1.         Los Katíos National Park (Colombia) (N 711)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2009-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Illegal logging, unauthorized settlements, fishing and hunting, threats from major infrastructure projects.

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2002-2009)
Total amount approved: USD 73,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Armed conflict;

b) Illegal extraction of natural resources;

c) Lack of control of management agency. 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2010

The State Party report on the state of conservation of the property was received by the World Heritage Centre on 15 February 2010, along with a draft retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger The World Heritage Centre /IUCN mission requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009) could not take place due to security issues raised by the United Nations Department of Safety and Security. For this reason, the review of the aforementioned documents is still underway. The report that follows is based on the information provided by the State Party. An interim set of corrective measures and an interim time frame for the implementation of said measures is proposed and will be finalized pending the results of an eventual mission to the property.

The property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger without the Committee adopting corrective measures, as no reactive monitoring mission took place before this inscription. The mission which was requested to develop a proposal for corrective measures had to be postponed as mentioned above. The State Party report proceeds through an itemized list of what it considers corrective measures in response to the concerns raised by the World Heritage Committee. These corrective measures consist of the following:

a) Control and monitoring of illegal activities: The 2008 action plan for reducing illegal hunting, fishing and timber extraction continued to be implemented in 2009. Approval was granted for a floating control cabin to be erected in a critical part of the property, with financial support from the World Heritage Fund and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Financing for the repair and equipping of two other cabins was approved by USAID. Signposts were to be placed in strategic points and park personnel increased to 21. 

b) Preventing illegal logging: The State Party carried out a workshop to train local law enforcement personnel on legal tools and procedures facilitating the confiscation of illegal forest products and on the prosecution of those involved in the trade. More such workshops are planned. The National Parks authority is coordinating with the Regional Environmental Authority responsible for emitting timber extraction permits so that more effective monitoring of activities around the property can take place. There is a concern that as local communities deplete forest resources within their jurisdictions, these are turning to the forests within the property to maintain the flow of timber. 

c) Promoting sustainable livelihoods: Communities previously displaced by armed groups from the lands adjacent to the property have returned, but as the community fabric has weakened, they face very difficult conditions and turn to illegal logging within the property as a means of generating income. The State Party underlines the importance of implementing alternative and sustainable livelihoods initiatives here, and indicate that intial support has been received from USAID in this regard. 

d) Resettlement of recently arrived people: The State Party indicates that 270 members of the Wounaan people have moved into the park since 2004 and are clearing forests for agriculture. This group had moved to the park area in the 1960’s as part of forestry operations, but were relocated in the years following the creation of the park in 1974 via legal procedures involving the purchashing of their lands. A dialogue with this group, involving the Ministry of Domestic Affairs and Justice, is underway to resolve this issue.

e) Avoiding effects of major infrastruture projects: Two major infrastructure projects propose to cross the park.  One is an electricity corridor affecting the northern edge of the property, and the other is the construction of the Pan American highway through its middle, and into the Darien National Park World Heritage property in Panama, which abuts LosKatiosNational Park. As the property is already relatively small (72,000 ha), such projects would be likely to have a major negative effect on its Outstanding Universal Value. 

The State Party indicates that it considers it is reasonable to anticipate a timeframe of six years for achievement of the corrective measures, assuming that sufficient financial support is forthcoming. The State Party reports that it is carrying out a management effectiveness assessment for the property in 2010, allowing for a quantitative evaluation of progress in addressing the factors affecting it. The State Party notes that it has been able to raise significant funds internationally to help implement the corrective measures, but that additional funding will be needed. It points out that challenges in implementing legal procedures against illegal logging remain, given the remoteness of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome the initiative of the State Party to develop a set of interim corrective measures to address the threats to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. However they remain concerned over the significant challenges facing this property, particularly as they involve entrenched interests in a remote region. Compounding these challenges are the major infrastructure projects being actively promoted by both the States Parties of Colombia and Panama, which would severely affect not only LosKatiosNational Park, but also DarienNational Park, also a World Heritage Property, in Panama. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 34 COM 7A.14

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.34, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Regrets that the joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN monitoring mission had to be postponed because of security concerns and requests the State Party, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to organize this mission as soon as the security situation permits, in order to assess the threats to the property and identify corrective measures to address them;

4. Notes that the State Party has submitted a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, and a proposal for the Desired State of Conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, but that these remain to be finalized due to the postponement of the mission to the property;

5. Expresses its utmost concern about proposed major infrastructure projects to cross the property, namely an electricity corridor affecting the northern edge of the property and the construction of the Pan American highway through its middle, which are likely to have a major negative effect on its Outstanding Universal Value, and urges the State Party, along with the State Party of Panama, to jointly re-affirm their commitment to the conservation of Los Katios and Darien National Parks, which effectively form a transboundary protected area;

6. Welcomes the interim corrective measures proposed by the State Party and its efforts to implement them, and notes the proposed six year time frame to implement the interim corrective measures;

7. Also requests the State Party to continue implementing these interim corrective measures, taking into account any amendment following an eventual World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission to the property:

a) Complete and implement the control and monitoring Action Plan, including the construction of ranger stations, the provision of equipment and the maintenance of adequate numbers of park personnel,

b) Prevent illegal logging within the property by establishing the capacity, at site level, to apprehend and bring to justice the instigators of such activities, and by carrying out communication campaigns with the local communities;

c) Implement alternative and sustainable livelihoods programmes for affected communities surrounding the property in the framework of a wider programme for the reduction of incentives for illegal logging,

d) Complete the resettlement process for those people who have recently established themselves within the park boundaries,

e) Resolve the incompatibility between the State Party's obligation under the World Heritage Convention to conserve the property's Outstanding Universal Value, and the proposed large infrastructure projects currently under consideration;

8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a comprehensive report on the state of conservation of the property, with particular emphasis on the interim corrective measures identified above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011;

9. Requests moreover the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to finalize the draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and the proposal for the Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011;

10. Decides to retain Los Katios National Park (Colombia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 34 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-10/34.COM/7A, WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add and WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add.2),

2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: