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

Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve

Honduras
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Financial resources
  • Human resources
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities
  • Invasive/alien terrestrial species
  • Land conversion
  • Legal framework
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Illegal settlements
  • Illegal livestock grazing and agricultural encroachment
  • Illegal logging
  • Illegal commercial fishing
  • Poaching
  • Alien invasive species
  • Management deficiencies
  • Potential impacts from hydroelectric development projects Patuca I,II and  III
  • Lawlessness
  • Lack of law enforcement
  • Lack of clarity regarding land tenure and access to natural resources
  • Deforestation
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Illegal logging
  • Illegal occupation
  • Lack of clarity regarding land tenure
  • Reduced capacity of the State Party
  • General deterioration of law and order and the security situation in the region
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6236 

Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4439  

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6236 

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2016

Total amount granted: USD 80,000 (in addition to approximately USD 100,000 of in-kind technical assistance) under the management effectiveness assessment project “Enhancing our Heritage”. 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 8 (from 1982-2015)
Total amount approved : 223,628 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 10 February 2016, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/196/documents and provides the following information:

  • The technical Ad Hoc Committee, established in 2011 in response to the inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger, continues to serve as a forum to facilitate inter-institutional exchange;
  • Supported by International Assistance N° 2471, the State Party has analyzed the evolution of the boundaries and zonation of both the property and the homonymous biosphere reserve, in order to identify the steps needed to ensure the most appropriate configuration of the boundaries of the property. This analysis confirmed the current inadequacy of the boundaries and zonation of the World Heritage property as currently inscribed due to legal and land use changes over the last years. A significant boundary modification emerged as the most promising scenario; corresponding analysis, discussion, planning and socialization with all stakeholders are underway;
  • Research on population trends of various felid species;
  • Eviction of an illegal settlement from the northern part of the property in October 2015;
  • Efforts to grant local usufruct rights in the buffer zone of the biosphere reserve are ongoing;
  • Two indigenous Miskitu territorial councils were formalized (Bakinasta and the tripartite area of Batiasta, Bamiasta and Diunat); in June 2015 and February 2016 respectively, with several other Indigenous and Afro-Honduran territorial councils in the cultural zone of the biosphere reserve expecting formalization in 2016; Dialogue on co-management with indigenous Miskitu and Pech is ongoing;
  • Direct communication between the National Institute of Conservation and Forest Development, Protected Areas and Wildlife (ICF) and the national Honduran Institute for Electric Energy (ENEE) has been established to better understand and minimize impacts of the Patuca III (a.k.a. Piedras Amarillas) hydro power project ;
  • Successful implementation of ongoing and new projects with German cooperation agencies GIZ and KfW, the European Union, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS);
  • Creation of the Interagency task force against environmental crimes (PHTHIA).

Finally, the State Party notes the need to investigate and preserve the highly significant archeological site called Ciudad Blanca located within the biosphere reserve, both as regards overall management and the possible significant boundary modification.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

Progress is noted in addressing some of the many challenges the property is facing. However, severe overarching security concerns in parts of the Honduran Mosquitia region where the property is located persist. The ongoing efforts to negotiate and grant access to land and natural resources in the form of usufruct rights and the creation of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran territorial councils are welcomed, and all care should be taken to ensure that such rights remain compatible with the conservation of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), including the conditions of integrity.

The renewed eviction of illegal settlers from the property continues to be a highly sensitive matter. Every effort should be made to actively prevent intrusions in the future prior to the establishment of informal settlements. While the diverse external funding sources and cooperation partners are positively noted, there is little indication of the desirable allocation of additional governmental resources.

The State Party report does not provide any information on the current status of the Patuca III hydropower project, although it mentions some activities to identify the area of influence of the project. The continued absence of a comprehensive assessment of the possible direct and indirect impacts of the project on the property, further complicated by the lack of clarity of the property boundaries, should be recalled. There continues to be a need for a better understanding of all impacts once the boundaries have been clarified as a basis for monitoring and mitigation.

The confirmation of a major archeological site called Ciudad Blanca is considered to be highly significant, and the conservation and management of this site will undoubtedly emerge as an integral management issue of the property. It will be of crucial importance to avoid possibly conflicting management objectives, in particular as regards improved access to the remote location and tourism development interests.

The project funded by International Assistance successfully addressed the lack of clarity in terms of the exact boundary configuration and zonation of the property caused mainly by the significant extension and re-zoning of the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve in 1997, which to date had not been considered through World Heritage processes. Given the scale of these changes, the IA project’s conclusion that a significant boundary modification emerges as the most logical and promising way forward, as detailed in the technical documentation of the project report, should be supported. It is recommended that the World Heritage Committee encourage the State Party to prepare as a matter of priority a proposal for such a significant boundary modification, carefully evaluating which areas within the larger Biosphere Reserve would need to be included in the new boundaries in order to preserve the OUV of the property in the best way and in order to facilitate the future work on addressing the challenges that led to the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Given the ongoing multiple challenges, it is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7A.33
Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Honduras) (N 196)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.20, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Commends the State Party and governmental and non-governmental partners for further progress made in integrated monitoring and granting negotiated local access to land and natural resources, and encourages the State Party and partners to continue these efforts;
  4. Expresses its concern that another eviction has been carried out and strongly urges the State Party to prevent new illegal settlements so as to avoid further evictions in the future;
  5. Reiterates its concern that illegal activities continue to impact on the property and that no apparent progress has been made in terms of human, financial and logistical resources beyond the securing of external funding and cooperation;
  6. Encourages the State Party to use the conclusions and recommendations of the discussions facilitated by International Assistance, as a foundation to develop a proposal for a significant boundary modification, with the technical support of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, as required;
  7. Also recalls its consideration that the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) should be revised once the boundaries of the property have been clarified;
  8. Recalls its request to the State Party to report on the possible impacts of the Patuca III project;
  9. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  10. Decides to retain Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Honduras) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
40 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/16/40.COM/7A, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 40 COM 7A.26)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 40 COM 7A.27)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 40 COM 7A.32)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 40 COM 7A.1)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.34)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 40 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.35)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.36)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.37)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.38)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.39)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.41)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 40 COM 7A.9)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.43)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 40 COM 7A.28)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.33)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.48)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 40 COM 7A.10)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.11)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 40 COM 7A.12)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 40 COM 7A.13)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 40 COM 7A.44)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 40 COM 7A.6)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 40 COM 7A.7)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 40 COM 7A.45)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 40 COM 7A.14)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 40 COM 7A.15)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 40 COM 7A.3)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 40 COM 7A.4)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.46)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 40 COM 7A. 30)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 40 COM 7A.49)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 40 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 40 COM 7A.17)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 40 COM 7A.18)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 40 COM 7A.19)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 40 COM 7A.20)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 40 COM 7A.21)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 40 COM 7A.8)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 40 COM 7A.31)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.47)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.50)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 40 COM 7A.5)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 40 COM 7A.23)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 40 COM 7A.24)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 40 COM 7A.25).
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7A.33

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.20, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Commends the State Party and governmental and non-governmental partners for further progress made in integrated monitoring and granting negotiated local access to land and natural resources, and encourages the State Party and partners to continue these efforts;
  4. Expresses its concern that another eviction has been carried out and strongly urges the State Party to prevent new illegal settlements so as to avoid further evictions in the future;
  5. Reiterates its concern that illegal activities continue to impact on the property and that no apparent progress has been made in terms of human, financial and logistical resources beyond the securing of external funding and cooperation;
  6. Encourages the State Party to use the conclusions and recommendations of the discussions facilitated by International Assistance, as a foundation to develop a proposal for a significant boundary modification, with the technical support of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, as required;
  7. Also recalls its consideration that the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) should be revised once the boundaries of the property have been clarified;
  8. Recalls its request to the State Party to report on the possible impacts of the Patuca III project;
  9. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  10. Decides to retain Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Honduras) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2016
Honduras
Date of Inscription: 1982
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1996-2007, 2011-present
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2016) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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