H@R! : Heritage at Risk


Case Study 1 - The Iguaçu National Park and the Colono Road

In January 1939, the Brazilian Government created the Iguaçu National Park by legislation. It has an area of 180,000 ha (450,000 acres) located in Foz do Iguaçu, State of Paraná. This area is known for its harmonious nature with plentiful water supplies, rich vegetation and impressive fauna. It also represents the last Tropical Forest reserve in the Paraná River region which is an ecosystem of great ecological value. The Iguaçu National Park was therefore considered by UNESCO in November 1986 to be World Heritage. This exceptional distinction induced, among other requirements, the responsible authorities to prohibit the use of a secondary road, Colono Road, crossing the Park for 18 km, which had been opened by the Paraná Government in 1954. This road connects the Capanema and Madianeira Counties in the Park’s vicinity.

However in 1997, with the argument that the prohibition of the road was causing economic problems to these two places, it was opened again by a raid of local inhabitants. They imposed, illegally, an obligation on users to pay taxes in order to travel across it, and also prohibited Park employees to work regularly to maintain the Park. So given this situation, ecological groups and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) indicated to the Brazilian authorities the importance of solving the problem, because there is serious damage to the ecosystem and the Park’s management.

ICOMOS/Brasil, aware of this issue, called on the authorities and world-wide organisations to find support to create a common collective position for an equal and clear solution to this important matter.


Case Study 2 – Brasília - threats that menace the city

Real estate speculation which attacks the conservation policy of this World Heritage Property, which is the City of Brasília, has led it to risk the integrity of the plan conceived in 1956 by Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer.

Discussions in a meeting were held by the Bureau of ICOMOS/Brasil in the period from 17 to 19 July this year to examine this case, to evaluate the risks towards heritage, and they decided that a detailed study of every particular detail is urgent, and as an example, next year a local seminar will be developed in order to discuss the changes that threaten Brasília, as a city designed by Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer.

ICOMOS/Brasil has notified the federal and local authorities with a view to implementing proceedings to guarantee the conservation of the city as World Heritage.


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