Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2001
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/839/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/839/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Potential impacts from mining activities
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/839/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2010
In response to the World Heritage Committee’s Decision 33 COM 7B.36, the State Party submitted on 22 February 2010 a state of conservation report outlining the progress achieved in enhancing the management of the property. However, the report does not address the World Heritage Committee’s repeated requests for a commitment to close down the mining concessions granted within the boundaries of the property, and those in its periphery, that could seriously and irreversibly affect the property’s Outstanding Universal Value and integrity if activated.
a) Mining concession within, and in the periphery of, the properties boundaries
While the State Party notes that no mining surveys or exploitation have occurred within the property since 1995, it does not address the central issue raised by the World Heritage Committee (Decisions 32 COM 7B.36 and33 COM 7B.36), namely: “to make a clear and unequivocal commitment to close down the mining concessions granted within the boundaries of the property, or those in its periphery that could affect the property.” A letter to this effect was sent to the State Party by the World Heritage Centre on 1 April 2009. The on-going existence of mining concessions in the property represents, in the view of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, an expression of intent to mine these areas in the future. If not clearly addressed by the State Party, the continued existence of mining concessions must be considered as a potential threat, as per Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines.
The values for which this property was inscribed on the World Heritage List under criteria (ix) and (x) are intrinsically linked to the maintenance of the existing ecosystems and of the varied topography and complex underlying geology that have given rise to one of the most biologically diverse tropical islands sites on Earth. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that any open mining would lead to the loss of the Outstanding Universal Value of this property, and make a clear case for delisting this property from the World Heritage List.
b) Progress achieved in enhancing the management of the property
The State Party reports that the first annual Operational Plan, forming part of the Management Plan for 2009-2013, has been implemented and that management activities to date include targeted prevention of forest fires, restoration of habitats damaged by hurricane Ike in September 2008, implementation of soil conservation measures, control of invasive species, ecotourism infrastructure maintenance, and environmental education. Support has been received from Green Gold and the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme to help address the disturbances caused by the hurricane in the communities of Cuchillas del Toa Biosphere Reserve, of which the property is the core area. The report also notes that a hurricane recovery evaluation was undertaken at the end of 2009. This evaluation was linked to community training programs focused on climate change adaptation through land management, control of forest fires, and control of invasive species.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome the progress achieved in implementing the 2009 Operation Plan. The damage caused by Hurricane Ike, which affected forest areas throughout several sectors of the park, does not appear to have created serious or irreversible impacts to the values and integrity of the property and available evidence appears to confirm that the property is recovering well.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
Decision Adopted: 34 COM 7B.33
The World Heritage Committee;
1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B,
2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.36, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),
3. Notes the progress achieved by the State Party in implementing the 2009 Operational Plan, which has enhanced the effectiveness of management of the property;
4. Notes with appreciation the confirmation provided by the State Party that at present no mining is planned in the property, but considers that the continued existence of mining concessions if activated would be considered a threat to the property, as per Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
5. Reiterates its request to the State Party to make a clear and unequivocal commitment to eliminate the mining concessions granted within the boundaries of the property (in line with the international policy statement of the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM) of not undertaking these activities in World Heritage properties), and those in its periphery, that could seriously and irreversibly affect its Outstanding Universal Value, including the conditions of integrity, if activated;
6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the inactivity of all mining concessions with a view to their upcoming cancellation, and updating the World Heritage Committee on any other factors significantly affecting the Outstanding Universal Value, including the conditions of integrity, of the property.