State of Conservation
Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park
(Costa Rica, Panama)
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
- Illegal activities
- Land conversion
- Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
- Management systems/ management plan
- Water infrastructure
- Other Threats:
Lack of a long-term biological monitoring program
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Water infrastructure - Construction of hydroelectric dams near the property in Panama and associated effects (greater human presence near the property, interruption of aquatic species migratory corridor) - Approval of a new hydropower project (Changuinola II or CHAN 140) without prior finalization of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the entire property
- Lack of a long-term biological monitoring program to implement mitigation measures that minimize the negative impacts on the property caused by hydroelectric projects
- Land conversion (Encroachment) and Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals (settlements, cattle ranching)
- Planned road construction, which would traverse the property on the side of Panama (issue resolved)
- Illegal activities
- Management systems / management plan
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2021
Total amount granted: USD 30 000 from the Rapid Response Facility
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 9
Total amount approved : 276,350 USD
Technical assistance for Talamanca-La Amistad (NOT ...
Reapproval: 08 Apr, 1998 (n°925 - 19,900 USD)
|1992||Repair of damage to housing of staff at Talamanca -La ... (Approved)||10,000 USD|
|1990||La Amistad: construction of 3 guard posts, purchase of ... (Approved)||50,000 USD|
|1990||Various conservation and training activities for La ... (Approved)||50,000 USD|
|1988||Equipment and financial contribution for strengthening ... (Approved)||30,000 USD|
|1985||Improvement of infrastructure, implementation of the ... (Approved)||40,000 USD|
|1985||Strengthening the protection and management of ... (Approved)||32,150 USD|
|1983||Training programme, improvement of infrastructures and ... (Approved)||30,000 USD|
|1982||In situ training of wardens of La Amistad Reserve (Approved)||14,300 USD|
Missions to the property until 2021**
February 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; December 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; January 2013: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; January 2016: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021
On 1 December 2020, the States Parties submitted a joint state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/205/documents/ and report the following progress:
- The States Parties have continued to combat illegal activities within the property through extensive patrolling, including binational patrols in the Caribbean and Pacific sectors with park rangers of both countries. However, the 2020 binational patrols were suspended due the to COVID-19 pandemic;
- Awareness raising activities have been organized with the community and civil society, aiming to address threats. Moreover, the States Parties report support from NGOs to strengthen conservation of the property;
- Despite delays, the update of the management plan of La Amistad International Park in Panama is ongoing. Consultants have now been identified and the document is expected by mid-2021. The Costa Rican La Amistad International Park General Management Plan (GMP) was updated in 2019,and approved by the relevant authorities in 2020. The GMPs for the remaining Costa Rican National Parks which comprise the property remain valid and the development of a GMP for Las Tablas Protective Zone is in an advanced phase;
- The re-activation of the Changuinola II (CHAN II) dam project is not currently being considered. The State Party of Panama acknowledges that the project is included in the national planning developed in the 1970s, prior to inscription of the property, but recognizes its commitments under the Convention and confirms that prior consultations with the World Heritage Centre would be undertaken should the project be re-considered;
- While the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Panamanian side of the property has been completed and approved, the process is not yet completed in Costa Rica. The document is due for completion by the end of 2021, including the harmonization process with the SEA prepared in Panama;
- Ecological monitoring activities related to the Hidroecológica del Teribe SA (Bonyic) and AES Changuinola (CHAN I) dams, located in Palo Seco Protected Forest in Panama were reported quarterly throughout 2019-2020. Activities included monitoring of aquatic and terrestrial fauna in the watercourse and surrounding ecosystem under administration and/or under use of the respective hydropower plants. Further monitoring under the annual operating plans of the respective projects has been committed under concession contracts with the Hidroecológica del Teribe SA (Bonyic), and funding from Water, Protected Areas and Wildlife Fund for monitoring activities for CHAN I dam.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021
The States Parties’ continued efforts to combat illegal activities within the property, in particular through bilateral cooperation, are welcomed. The measures achieved to date in the formulation of the respective management plans for the La Amistad International Park area of the property are noted. The State Party of Panama should be encouraged to ensure the Management Plan is delivered by mid-2021, as planned, to ensure protection is consistent across the transboundary area of the property.
It is also to be welcomed that the project for the Changuinola II dam (CHAN II) has not been re-activated to date. Recalling the Committee’s position that any development of new hydropower projects prior to the finalization and adequate review of the SEA for the entire property would represent a danger to the property’s OUV in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, the State Party’s reaffirmed commitment to its obligations under the Convention and its confirmation that, should re-activation of the project be considered again, prior consultations with the World Heritage Centre would be undertaken, are noted.
It remains of concern that the SEA for the entire property was not finalized by 2019, as was requested by the Committee and it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request the States Parties to finalize the overall SEA for the entire property, for submission at the earliest possible date and no later than 1 February 2022.
It is recommended that the Committee also reiterate its position, in line with its Decision 40 COM 7 (Paragraph 17), that any development of new hydropower projects prior to the finalization and adequate review of the SEA for the entire property would represent a danger to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines leading to potential inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The monitoring activities undertaken through concession contracts for Hidroecológica del Teribe S.A. (Bonyic) and AES Changuinola (CHAN I) are noted. It is recommended that the Committee request that the State Party of Panama maintain these efforts, including through sustainable funding, to establish long-term monitoring programmes for the two projects and use the findings to design appropriate mitigation measures to ensure the OUV of the property is not negatively impacted, and furthermore consider the monitoring processes and findings in the overall SEA for the entire property.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.197
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.25, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
- Welcomes the States Parties’ ongoing efforts to combat illegal activities within the property, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, including through strengthened institutional arrangements and patrols in bilateral cooperation;
- Notes the measures taken to ensure effective transboundary management of the La Amistad International Park area of the property, including the finalization and adoption of the General Management Plan for the La Amistad International Park in Costa Rica and encourages the State Party of Panama to finalise the Management Plan for the Panamanian area of the property by mid-2021 to ensure protection is consistent across this contiguous transboundary area of the property, and requests the States Parties to submit these plans for review by the World Heritage Center and IUCN ;
- Reiterating its position that any development of new hydropower projects prior to the finalization and adequate review of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the entire property would represent a danger to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, also welcomes that the construction project of the Changuinola II (CHAN II) dam has not been re-activated to date and also notes the State Party’s reaffirmed commitment to its obligations under the Convention and its confirmation that, should re-activation of the project be considered again, prior consultations with the World Heritage Centre would be undertaken;
- Regrets that the SEA for the entire property was not completed in 2019 as requested by the Committee and also requests the States Parties to finalize the SEA for the entire property in 2021 and submit it to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, as soon as it becomes available and the latest by 1 February 2022;
- Further notes the efforts of the State Party of Panama to monitor activities of the CHAN I dam and the Bonyic dam, and further requests the State Party to continue these efforts to establish long-term monitoring programmes for the projects, and use the findings to design appropriate mitigation measures to ensure the OUV of the property is not negatively impacted, and consider the monitoring processes and findings into the overall SEA for the entire property;
- Requests furthermore the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, an updated joint report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session in 2023.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).