SOUTH AMERICA

Canaima National Park, Venezuela

Source: Book, World Heritage Sites and Indigenous Peoples Rights

Canaima is recognised as one of the world’s natural wonders, and is home to the Pemon indigenous peoples. The park was established in 1962 without the consent of the Pemon, and has imposed rules on their way of life, for hunting, fishing, agriculture, and burning, in the name of environmental conservation. In 1994, again without the consultation of the Pemon people, Canaima was inscripted as a World Heritage site. Thus, having a poor relationship with the World Heritage Convention since the beginning, the Pemon people have only attempted to use their World Heritage designation to their advantage once, with the aim of protecting their land from the building of a power-line; this attempt was rejected by the World Heritage Committee. There are hopes that by encouraging free prior and informed consent, and the recognition of culture in natural sites, these issues can be improved on.