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Canaima National Park

Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Factors affecting the property in 1997*
  • Major linear utilities
  • Management systems/ management plan
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1997
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 1997**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1997
The Bureau recalled the fact that the Committee, when it inscribed this site on the World Heritage List in 1994, requested that IUCN and the State Party discuss and agree upon boundaries for the World Heritage site. Since then, although the boundaries of the World Heritage site still remain to be finalised, the national electricity company (EDELCA) has proposed to erect a series of power transmission lines across about 160 km of the Park. An adequate environmental impact study has not been conducted and traditional Pemon communities inhabiting the area are opposed to the project. The Venezuelan authorities have declined the Bureau's recommendation, made at its last session in June 1997, to invite a high level UNESCO mission to discuss alternative routes for erecting the power lines and resolve the question of the boundary of the World Heritage site. The IUCN Representative noted that the proposed transmission lines will cut through parts of undisturbed forests and that alternative routes, along a highway which will be less damaging, can be proposed for the erection of those transmission lines.

Action Required
The Bureau recommended the Committee to adopt the following:
"The Committee invites the Director-General of UNESCO to write to the President of the State Party asking for his intervention to search for possible alternative routes for the erection of the power transmission lines and to initiate negotiations with IUCN and the Centre to determine the appropriate boundaries of the World Heritage site."
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1997

The Bureau at its twenty-first ordinary session in June 1997 learnt that this site was under threat from a proposed project of the national electricity company (EDELCA) to erect a series of power transmission lines, expected to extend 160 km across the Park and to supply power from the Guri Dam to Brazil and to a mining site north of the Park. The traditional Pemon community who inhabit a certain portion of the Park are opposed to the project. In recent years, large scale mining has led to significant loss of forests and pollution of rivers in areas adjacent to the Park. An adequate environmental impact study of the project has not yet been carried out; construction is expected to begin soon, although it is not known whether funds for financing the construction have been secured. The Bureau noted that the Committee, at the time of the inscription of this site on the List in 1994, had made several recommendations, including the finalisation of the boundaries of the World Heritage area, which are yet to be implemented. As directed by the Bureau, the Centre has requested the views of the Venezuelan authorities on the possibility for fielding a high level mission to gather information, and discuss and resolve problems facing the conservation of Canaima National Park. A response from Venezuela is awaited.

The Bureau may wish to examine new information that may be available at the time of its session and take appropriate action thereupon.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1997
21 BUR IV.B.33
Canaima National Park (Venezuela)

The Bureau noted with concern that this site faced considerable threats from a proposal of the national electricity company (EDELCA) to erect a series of power transmission lines, expected to extend 160 km across the Park, to supply power from the Guri dam to Brazil and to a mining site north of the Park. The traditional Pemon community who inhabit a portion of the Park are concerned that the power generation project will lead to increased mining and logging and hence are opposing the scheme. During recent years large scale mining operations have been started in areas outside of the Park and is resulting in significant loss of forests and pollution of rivers. INPARQUES, the national agency responsible for Canaima National Park have limited resources and have not yet intervened against the project proposed by EDELCA. An adequate environmental impact study had not been carried out and construction is expected to begin soon. It is not known whether funds for the completion of the power lines project have been guaranteed by either the Venezuelan Government or international donors.

The Bureau noted that the Committee, at the time of inscription of this World Heritage Site in 1994, had made several recommendations, including the finalization of the boundaries of the World Heritage area, which have not yet been implemented. Hence, the Bureau suggested the Centre to transmit its concerns regarding the integrity of Canaima National Park to the Venezuelan authorities and discuss with them the feasibility of fielding a high level mission to Venezuela in order to gather information and discuss and resolve problems facing the conservation of Canaima National Park.

21 COM VII.C.40
SOC: Canaima National Park (Venezuela)

VII.40 Canaima National Park (Venezuela)

The Committee recalled that, when it inscribed this site on the World Heritage List in 1994, it requested that IUCN and the State Party discuss and agree upon boundaries for the World Heritage site. Since then, although the boundaries of the World Heritage site still remain to be finalised, the national electricity company (EDELCA) has proposed to erect a series of power transmission lines across about 160 km of the Park. An adequate environmental impact study has not been conducted and traditional Pemon communities inhabiting the area are opposed to the project. The Venezuelan authorities have declined the Bureau's recommendation, made at its last session in June 1997, to invite a high level UNESCO mission to discuss alternative routes for erecting the power lines and resolve the question of the boundary of the World Heritage site. The IUCN Representative noted that the proposed transmission lines will cut through parts of undisturbed forests and that alternative routes, along a highway which will be less damaging, can be proposed for the erection of the lines.

The Committee invited the Director-General of UNESCO to write to the President of the State Party asking for his intervention to search for possible alternative routes for the erection of the power transmission lines and to initiate negotiations with IUCN and the Centre to determine the appropriate boundaries of the World Heritage site.

Report year: 1997
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Date of Inscription: 1994
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
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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