1.         Iguaçu National Park (Brazil) (N 355)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1986

Criteria  (vii)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1999-2001

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/355/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/355/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted to the property: USD 50,000 under the Brazilian World Heritage Biodiversity Programme for fire fighting planning

Previous monitoring missions

March 1999: IUCN mission; April 2005: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2008: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; March 2015: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/355/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

An IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission visited the property in March 2015 with the main objective to assess the status and potential impacts of the Baixo Iguaçu hydropower project. The mission report is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/355/documents/. The mission elaborated a list of recommendations with regards to the Baixo Iguaçu project, the situation with the Colono Road, as well as the management of the property. 

On 4 January 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/355/documents/, providing the following information:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

Although the State Party confirms that the Colono road remains closed and that approval in the Senate of Bill 61/2013 is unlikely, concerns remain. The confirmation that the Brazilian Government remains opposed to the reopening of the road and that the Bill could still be vetoed by the President is also noted.  The conclusion of the 2015 IUCN mission was that reopening of the road would represent a clear ascertained danger to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and integrity of the property and that, as long as the Bill remains pending, the property continues to be potentially threatened. It is recommended that the World Heritage Committee urge the State Party to ensure that the proposed Bill is not approved, even if positively voted on by the Senate, through the legal mechanisms that may be available.

As for the Baixo Iguaçu project, the conclusion of the mission was that the project had undergone significant changes over a number of years, with the most recent one being the fact that ICMBio (Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservaçao da Biodiversidade) was given an opportunity to elaborate a set of conditions which would be imposed on the company responsible for the project. These conditions included, inter alia, restrictions to ensure minimal water flows and minimize water flow fluctuations. Taking into consideration that the Iguaçu River already has a cascade of dams upstream of the proposed Baixo Iguaçu, these fluctuations have so far been substantial, including to such a degree that the aesthetic values of the Iguaçu Falls were at times compromised. Therefore imposing strict conditions on the Baixo Iguaçu could potentially help reduce such extreme variations. However, the mission also concluded that, given the location of the Baixo Iguaçu very close to the property, additional risks had to be considered carefully and recommended to prepare, in addition to the existing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), an assessment of all potential impacts specifically on the OUV and integrity of the property and of the adjoining Iguazú National Park in Argentina, which would need to be submitted to ICMBio for comment. The information provided by the State Party that the Environmental Installation License containing a set of conditions was granted in August 2015 is noted. However, it is unclear whether an additional assessment has been conducted, as recommended by the mission. It is recommended that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to ensure that the construction of the dam does not proceed until this and other recommendations of the mission with regards to this project have been implemented.

The information provided on species monitoring is welcomed and these efforts are in line with the recommendations of the 2015 mission. Given that for some species, such as jaguar, it is highly important to consider the wider landscape, it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to continue its efforts and increase its cooperation with the State Party of Argentina where a number of monitoring projects are also ongoing.

The information provided by the State Party on the review of the management plan and the transboundary cooperation is noted. Given the numerous previous Committee requests to formalize transboundary cooperation, and mindful that within the legal and institutional systems in each country options for a formal high-level agreement might be limited, it is recommended that the Committee requests the two States Parties to develop a roadmap for resolving this issue as a matter of priority, 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, and mutual inclusion of experts on boards of the two parks, and to present it for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.70

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.82, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the information provided by the State Party that cooperation on the ground between Iguaçu National Park and the contiguous Iguazú National Park in Argentina has been ongoing;
  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. Further welcomes the confirmation that the management plan for the property is currently being revised and requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, an electronic and three printed copies of the revised management plan;
  6. Notes with appreciation that the Colono Road remains closed, that the approval in the Senate of Bill 61/2013, which would provide a legal basis for the reopening of the road, is considered unlikely and that, in case any Bill regarding the reopening of the road is positively voted on by the Senate, it can be still vetoed by the President of the Republic;
  7. Recalling that the illegal opening of the road in 1997 led the Committee to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, notes the conclusions of the 2015 IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission that the reopening of the Colono Road would represent a clear ascertained danger to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and the integrity of the property, and considers that the situation where Bill 61/2013 remains pending continues to represent a potential threat to the property;
  8. Urges the State Party to ensure that the proposed Bill 61/2013 is not approved, and also considers that failure to resolve this issue could create conditions to re-inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Noting that progress has been made by the State Party on the implementation of some of the 2015 mission recommendations, also requests the State Party to ensure that the construction of the Baixo Iguaçu hydropower dam complies with all recommendations of the 2015 mission with regards to this project, in particular:
    1. In addition to the existing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), develop a specific assessment of any potential impacts of the construction and operation of the Baixo Iguaçu hydropower plant specifically on the OUV and integrity of the property,
    2. Ensure that ICMBio has the opportunity to review this assessment and undertake appropriate coordination with the relevant Argentinian authorities, in order to confirm whether ICMBio would still give its authorization for the construction of the dam and/or whether the conditions it has already elaborated should be further amended or completed based on the results of the assessment,
    3. Ensure that further development of the project does not proceed prior to a copy of the specific assessment and the conclusions of ICMBio having been submitted to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN,
    4. In case authorization is given by ICMBio, ensure that the conditions it sets are duly fulfilled before the construction of the dam proceeds, and submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, the conclusions of ICMBio on the degree to which the conditions have been fulfilled;
  10. Calls upon and encourages the State Party to continue its efforts in the field of key species monitoring and to increase its cooperation in this regard with the State Party of Argentina;
  11. 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.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/8E.Rev,
  2. Congratulates the States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties located within their territories;
  3. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC/16/40.COM/8E.Rev, for the following World Heritage properties:

EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

  1. Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger will be reviewed in priority by the Advisory Bodies;
  2. 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 further requests the World Heritage Centre to upload the two language versions on its web site.