1.         Iguaçu National Park (Brazil) (N 355)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1986

Criteria  (vii)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1999-2001

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/355/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/355/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO/IUCN mission March 1999; UNESCO/IUCN mission March 2005.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Proposed development of hydropower dams;

b) Pressure to re-open illegal road;

c) Illegal logging and hunting;

d) Uncoordinated developments;

e) Lack of transboundary cooperation;

f) Lack of sustainable financing.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/355/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

On 3 March 2006, the State Party submitted a report using the format recommended for Periodic Reporting. The report outlines a number of on-going management challenges, including i) ongoing pressure to re-open the illegal Estrada do Colono road; ii) human population growth, urban development and associated pollution near park boundaries; iii) agricultural development and associated pesticide pollution; iv) invasive alien species; v) significant illegal extraction and hunting of flora/fauna; and vi) a proposed hydroelectric dam. The report points to inadequate staffing resources (41 forest policemen are currently working as wardens) as the main reason behind the inability to fully deal with several of these challenges.

Annex 1 of the State Party report provides further details on the proposed “Lower Iguaçu Hydroelectric Plant”, to be constructed upstream from the site. It states that infrastructure associated with the dam will be constructed within 150 metres of the park boundaries, and that significant earth works would take place to the very edge of the boundary, while a drainage canal will actually be located within park boundaries. The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is cited as claiming that “drastic changes in the biological and geomorphic rain cycles” would be one of the impacts downstream from the dam, and thus, in waters within park boundaries shared by Brazil and Argentina. It also claims that “the building of the [dam] represents unpredicted pressure factors” and “when synergic and cumulative factors [are considered], the impacts take a greater dimension, since the [dam] is located next to Iguaçu National Park”. The State Party report questions the authority of a State Government (Paraná) in approving infrastructure works that would have impacts on the international boundary waters flowing between Iguaçu National Park (Brazil) and Iguazu National Park (Argentina) World Heritage properties.

Studies have shown that dams have several effects downstream, including changes in water quality; effects on river temperature, nutrient load, turbidity, dissolved gases, concentration of heavy metals and minerals. The EIS for this dam notes that 62% of fish species located at the dam site are endemic to the Iguaçu river, of which three are endangered.

The State Party report describes two further hydroelectric dam proposals, downstream from Iguaçu falls. The Corpus dam in the Paraná river (Argentina) would elevate the Iguaçu river waters by two meters at the base of the falls, eliminating downstream rapids and affecting river ecosystems.  Another dam proposal would divert 20% of the Iguaçu river waters at a point inside the park.

Information has been received indicating that political pressure to re-open the Estrada do Colono road is mounting as national elections approach in Brazil. As noted in previous State of Conservation reports, opening a road through the World Heritage property would seriously compromise its integrity.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note with great concern that apparently no progress has been made with ensuring sustainable financing of the property, especially relating to ongoing programmes with communities, as recommended in Decision 29 COM 7B.28 and by the 2005 UNESCO/IUCN mission.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN


Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.31

Decision 30 COM 7B.31

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.28, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Urges the State Party to ensure that the Estrada do Colono Road is not re-opened, ensuring that local concerns are addressed in alternative manners;

4. Further urges the State Party to provide full support to the park authorities in carrying out their mandate and to ensure sustainable financing of the property especially relating to ongoing programmes with communities;

5. Reiterates its concern about the Lower Iguaçu Hydroelectric Plant project, and about other hydroelectric dam proposals, some in Argentina, near the property;

6. Requests the State Party to fully respect the World Heritage Convention, in particular Article 6.3, and not to take any action to threaten the values and integrity of a property located on the territory of another State Party to this Convention;

7. Also requests the State Party to deny authorization for the dams;

8. Further requests both States Parties of Argentina and Brazil to provide a report to the World Heritage Centre and IUCN by 1 December 2006 containing the full details on the nature and extent of existing and proposed hydroelectric projects, along with their potential impacts on both Iguazu and Iguaçu National Parks prior to taking any decision to proceed, so as to allow the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to assess whether a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission to the property is necessary before the next Committee session;

9. Recommends that a framework of indicators of the state of conservation of Iguaçu National Park, including indicators of those management issues raised in the State Party report, is developed to form the basis of ongoing monitoring of this property;

10. Requests moreover the State Party of Brazil to provide the World Heritage Centre with a detailed report by 1 February 2007 on the state of conservation of the property, including an update on the Estrada do Colono Road and the issue of sustainable financing, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.