VIII.15 World Heritage sites of the United States of America: Everglades National Park & Yellowstone National Park
The Committee recalled that the twenty-fourth ordinary session of the Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to meet with the State Party and discuss the preparation of a schedule of actions for complete rehabilitation of the site and its eventual removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Centre, IUCN and relevant authorities from the State Party, including the Directors of the two sites, participated in a conference call on 27 October 2000. The Observer of the United States of America informed the Committee that measures to address the threats to both Parks continue to be undertaken. In the view of the State Party, neither Yellowstone nor Everglades National Park has shown enough progress to warrant removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger. Following the conference call, consultations between the Centre, IUCN and the State Party, comprehensive discussions of the issue by the appropriate US Department of the Interior and National Park Service staff have taken place.
U.S. officials determined that complex scientific analyses of measures necessary to abate the threats to these two Parks are required. They have also concluded that it will be possible to prepare for review by the Committee a schedule of actions necessary for the eventual removal of these two sites from the List of World Heritage in Danger. This schedule will include measures as part of a national assessment of risks to Parks based on domestic law. Once this national assessment has been completed, the U.S. will derive from those analyses the information necessary to respond more fully to the Bureau's request.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service will continue to submit interim reports on the condition of the two Parks and will work on completing the schedule for their removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Observer of the United States of America also indicated that the Operational Guidelines do not provide clear procedures for removing sites from the List of World Heritage in Danger. Consequently, the potential exists for different interpretations of how removal from the List should be accomplished. It was noted that the issue had not been resolved in the Operational Guidelines revisions proposed by the Canterbury Working Group. Accordingly, it was believed that a technical workshop on the process for delisting, involving other States Parties, as well as the United States, is well merited. Such a workshop could propose an appropriate amendment to the Operational Guidelines.
IUCN welcomed the observations of the Observer of the United States and agreed that the elaboration of measures and indicators that could provide a systematic approach to placing and removal of sites from the List of World Heritage in Danger require considerable research work and scientific analyses. IUCN expressed its readiness to cooperate with the State Party and the Centre to test out work needed to improve these aspects of state conservation monitoring.
The Committee recommended that the Centre and IUCN co-operate with the State Party to carry out the necessary scientific and technical work, using suitable means such as conference calls and workshops, in order to put in place a schedule of actions that will enable the Committee to track improvements in the state of conservation of these two sites in an objective manner and determine, in consultation with the State Party, the appropriate time for their removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger.