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World Heritage Convention

Decision 45 COM 7B.69
Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection (Panama) (N 1138rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7B.115 adopted at its extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online, 2021),
  3. Welcomes the ongoing updating of the Management Plan for the property, takes note of the development of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the property and its area of socioeconomic influence, and requests the State Party to submit the draft SEA to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, once it is available;
  4. Notes however that rehabilitation works, including tourist accommodation, are planned within the property before the completion of the SEA, therefore recalls its request to suspend the implementation of any new tourism infrastructure or other development projects within the property until the SEA has been completed and submitted to the World Heritage Centre, and also requests that rehabilitation works at Gambute prior to the finalization of the SEA are strictly limited to structures that are necessary for the functioning management of the property and are subject to an environmental and social impact assessment in line with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context;
  5. Appreciates the ongoing monitoring efforts to assess the conservation status of species which contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and to eradicate feral livestock from the property, and encourages the State Party and its partners to continue with the eradication of the domestic water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) and to expand efforts to ensure the long-term ecological monitoring of species that constitute the of OUV the property;
  6. Notes with appreciation the significant progress in fishing regulations and the ongoing technical evaluation of the regulations, however expresses concern that several of the recommendations of the 2014 and 2016 missions are still not implemented, and urges again the State Party to further improve the fishing regulations for the Special Zone of Marine Protection (SZMP), in line with the recommendations of the missions, by:
    1. Establishing additional no-take zones, including the Hannibal Bank Habitat Protection Zone, considering the significantly larger percentage of area covered by no-take zones within the Coiba National Park,
    2. Reconsidering the current approach to commercial fishing within the SZMP in line with regulations in place for Coiba National Park, in order to further reduce pressures from fishing on the property;
  7. Also appreciates the positive progress made in monitoring the compliance of fishing vessels with regulations through increased human and technological resources and also encourages the State Party to continue with the modernization of its monitoring and surveillance equipment to prevent and sanction illegal activities throughout the property and its zone of influence;
  8. Also welcomes the renewed interest of the State Party to invite an IUCN Advisory mission to the property to help further refine the fishing regulations and provide advice on their implementation and further encourages the State Party to continue consultations with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to undertake the mission as soon as possible once conditions permit;
  9. Commends the States Parties of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama for adopting a declaration on the sustainable management of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor (CMAR) and encourages them to work towards the establishment of a transboundary marine biosphere encompassing the World Heritage sites of Cocos Island National Park (Costa Rica), Galápagos Islands (Ecuador), Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary (Colombia) and the Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection (Panama);
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2024, 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 47th session.
Context of Decision