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Iguaçu National Park

Brazil
Factors affecting the property in 2000*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Input of excess energy
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Surface water pollution
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Administration of the falls (Argentina);
  • Sound pollution (helicopters);
  •  Illegal reopening of the Colon road
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2000
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2000**

March 1999: IUCN mission 

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2000

Previous deliberations:
Twenty-third session of the Committee – paragraph X.20
Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – paragraph – IV.27

New information
The Ministry of Environment, via its letter of 6 April 2000, has informed the Centre that the Brazilian Government has taken all possible measures to close the Colon Road. In particular: (a) a technical report prepared by the Brazilian Environment Agency (IBAMA) on the environmental impacts caused by the illegal opening of the Colon Road and its continuing use has been submitted to the Courts; and (b) the Federal Courts of Parana has ratified the Government’s decision to close the road and to impose prison sentences on those who continue to refuse to comply with the Government’s decision. According to IUCN, the Supreme Court of Brazil has ordered the road closed and has imposed a fine of US$ 500 on any vehicle using the road.

IUCN is collaborating with WWF Offices in Brazil and Argentina and with several other national organisations to develop a long-term strategy for biodiversity conservation in the broader Atlantic Forest Ecoregion. IUCN will attend a workshop, to be held in Iguacu National Park of Brazil from 25 to 28 April 2000, where specialists from three countries concerned with the protection of the Atlantic Forest Ecoregion, i.e. Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, are due to participate. IUCN will report on findings from that workshop that are relevant to the closing of the Colon Road in the Iguacu National Park of Brazil at the time of the twenty-fourth ordinary session of the Bureau. 

Action Required
The Bureau commends the State Party for its persistence to strictly enforce the legal decision to close the Colon Road. The Bureau encourages the State Party to continue its efforts and to provide an up-to-date progress report on the impacts of the decisions of the Supreme Court and the Federal Court of Parana on the effective closure of the Colon Road by 15 September 2000. The Bureau recommends that if the State Party confirms the effective closure of the road before the next session of the Committee, then the Committee might consider initiating steps to remove the Iguacu National Park of Brazil from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2000

On 16 July 2000, a Brazilian pipeline importing oil from Colombia burst spilling four million litres (1.06 million gallons) of crude oil into the Barigüí River, a tributary of the Iguacú River, causing Brazil’s biggest oil spill in 25 years.  The leak happened 20 km downstream from the state capital of Curitiba at the Getulio Vargas oil refinery; oil seeped downstream towards the Iguaçu Falls, located within the Iguaçu National Park and World Heritage site.  The state-owned oil refinery company, Petrobras, responsible for the spill, put in place three floating barriers across the river and dug ditches off the river banks to divert and collect the contaminated water.  Information received from the State Party has confirmed that due to the rapid cleaning operations implemented by national and international experts, the spill spread only 40 km along the river. Thus there seems to be no impact to the Iguaçu National Park which is located 600 km from the site of the oil spill.

At the time of the oil spill, the Argentinian Delegation to UNESCO met with Centre staff to discuss concerns regarding potential threats from the oil spill to the Iguazu National Park of Argentina and was contemplating requesting emergency assistance from the World Heritage Fund. However, no such request for emergency assistance from Argentina has been received at the time of the preparation of this report.

In relation to the Colon Road, the State Party reported that the Federal Ministry of Justice and IBAMA continue to pressure the State government to close the road.  IBAMA allocated 1 million Reals (about US $560,000) to support action related to the closure of the road and to restore areas affected by road construction. IUCN has however, received a number of communications from its network members who are aware of on-site conditions expressing concerns about the lack of action from local authorities to implement the decision of the Federal Court to close the road.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2000
24 BUR IV.A.2
Iguacu National Park (Brazil)

The Bureau noted that the Ministry of Environment of Brazil had taken all possible measures to close the Colon Road. In particular: (a) a technical report prepared by the Brazilian Environment Agency (IBAMA) on the environmental impacts caused by the illegal opening of the Colon Road and its continuing use has been submitted to the Courts; and (b) the Federal Court of Parana has ratified the Brazilian Government’s decision to close the road and to impose prison sentences on those who continue to refuse to comply with the Government’s decision. The Supreme Court of Brazil has ordered the road closed and will impose a fine of US$ 500 on any vehicle using the road.

IUCN informed the Bureau that it was collaborating with the WWF Offices in Brazil and Argentina and with several other national organisations to develop a long-term strategy for biodiversity conservation in the broader Atlantic Forest Eco-region. IUCN noted that a workshop was held in Iguacu National Park of Brazil from 25 to 28 April 2000, which noted that the main issues concerning the state of conservation of this site continue to be related to the closure of the road, effective and co-ordinated planning for the conservation of the area involving all countries concerned and local communities in the management of the site.

The Observer of Brazil agreed with the observations of the Centre and IUCN and said that his Government is doing its best to close the illegally opened road despite resistance from local communities against its complete closure. He expressed the hope that his Government would be able to enforce the legal decision to close the road by the time of the twenty-fourth session of the Committee in Cairns, Australia, during November-December 2000.

The Bureau commended the State Party for its persistence to strictly enforce the legal decision to close the Colon Road and encouraged it to continue its efforts and to provide an up-to-date progress report to the Centre on the impacts of the decisions of the Supreme Court and the Federal Court of Parana on the effective closure of the Colon Road by 15 September 2000. The Bureau recommended that, if the State Party confirms the effective closure of the road before the next session of the Committee, then the Committee might consider initiating steps to remove the Iguacu National Park of Brazil from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

24 COM VIII.3
Iguacu National Park (Brazil)

VIII.3 Iguacu National Park (Brazil)

The Committee noted that an oil spill that occurred 600 km from the site did not have any major impact on the site. The Committee recognised that the illegal opening and the use of the Colon Road is the most immediate threat to the site and learned that IBAMA has allocated the equivalent of US $560,000 to support action related to the closure of the road and to restore areas affected by road construction. The Committee was informed that the Brazilian participant at the workshop held in Amman, Jordan had informed the Centre and IUCN of other potential threats posed by expanding agricultural lands outside of the northeastern sectors of the Park that would require systematic monitoring. The Committee commended the State Party for its persistence in strictly enforcing the Federal legal decision to close the Colon Road and urged the State Party to communicate the reasons for the closure of the road to the wider public and take all necessary actions to restore the World Heritage area affected by road construction activities. The Committee invited the State Party to report to the Centre, before 15 April 2001, on progress to ensure effective closure of the Colon Road and rehabilitate impacted areas. The State Party was also requested to provide an up-date on the results of monitoring the impacts of the oil spill that occurred in July 2000. The Committee retained the site in the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Committee may wish to adopt the following decision:

“The Committee commends the State Party for its persistence to strictly enforce the Federal legal decision to close the Colon Road. The Committee urges the State Party to communicate the reasons for the closure of the road to the wider public and take all necessary actions to restore the World Heritage area affected by road construction activities. The Committee invites the State Party to report to the Centre, before 15 April 2001, progress on its efforts to ensure effective closure of the Colon Road and rehabilitate impacted areas, as well as an up-date on the results of monitoring the impacts of the oil spill that occurred in July 2000. The Committee decides that the site be retained in the List of World Heritage in Danger”. 

Report year: 2000
Brazil
Date of Inscription: 1986
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1999-2001
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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