Committee Decisions

37 COM 7A.16

Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) (N 764)

Decision :   37 COM 7A.16

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.15 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3. Commends the State Party for the progress made in implementing certain corrective measures, but urges it to address as a matter of priority the critically important issues related to permanent cessation of the sale and lease of lands throughout the property, clear definition and strict control of development rights on existing private and leased lands, the restoration of areas disturbed by unauthorized activities and to make a clear commitment toward no oil exploration with the property;

4. Welcomes the decision of the Government of Belize to develop an offshore oil exploration and exploitation policy that would be compatible with the World Heritage Status of the property and requests the State Party that the draft of such policy is provided for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;

5. Also urges the State Party to continue its efforts to implement the remaining corrective measure as updated:

a) Implement the necessary legal measures to guarantee the permanent cessation of the sale and lease of lands throughout the property,

b) Undertake an inventory of the lands previously disturbed by unauthorized activities with a view to identifying a set of practical solutions to restore the degraded lands within the boundaries of the property,

c) Finalize the legislative instruments and policy documents relevant to the management of the property, including the Coastal Zone Management Plan, Land Use Policy Implementation Plan, National Protected Areas System Bill, Aquatic Living Resources Bill, Forest (Protection of Mangroves) Regulations and Petroleum Exploration Framework and ensure that the requirements for the protection and management of the property are addressed in those documents as well as in their implementation and financial plans,

d) Make an unequivocal legislative commitment to eliminating all oil concessions granted within the boundaries of the property and adjacent waters and ensure that necessary legal and institutional instruments are in place to effectively control oil exploration and exploitation in areas outside the property which might have negative impact on its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV),

e) Carry out a property-wide assessment of marine no take zones in the property, and based on ecological criteria, identify and put into place a process designed to expand them in those areas of the property where the OUV is considered to be most vulnerable to fishing pressures and climate change,

f) Carry out an assessment of the threat arising from introduced species at the property, and develop and put into place a coordinated approach amongst its components to identifying priority actions for eradication and control campaigns;

6. Notes with concern that the National Environmental Appraisal Committee of Belize approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Yum Balisi Resort without previously submitting it for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines , and urges the State Party to suspend the signed Environmental Compliance Plan for the Yum Balisi Resort and not to renew it until the EIA of the project has been reviewed;

7. Also requests the State Party to prepare, based on the updated list of corrective measures and the Retrospective Statement of OUV and in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, the draft proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , a report of the state of conservation of the property, including on progress made in implementing corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

9. Decides to retain the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Themes: Conservation, Reports, List of World Heritage in Danger
States Parties: Belize
Session: 37COM