1.         Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park (Costa Rica,Panama) (N 205bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1983

Criteria  (vii)(viii)(ix)(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/205/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1982-1997)
Total amount approved: USD 276,350
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/205/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 30 000 from the Rapid Response Facility

Previous monitoring missions

February 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; December 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; January 2013: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; January 2016: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/205/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 30 November 2018, the States Parties of Costa Rica and Panama submitted a joint report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/205/documents/ and notes the following progress:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The States Parties’ continued efforts to combat illegal activities within the property and strengthen institutional arrangements towards better bilateral cooperation and management are appreciated.

Whilst it is noted that the project for the Changuinola II dam (CHAN II) has not been re-activated to date, there is no confirmation from the State Party of Panama that the decision to cancel the contract has officially entered into force, nor whether this cancellation means that the project has been abandoned, as requested by the World Heritage Committee.

Progress towards finalizing the integrated transboundary SEA requested by the Committee is noted, namely that the process has been completed and approved for the Panamanian side of the property and remains in progress for the Costa Rican part, including through cooperation with the IUCN ORMACC Office to build capacity of the relevant actors in the field of SEA. While the commitment of the States Parties to ensure the SEA is properly developed is welcomed, it is of concern that the SEA for the entire property was not finalized by 2018, as requested by the Committee. It is recommended that the Committee request the States Parties to finalize the overall SEA for the entire property in 2019 for submission at the earliest possible date.

It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its position, in line with its Decision 40 COM 7 (Paragraph 17), that any development of new hydropower projects prior to the finalization and adequate review of the SEA for the entire property would represent a danger to the OUV of the property, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines and would lead to its inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Regarding monitoring activities related to the Bonyic and CHAN I dams, it is noted that the Hidroecológica del Teribe S.A. (Bonyic) and AES Changuinola (CHAN I) have been requested to present a detailed report of the Biological-Ecological Program required as part of the concession contract commitments. A number of studies were carried out for the 2017-2018 period, generating important information on the specific composition of fish and shrimp upstream of the CHAN I dam, which would, as reported, constitute an important basis for planning future potential repopulation activities as part of measures aimed at mitigating impacts. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party of Panama to continue these efforts, to establish long-term monitoring programmes for the two projects so as to evaluate the effectiveness of the mitigation measures, and to ensure that the results of this monitoring are taken into account when finalizing the overall SEA for the entire property. 

Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7B.25

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.13, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Welcomes the States Parties’ ongoing efforts to combat illegal activities within the property, to strengthen institutional arrangements towards better bilateral cooperation and management, and to update the Management Plan in both countries;
  4. Takes note with satisfaction that the construction project of the Changuinola II (CHAN II) dam has not been re-activated to date, but also regrets that the State Party of Panama did not provide definitive information regarding the status of the project, and also reiterates its request to the State Party of Panama to confirm whether the contract has been cancelled and to clarify whether plans for this hydropower project have been abandoned;
  5. Noting with appreciation the completion of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Panamanian part of the property and the initiation of the process for the Costa Rican part, however regrets that the SEA for the entire property was not completed in 2018 as requested by the Committee and requests the States Parties to finalize the SEA for the entire property in 2019 and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, as soon as it becomes available;
  6. Also recalling Decision 40 COM 7 (Paragraph 17), adopted at its 40th session in 2016, reiterates its position that any development of new hydropower projects prior to the finalization and review by IUCN of the SEA for the entire property would represent a danger to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, and would lead to its inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  7. Noting the efforts of the State Party of Panama to monitor activities of the CHAN I dam and the Bonyic dam, reiterates its request to the State Party to continue these efforts and to establish long-term monitoring programmes for the projects to evaluate the effectiveness of the mitigation measures, and to ensure that the results of this monitoring are taken into account when finalizing the overall SEA for the entire property;
  8. Also requests the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, an updated joint report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session in 2021.