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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.196
Area de Conservación Guanacaste (Costa Rica) (N 928bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examinedDocument WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. RecallingDecision 43 COM 7B.24, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Welcomes the refusal in 2020 of the proposed Interoceanic Dry Canal project following an appeal by the project proponents;
  4. Notes with appreciation that no industrial infrastructure of any kind has been permitted within the property, and also welcomes the confirmation that the property remains off-limits to industrial development infrastructure, as provided for under national legislation;
  5. Further welcomes that Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for proposed infrastructure projects in the vicinity of the property are now required to include consideration of potential negative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  6. Welcomes furthermore the recommendations made by the Regional Directorate of the Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) to the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA), requesting the developers of the “Santo Tomás Beach” hotel project to elaborate an EIA of the project during its pre-feasibility phase, and requests the State Party to submit the document, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, once finalized;
  7. Noting the measures taken to build capacity on conducting Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA), reiterates its request to the State Party to develop an SEA before considering of any further renewable energy projects in order to identify the best means to harmonize renewable energy initiatives and biodiversity conservation objectives, considering the multiple existing and proposed projects and development pressures near the property;
  8. Takes note of the current measures to mitigate the effects of the Inter-American highway, including the inter-institutional cooperation, and encourages the State Party to ensure continued measures along the sections of the highway within and bordering the property, and to ensure similar activities are integrated into the upgrading of Ecological National Route 918, whilst reiterating its request that the State Party explore all future options to mitigate the impacts of the highway on the property, including the feasibility to improve National Road 4 as an alternative route;
  9. Also encourages the State Party to continue the development of Minor Boundary Modification (MBM) to include the new Bahía Santa Elena Marine Management Area within the property and also recommends the State Party to consider the wider terrestrial area referred to as the Conservation Area or “protected block” for inclusion in the property in order to harmonize the boundary of the property with other existing management units across the terrestrial and marine environment;
  10. Welcomes moreover the confirmation that the State Party is continuing to develop the National System of Conservation Areas to create effective wider protection of the property, and further encourages the State Party to continue consolidating the integration of conservation considerations into the wider landscape and seascape to ensure effective buffering of impacts on the World Heritage property;
  11. Also takes note of the strategies and instruments elaborated to address the issue of climate change, and encourages furthermore the State Party to continue its efforts in this regard to minimize the negative impacts of climate change, such as the development of a “Regional Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change for the Guanacaste Conservation Area”;
  12. While acknowledging the current human and financial capacity limitations, also requests the State Party to fully implement all recommendations of the 2018 Reactive Monitoring mission to the property;
  13. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, an 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 46th session.
Decision Code
44 COM 7B.196
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
2021 Area de Conservación Guanacaste
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision