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Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

Belize
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Housing
  • Invasive / alien marine species
  • Land conversion
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Oil and gas
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Sale and lease of public lands within the property;
  • Destruction of fragile ecosystems due to resort / housing development;
  • Oil concessions within the marine area;
  • Introduced species.
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Sale and lease of public lands for the purposes of development within the property leading to the destruction of mangrove and marine ecosystems.

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

Not yet identified

Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1825

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Not yet identified
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2014

Total amount granted: USD 140,000: i) USD 30,000 from the Rapid Response Facility for the monitoring of unauthorized activities in the Bladen Nature Reserves which were impacting the property; ii) USD 30,000 for emergency conservation actions in favour of the critically endangered wide sawfish (2010); iii) USD 80,000 in support of public use planning and site financing strategy development for the Blue Hole Natural Monument (2008-2009). 

 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**

March 2009: joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2013: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

On 5 February 2014, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/764/documents  and reports on the following issues:

  • Sale and lease of public lands within the property; unauthorized development activities: The State Party reports a range of measuers that were undertaken to prevent sale and lease of lands within the property and to eliminate the impacts of past unauthorized activities, including a number of enforcement activities aimed at requesting developers to cease activities and at binding them to an Environmental Compliance Plan. Concerning the Yum Balisi resort, the State Party confirms that even though the project had been approved, the development is dormant.
  • Oil concessions within the marine area: According to the State Party report a petroleum exploration planning framework is currently being developed to manage petroleum exploration both on land and offshore. It is expected that the first draft of the framework document will be completed in April 2014. The State Party notes that it is not prepared to eliminate all oil concessions within and adjacent to the property. The report, however, mentions that large areas of two Petroleum Sharing Agreements (PSAs) have been relinquished. The report does not mention the Supreme Court Decision which according to media reports dating from April 2013 had declared offshore oil contracts void. No recent information on this is available.
  • Invasive species: The State Party reports significant progress in the control and eradication of the lionfish population following the development of the National Lionfish Management Plan.
  • Integrated management framework: A number of legislative instruments and policy documents have been identified as highly important for the establishment of an integrated management framework for the property. The State Party reports that most of them are still being finalized, including the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan, the Land Use Policy Implementation Plan and the National Protected Areas Bill which are anticipated to be passed into law by the end of 2014.
  • Expansion of no-take zones: The State Party reports that an initiative was launched to expand the coverage of no-take and replenishment zones to at least 10% of Belize’s territorial waters by 2015. However, more detailed information on the location of the zones is required to understand how this would contribute to the conservation of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).

The Draft Statement of OUV has been finalized and it has been submitted for adoption by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

The ongoing commitment of the State Party to implement the corrective measures is well noted. However, several issues remain of high concern. 

The State Party’s statement that it is not prepared to eliminate all oil concessions within and adjacent to the property is a matter of concern. It is recommended that the World Heritage Committee reiterate its established position that oil and gas exploration and exploitation are not compatible with World Heritage status and request the State Party to ensure that any oil concessions overlapping with the property are rescinded, and to also ensure that no oil exploration or exploitation takes place outside the property if it negatively impacts on the property’s OUV.  

The threat of sale and lease of new lands within the property and new unauthorized development activities remains high unless a comprehensive legislative instrument is established and enforced that guarantees permanent cessation of sales and leases of any lands within the property. The Cabinet’s Decision to ban development on shoals is a positive step but does not ensure a permanent cessation throughout the property as requested by the World Heritage Committee. It is understood that certain lands were sold or leased before inscription of the property on the World Heritage List and the State Party should be commended by the Committee for its efforts to eliminate unauthorized development on those lands and to bind developers to an Environmental Compliance Plan. The State Party should also consider the recommendation of the 2013 reactive monitoring mission that stricter regulation procedures for developments within or affecting the property should be developed.

The efforts of the State Party to address the threat of invasive species, particularly Lionfish, should also be commended.

However, there is some concern that the crucial policy documents, namely the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan, the Land Use Policy Implementation Plan, the National Protected Areas Bill and the Fisheries Resources Bill have not been finalized. It is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to adhere to its commitment to pass them into law by the end of 2014 or early 2015, since these documents are essential to ensure the long-term conservation of the property.

The commitment of the State Party to expand the no-take and replenishment areas to at least 10% of Belize’s territorial waters is highly commendable. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide additional information on the distribution of these zones in relation to the location of the property and the expected effects of the initiative on the conservation of the property’s OUV.

It is finally recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger in which the above-mentioned issues are addressed.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7A.31
Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) (N 764)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document Belize,
  2. Recalling Decision 37COM 7A.16 adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Commends the State Party for the progress achieved in the implementation of certain corrective measures, particularly those regarding expansion of no-take zones and eradication and control of invasive species; and for its efforts undertaken to control unauthorized development activities and eliminate their impacts on the property;
  4. Urges the State Party to establish, as a matter of priority, a legislative instrument that will guarantee permanent cessation of the sale and lease of lands throughout the property and a clear definition and strict control of development rights on existing private and leased lands;
  5. Welcomes the State Party’s commitment to finalize the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan, the Land Use Policy Implementation Plan, the National Protected Areas Bill and the Fisheries Resources Bill by the end of 2014, and requests the State Party to submit copies of these documents to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015;
  6. Expresses its serious concern about the State Party’s statement that it is not prepared to eliminate all oil concessions within and adjacent to the property and reiterates its position that oil exploration and exploitation within or affecting the property is incompatible with its World Heritage status, and also urges the State Party to remove any oil concessions that could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  7. Also requests the State Party to ensure that the Petroleum Exploration and Development Framework clarifies that petroleum concessions overlapping on the property will not be permitted, and that no oil exploration or exploitation will be allowed to take place outside the property, in particular within its outer boundaries, if it is likely to have a negative impact on its OUV;
  8. Further urges the State Party to prepare, as a matter of priority and in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, a draft proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, including progress made in implementing corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;
  10. Decides to retain the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
38 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (retained sites)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-14/38.COM/7A and WHC-14/38.COM/7A.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 38 COM 7A.14)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 38 COM 7A.15)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 38 COM 7A.31)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.34)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 38 COM 7A.21)
  • Colombia, Los Katíos National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.32)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.35)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.36)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.37)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.38)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.39)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.41)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 38 COM 7A.1)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.43)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 38 COM 7A.16)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 38 COM 7A.17)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.33)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 38 COM 7A.28)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 38 COM 7A.2)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 38 COM 7A.3)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 38 COM 7A.4)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 38 COM 7A.44)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 38 COM 7A.24)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 38 COM 7A.25)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 38 COM 7A.45)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 38 COM 7A.5)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 38 COM 7A.20)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 38 COM 7A.22)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.46)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 38 COM 7A.18)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 38 COM 7A.29)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 38 COM 7A.26)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 38 COM 7A.19)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.30)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 38 COM 7A.23)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 38 COM 7A.13)
38 COM 8E
Adoption of Retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E,
  2. Congratulates the States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in their territories;
  3. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC:
  • China: Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area;
  • Japan: Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu; Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara; Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama; The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome);
  • Sri Lanka: Sinharaja Forest;
  • Vietnam: Hoi An Ancient Town; Complex of Hué Monuments;

    EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA:

    • Albania: Butrint;
    • Armenia: Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley;
    • Austria: Semmering Railway; Wachau Cultural Landscape;
    • Azerbaijan: Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower;
    • Belarus / Estonia / Finland / Latvia / Lithuania / Moldova / Norway / Russian Federation / Sweden / Ukraine: Struve Geodetic Arc;
    • Belgium: Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels); Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons); Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai; Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex;
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar;
    • Cyprus: Paphos;
    • Denmark: Ilulissat Icefjord;
    • Finland: Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki; Fortress of Suomenlinna; Old Rauma; Petäjävesi Old Church; Verla Groundwood and Board Mill;
    • Georgia: Historical Monuments of Mtskheta; Upper Svaneti;
    • Germany / Poland: Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski;
    • Germany: Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch; Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau; Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Brühl; Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg; Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz; Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg; Monastic Island of Reichenau; Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin; Pilgrimage Church of Wies; St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church at Hildesheim; Völklingen Ironworks; Wartburg Castle; Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square; Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen;
    • Holy See / Italy: Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura;
    • Holy See: Vatican City;
    • Iceland: Þingvellir National Park;
    • Italy: Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua; Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta; Historic Centre of Florence; Historic Centre of Naples;
    • Lithuania / Russian Federation: Curonian Spit;
    • Lithuania: Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė);
    • Malta: City of Valletta; Hal Saflieni Hypogeum; Megalithic Temples of Malta;
    • Mongolia / Russian Federation: Uvs Nuur Basin;
    • Montenegro: Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor;
    • Netherlands: Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao;
    • Norway: Vegaøyan -- The Vega Archipelago; West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord;
    • Poland: Centennial Hall in Wrocław; Historic Centre of Warsaw;
    • Portugal: Historic Centre of Évora; Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture; Monastery of Alcobaça; Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon;
    • Russian Federation: Church of the Ascension, Kolomenskoye; Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl; Kizhi Pogost;
    • Slovakia: Bardejov Town Conservation Reserve; Vlkolínec;
    • Slovenia: Škocjan Caves;
    • Spain: Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida; Burgos Cathedral; Historic Centre of Cordoba; Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid; Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias; Mudejar Architecture of Aragon; Old City of Salamanca; Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches; Old Town of Cáceres; Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct; Poblet Monastery; Route of Santiago de Compostela; Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe; San Cristóbal de La Laguna; Santiago de Compostela (Old Town); Works of Antoni Gaudí;
    • Turkey: Archaeological Site of Troy; City of Safranbolu; Hattusha: the Hittite Capital; Xanthos-Letoon;
    • Ukraine: Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra;
    • United Kingdom: Gough and Inaccessible Islands; Henderson Island; Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda;
    • United States of America: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site; Chaco Culture; Independence Hall; Mesa Verde National Park; Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; Statue of Liberty;

    LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARRIBBEANS:

    • Argentina: Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks; Los Glaciares; Península Valdés;
    • Belize: Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System;
    • Bolivia: City of Potosí;
    • Brazil: Brasilia; Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia; Historic Centre of São Luís; Historic Centre of the Town of Diamantina; Historic Centre of the Town of Goiás; Historic Centre of the Town of Olinda; Historic Town of Ouro Preto; Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas;
    • Colombia: Los Katíos National Park;
    • Costa Rica / Panama: Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park;
    • Cuba: Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba; San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba; Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos; Viñales Valley;
    • Dominican Republic: Colonial City of Santo Domingo;
    • Guatemala: Tikal National Park;
    • Panama: Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection; Fortifications on the Caribbean Side, Portobelo and San Lorenzo;
    • Suriname: Central Suriname Nature Reserve; Historic Inner City of Paramaribo;

    4.  Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in priority;
    5.  Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

    • World Heritage properties in the Arab States;
    • World Heritage properties in Africa;
    • World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific;
    • World Heritage properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;
    • World Heritage properties in Europe and North America;

    6.  Takes note that the World Heritage Centre is in the process of harmonising all sub-headings in the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value and, as appropriate, reflects name changes of World Heritage properties throughout the text of the Statements as requested by the Committee at its 37th session, and requests the World Heritage Centre to also update the size of the property and/or its buffer zone, as appropriate, following subsequent Decisions of the World Heritage Committee concerning Minor Boundary Modifications.
    7.  Requests the States Parties to provide support to the World Heritage Centre for translation of the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value into English or French respectively, and finally requests the Centre to upload the two language versions on its website.

    Draft Decision:   38 COM 7A.31

    The World Heritage Committee,

    1.  Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7A, 

    2.  Recalling Decision 37COM 7A.16 adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),

    3.  Commends the State Party for the progress achieved in the implementation of certain corrective measures, particularly those regarding expansion of no-take zones and eradication and control of invasive species; and for its efforts undertaken to control unauthorized development activities and eliminate their impacts on the property;

    4.  Urges the State Party to establish, as a matter of priority, a legislative instrument that will guarantee permanent cessation of the sale and lease of lands throughout the property and a clear definition and strict control of development rights on existing private and leased lands;

    5.  Welcomes the State Party’s commitment to finalize the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan, the Land Use Policy Implementation Plan, the National Protected Areas Bill and the Fisheries Resources Bill by the end of 2014, and requests the State Party to submit copies of these documents to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015;

    6.  Expresses its serious concern about the State Party’s statement that it is not prepared to eliminate all oil concessions within and adjacent to the property and reiterates its position that oil exploration and exploitation within or affecting the property is incompatible with its World Heritage status, and also urges the State Party to remove any oil concessions that could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;

    7.  Also requests the State Party to ensure that the Petroleum Exploration and Development Framework clarifies that petroleum concessions overlapping on the property will not be permitted, and that no oil exploration or exploitation will be allowed to take place outside the property, in particular within its outer boundaries, if it is likely to have a negative impact on its OUV;

    8.  Further urges the State Party to prepare, as a matter of priority and in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, a draft proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;

    9.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, including progress made in implementing corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;  

    10.  Decides to retain the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

    Report year: 2014
    Belize
    Date of Inscription: 1996
    Category: Natural
    Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
    Danger List (dates): 2009-2018
    Documents examined by the Committee
    SOC Report by the State Party
    Report (2014) .pdf
    arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
    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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