1.         Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park (Costa Rica,Panama) (N 205bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1983

Criteria  (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/205/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1982-1997)
Total amount approved: USD 276,350
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/205/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/205/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

On 23 April 2007, the International Environmental Law Project of Lewis & Clark Law School (Portland, Orgegon) published an on-line petition directed to the World Heritage Committee requesting that the property be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (see http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/press/la-amistad-04-23-2007.html). The petition documents threats to the outstanding universal value and to the integrity of the property. The main threats described in the petition are, inter alia:

a) Destruction of migration corridors critical for the life cycles of several aquatic species due to the imminent construction of several hydroelectric dams on Changuinola / Teribe watershed downstream from the property. The loss of migration corridors would lead to the loss of 75% of aquatic biodiversity in 704 kilometres of rivers that flow within the property;

b) Increased access to the property due to the road building associated with the dam construction;

c) Establishment of new settlements adjacent to property boundaries to supply dam construction labour (estimated 4,150 people, according to the environmental impact assessment) may lead to poaching and other intrusions into the property;

d) Human encroachment into park lands. An estimated 400 to 500 people have landholdings for farming and cattle ranching, within the property.

e) There is no clear and visible boundary to the park, leading to confusion and encroachment.

The petition makes reference to the Binational Report on the Management Evaluation of the Environmental Authorities of Costa Rica and Panama in the Integrated Management of the Amistad National Park, carried out by auditors for both Costa Rica and Panama. This report, published in 2004, also provides detailed information on the state of conservation of La Amistad National Park, the main component of the property. The report notes a deteriorating situation in regards to invasion of the park in four sectors within Costa Rica, with more than 7,700 hectares of forest being altered by human encroachment between 1992 and 2001, warning that without prompt action, the situation could have irreversible repercussions on ecosystem health. In Panama, the report notes a loss of approximately 4,000 hectares of forest between 1986 and 2000, with a worrying increase in deforestation fronts. The auditors’ report also notes a declining trend in key indicator species in Costa Rica, which include the tapir, the southern river otter, the red brocket deer, attributed to poaching for bushmeat or for wildlife trade.

Based on the evidence provided in these two well researched and credible reports, IUCN and the World Heritage Centre believe that the integrity and outstanding universal value of this transboundary property are being threatened. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.36

The World Heritage Committee,

1.       Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B.Add,

2.       Recalling Decision 28 COM 15B.33, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3.       Regrets that plans for hydroelectric dams adjacent to the property's boundaries have not been communicated to the World Heritage Centre, as per Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines

4.       Notes with concern that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property may be at risk from these dams, from poaching, and from encroachment by local farmers on both sides of the international boundary;

5.       Requests the States Party of Panama and Costa Rica to jointly invite a World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission in 2008 to asses the state of conservation of the property with a particular focus on evaluating the status and impacts of hydroelectric dam construction, of assessing the extent of incompatible land uses and measures in place to deal with them, and assessing other conservation threats to the property.

6.       Also requests the States Party of Panama and Costa Rica to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2008 a report on the state of conservation of the property, including the implications of the proposed hydroelectric dams on the aquatic biodiversity of the Changuinola /Teribe watershed, the presence of incompatible land uses within the property's boundaries, updated information on poaching activities, and on the measures taken to deal effectively with these issues, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session in 2008.