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World Heritage Convention

Decision 37 COM 7B.30
Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park (Costa Rica / Panama) (N 205bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.31 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Commends the States Parties for the progress achieved in strengthening transboundary cooperation in the management of the property;

4.  Regrets that construction of the Bonyic dam has continued without prior consideration of the results of the on-going Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), and urges the States Parties to complete it as a matter of priority and in line with international standards of best practice, in particular to:

a)  Analyse impacts based on evidence and science, including impacts on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV),

b)  Consider least damaging alternatives, including the “no project” alternative,

c)  Ensure broad stakeholder consultation and validation processes;

5.  Also regrets that the State Party of Panama did not suspend the construction of the Bonyic dam until the SEA has been completed and its results considered, as requested by Decision 34 COM 7B.32 ;

6.  Notes with concern the irreversible damage to fresh water biodiversity in at least two watersheds (Changuinola and Bonyic) and the absence of adequate measures to mitigate for biodiversity loss, and requests the State Party of Panama to implement mitigation measures and put in place an effective and long-term monitoring programme to measure the extent to which these measures are effective;

7.  Also notes with concern the social conflicts related to the hydroelectric dams in both countries, which complicates governance of the wider region and multiplies the direct threats originating from the economic development projects;

8.  Also requests the States Parties to implement other recommendations of the 2013 IUCN reactive monitoring mission, in particular:

a)  Not permit any further development of hydro-energy projects, mining or road construction within or directly adjacent to the property, particularly in neighbouring protected areas and indigenous territories,

b)  Ensure that any further planned economic development that could potentially negatively affect the property be subjected to independent Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) that include a specific assessment of impacts on the OUV of the property and counts with all elements of due process to achieve Free, Prior and Informed Consent by indigenous peoples having territorial rights in the affected lands,

c)  Guarantee the long term integrity of complete unaffected watersheds (from source to sea), which form part of the property at altitudes below 1,200 metres, to preserve aquatic ecosystems therein,

d)  Harmonize the management plans of the protected areas that constitute the property within the framework of one overarching management plan,

e)  Compile and monitor field data on the present state of human activities, including intensity of cattle grazing and impact on OUV, extent of illicit crop cultivation within and directly adjacent to the park, including number of hectares affected, number of families making use of resources within the property, and nature and extent of overland pathways / trails present,

f) Continue to increase the number of park staff and include indigenous peoples and local farmers within park monitoring efforts to ensure integration of key stakeholders to the conservation agenda;

Further requests the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015 , a joint report on the state of conservation of the property, including a report on progress with the implementation of the above recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015

Decision Code
37 COM 7B.30
Conservation, Outstanding Universal Value
States Parties 2
Decisions Adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th Session (Phnom Penh, 2013)
Context of Decision