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Decision 40 COM 7B.72
Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park (Costa Rica/Panama) (N 205bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.28, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Commends the States Parties of Costa Rica and Panama for the progress achieved in strengthening transboundary cooperation and stabilizing the threats to the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) originating from agricultural encroachment and cattle grazing, as well as potential road construction and mining development;
  4. Notes with concern the cultivation of illegal crops in the Costa Rican part of the property and its implications for the security situation and requests the State Party of Costa Rica to continue its efforts in addressing this issue;
  5. Deeply regrets that, despite the Committee’s previous decisions, a new hydropower project on the Changuinola river (Changuinola II or CHAN 140) has been approved and preparatory measures have already been undertaken, without prior finalization of the requested Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the entire property;
  6. Reiterates its position that any development of new hydropower projects prior to the finalization and adequate review of the SEA for the entire property would lead to its inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  7. Noting the commencement of the SEA process for the property by the State Party of Panama and the commitment by the State Party of Costa Rica to potentially extend it to the entire transboundary property in line with national procedural standards and international best practice, including the IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment,  also requests both States Parties to submit the final joint version of the SEA to the World Heritage Centre for evaluation by IUCN;
  8. Taking into consideration the commitment expressed by the State Party of Panama to implement the recommendations made by the 2016 Reactive Monitoring mission and in particular to use the results of the SEA as guidelines for the planning and operation of any new large-scale infrastructure development projects in and around the property, including the recently approved CHAN 140 hydropower project, notes that a number of further additional steps will be required, as outlined in the SEA document, including preparation by 2018 of a comprehensive assessment of cumulative impacts;
  9. Further requests the two States Parties to develop appropriate mechanisms in order to fulfil their commitments and to avoid and mitigate any impact on the property OUV and to submit to the World Heritage Centre additional information on concrete actions that will be proposed in this regard;
  10. Also takes note of the commitment expressed by the State Party of Panama to renegotiate the concession contract with Hydroelectric Hidroecológica del Teribe S.A. (Bonyic) in order to comply with the results of the SEA, including by implementing the agreements achieved with the indigenous communities in the framework of the development of the SEA;
  11. Requests furthermore the State Party of Panama, in consultation with the State Party of Costa Rica, to develop a long-term biological monitoring program to implement mitigation measures that minimize the negative impacts caused by both hydroelectric projects on the freshwater biodiversity of the Changuinola and Bonyic rivers;
  12. Requests moreover the States Parties to implement all other recommendations made by the 2016 Reactive Monitoring mission;
  13. Finally requests the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, a joint updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017, with a view to considering, in the absence of significant progress in the implementation of these recommendations, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Code
40 COM 7B.72
Themes
Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger, Reports
Year
2016
Documents
WHC/16/40.COM/19
Report of the Decisions adopted during the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016)
Context of Decision
WHC-16/40.COM/7B.Add
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