United nations educational, scientific and cultural organization convention concerning the protection of the world



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12. Sangay National Park (Ecuador) (N 260)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List: 1983

Year of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger: 1992

Criteria: N (ii) (iii) (iv)
Previous International Assistance:

Total amount provided for the property: US$58,500 (for equipment, community awareness building and staff training).


Previous Bureau/Committee Deliberations:

27 COM 7A.13


Conservation issues:

At its 27th session, the Committee requested the State Party, with the support of the UNESCO/UNF/IUCN “Enhancing our Heritage project” and the Fundación Natura “Sangay project”, to provide a detailed update to the Centre on the state of conservation of Sangay National Park, including benchmarks and indicators relevant to monitoring programmes that could facilitate the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. A report by the coordinators of the “Enhancing Our Heritage Project” and the “Fundación Natura Project” was received on 10 February 2004, though without any reference to benchmarks and indicators. No formal report from the State Party has been received.


The report noted that that the construction of the Guamote – Macas road is expected to be completed by mid-2005 with the digging of a small tunnel section of about 800 m. Though the report states that an environmental impact study was undertaken prior to the construction of this section, there is no information on mitigation measures applied. At its 27th session, the Committee urged the State Party that all possible mitigation measures be applied to reduce the impacts of the road on the property. The Centre has not received any information with regard to the application of such measures.
The report also notes that no oil or mining activities are taking place either within, or surrounding the property, and that an army corps of engineers continues to lend support to the control of illegal removal of timber in the Andean zone of the Park. Since 2002, the State Party has introduced new forest management norms and a system of forest monitoring (called “Vigilancia Verde”). This monitoring mechanism provides for controls on the main roads against the illegal removal of timber in the Sangay National Park and its buffer zone.
In 2001, Fundación Natura supported two studies on hunting in the Amazon buffer zone inhabited by local Shuar communities. Both studies point to a reduction in hunting activities in the buffer zone. This is apparently due mainly to the distance that separates the Shuar communities from the property and the significant involvement of these indigenous groups in hunting management activities. In the farms along the Guamote-Macas road, the conflict between wildlife and agriculture remains unchanged.
The studies note that since 1999, the relationship between protected area staff and the local communities, which had been problematic in the past, has improved significantly and that an environment of mutual trust, understanding and respect has developed. Furthermore, the Ministry of Environment has established new mechanisms to promote greater stakeholder participation in protected area management, including management committees and technical support groups, involving local governments, universities, non-governmental organizations and the business sector. This strategy has been implemented successfully in several protected areas and is now tested for Sangay National Park.
In the Guamote-Macas area, the Park administration and the settlers have jointly established management criteria and zoning for land use activities in the area adjacent to the road. At present the “Sangay Project” is working with local communities to implement alternative sustainable use practices for natural resource management. The goal is to reduce poverty in the area, which is an underlying factor that triggers deforestation and other non sustainable activities.
The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with “Sangay project” prepared a census of properties in the vicinity of the Guamote-Macas road. This report provides current information on land tenure and resource status. This information should provide a basis for the resolution of land tenure issues and the prevention of further immigration to the area.
In response to a call to bilateral and multilateral donors to fund priority activities in the management plan, IUCN notes that additional financial support has been provided by the Government of the Netherlands.
Subject to the results of an evaluation mission and to the State Party’s agreement, a recommendation with regard to the removal of this property from the List of World Heritage in Danger shall be presented to the 29th session of the Committee in 2005.

Draft Decision: 28 COM 15A.12
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Commends the State Party for its efforts in addressing key integrity issues in the management of the property;
2. Commends the Government of the Netherlands for providing financial support to conserving Sangay National Park and encourages it to continue doing so;
3. Commends the efforts of Fundación Natura in assisting the State Party to avoid land use conflict issues and to support sustainable development activities among the local residents;
4. Invites the State Party to continue working with Fundación Natura and other partners and stakeholders to reconcile human-wildlife conflicts along the Guamote-Macas road;
5. Requests the State Party to invite a joint IUCN/Centre mission to the property to confirm progress achieved in addressing conservation threats in view of consideration by the Committee of the removal of the Sangay National Park from the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 29th session in 2005;
6. Decides to retain Sangay National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

13. Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Honduras) (N 196)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List: 1992

Year of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger: 1996

Criteria: N (i) (ii) (iii) (iv)
Previous International Assistance:

Total amount provided to the property: US$190,025 (for technical co-operation and training).


Previous Bureau/Committee Deliberations:

27 COM 7 (a) 14


Conservation issues:

The Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (RPBR) World Heritage property was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1996 following observations made during a mission in 1995. That same mission also provided a list of 10 recommendations for actions that would contribute to removing the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The 2000 mission evaluated progress against those 10 recommendations and concluded that progress made had not been sufficient to warrant recommending removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and made further recommendations and called for another mission in 2003. At the request of the 25th session of the Committee a joint UNESCO/IUCN mission visited Honduras from 23-28 June 2003 to assess the state of conservation of the property and to assess progress on the 10 recommendations made in 1995. The 2003 mission report, in English and Spanish, is available for consultation by States Parties.


It is important to note that the World Heritage property consists of a core zone in which human settlements are not permitted, and a buffer zone in which sustainable activities and human settlements are allowed.
The 2003 mission considered the recommendations made in the 1995 mission, along with the conclusions and suggestions made during the 2000 mission, and reported the following:


  1. The boundary of the property’s core zone is intact and clearly defined boundary markers were observed at those points of entry visited;




  1. Settlers within the property’s core zone have largely been removed, though 32 individuals continue to own land and seven families continue to live in the core zone due to a lack of resettlement compensation funds;




  1. At the time of the mission, legal loopholes in the forestry regulations allowed for the “legalization” of illegally extracted timber from the core zone, though recent information provided by IUCN reveals that these loopholes have since been closed;




  1. Though access control posts had been erected at property access points, these were not manned, and no access control was taking place;




  1. A Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve administrative framework has been established and integrates various stakeholders in the management planning process;




  1. A management plan for the property has been developed, though it has not been widely disseminated;




  1. On-going immigration of subsistence farmers into the buffer zone to exploit its natural resources threatens the property’s long term integrity;




  1. Some land uses carried out in the buffer zone (e.g. extensive cattle ranching) are unsustainable and threaten the long term integrity of the property;




  1. The lack of infrastructure and services for small producers and potential tourism initiatives hinder sustainable economic development and are underlying causes for poverty, leading to over-exploitation of natural resources;




  1. The Government of Germany has provided significant help to the property’s management authority (the Honduras Forestry Development Commission - COHDEFOR) in the implementation of the recommendations made by the 1995 evaluation mission. However, there is some concern about the capacity of the State Party to assume the operations currently being covered by the Government of Germany, once its co-operation comes to an end.

Furthermore the mission came to the following conclusions:




  1. The State Party has complied to a large extent with the ten specific recommendations made by the 1995 evaluation mission;




  1. The level of threat experienced by the property has decreased since 1995;




  1. Certain threats persist, particularly the advance of the agricultural frontier and illegal timber harvesting in the buffer zone;




  1. The process of relocating settlers from within the core zone of the property has progressed considerably, but a small group of people remain;




  1. The restructuring of CODEHFOR, responsible for the management of the property, has imposed new limitations on the human and financial resources allocated to management issues;




  1. There is uncertainty in regards to the State Party’s ability to maintain strong and stable management presence in the area once the support from the Government of Germany comes to an end.

The Committee at its 27th session requested that management benchmarks and timeframes be identified to facilitate the removal of this property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. Based on the recommendations of the previous missions and broad-based consultations with field staff, non-governmental organizations and community representatives, the mission team developed a list of benchmarks; the most critical of which are included in the draft decision below. The Centre notes that the State Party arranged for two high level meetings during the 2003 mission, at which were present several Ministers of the Government of Honduras. These meetings helped validate the findings of the mission team, clarify issues for leading decision-makers, and quickly establish a response strategy to deal with the issues raised.


The Centre and IUCN are currently collaborating with the State Party to monitor progress towards these benchmarks in 2004, and if sufficient progress could be achieved, an evaluation mission could be organized to carry out a site based assessment in early 2005. Subject to the level of progress towards the benchmarks and to the State Party’s agreement, a recommendation with regard to the removal of this property from the List of World Heritage in Danger may be presented to the 29th session of the Committee in 2005.

Draft Decision: 28 COM 15A.13
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Notes that the property’s conditions have improved substantially since it was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1996 and that the State Party is showing firm commitments to the conservation of the property;
2. Commends the State Party, non-governmental organizations, municipalities and communities in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, and international organizations for their support to implement the recommendations since the 2000 mission;
3. Commends the Government of Germany for having provided significant long term financial and technical assistance to the State Party, helping to strengthen management capacity for the property, and encourages the Government of Germany and others to help the State Party develop sustainable solutions for meeting the property’s continuing financial and other management requirements;
4. Urges the State Party, in view of possible removal of the property from the List of World Heritage In Danger, to meet the following benchmarks identified by the 2003 IUCN/Centre mission and to collaborate with IUCN/Centre in efforts to monitor their achievement:


  1. Complete the compensation and relocation of the 7 families and 32 land owners remaining in the core zone;

  2. Cancel all COHDEFOR resolutions related to dead wood harvesting in the Olancho, Colón and Atlándida departments;

  3. Prevent unauthorized activities in the buffer zone, including: agricultural expansion, illegal logging and poaching, specifically by putting into operation permanent and temporary checkpoints located at critical access points;

  4. Develop inter-institutional work plans that provide clear definitions of the roles and responsibilities of the various public and private entities involved in the Reserve’s management and

  5. Disseminate the environmental management plans related to the Ministry of Agriculture’s development strategy within the Valle de Sico’Paulaya zone.


5. Recommends that the State Party implements the remaining recommendations included in the 2003 IUCN/UNESCO mission report;
6. Requests the State Party to assist IUCN and the Centre to monitor progress in reaching benchmarks established, and invite an evaluation mission in early 2005 in view of consideration by the Committee of removal of the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve from the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 29th session in 2005;
7. Decides to retain the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

B. CULTURAL HERITAGE
AFRICA
14. Royal Palaces of Abomey (Benin) (C 323)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List: 1985

Year of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger: 1985

Criteria: C (iii) (iv)
Previous international assistance:

In 2000, US$40,000 under Technical Assistance and US$20,000 under Training Assistance.


Previous Bureau/Committee deliberations:

27 COM 7A.15


Conservation issues:

In 1999, a conservation and management plan for the Royal Palaces of Abomey was prepared and contained a list of priority activities whose implementation would result in the property being removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger within five years.


On 10 February 2004, the government of Benin transmitted to the Secretariat a copy of the monitoring report on the Royal Palaces of Abomey. That report, which the Cultural Heritage Office of Benin prepared in December 2003, underlined the recent conservation works, including, among others:
a) Restoration of the Béhanzin's Palace :

The restoration was made possible thanks to financing from Japan's funds in trust to UNESCO. Of the 6.50-hectare area, Béhanzin's Palace (one of the important palaces that the site includes) consists of seven buildings and many great walls. Conservation works on the buildings consisted on restorations and a few reconstructions. The bas-reliefs were also restored, using mostly local materials (soot, seeds, kaolin, earth, etc.). The great walls were almost totally rebuilt of stabilized Cob. An Interpretation Centre, open to the public, will be created there and a study of tree species found at the site is also planned, with the aim of creating an interpretative ecological trail.


b) Restoration of the huts of Queens Agadja and Béhanzin in the Dossèmè Queens quarter :

The restoration, carried out with the Abomey Museum's equity capital, mainly consisted in repairing and stabilizing the fences, repairing the earthen plaster, repairing the roof structures and protecting the foundation walls.


According to the same report, the diversification of the international partnership was very beneficial to the site. It made it possible, among other things, to entirely restore the Agassou temples and its main gravesites (Glèlè, the Glèlè spouses, Agonglo, the Agonglo spouses, Guezo, the Guezo spouses, Akaba). The principle international partners were Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States. In addition to the usual museum visit, visitors may now take a specific route to see the temples and graves.
During its 27th session, the World Heritage Committee asked the Centre and ICOMOS to carry out, in co-operation with the State Party, a site evaluation mission with a view to drafting a report that will enable the Committee to study this property's state of conservation and then to decide whether or not to remove it from the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 28th session in 2004. The evaluation mission is ongoing and its findings will be orally submitted to the World Heritage Committee as soon as it is completed.

Draft decision: 28 COM 15A.14
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Congratulates the State Party's efforts to improve the conservation of the property;
2. Expresses its appreciation to the governments of Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States of America for their generous contributions to the protection of the site,
3. Encourages the State Party to pursue the implmementation of the restoration works and presentation as defined in the management plan;
4. Decides to retain the Royal Palaces of Abomey on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

15. Timbuktu (Mali) (C 119rev)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List: 1988

Year of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger: 1990

Criteria: C (ii) (iv) (v)
Previous international assistance:

In 1989, US$5,500, Preparatory Assistance for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger; in 1991, US$45,000, Technical Co-operation; in 1995, US$15,500, Technical Co-operation for the restoration of the three mosques; in 1996, US$40,000, Technical Co-operation.


Previous Bureau/Committee deliberations:

27 COM 7A.16


Conservation issues:

From 25 to 29 August 2003, heavy torrential rains continuously fell on the city of Timbuktu. According to a detailed report by Mali's Ministry of Culture, which the Centre received on 24 September 2003, many of the city's quarters suffered damaged. Among them was the Medina, where the three mosques of Djingareyber, Sankoré and Sidi Yahia are located, as well as the 16 mausoleums inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.


From 19 to 25 January 2004, Timbuktu also hosted a seminar on management plans for World Heritage properties in Mali and on the rehabilitation of Timbuktu's earthen architecture. This seminar was funded within the framework of the co-operation agreement between UNESCO and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the end of the seminar, the participants recognized the need for the Malian properties to swiftly adopt a management and conservation plan. They also asked UNESCO and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to begin a rehabilitation and revitalisation project for Timbuktu 's earthen architecture.
The UNESCO mission present at the January 2004 seminar had the opportunity to visit all the quarters of the city of Timbuktu that had been affected by flooding. At the end of the visits, the mission was able to make the following observations, which confirmed the report provided by the Ministry of Culture, concerning the old town:
a) Of all the quarters affected by the torrential rains, Djingareyber, Sankoré and Hamabangou suffered the most severe damage;
b) More than 50 homes collapsed in the Sankoré and Djingareyber quarters (where two of the mosques inscribed on the World Heritage List are located), leaving nearly 100 people homeless;
c) Stagnant water clogged all the pipes supplying the fountains in several quarters with fresh drinking water. In the Sankoré quarter, the fountain located on the site of the former pond stopped operating after the flood, leaving the quarter's residents in a catastrophic hygiene situation;
d) Some houses of the explorers who lived in Timbuktu were damaged by the rains and need to be restored;
e) The 16 mausoleums, which the Italian consultants inventoried during the seminar, have also suffered damage.
In order to undertake emergency measures at the property and in the buffer zone, the State Party submitted a request for emergency assistance to the World Heritage Centre in January 2004. That request, for the amount of US$ 50,000, has been made to carry out the following activities:
a) Restoration of the Djingareyber, Sankoré and Sidi Yahia mosques;
b) Restoration of the old town mausoleums;
c) Clearing of the rubble of the collapsed houses in Sankoré and Djingareyber;
d) Reconstruction of one room on the plot of each cleared house so that the homeless residents may gradually return;
e) Repairing of the fountain located on the site of the former pond in Sankoré.
In order to ensure the implementation of these restoration activities, and in compliance with the need to leave the site's universal values unaffected, ICOMOS has emphasized the necessity to develop an overall strategy in the form of a management and conservation plan that takes into account the short-term restoration needs as well as the long-term steps that will help to prevent such floods from occurring in the future. The Chairperson of the Committee approved the emergency assistance on 7 April 2004.

Draft decision: 28 COM 15A. 15
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Taking note of the detailed report on the damage caused to the Timbuktu property by the floods in August 2003, which the UNESCO mission in January 2003 confirmed, as well as of the approval by the Chairperson of the Committee of the emergency assistance request submitted by the State Party,
2. Thanks the Italian government for its support in the organisation of the seminar on the management of World Heritage properties in Mali and on the rehabilitation of the earthen architecture of Timbuktu;
3. Encourages the State Party to carry out, as swiftly as possible, repair work on the three mosques of Djingareyber, Sankoré and Sidi Yahia, as well as on the 16 mausoleums, provided for in the framework of the emergency assistance;
4. Invites the international partners to support the Timbuktu earthen architecture rehabilitation project;
5. Decides to retain Timbuktu on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
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