1.         Iguazu National Park (Argentina) (N 303)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1984

Criteria  (vii)(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/303/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2001-2001)
Total amount approved: USD 20,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/303/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

September 2006 UNESCO 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Proposed development of hydropower dams;

b) Uncoordinated developments, mainly tourism development;

c) Lack of transboundary cooperation;

d) Lack of sustainable financing.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/303/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

The State Party of Argentina submitted on 29 January 2007 the report requested by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006) describing the status of the building of hydroelectric power generating infrastructure that could affect both the Iguazu (Argentina) and Iguaçu (Brazil) World Heritage properties. The report states that information on plans to divert 20% of the Iguazu river waters was unfounded. It goes on to state that although a 1979 tri-partite agreement is in place to develop hydroelectric power in the vicinity of these properties between the governments of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, there are no new works under imminent consideration at this time, beyond the completion of the Yaciretá hydro-electric complex expected in 2008. The report does not provide details on the potential impacts of this complex on the concerned properties. Once the Yaciretá complex is completed, there are plans to enter into bilateral discussions with Paraguay on moving forward with the Corpus Christi hydro-electric project. The report states that it is too early at this time to assess the possible implications for the World Heritage properties in question, though it emphasizes that strict conservation requirements of the World Heritage Convention would be incorporated into any plans.

At the request of the State Party, the World Heritage Centre visited the property from 1 to 3 September 2006, following concerns expressed by Iguazu National Park staff over inappropriate tourism development plans, triggered by the intention of installing a fixed hot air balloon near the falls. Permission for this project has since been denied by State Party authorities. The World Heritage Centre mission report notes the high intensity public use of the park concentrated at the falls area, and how tourism infrastructure developed in response to visitation appears to be largely disregarding the need to consider the property’s exceptional natural beauty (criteria vii) and integrity on both the Argentinian and Brazilian side of the falls. It points to concrete walkways that have fallen into the river bed, large hotels that disrupt the viewscape, and the haphazard placement of large numbers of concession stands located throughout the area, catering to visitors’ needs.

In addition, the quality of visitation to the property continues to be affected by helicopters flying overhead of the Falls operated from the Brazilian side despite previous recommendations from the WH Committee on the need to stop these operations. There is also a need to enhance and formalize the level of cooperation between the State Parties of Argentina and Brazil to enhance the conservation of the Iguaçu National Park and Iguazu National park with respect to tourism planning and development as well as hydroelectric development projects. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.38

The World Heritage Committee,

1.       Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B,

2.       Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.31, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3.       Commends the State Party for its decision to deny authorization for the operation of a fixed hot-air balloon at the property;

4.       Urges the State Party to carry out a joint comprehensive public use planning process, in cooperation with the management authority of Iguaçu National Park (Brazil) to ensure that the property's Outstanding Universal Value and conditions of integrity, particularly in regards to criterion (vii) is adequately conserved;

5.       Requests the State Party of Argentina, in coordination with the State Party of Brazil, to invite a joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008, with a particular focus on:

a)      developing a framework to assess the carrying capacity for the two adjacent properties ;

b)      identifying solutions to problems associated with public use; and

c)      obtaining detailed information on plans for hydro-electric developments in the region.