The Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino in Mexico Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1993
The World Heritage Committee at its twenty-third session held in Marrakesh (Morocco) from 29 November to 4 December 1999, adopted the conclusions and recommendations of the mission of international experts sent to the Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino (Mexico). The Committee endorsed the main findings of the mission's report which "concluded that the World Heritage site under present circumstances is not in danger, and scientific data show that the whale population is not endangered and continues to increase".
With the aim to preserve the integrity of the site, the Committee also emphasized, that "if any significant change to the present situation should occur - documented by appropriate evidence - the conclusion concerning the site's status under the World Heritage Convention should be promptly re-evaluated in co-operation and co-ordination with the State Party, and appropriate consideration should be given to all relevant Parties and the World Heritage Convention."
The mission's reports indicated that based on their field evaluation, the experts nominated by UNESCO and IUCN considered a variety of issues including the management structure, the integrity of the site, the status of the whale population, salt production, sustainable use and tourism. It was underlined that the mission listened to the views of representatives from the Mexican authorities, local and international NGOs, scientists, the salt company and local communities on-site.
The mission team was impressed by the present condition of the site as a whole and appreciated the ongoing efforts by local people, the staff of the Biosphere Reserve, Exportadora de Sal (ESSA) and governmental regulators to maintain and enhance the integrity of the site. In particular, the team was reassured about the conservation status of grey whales and wished to emphasise the importance of Mexico's demonstrated commitment to population monitoring, scientific research, and habitat protection for this flagship species of the World Heritage site.
The Government of Mexico endorsed the conclusions and recommendations of the mission's report and stated its intentions to fully take into account the World Heritage values of the site when evaluating any project with potential impacts on the site and its natural resources.
The World Heritage Committee and its Bureau will be working closely, through the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, with the Mexican authorities to ensure that the values for which the site has been inscribed in the World Heritage List be protected for future generations.