1.         Los Katíos National Park (Colombia) (N 711)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2009-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

A proposal for the Desired state of conservation has been submitted; however it awaits the proposed reactive monitoring mission for finalization.

Corrective measures identified

So far no corrective measures were adopted by the Committee, as the site was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger at the request of the State Party and without a Reactive Monitoring mission. The State Party has proposed interim corrective measures

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

The State Party envisions the implementation of the interim corrective measures within a 6 year timeframe

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2002-2009)
Total amount approved: USD 73,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 23 February 2011, a succinct report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party, providing information on progress achieved in the implementation of the interim corrective measures identified by the State Party. The joint World Heritage Centre/ IUCN reactive monitoring mission requested since the 33rd session of the World Heritage Committee was unfortunately again postponed due to security concerns. For this reason, the State Party’s proposal for the Desired state of conservation and corrective measures for the Removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, submitted on 15 February 2010, has yet to be reviewed.

a) Control and monitoring of illegal activities and preventing illegal logging

The State Party reports that the implementation of the 2008 action plan to reduce illegal fishing, hunting and timber extraction is ongoing, that a Control and Surveillance Plan has been formulated and that 18 full-time staff positions have been filled. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that in its 2010 state of conservation report, the State Party reported a complement of 21 staff for the Park, suggesting a reduction in total staff. Other planned activities, namely the construction of a floating control cabin, the repair and equipping of two other control cabins and the installation of signposts in strategic locations, are still in the contracting phase. The State Party notes that the implementation of these activities may be delayed by donors’ procedures regarding agreement of contracts and fund release.

The State Party notes that the organization of the second training workshop on procedures for illegal timber confiscation is ongoing, and that the National Parks Authority continues to coordinate with the Regional Environmental Authority regarding timber extraction permits given to local communities, in order to establish effective control mechanisms to ensure that the local communities do not exceed the authorized volumes and that they comply with the Forestry Management Plans for sustainable use of timber resources. The State Party notes that the permits given by the regional authorities make it difficult to decommission illegal timber extraction operations.

b) Promoting sustainable livelihoods and resettlement of recently arrived communities

The State Party reports that the National Parks Authority, supported by the United States Agency for International Development, is currently implementing a pilot project with Alianza Darien to promote hydro-biological resources in the Tumarado swamp abutting the property to the east, as an alternative to illegal timber extraction, and that a 2011 work plan and a proposed course of action has been defined for this purpose. 

The State Party notes that dialogue with the Wounaan people, who resettled in a risk zone in the Park in 2004 and cleared and transformed 470 ha of forests, is ongoing, as well as environmental education activities and analyses of population growth and agricultural expansion. However, it provides no information on the rate of agricultural expansion, nor does it provide information on measures to address the issue of settlements within the Park. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN wish to remind the State Party that all appropriate considerations should be given to the needs and legal rights of all persons when dealing with resettlement issues. 

c) Avoiding effects of major infrastructure projects

The State Party notes that the electric power line from Colombia to Panama was not approved by the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development of Colombia. It also notes that the Pan-American Highway should not represent a threat to the property as the planned alignment does not cross it. However, no information was provided to support this statement.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note the State Party’s efforts to implement the interim corrective measures, and recommend that the World Heritage Committee call on the international community to provide further support for the implementation of these measures. They consider the reduction in Park staff numbers contrary to the needs of the property. They note that, despite the State Party’s commendable efforts, the joint reactive monitoring mission to the property was once more postponed due to security concerns and that this has resulted in additional delays in the review of the proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and the interim corrective measures. They recommend that, if security issues are not resolved, the State Party invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission to Bogotá before the World Heritage Committee’s 36th session in 2012, in lieu of a mission to the property. Such a mission could assist the State Party in the formulation of the definition of a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, develop with the State Party the final set of corrective measures and contribute to an inter-agency meeting to review achievements of the Emergency Action Plan. They also consider that any Environmental Impact Assessments or studies of the Pan-American Highway proposal, including an assessment of its potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of Los Katíos National Park and Darien National Park in Panama, should be made available for review.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7A.16

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7A.14, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),
  3. Welcomes the State Party's efforts in implementing the preliminary corrective measures, and urges the international community to provide further support for the implementation of these measures;
  4. Regrets that, despite the State Party's efforts, the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission was postponed once more due to security concerns, and requests the State Party to invite a joint mission to Bogotá in lieu of a mission to the property if these concerns cannot be addressed, in order to:
    a)  Develop agreed corrective measures, and assist the State Party to develop the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger,
    b)  Contribute to a meeting between agencies and other stakeholders in the property in the evaluation of progress with the Emergency Action Plan;
  5. Also welcomes the State Party's report that the electric power line from Colombia to Panama was not approved, and also requests the State Party to provide a copy of the detailed proposal for the development of hydro-biological resources in the Tumarado swamp, as well as any Environmental Impact Assessments or studies of the Pan-American Highway proposal, including an assessment of its potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of Los Katíos National Park and Darien National Park in Panama;
  6. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including on the progress achieved in the implementation of the interim corrective measures, as well as the other issues mentioned above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012;
  7. Decides to retain the Los Katios National Park (Colombia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-11/35.COM/7A, WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add and WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add.Corr),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: