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World Heritage Convention

Decision 22 BUR V.B.33
Canaima National Park (Venezuela)

The Bureau recalled that the Committee at its twenty-first session expressed its concern with regard to the integrity of the Canaima National Park due to considerable threats posed by a proposal to erect a series of power transmission lines across the Park. The Committee invited the Director-General to write to the President of the State Party asking his intervention to search for possible alternatives and to determine the appropriate boundaries of the World Heritage site. The Venezuelan Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, wrote a letter to the Centre on 12 March 1998, explaining the actual situation of the proposed construction of one electrical power line that would pass through a part of the National Park. The letter indicates that: (1) the Ministry for the Environment and the National Parks Institute are in the process of evaluating the Venezuelan South East Project Transmission System; (2) distinct alternatives for the location of this line have been analysed. A decision has been made for an option that will cut across a smaller percentage of the Park. Moreover, the alternatives being considered include the erection of the power transmission lines along the existing Eldorado-Santa Elena de Uairén road as proposed by IUCN, which would reduce the impact of the project on the site; (3) local population interests are being considered in accordance with the existing laws. The President of Venezuela, in his letter of 13 March 1998 to the Director-General of UNESCO, has transmitted the Environmental Impact Study on the power transmission line project, which was finalised in December 1997. He has re-affirmed the commitment of his Government to protect the World Heritage site and welcomed the possibility of a UNESCO mission to the site to evaluate the proposals of boundaries.

IUCN stressed that the power line is of major concern to indigenous people and that a number of letters were received and that the proposed mission should take up this issue, in addition to potential threats to the site. The Observer of Venezuela welcomed a mission to the site and stated that interests of local people have been taken into consideration according to existing laws.

The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to co-operate in sending a mission to Caracas and to Canaima National Park to review with specialists and local technicians, proposals for alternative routes for the construction of electrical transmission lines. It should also determine appropriate boundaries for the site in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee and IUCN, made at the time of inscription of the site in 1994. The Bureau recommended that a detailed report of the mission be submitted to the twenty-second session of the Committee.

Decision Code
22 BUR V.B.33
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
1998 Canaima National Park
Context of Decision