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Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks

Brazil
Factors affecting the property in 2013*
  • Fire (widlfires)
  • Legal framework
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

Insufficient legal framework and protection in place

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2013

Total amount granted: USD100,000 - World Heritage Biodiversity Programme for Brazil; USD 30,000 - Rapid Response Facility support for firefighting

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2013
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2013**

March 2013: IUCN reactive monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

On 11 February 2013, a brief report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party of Brazil, providing information on the process to re-establish the protection status of Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park (CdVNP), as well as the planning for the remainder of the process. The State Party invited a UNESCO World Heritage Centre/IUCN technical advisory mission to the property but the Committee requested an IUCN reactive monitoring mission, which took place from 4 to 9 March 2013. The mission report is available on-line at the following address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/37COM.

a)  Loss of the protection status of 72% of Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park

The State Party indicates that despite having lost national park status since 2003, no new dangers threatening the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) are currently noted in the area concerned. It considers that given increased human presence in the area, a strict return to the original National Park boundaries at the time of inscription is no longer an option, and that therefore, an alternative approach was proposed intended not only to create conservation units in most of the area that lost legal protection in CdVNP, excluding areas that no longer have integrity, but also to establish new protected areas of different management categories outside the property, which eventually would constitute a mosaic of conservation units which it considers would form the basis for adding new areas to the property, through a re-nomination. Among this array of conservation units are Federal, State, and private areas.

The State Party reports that the process of establishing new protected areas within and outside the property is in an advanced state and there is a good basis for its finalization with the local communities. The report highlights the establishment of protected areas by the State of Goiás and the interest of private land owners in establishing private reserves. Given the complexity of the participatory process, the State Party estimates that the final proposal for the mosaic of protected area is expected to be referred to the Ministry of the Environment by December 2013, after which the Ministry would have to consider it and carry out the necessary steps for eventual approval, should it so decide.

The mission noted that in the area of the property that is not under legal protection, human activities (especially extensive cattle ranching) have increased during the last decade. However, it confirms the State Party's statement that most of the property is in a good general conservation status. Also, the mission identified extensive areas outside the property that have a similar good state of conservation with the potential to contribute to the conservation of its OUV, but only if functional biological connectivity is ensured. This in part is a result of both some of the different existing conservation regimes for the wider region and the very difficult terrain therein.

The mission confirmed that re-establishment of the protected status of the entire property is not feasible due to the established human presence in those areas. In addition to increased human intervention in the area, there is an unclear land tenure situation and continued resistance among a small group of landowners/cattle ranchers against establishment of protected areas of a management regime that implies exclusion of agricultural practice (IUCN category I or II). Therefore, the mission concluded that the State Party’s approach of restoring legal protection to the largest extent possible within the existing property, and through establishing an array of different protected areas within and outside the property to restore its integrity to be a valid strategy, provided that it can be delivered. Nevertheless, it noted that the management regimes currently planned for new conservation units at Federal level are not all sufficient to guarantee the protection of the OUV of the property, because they do not necessarily guarantee conservation of biodiversity and the ecosystem functions integrity. Additional management regulations would be required to ensure that future conservation regimes regulate threats from human activity (allowed on private property within these categories) to features of OUV.

b)  Status of features that sustain OUV

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that in its previous report, the State Party had identified the main threats to the property to be wildfires, hunting, illegal deforestation and selective illegal extraction of timber. The State Party does not provide updated information on the status of these threats.

The mission noted that agricultural activities are carried out within the property, including associated infrastructure like housing, fencing and paths.  In those parts of the property no longer afforded the protection of national park status, evidence of the use of lands for cattle ranching is fairly widespread, and the activity is reported to be increasing.  As cattle ranching is an activity that relies on the expansion of open areas to the detriment of scrub forest, there has also been a tendency to set more “brush cleaning” fires in the property. Though still at an overall low intensity level, the growing presence of cattle in the property is a clear concern that needs to be addressed before commercial and political interests become too vested in this activity.  The mission noted that fire continues to be the main threat to the property and most of the conservation effort of the environmental authorities is dedicated to fire control within the much reduced CdVNP. Although there is an active collaboration between park staff and fire fighters, fires keep occurring even within the national park. Outside CdVNP, fire frequency and intensity is higher, especially along the major roads and areas occupied by extensive cattle ranching. 

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2013

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN remain highly concerned over the absence of any effective management regime over 72% of the Chapada dos Veadeiros component of the property.  This situation has lasted 10 years, and over this time, cattle ranching in the property has become more widespread. The State Party has indicated over the past two years that it would re-establish an adequate protection regime, yet to date, 170,455 hectares within the property do not benefit from protection at a level to meet appropriate standards. Though the features contributing to inscription under criteria (ix) and (x) remain generally in good condition, the absence of a protection regime puts the property’s integrity into clear doubt.  The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recognize the State Party’s renewed efforts to establish a new configuration of different protected areas within the general vicinity of the property with the objective of ensuring that those features contributing to criteria (ix) and (x) are effectively protected.  They note that these changes, as communicated to the reactive monitoring mission, will definitely consist of a major boundary modification which will require a new nomination, in line with Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines.  Until such a major boundary modification can be considered by the World Heritage Committee, the property, as it is currently recognized, remains in a situation of potential danger in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines. 

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are of the view that if adequate protection is not restored, or in case of an emerging significant threat while adequate protection is not in place, the property would need to be considered for immediate inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger.  The Committee could have decided that it was appropriate to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger since 2003, given the persistent issue that has been identified.  To date, given the clear action of the State Party to address those issues now they have been identified, and considering that the extent of threats to the property’s values is currently still at a low level, the position has been adopted that a decision to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger could be delayed.  The World Heritage Centre and IUCN highlight that this situation cannot be allowed to persist with the property, given the continued lack of protection for the property and the threats located within its boundaries as currently recognized under the Convention.  Based on the findings of the mission, they are of the view that a means to resolve the protection of the property should be defined before the Committee’s 39th session in 2015, including the possible revision of the boundaries of the property through a major boundary modification that will ensure a property that meets all requirements of OUV.  In the event that no resolution has been reached at that point, the property should be considered for inclusion on the List of World Heritage in Danger.  The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also recognize that outside that portion of the property no longer afforded national park status, there are several areas with conservation values that are similar to those of the unprotected portion of the property. They conclude that establishing functional biological connections with these areas would widen the area of interconnected Cerrado biome in good conservation status and could support the conservation of those features that are currently recognized under the Convention, if included in an eventual nomination for a boundary modification.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN underline the fact that management regimes currently proposed for new conservation units at Federal level, which would presumably comprise the new boundaries for the property, currently provide insufficient protection to those features contributing to its OUV.  They recommend that the Committee urge the State Party to ensure that adequate management regimes are in place for these areas before a modification of boundaries is proposed.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2013
37 COM 7B.29
Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks (Brazil) (N 1032)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.30 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Reiterates its concern that the majority of the Chapada dos Veadeiros component of this serial property continues to no longer benefit from National Park status, and that its integrity is no longer guaranteed;

4.  Recognizes the positive actions undertaken by the State Party to develop new conservation units to restore some of the legal protection that has been lost, and notes that the process of putting in place effective protection and management, based on due public consultation, is taking more time than previously anticipated;

5.  Considers that the possible boundary changes currently being considered by the State Party would represent a major boundary modification, and will require a re-nomination, as per Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines ;

6.  Reminds the State Party that until such a re-nomination is presented for consideration by the World Heritage Committee, the property as it is currently recognized under the World Heritage Convention is no longer afforded the full benefit of an adequate legal protective status, and therefore is regarded as being in potential danger in line with Paragraph 180 (b)(i) of the Operational Guidelines ;

7.  Also c onsiders that if significant progress to address the lack of protection of parts of the property has not been achieved by the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee, or in case of the emergence of a significant threat to the property before that time, the property will be considered for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

8.  Requests the State Party to finalize the establishment of new conservation units within and outside the property before the end of 2013, taking into consideration the following criteria:

a)  the need to ensure optimal public consultation with all affected land owners, and promote and support the establishment of private natural heritage reserves,

b)  the application of management regimes that ensure the best possible protection of biodiversity and ecological processes, and ensure full collaboration in management between Federal and State agencies, as well as private owners. In case the proposed management regimes do not guarantee integral protection of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), additional regulations need to be put in place,

c)  consider extending the property to include the areas within and outside the property with the best status of conservation, prioritizing the area of Rio das Pedras (within the property), São Bartolomeu, the area of Rio dos Couros (south of the property) and the area of Ríos Macaco and Macaquinho (within and outside the property);

9.  Also requests the State Party to fully implement all the other recommendations of the 2013 IUCN reactive monitoring mission;

10.  Further requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2015, in line with Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines , a major boundary modification for consideration by the World Heritage Committee, that will include additional lands of conservation value not currently included in the property, and result in a property that meets all requirements of OUV, including effective protection and management;

11.  Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , a report on the state of conservation of the property, including a report on the state of advancement of the re-nomination, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

Draft Decision:  37 COM 7B.29

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.30, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Reiterates its concern that the majority of the Chapada dos Veadeiros component of this serial property continues to no longer benefit from National Park status, and that its integrity is no longer guaranteed;

4.  Recognizes the positive actions undertaken by the State Party to develop new conservation units to restore some of the legal protection that has been lost, and notes that the process of putting in place effective protection and management, based on due public consultation, is taking more time than previously anticipated;

5.  Considers that the possible boundary changes currently being considered by the State Party would represent a major boundary modification, and will require a re-nomination, as per Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines;

6.  Reminds the State Party that until such a re-nomination is presented for consideration by the World Heritage Committee, the property as it is currently recognized under the World Heritage Convention is no longer afforded the full benefit of an adequate legal protective status, and therefore is regarded as being in potential danger in line with Paragraph 180 (b)(i) of the Operational Guidelines;

7.  Also considers that if significant progress to address the lack of protection of parts of the property has not been achieved by the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee, or in case of the emergence of a significant threat to the property before that time, the property will be considered for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

8.  Requests the State Party to finalize the establishment of new conservation units within and outside the property before the end of 2013, taking into consideration the following criteria:

a)  the need to ensure optimal public consultation with all affected land owners, and promote and support the establishment of private natural heritage reserves,

b)  the application of management regimes that ensure the best possible protection of biodiversity and ecological processes, and ensure full collaboration in management between Federal and State agencies, as well as private owners. In case the proposed management regimes do not guarantee integral protection of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), additional regulations need to be put in place,

c)  consider extending the property to include the areas within and outside the property with the best status of conservation, prioritizing the area of Rio das Pedras (within the property), São Bartolomeu, the area of Rio dos Couros (south of the property) and the area of Ríos Macaco and Macaquinho (within and outside the property);

9.  Also requests the State Party to fully implement all the other recommendations of the 2013 IUCN reactive monitoring mission;

10.  Also requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2015, in line with Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines, a major boundary modification for consideration by the World Heritage Committee, that will include additional lands of conservation value not currently included in the property, and result in a property that meets all requirements of OUV, including effective protection and management;

11.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including a report on the state of advancement of the re-nomination, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

 

Report year: 2013
Brazil
Date of Inscription: 2001
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 37COM (2013)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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