildlife in the Camisea River Basin, could not be conclusively analyzed through the monitoring mission and are not referred to in the State Party report. The exploration for hydrocarbons in the concession block south of the property (Lot 76) remains a concern. Whilst there is no exploitation allowed within the property, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that indirect impacts such as transportation infrastructure and disturbance, including from helicopter activity, are likely and require management consideration. Concerns have previously been noted about the possible location of the pipeline which Lot 76 would require. One hypothetical route would have it cross the property, to link with the existing Camisea pipeline to the Northwest. Hunt Oil, the company involved in the exploration is also involved in the Camisea northwest gas field and pipeline. IUCN met with representatives of Hunt Oil in the presence of senior staff of the Peruvian Protected Areas Agency (SERNANP). Hunt Oil confirmed that there is no intention to plan or build a pipeline affecting the property, as documented in the State Party report and the mission report. The SERNANP representative also indicated that under no circumstances would a pipeline be allowed to cross the property.
e) Infrastructure / roads
The mission notes that the property’s only access road from Cuzco is precarious and is one of the reasons that resource use pressure on the property remains limited. The mission also notes that should the road link be established to Boca Colorado, 100 km away, pressure on the property from the quickly growing regional capital of Puerto Maldonado would likely increase. The State Party points out that such a connection will be located outside the property and its buffer zone. The planned new road is reported to receive local funding and work appears to have started. The improvement of access, in combination with the expected influx of people related to future hydrocarbon extraction, is likely to dramatically change the situation in the buffer zone and could have impacts on the property itself. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has not been undertaken. The mission considers that the current capacity of government agencies to deal with this scenario is inadequate, and will need investment of additional resources. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the planned road would be needed, in order to balance the associated risks and benefits and ensure that it does not negatively impact on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value, nor on forest-dependent indigenous communities, prior to continuing with the connection of Boca Colorado and Boca Manu.
f) Other conservation issues – inclusion of Megantoni National Sanctuary, tourism management, and staffing deficiencies
Megantoni National Sanctuary is a recent addition to Peru's National Protected Area system, contiguous with the property and located west of it. Covering the entire altitudinal gradient from the lowlands to the Andean "Puna", the protected area not only matches the property in terms of biodiversity but is also a sacred site for indigenous residents. The mission considers that inclusion of Megantoni National Sanctuary into the property through a minor boundary modification would add additional values and protection to the property in an area of major strategic importance, as Megantoni is both adjacent to the Camisea gas field, and has a key function linking Manu within the Vilcabamba – Amboro (Bolivia) biodiversity corridor.
The mission found that road access and expensive and unreliable air access are limiting factors for tourism. In line with the Peruvian government policy to seek greater revenues for protected areas from tourism with 70% of such funds remaining in the area, tourism could play a much more prominent role in the property. The mission considers that the property could benefit from a comprehensive tourism management plan to address funding limitations for the Park. These factors should also be part of the assessment of the road proposals within the area.
The headquarters of the Park are based in the city of Cuzco in the Province of Cuzco, located far away from the park and the reality on the ground. It is also noteworthy that the majority of the property is located in the territory of the neighboring Province of Madre de Dios. The mission considers that the increased involvement of this provincial government could contribute to addressing the gaps between identified funding and staffing needs and the actual situation, and better prepare the property for the expected increase in pressures in the broader region mentioned above.
At the time of the mission, the renowned ecological reasearch station Cocha Cashu, among the most important ones in the neotropics, faced an uncertain future. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN understand that an agreement has since been achievement and welcomes the expected continuation of Cocha Cashu.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
The mission found that the Park appears to be largely intact, substantially as a result of the remoteness and economic isolation of the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the property’s Outstanding Universal Value is not currently under significant threat, though some trends, if not properly addressed soon, may eventually become intractable. The threat of an influx of people as a consequence of possible increased road access via Boca Colorado would inevitably result in increased pressures on the property’s natural resources (timber, wildlife). Such pressures would require a very large increase in planning and law enforcement. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the World Heritage Committee ask for greater attention to the role of the different groups of indigenous peoples within the Park. Attention is drawn in particular to the growing population, including new settlers within the property and on its Southwestern and Southeastern borders, including the buffer zone, which could potentially result in increasing conflict with the property if there is no governmental presence to help manage growth sustainably through better regulation of logging, road building and land use.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also recommend that the World Heritage Committee urge the State Party to update the Master Plan for the property, which should include a comprehensive tourism management plan to promote sustainable tourism to generate local income and employment, raise the profile of the property and to support conservation financing. Additional staffing and regular patrols are needed, including in the upper Camisea River sector, with special emphasis on effective communication with local communities. The opportunities for funding from companies involved in the Camisea gas field should be explored, as hydrocarbon extraction activities could potentially have significant impacts on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value.
Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.34
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,
2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.36, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),
3. Takes note of the recommendations of the December 2010 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission;
4. Requests the State Party to consider the recommendations of the 2010 reactive monitoring mission in future management, with a particular focus on:
a) Strengthening governmental capacity across sectors to effectively plan infrastructure and land and resource use in the Alto Madre de Dios river corridor, including in the buffer zone of the property and adjacent protected areas and communal reserves,
b) Strengthening governmental capacity for participatory planning, management and law enforcement in the "recuperation", "special use" and buffer zones,
c) Using the current updating of the Master Plan as an opportunity to identify staffing and funding gaps and derive realistic and concrete funding strategies, including from Peru's Conservation Fund (PROFONANPE), private sector companies involved in hydrocarbon extraction, and tourism revenues,
d) Protecting the indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation and in initial contact from external pressures and engage with sedentary indigenous groups within the property in a more meaningful dialogue to define the future,
e) Revitalizing an operational multi-stakeholder management committee, which is designed to provide advice to management planning processes, including in the buffer zone,
f) Considering the feasibility of a minor boundary modification including Megantoni National Sanctuary in the property;
5. Takes note with appreciation of the commitment of Hunt Oil, which is exploring gas reserves in the region, and that there is no intention to plan or build a pipeline affecting the property, as also documented in the State Party report;
6. Notes with concern that the planned road from Boca Manu to Boca Colorado is likely to result in increasing pressures on the property's natural resources and therefore also requests the State Party to conduct an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the planned road, in order to balance the associated risks and benefits and ensure that it does not negatively impact on the property's Outstanding Universal Value, nor on forest-dependent indigenous communities, and submit its results to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines prior to implementation of this project;
7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including a copy of the Environmental and social Impact Assessment for the Boca Manu - Boca Colorado road, as well as a report on progress achieved in the implementation of the 2010 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission recommendations.