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Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve

Honduras
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • 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
  • Other Threats:

    Overlap with important archaeological sites implying a need to harmonize management of cultural and natural heritage

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Financial resources
  • Human resources
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities (settlements, livestock grazing and agricultural encroachment, drug trafficking, logging, commercial fishing, poaching and wildlife trade)
  • Invasive/alien terrestrial species
  • Land conversion (deforestation and forest degradation)
  • Legal framework (lawlessness and lack of law enforcement)
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management systems/ management plan (lack of clarity of the boundaries of the property, lack of clarity regarding land tenure and access to natural resources)
  • Water infrastructure (potential impacts from hydroelectric development projects Patuca I, II and III)
  • Overlap with important archaeological sites implying a need to harmonize management of cultural and natural heritage
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
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2021

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 2021
Requests approved: 8 (from 1982-2015)
Total amount approved : 223,628 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 30 January 2020, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/196/documents, providing the following information:

  • Efforts have continued in order to fight environmental crime through the strategies developed by the Ad-Hoc Committee and the actions taken within the “SOS Honduras: Stop the destruction of forests” campaign. Operations to control illegal logging have been conducted through air and ground monitoring. Inter-institutional control posts have been constructed in prioritised areas to strengthen institutional presence and indigenous territorial governance;
  • The land titling process to recognise property rights of indigenous and Afro-Honduran peoples in the cultural zone of the Biosphere Reserve continues and is expected to be completed in 2020. In addition, 2,400 Family Usufruct Contracts have been awarded as part of the process of recognition and regularization of land possession in the buffer zone;
  • Regarding the implementation of corrective measures to achieve the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), progress is reported on assessing forest cover and land recovery, documenting jaguar populations, strengthening of the community forestry strategy reducing threats within the core zone of the Biosphere Reserve, as well as recognising ancestral rights in its cultural and buffer zones. However, management effectiveness evaluation results only showed a 64% effectiveness level;
  • The State Party remains committed to advancing the preparation of a Significant Boundary Modification (SBM). During 2019, there was some progress to strengthen indigenous territorial governance, however no formal consultation regarding the possible modifications of the property’s boundaries was undertaken. Capacity building and resources are needed to ensure effective participation in this process;
  • The construction of the Patuca III Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) has been completed to 97% and the reservoir is currently filled at 81,3%. An Environmental Measures Compliance Report (ICMA) including 108 environmental mitigation measures for the HPP was released in July 2019. Mitigation measures include safety measures during construction, water quality monitoring, as well as control measures for clearing wildlife from the reservoir and relocating people, vegetation cover management and guaranteed minimum flow. The State Party confirms its readiness to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Terms of Reference have been drafted;
  • Other projects such as turtle conservation, forest fire prevention, reforestation and environmental education were undertaken during 2019.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The continued inter-institutional efforts to protect and conserve the property and combat environmental crime, such as illegal logging and occupation, are commended. It is noted with appreciation that measures have been taken to enhance biodiversity protection through monitoring, analysis and conservation projects, and to strengthen indigenous territorial governance. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to continue the implementation of the corrective measures and ensure that they are adequately funded.

The expected completion of the land titling process in 2020, giving property rights to indigenous and Afro-Honduran peoples in the cultural zone, and the progress of regularising land use rights in the buffer zone through family usufruct contracts, are welcomed.

The progress towards achieving the 2020 targets of the DSOCR in terms of hectares of forest under sustainable management through community contracts and hectares of land in the cultural zone titled to indigenous and Afro-Honduran peoples, is noted. However, challenges appear to remain in attaining biodiversity targets and effective management of the property, as well as participatory mechanisms to improve governance of the indigenous and Afro-Honduran territories ensuring that rights, customs and ancestral practices are respected in the area. It is recommended that the Committee again urge the State Party, as well as the governmental and non-governmental partners, to ensure that collaborations, financial and technical resources and political will are improved in order to reach the targets set out in the corrective measures and to achieve the DSCOR.

The State Party’s commitment to advance the preparation of a SBM of the property is welcomed. However, it is noted that no formal consultation has been carried out yet with indigenous and Afro-Honduran territorial councils that hold ancestral rights in the proposed areas. In this regard, it is recommended that the Committee reiterates its strong encouragement to the State Party to continue the proposal for a SBM, in consultation with indigenous representatives, as a crucial step towards achieving the DSOCR, and to secure technical and financial resources as well as the required capacity building to develop the necessary consultation processes.

It is noted with serious concern and regret that construction of the Patuca III HPP is now essentially completed and the reservoir is almost filled, without a proper assessment of the current and potential impacts of the project on the OUV of the property. Recalling that the State Party has confirmed its commitment to undertake a SEA, it is recommended that the Committee, notwithstanding the virtual completion of the project, request for this process to be urgently expedited specifically to undertake an assessment of current and potential impacts on the OUV of the property with a view to putting in place the necessary measures to mitigate adverse impacts on the property’s OUV. It is noted that certain mitigation measures have already been established, nonetheless, it is of concern that, out of the 108 mitigation measures outlined in the ICMA, only three are focused on longer term mitigation of environmental impacts.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7A.55
Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Honduras) (N 196)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.4 adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Welcomes the State Party’s and its governmental and non-governmental partners’ ongoing inter-institutional efforts to protect and conserve the property, enhance biodiversity and strengthen indigenous territorial governance, and encourages the State Party to continue the implementation of the corrective measures and ensure that adequate funding is available to allow this;
  4. Also welcomes the advances on the land titling process in the cultural zone of the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve and the progress to regularise land use rights in its buffer zone through awarding family usufruct contracts and requests the State Party to ensure the process is completed in line with the established timelines;
  5. Notes the State Party’s progress to achieve the targets established to reach the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), however, notes with concern that many challenges remain, and urges the State Party and its partners to ensure that collaborations, financial and technical resources and political will are sustained and increased to reach the targets set out in the corrective measures in order to achieve the DSOCR;
  6. Further welcomes the State Party’s re-stated commitment to advance on the preparation of a Significant Boundary Modification (SBM) for the property, however, also notes with concern that formal consultation on boundary modifications with indigenous and Afro-Honduran territorial councils has not yet started, and also requests the State Party to secure technical and financial resources required for the necessary consultation processes and development of the proposal of a SBM as a crucial step towards achieving the DSOCR, and in particular to:
    1. Coordinate the many governmental sectors and institutions involved at various levels,
    2. Seek support from the World Heritage Centre, Advisory Bodies and other States Parties, as appropriate,
    3. Guarantee full consideration of the archaeological heritage of the property and corresponding actors;
  7. Noting with utmost concern the near completion of the Patuca III Hydroelectric Power Plant without the current and potential impacts of the project on the OUV of the property having been properly assessed, recalls the commitment of the State Party to develop a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the power plant, and also urges the State Party to expedite this process so that a specific assessment of the impacts of the power plant on the OUV of the property can be developed in the appropriate format and can be used to develop the necessary mitigation measures;
  8. Also notes that certain mitigation measures have already been put in place for the Hydroelectric Power Plant, however, recommends that the State Party ensure that these are specifically aimed at preventing impacts on the OUV of the property, and also encourages the State Party to revise these measures once the results of the SEA are available;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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 45th session;
  10. Decides to retain Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Honduras) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
44 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/21/44.COM/7A, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2.Add),
  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 44 COM 7A.28)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 44 COM 7A.29)
  • Austria, Historic Centre of Vienna (Decision 44 COM 7A.32)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 44 COM 7A.35)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.39)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.41)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.42)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.43)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.45)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 44 COM 7A.5)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.55)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 44 COM 7A.52)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 44 COM 7A.6)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 44 COM 7A.7)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 44 COM 7A.8)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 44 COM 7A.10)
  • Kenya, Lake Turkana National Parks (Decision 44 COM 7A.47)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 44 COM 7A.11)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 44 COM 7A.12)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 44 COM 7A.13)
  • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 44 COM 7A.14)
  • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 44 COM 7A.15)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 44 COM 7A.48)
  • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 44 COM 7A.1)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 44 COM 7A.2)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 44 COM 7A.3)
  • Mexico, Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California (Decision 44 COM 7B.56)
  • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 44 COM 7A.30)
  • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 44 COM 7A.49)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 44 COM 7A.17)
  • Palestine, Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Decision 44 COM 7A.16)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 44 COM 7A.36)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 44 COM 7A.37)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.50)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 44 COM 7A.33)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 44 COM 7A.53)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 44 COM 7A.18)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 44 COM 7A.19)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 44 COM 7A.20)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 44 COM 7A.21)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 44 COM 7A.22)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 44 COM 7A.23)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 44 COM 7A.4)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.51)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.54)
  • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 44 COM 7A.31)
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 44 COM 7A.38)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 44 COM 7A.25)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 44 COM 7A.26)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 44 COM 7A.27).
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7A.55

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.4 adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Welcomes the State Party’s and its governmental and non-governmental partners’ ongoing inter-institutional efforts to protect and conserve the property, enhance biodiversity and strengthen indigenous territorial governance, and encourages the State Party to continue the implementation of the corrective measures and ensure that adequate funding is available to allow this;
  4. Also welcomes the advances on the land titling process in the cultural zone of the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve and the progress to regularise land use rights in its buffer zone through awarding family usufruct contracts and requests the State Party to ensure the process is completed in line with the established timelines;
  5. Notes the State Party’s progress to achieve the targets established to reach the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), however, notes with concern that many challenges remain, and urges the State Party and its partners to ensure that collaborations, financial and technical resources and political will are sustained and increased to reach the targets set out in the corrective measures in order to achieve the DSOCR;
  6. Further welcomes the State Party’s re-stated commitment to advance on the preparation of a Significant Boundary Modification (SBM) for the property, however, also notes with concern that formal consultation on boundary modifications with indigenous and Afro-Honduran territorial councils has not yet started, and also requests the State Party to secure technical and financial resources required for the necessary consultation processes and development of the proposal of a SBM as a crucial step towards achieving the DSOCR, and in particular to:
    1. Coordinate the many governmental sectors and institutions involved at various levels,
    2. Seek support from the World Heritage Centre, Advisory Bodies and other States Parties, as appropriate,
    3. Guarantee full consideration of the archaeological heritage of the property and corresponding actors;
  7. Noting with utmost concern the near completion of the Patuca III Hydroelectric Power Plant without the current and potential impacts of the project on the OUV of the property having been properly assessed, recalls the commitment of the State Party to develop a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the power plant, and also urges the State Party to expedite this process so that a specific assessment of the impacts of the power plant on the OUV of the property can be developed in the appropriate format and can be used to develop the necessary mitigation measures;
  8. Also notes that certain mitigation measures have already been put in place for the Hydroelectric Power Plant, however, recommends that the State Party ensure that these are specifically aimed at preventing impacts on the OUV of the property, and also encourages the State Party to revise these measures once the results of the SEA are available;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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 45th session in 2022;
  10. Decides to retain Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Honduras) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2021
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 (2020) .pdf
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
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.


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