Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

Belize
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • 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

Drafted, proposed for adoption in the draft Decision below

Corrective Measures for the property

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

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
In progress
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2015

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 2015
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**

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 2015

On 8 April 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/764/documents. The State Party reports on the progress achieved towards implementation of corrective measures:

  • Inventory of different land tenures within the property is currently being carried out. Following its completion, the State Party will prioritize protection of ecosystems associated with the remaining government lands;
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIAs) regulations are currently being revised in order to ensure that a clear set of regulations is in place for control of development rights in Belize, especially within protected areas;
  • The State Party has a voluntary moratorium on issuing of any new off-shore oil concessions. The Petroleum Exploration Planning Framework and the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines are currently being reviewed. The State Party has also stated its commitment to prepare a suitable legal arrangement that would address the Committee’s concerns regarding oil exploration and exploitation in and around the property. No concessions are currently overlapping the property;
  • New management plans will be developed for the Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve and South Water Caye Marine Reserve components. It is envisaged that new management plans will also reflect the Cabinet’s decision that shoals areas should not be developed;
  • It is envisaged that the new Living Aquatic Resources Bill and the new Mangrove Regulations should be passed through the national assembly by mid-2015;
  • The Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan is currently being reviewed by the newly established Advisory Board and will be presented for endorsement by the State Party by the end of 2015.

A joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN technical mission visited the property in January 2015 to provide assistance to the State Party with the development of a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR). The mission was financed by the Government of Flanders. A draft DSOCR has been prepared with technical assistance of the mission and in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.

The draft has been subsequently reviewed and amended by the State Party and IUCN.  Table 1 below provides the final version.

 

Table 1: :Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR)

INDICATORS RATIONALE METHOD OF VERIFICATION TIMEFRAME
1

The area of mangrove coverage in the property is maintained at least at the same level as when the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2009.  There is no further loss of mangrove cover within the entire property, including all mangrove types that are unique and irreplaceable, measured against the 2009 baseline.

(Note: this indicator requires urgent updating once the baseline data are independently confirmed)

Mangrove islands within the property are a key component of the property's OUV, central to the functioning of the coral reef ecosystem and provide a natural barrier against erosion and sea level rise. Current nation-wide mangrove cover is indicated to be around 93% of original extent, but further research is required to confirm, in hectares, the mangrove cover that existed within the entire property at the time of its inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The indicator should show that no further loss of mangrove cover has occurred. Mangrove cover lost as a result of natural disasters (cyclones, etc.) shall not be considered in measuring the success of this indicator. However, in such cases, the impact of mangrove cover loss on the OUV of the property will have to be carefully assessed and appropriate measures taken to restore damaged areas.

· Strengthening, adoption, implementation, and effective enforcement, of the currently proposed Mangrove Regulations

· Satellite imagery/aerial photography of the property indicating the current mangrove coverage, measured against the 2009 baseline

· Maps showing the distribution of the different categories of land ownership within the property and cadastral data of land tenure compared against the 2009 base year (the date when the site was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger)

· Adoption by law of a permanent cessation of all sales and leases of state owned land throughout the property, measured against the 2009 baseline

· Adoption by law of a zoning plan covering the entire property that specifies clearly defined regulation for allowed development and use for each zone, based on scientific, ecological and biological information about the property's OUV and its attributes

Completed by 31 December 2016

2

No areas within the property and in its immediate vicinity are developed in ways that affect the property's natural outstanding beauty and status as a globally significant natural phenomenon of Outstanding Universal Value

The property is recognized for being a globally significant natural phenomenon, a spectacular picturesque natural setting of brilliant white sand cayes and other unique geological features such as the Blue Hole and Rocky Point and of which the visual integrity needs to be maintained

· Adoption by law, implementation and adequate enforcement regulations that specify the type, scale and density of coastal development consistent with the requirements to maintain the property's natural outstanding beauty and that of its immediate surroundings, including establishment of areas where no development should be permitted

· Satellite imagery/aerial photography of the property measured against the 1996 and 2009 baselines

Completed by 31 December 2016

3

All areas within the property and the surrounding areas that support the ecological functioning of the system are excluded from oil exploration and exploitation

Oil exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status (World Heritage Committee position)

Oil exploration and exploitation pose an immediate threat to the integrity of the property and a possible irreversible loss of the property's Outstanding Universal Value in the case of an oil spill

· A map that defines, on the basis of oceanographic, ecological and other scientific information, the property's surrounding areas where no oil exploration and exploitation can be permitted

· Legal adoption of a permanent exclusion of the entire property and the defined surrounding areas from oil exploration and exploitation

Completed by 31 January 2016

4

The property is managed effectively and in an integrated way that will ensure the protection of its Outstanding Universal Value, and appropriately allows for achieving both sustainable socio-economic and environmental goals

The complexity of the property's ecosystem features and conservation of its integrity require an integrated management approach in which the property is embedded within the larger context of Belize's coastal and marine environment as well as the State Parties’ socio-economic needs

· Adoption, implementation and effective enforcement of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan, reflecting the World Heritage status of the property and its conservation and sustainable use requirements and consistent with the plan’s draft version of January 2015

Completed by 31 December 2016

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

The activities reported by the State Party towards implementation of the corrective measures are noted. However, key legal instruments, including the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan, the Living Aquatic Resources Bill and the new Mangrove Regulations, have not been finalized and approved yet, despite repeated Committee requests. While it is noted that all of these documents are undergoing final review, it is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to finalize and adopt these legal instruments as a matter of priority.

Following the January 2015 mission, the State Party stated that it was committed to develop a suitable legal arrangement to address Committee requests regarding oil exploration and exploitation in and around the property. It is recommended that the Committee welcome this commitment and urge the State Party to develop the necessary legal instruments as a matter of urgency to permanently exclude the entire property and the areas that provide a functional ecological connection between the components of the serial property from any future oil exploration or exploitation. The confirmation that no oil concession is currently overlapping the property and that a voluntary moratorium on issuing of new concessions will be in place until the above-mentioned legal arrangement is developed should be welcomed.

The preliminary results of the land tenure inventory provided by the State Party show that a high percentage of lands within the property has either been sold or leased to private owners. The confirmation from the State Party that no further national lands have been sold or leased since 2009 when the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger is noted.  It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request that the State Party develop a legal instrument that would guarantee permanent cessation of the sale and lease of lands throughout the property. More importantly, strict regulations need to be in place to ensure development on the privately owned or leased lands will be sustainable and commensurate the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). Conservation of existing mangrove areas within the property is crucial for the preservation of the overall health of the property’s ecosystems. Conservation of the mangrove cover and the exclusion of the property from any oil exploration and exploitation are considered key indicators that will need to be achieved in order to move towards the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

It is noted that a revision of EIAs regulations is currently ongoing. Strengthening of regulations and enhancing capacity for their implementation and enforcement is essential and together with the adoption of the Living Aquatic Resources Bill, Mangrove Regulations and Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan, should provide a basis for ensuring that private housing and tourism-related development within the property is strictly regulated and does not threaten its OUV including the conditions of integrity.

It is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and adopt the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7A.18
Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) (N 764)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.31, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the activities reported by the State Party towards the implementation of the corrective measures, but notes with concern that key legal instruments, including the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan, the Living Aquatic Resources Bill and the Mangrove Regulations, have not yet been finalized and approved;
  4. Also welcomes the information provided by the State Party that no oil concession is currently overlapping the property, as well as its commitment to develop a suitable legal arrangement that would address the Committee requests regarding the elimination of all oil concession in and around the property, and urges the State Party to develop such a legal arrangement as a matter of priority;
  5. Notes that a land tenure inventory is currently ongoing, including within the property, and reiterates its request to the State Party to establish, as a matter of priority, a legal instrument that would 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;
  6. Further welcomes the constructive cooperation between the State Party and stakeholders and adopts the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) they proposed (see Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add, Table 1), as well as its indicators, methods of verification and timeframe, and also urges the State Party to work closely together with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN for their succesful implementation;
  7. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  8. Decides to retain the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
39 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of the World Heritage in Danger

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-15/39.COM/7A and WHC-15/39.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 39 COM 7A.38)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 39 COM 7A.39)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 39 COM 7A.18)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosi (Decision 39 COM 7A.44)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 39 COM 7A.45)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.3)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.4)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.5)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.8)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 39 COM 7A.24)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.10)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 39 COM 7A.40)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 39 COM 7A.41)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.20)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 39 COM 7A.15)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 39 COM 7A.25)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 39 COM 7A.26)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 39 COM 7A.27)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 39 COM 7A.11)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 39 COM 7A.21)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 39 COM 7A.22)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 39 COM 7A.12)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 39 COM 7A.28)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 39 COM 7A.29)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 39 COM 7A.46)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 39 COM 7A.47)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.13)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 39 COM 7A.42)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 39 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 39 COM 7A.30)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 39 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 39 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 39 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 39 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 39 COM 7A.35)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 39 COM 7A.23)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 39 COM 7A.43)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.14)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.17)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 39 COM 7A.48)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 39 COM 7A.37)
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7A.18

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 38COM 7A.31, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the activities reported by the State Party towards the implementation of the corrective measures, but notes with concern that key legal instruments, including the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan, the Living Aquatic Resources Bill and the Mangrove Regulations, have not yet been finalized and approved;
  4. Also welcomes the information provided by the State Party that no oil concession is currently overlapping the property, as well as its commitment to develop a suitable legal arrangement that would address the Committee requests regarding the elimination of all oil concession in and around the property, and urges the State Party to develop such a legal arrangement as a matter of priority;
  5. Notes that a land tenure inventory is currently ongoing, including within the property, and reiterates its request to the State Party to establish, as a matter of priority, a legal instrument that would 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;
  6. Further welcomes the constructive cooperation between the State Party and stakeholders and adopts the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) they proposed (see Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add, Table 1), as well as its indicators, methods of verification and timeframe, and also urges the State Party to work closely together with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN for their succesful implementation;
  7. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  8. Decides to retain the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2015
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 (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 39COM (2015)
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.


top