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Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve

Honduras
Factors affecting the property in 2001*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Extreme pressure with the invasion of refugees and settlers into the Reserve;
  • Illegal tree felling;
  • Poaching;
  • Road construction; 
  •  Patuca II hydro power project 
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2001
Requests approved: 7 (from 1982-1996)
Total amount approved : 198,000 USD
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2001

Previous deliberations:
Twenty-fourth session of the Committee – paragraph VIII.10
Twenty-fourth ordinary session of the Bureau - paragraph IV.9

New information:  As requested by the last session of the Committee (Cairns, Australia, November - December 2000), the Centre transmitted to the State Party the report of the UNESCO/IUCN mission to the site fielded in October 2000. The response of the State Party on the conclusions and recommendations of the mission is still awaited.

Rio Platano has been included as a pilot site in two projects approved by the UN Foundation in July 2000 for execution by the Centre. They are: UNESCO/UNEP/RARE Center for Tropical Conservation project on "Linking Conservation of Biological Diversity with Sustainable Tourism Development at World Heritage sites"; and the UNESCO/IUCN project on: "Enhancing our heritage: monitoring and managing for success in World Natural Heritage sites". Both projects are of a 4-year duration and are expected to generate new information that will aid the systematic monitoring of the state of conservation of the site, while also promoting the implementation of recommendations from the 2000 UNESCO/IUCN mission. The project, aiming to link biodiversity conservation and sustainable tourism development, is also expected to generate income and employment opportunities to the local communities resident near the site.

Action Required

The Bureau, once again, invites the State Party to submit its responses on the conclusions and recommendations of the UNESCO/IUCN mission to the site in October 2000. The Bureau urges the Centre, IUCN and other partners to ensure effective execution of the two UNF-financed projects where Rio Platano and others are included as pilot sites and submit a brief update on the progress achieved in initiating project activities in Rio Platano to the twenty-fifth session of the Committee to be convened in Helsinki, Finland, in December 2001.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2001

Principal issues:

Deforestation, buffer zone projects to benefit local communities and limiting expansion of agriculture.

New information:

The State Forest Administration informed the Centre in August 2001 of the actions taken to follow up on the recommendations of the IUCN mission fielded to this site in October 2000. Principal elements of the report submitted by the Honduran authorities are:

·         Compensation for people living inside the core zone of Rio Platano has started and the first 52 families out of 152 have moved away voluntarily after receiving 3.7 million lempiras from the Honduran Government. The Ministry of Finance has made available funds for the second phase of compensation; 

·         Demarcation of boundaries of the core zone has begun and 26 km of the most critical stretches of the boundary have been marked in co-operation with local communities. Demarcation of the boundaries in the southern and western parts of the buffer zone have been initiated;

·         A field office has been set up in response to the administrative and infrastructure needs of the World Heritage site protection in the region. Two more field offices will be set up in the near future;

·         A multitemporal analysis on vegetation cover and expansion of the agricultural area within the reserve has been undertaken. This analysis allows systematic monitoring of the state of the ecosystem. Initial findings of the analysis points to a decrease in the rate of loss of the vegetation compared to the findings of a similar study undertaken during 1997-1999;

·         A study of the threats on Rio Platano BR is being elaborated by the Regional Biosphere Reserve Programme (RBRP), Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras and NGO’s.  The national workshop under the UN Foundation financed project, " Enhancing our heritage: monitoring and managing for success in World Natural Heritage sites“ is expected to be convened soon and will look at threats and state of conservation related issues.  These initiatives will contribute towards improved monitoring of the site’s conservation status;

·         The first forest management plan was elaborated by the RBRP staff following the Transforma approach developed by CATIE (A regional Research and Training Institute in Costa Rica). Another plan for organisational and productive aspects for eight agroforestry cooperatives in specific locations in the southern part of the Reserve and nine community development plans coordinated locally are under preparation. These plans will identify priority actions for social and community infrastructure and for facilitating co-management and protection of the reserve.  Establishment of a techinal commission to prepare a legal instrument for defining the recognition of land use rights within the Reserve has been proposed;

·         Action has been taken to reinforce the staff in charge of the management of the site. A forest technician and three guards have been hired. Coordination with other partners like TNC (The Nature Conservancy) and WWF, Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Project, German Technical Co-operation and local NGOs has been strengthened;

·         A three-year workplan of specific actions linking biodiversity conservation to sustainable tourism development in and around Rio Platano is to be finalized before the end of 2001; this work plan has been elaborated as part of the execution of another UN Foundation-financed global initiative attempting to link biodiversity conservation and sustainable tourism development at World Heritage sites.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2001
25 BUR V.36-37
Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve (Honduras)

V.36       The Bureau was informed that the State Party has not yet responded to the conclusions and recommendations of the UNESCO/IUCN mission undertaken to the site in October 2000. The Bureau noted that Rio Platano has been included as a pilot site in two projects approved by the UN Foundation for execution by the Centre in July 2000. They are: UNESCO/UNEP/RARE Center for Tropical Conservation project on "Linking Conservation of Biological Diversity with Sustainable Tourism Development at World Heritage sites"; and the UNESCO/IUCN project on: "Enhancing our heritage: monitoring and managing for success in World Natural Heritage sites". Both projects are of 4-year duration and are expected to generate new information that will aid the systematic monitoring of the state of conservation of the site, while also promoting the implementation of recommendations from the 2000 UNESCO/IUCN mission. The project, aiming to link biodiversity conservation and sustainable tourism development, could generate income and employment opportunities to the local communities resident near the site.

V.37       The Bureau, once again, invited the State Party to submit its responses on the conclusions and recommendations of the IUCN/Centre mission to the site in October 2000. The Bureau urged the Centre, IUCN and other partners to ensure effective execution of the two UNF-financed projects where Rio Platano is included as a pilot site and submit a brief update on the progress achieved in initiating project activities to the twenty-fifth session of the Committee in December 2001.

The Committee may wish to adopt the following:

 

"The Committee welcomes the range of initiatives undertaken by the State Party, and other partners including those undertaken as part of two UN Foundation financed projects that are contributing towards the implementation of the recommendations of the IUCN mission to the site undertaken in October 2000. These were endorsed by the Committee at its last session in Cairns, Australia. The Committee urges the Centre and IUCN to continue to collaborate with the State Party and partners concerned to sustain the momentum. The Committee recommends that a detailed assessment of the state of conservation of the site, including considerations of the possible removal of the site from the List of World Heritage in Danger, be prepared for submission to the twenty-seventh session of the Committee in June 2003. The Committee decides to retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger".

Report year: 2001
Honduras
Date of Inscription: 1982
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1996-2007, 2011-present
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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