Alejandro de Humboldt National Park (AdHNP), Cuba

Background

Located in a remote, mountainous part of Cuba, 69,341 ha AdHNP was inscribed in 2001 and is one of the most biologically diverse terrestrial tropical ecosystems in an island setting anywhere on earth. AdHNP also sits atop very rich nickel ore.

Issues

At inscription onto the WH list in 2001, a few vestigial nickel mining concessions were overlapping into its territory. News spread to IUCN and the WH Centre that the government of Cuba planned on reactivating these concessions. The matter was raised by the WH Committee – following which one foreign mining company pulled out, citing the inappropriateness of operating in a WH site.

Impact on Operations

One mining company had to withdraw its plans for operating in the area while other government plans to begin operation have been left in limbo for several years.

Contributing Factors

  • Long delays in obtaining clear responses from the government result in a protracted atmosphere of uncertainty over the final outcome.

  • Incomplete disclosure, either intentional, or otherwise, at the time of nomination preparation sets up a situation whereby expectations for mineral exploitation within a WH site are maintained after inscription.