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

Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

Belize
Factors affecting the property in 2017*
  • 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

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6208

Corrective Measures for the property

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

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6208

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2017

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 2017
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2017**

March 2009: joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2013: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; January 2015: joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN Technical Mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 31 March 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/764/documents/ and reports the following progress towards achieving the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR):

  • In November 2016, a task force was formed to develop concrete regulations based on the Cabinet Decision to ban offshore petroleum exploration within the World Heritage property. It developed a map of the exact areas to be subject to the ban, which included all seven components comprising the property surrounded by a one-kilometre buffer zone. Detailed cartographic description of these areas is still being finalized and the process of legislating the ban will begin as soon as this description becomes available. In addition, the revision of the Petroleum Regulatory Framework was initiated in September 2016 and is expected to be finalized and submitted for approval by the Cabinet by June 2017;
  • The implementation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Plan has commenced with funding provided through a World Bank project on Marine Conservation and Climate Change Adaptation (MCCAP);
  • The voluntary moratorium on the sale and lease of state owned land throughout the property has continued. Maps showing land tenure within the property were provided to the World Heritage Centre in 2016;
  • The Draft Forests (Protection of Mangroves) Regulations have been finalized and included provisions for the special protection of mangroves sensitive areas, particularly within the property, as well as an increase of fines and penalties for infractions. Final adoption and legal drafting of the regulations is currently ongoing. Amendments to the Forest Act to accommodate the increase of fines and penalties have already been approved;
  • Revision of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations and environmental clearance process is currently underway and will be tentatively submitted to the Attorney General Ministry in 2017;
  • Management plans of two component protected areas of the property are being updated;
  • A National Lionfish Management Strategy was drafted to address threats from invasive species and its implementation is expected to begin later in 2017. Invasive rats are reported to have been eradicated within the Half Moon Caye National Monument.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2017

The progress achieved by the State Party towards the achievement of the DSOCR is commendable. Revision of a number of key regulatory instruments, particularly the Forests (Protection of Mangroves) Regulations, has included a special focus on protection of the property. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to finalize the legal drafting of the Mangroves Regulation as a matter of priority and to submit the legal document to the World Heritage Centre as soon as it becomes available. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are ready to assist the State Party with technical advice to help accomplish the respective indicators related to coastal development and mangrove protection under the DSOCR.

The actions undertaken by the State Party to translate the Cabinet Decision banning offshore oil exploration within the property to concrete regulations are noted. While noting the commitment of the State Party to include all components of the property within the areas, which will be subject to the ban, the justification of a one-kilometre buffer zone around those areas remains unclear. Furthermore, it is unclear how the revision of the Petroleum Regulatory Framework is linked to this process. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the exact maps of the areas where oil exploration will be prohibited by the proposed ban, as soon as they become available and prior to completion of the legislation of the ban, and to provide further details regarding the revision of the Framework.

The cartographic information on land tenure within the property provided by the State Party is noted. Considering the high proportion of private land or areas with unknown land tenure within the property, it is crucial that strict and clear restrictions and regulations on development are established in order to ensure that no development can be allowed, which would result in negative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. The above-mentioned Mangroves Regulation, as well as revised and strengthened EIA regulations can provide the necessary regulatory framework, but it will be essential that the necessary resources are allocated for its enforcement. It is also crucial that a permanent legally binding moratorium on the sale of the remaining nationally held lands is introduced as a matter of priority and it is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its request in this regard.

The commencement of the implementation of the ICZM Plan is welcomed. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to continue its efforts in this regard and to ensure that the necessary resources are available in the long-term for the implementation of the plan.

Finally, while the efforts undertaken by the State Party are welcomed, further efforts are required in order to fully achieve the DSOCR, in particular regarding regulations on oil exploration and exploitation in and surrounding the property. It is therefore recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2017
41 COM 7A.2
Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) (N 764)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.32, adopted at its 40th Session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Welcomes the progress achieved with the finalization of the Draft Forest (Protection of Mangroves) Regulations, and requests the State Party to finalize the legal drafting and adoption of the Regulations as a matter of priority and to submit the final legal document to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as it becomes available;
  4. Also welcomes the commencement of the implementation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan (ICZMP) and encourages the State Party to continue to ensure that the resources required for the long-term implementation of the Plan are secured;
  5. Notes the progress achieved towards developing concrete regulations based on the Cabinet Decision to ban offshore petroleum exploration within the property, but reiterates its position that the adequacy of the one-kilometre buffer zone needs revision to secure the protection of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and the full implementation of the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  6. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the exact maps of the areas where oil exploration will be prohibited by the proposed ban, as soon as they become available, and prior to completion of the legislation of the ban;
  7. Taking note of the ongoing revision of the Petroleum Exploration Framework, reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure that the protection of the property’s OUV is fully integrated into this process;
  8. Also taking note of the confirmation by the State Party that the voluntary moratorium on sale and lease of lands within the property remains in place, notes with concern that the cartographic information provided by the State Party shows a high proportion of private land within the property, and also reiterates its request to the State Party to develop a legally binding instrument to ensure a permanent cessation of all sales and leases of state owned land throughout the property;
  9. Further welcomes the ongoing revision of the Environmental Impact Assessment system and urges the State Party to fully integrate the protection of the property’s OUV into this process to ensure that the revised regulations guarantee that no areas within the property and in its immediate vicinity can be developed in ways that would negatively impact on its OUV, consistent with the requirements under the DSOCR;
  10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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;
  11. Decides to retain Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
41 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/17/41.COM/7A, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add and WHC/17/41.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 41 COM 7A.54)
    • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 41 COM 7A.55)
    • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 41 COM 7A.2)
    • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 41 COM 7A.23)
    • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.4)
    • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 41 COM 7A.24)
    • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.6)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.7)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.8)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.9)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.10)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.11)
    • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 41 COM 7A.32)
    • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.3)
    • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.18)
    • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 41 COM 7A.33)
    • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.34)
    • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 41 COM 7A.35)
    • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 41 COM 7A.36)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 41 COM 7A.37)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 41 COM 7A.38)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 41 COM 7A.39)
    • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 41 COM 7A.40)
    • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 41 COM 7A.41)
    • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 41 COM 7A.14)
    • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 41 COM 7A.28)
    • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 41 COM 7A.29)
    • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 41 COM 7A.30)
    • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 41 COM 7A.56)
    • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 41 COM 7A.15)
    • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 41 COM 7A.42)
    • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 41 COM 7A.43)
    • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 41 COM 7A.25)
    • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 41 COM 7A.26)
    • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.16)
    • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 41 COM 7A.21)
    • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 41 COM 7A.19)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 41 COM 7A.44)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 41 COM 7A.45)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 41 COM 7A.46)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 41 COM 7A.47)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 41 COM 7A.48)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 41 COM 7A.49)
    • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 41 COM 7A.31)
    • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 41 COM 7A.22)
    • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.17)
    • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.1)
    • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 41 COM 7A.57)
    • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 41 COM 7A.27)
    • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 41 COM 7A.51)
    • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 41 COM 7A.52)
    • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 41 COM 7A.53)
      Draft Decision: 41 COM 7A.2

      The World Heritage Committee,

      1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
      2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.32, adopted at its 40th Session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
      3. Welcomes the progress achieved with the finalization of the Draft Forest (Protection of Mangroves) Regulations, and requests the State Party to finalize the legal drafting and adoption of the Regulations as a matter of priority and to submit the final legal document to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as it becomes available;
      4. Also welcomes the commencement of the implementation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan (ICZMP) and encourages the State Party to continue to ensure that the resources required for the long-term implementation of the Plan are secured;
      5. Notes the progress achieved towards developing concrete regulations based on the Cabinet Decision to ban offshore petroleum exploration within the property, but reiterates its position that the adequacy of the one-kilometre buffer zone needs revision to secure the protection of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and the full implementation of the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
      6. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the exact maps of the areas where oil exploration will be prohibited by the proposed ban, as soon as they become available, and prior to completion of the legislation of the ban;
      7. Taking note of the ongoing revision of the Petroleum Exploration Framework, reiterates its request the State Party to ensure that the protection of the property’s OUV is fully integrated into this process;
      8. Also taking note of the confirmation by the State Party that the voluntary moratorium on sale and lease of lands within the property remains in place, notes with concern that the cartographic information provided by the State Party shows a high proportion of private land within the property, and also reiterates its request to the State Party to develop a legally binding instrument to ensure a permanent cessation of all sales and leases of state owned land throughout the property;
      9. Further welcomes the ongoing revision of the Environmental Impact Assessment system and urges the State Party to fully integrate the protection of the property’s OUV into this process to ensure that the revised regulations guarantee that no areas within the property and in its immediate vicinity can be developed in ways that would negatively impact on its OUV, consistent with the requirements under the DSOCR;
      10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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;
      11. Decides to retain Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
      Report year: 2017
      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 (2017) .pdf
      arrow_circle_right 41COM (2017)
      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