1.         Iguazu National Park (Argentina) (N 303)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1984

Criteria  (vii)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/303/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2001-2001)
Total amount approved: USD 20,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/303/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

September 2006: UNESCO mission; April 2008: World Heritage Centre / IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/303/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 4 December 2015, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/303/documents, providing the following information:

With regards to the transboundary cooperation on the contiguous properties of Iguazú National Park and Iguaçu National Park, the Iguazu National Park’s Administration has sent a proposal for a memorandum of understanding to its counterpart in Brazil but no formal response has been received and therefore no formal agreement has been signed between Argentina and Brazil to date. However, both countries have continued their cooperation in the fields of planning, patrolling and mitigation of human-wildlife conflicts. Moreover, experts from Iguazú National Park (Argentina) have been appointed as counselors to the Advisory Board of Iguaçu National Park (Brazil) which provides them an opportunity to participate in the planning process for the updating of the management plan for the Brazilian park.

Information on planning, control and surveillance, public use, monitoring and research is also provided.

The management plan for the Iguazú National Park is currently ongoing and it is expected that the plan will be finalized in June 2016. With regards to public use, the report informs of progress achieved with development of new walkways aimed at improving the flow of visitors. Likewise, several measures have been undertaken in the fields of species monitoring (fish species inventory in the national park and new estimations of the population of jaguar in the broader region) and eradication of invasive alien species.

The State Party also expresses its concern regarding the construction of the Baixo Iguaçu hydropower plant, close to the Iguaçu National Park in Brazil, and refers to potential impacts to the environment, the Iguazú Basin and the water level of the Iguazú Falls. However, the report does not provide any further details on this matter.

Another concern raised in the report is the proposed extension of the National Route 101 at the eastern boundary of the property which would pose risks to wildlife and result in fragmentation of this key area. However, no further details are provided on this matter.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

While the information on the ongoing cooperation on the ground between the contiguous properties of Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park (Brazil) is welcome, the absence of a formal agreement on transboundary cooperation between Argentina and Brazil remains of concern. It is noted that a draft memorandum of understanding has been suggested by Argentina, but no formal response has been given by Brazil. Given the numerous previous World Heritage Committee requests to formalize the transboundary cooperation, it is recommended that the Committee request the States Parties of Argentina and Brazil to resolve this issue as a matter of priority. Mindful that within the legal and institutional systems in each country options for a formal high-level agreement might be limited, it is also recommended that the Committee request the two States Parties to develop a roadmap for resolving this issue in the nearest future, including options for formal agreements at different levels, as well as other ways of formalizing transboundary cooperation, for example through management and annual work or action plans, mutual inclusion of experts on boards and management bodies of the two parks. It is recommended that such a roadmap is presented for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.  

The concerns of the State Party regarding the Baixo Iguaçu Hydropower project in Brazil are noted. This issue has been examined by the Committee since its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), and is discussed in detail in the report on the state of conservation for Iguaçu National Park (Brazil) in this document.

The information provided on the activities in the field of species monitoring is welcome. Given that for some key species, such as jaguar, it is highly important to consider the broader region, it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to continue its efforts and to increase its cooperation in this field with the State Party of Brazil where a number of monitoring projects is also ongoing.

The limited information provided by the State Party with regards to the extension of the National Route 101 raises significant concern. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide detailed information on this issue, to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, and to ensure that activities associated with the road extension are not permitted to proceed until an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been undertaken, including an assessment of impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and the OUV of the contiguous property of Iguaçu National Park in Brazil, in accordance with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and has been reviewed by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN. 

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.69

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.31, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the information regarding the ongoing cooperation on the ground between Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and the contiguous Iguaçu National Park (Brazil);
  4. Also welcomes the signature of the letter of intent between Administración de Parques Nacionales de Argentina, ICMBio, the Iguaçu National Park in Brazil and the Iguazú National Park in Argentina, on 7 June 2016, that confirmed the resolve of the parties to strengthen their collaborative efforts and to examine modalities of improving cooperation between the two National Parks;
  5. Noting that within the legal and institutional systems in each country, options for a formal high-level agreement might be limited, requests the States Parties of Argentina and Brazil to develop a roadmap for formalizing transboundary cooperation, including options for formal agreements at different levels and other mechanisms, and to submit it, by 1 December 2017, to the World Heritage Centre;
  6. Encourages the State Party to continue its efforts to monitor key species and to increase its cooperation in this regard with the State Party of Brazil;
  7. Notes with concern the information provided by the State Party regarding the extension of the National Route 101 and also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, detailed information on this project, and to ensure that activities associated with the road extension are not permitted to proceed until an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been undertaken, including an assessment of the impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and the OUV of the contiguous property of Iguaçu National Park in Brazil, in accordance with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and has been reviewed by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 42nd session in 2018.