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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.114
El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve (Mexico) (N 1410)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.add,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 8B.16, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Expresses its utmost concern with regard to the construction of a border wall by the State Party of the United States of America between the property and the adjoining Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge located on the territory of the United States of America;
  4. Considers that the construction of the border wall will have negative impacts on the integrity of the property and that the presence of a physical barrier will negatively affect the wider ecological connectivity and movement of key wildlife populations, such as the Sonoran Pronghorn and the Bighorn Sheep, which constitute important attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  5. Notes with great concern that construction works on the wall are underway and have been partially completed and that no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of this project has been submitted to the World Heritage Centre, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Also recalling Paragraph 15 of the Operational Guidelines, urges the State Party of the United States of America to halt any further works on the border wall between the property and the adjacent protected areas in the United States of America and requests the State Party of the United States of America to collaborate with the State Party of Mexico, in conformity with Paragraph 118bis of the Operational Guidelines, in order to conduct an assessment of impacts that the construction works might have already had on the OUV of the property, and to develop appropriate measures to ensure the restoration of ecological connectivity and also requests the State Party to submit a progress report to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN;
  7. Reiterates its Decision 37 COM 8B.16, which encouraged the States Parties of Mexico and the United States of America to strengthen cooperation on the conservation and management of the shared Greater Sonoran Desert Ecosystem, building upon the existing agreements and working relationships at all levels, with a view to the possible formal establishment of a transboundary protected area;
  8. Finally requests the State Party of Mexico, in cooperation with the State Party of the United States of America, to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, a report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session.
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision