The World Heritage Centre received a document from the State Party, dated January 2006, using the format of a Periodic Report. The report provides information on institutional progress made on the adoption of the new Law on Monumental Heritage, as requested by the Committee in 2003 (27 COM 7 (b) 90, 5). Furthermore, the documents provide information on development of an Integrated Revitalisation Plan and a Risk management plan.
The State Party reports that the National Directorate of Monumental Heritage and the City Council of the National District have installed a Directing Commission at the local level for the administration of the site. The document asserts, however, that the Directing Commission lacks qualified human and financial resources for the effective protection of the site. Furthermore, it underlines a lack of inter-institutional coordination between the different governmental departments approving and supervising conservation work in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo and suggests the need for a closer institutional coordination, as were recommended by the committee in its 27th session. (27 COM 7 (b) 90).
The World Heritage Centre received a further brief report, dated 12th of April 2006, on the State of Conservation (DPCC-041-06 Informe de Estado de Conservación de la Ciudad Colonial de Santo Domingo) from the State Party, identifying among others the following threats to the site:
a) Lack of a buffer zone to protect the Colonial City of Santo Domingo.
b) Environmental contamination and the lack of an ongoing conservation programme, as well as, a lack of incentives for private interventions, resulting in bio-deterioration of the facades and the ceilings of protected buildings.
c) Incompatible land use with the physical structure of the buildings.
d) Inadequate means of transport in the protected site and lack of parking space.
e) Marginalisation of the historic quarter of Santa Barbara.
f) Lack of public services, particularly in waste management issues.
g) Annual threats of tropical storms and cyclones.
Furthermore, the reports submitted include an Integrated Revitalisation Plan (financed by the Inter-American Development Bank) in two parts. The first part is a strategic plan, which outlines the general objectives and priority actions to be undertaken. The actions proposed are focussed on validating urban diversity by interventions in the southern residential zone and the harbour zone, by the construction and restoration of residential buildings, by the rearrangement of the urban road-infrastructure system and by further activities to stimulate the tourist industry. The Second part, the Revitalisation Plan, consists of regulatory laws identifying different types of buffer zones. It contains conservation laws, regulations on the use of public space and protected buildings, construction laws and land use laws and laws on the protection of green spaces. Finally, the report contains an Emergency Action Plan, which is to function as a pilot project for the protection of the historic districts. However, the Integrated Revitalisation Plan and the new Laws for the Protection of the Historic District have not yet been adopted by the State Party.
The report mentions the need for a revision of the nomination document with the intention of widening the protected zone of the World Heritage Site and to propose a surrounding buffer zone. (Sección 2 II.9 1b Límites y zona de amortiguamiento, Model)
So far, these proposed actions remain in the planning phase.
ICOMOS recognizes the importance of the proposed Risk Management Plan. In Dec. 1998, following a hurricane that damaged the historic city in October 1998, the Committee asked the Advisory Bodies to propose actions to improve risk preparedness in the region. ICCROM organised two regional training workshops for 20 countries in 1999 and in 2001, and both involved efforts of local officials to develop a risk preparedness plan for the historic city. ICOMOS commends the municipality for these efforts. ICOMOS would encourage the State Party to ensure that the local measures now developed are included in national strategies for risk preparedness, and are supported with adequate resources.
ICOMOS would appreciate efforts linking current planning mechanisms to the WH Centre mission carried out in 2002, which put in question the degree of control over renovation projects in the core of the historic city, particularly the restoration of the Hostal Nicolas de Ovando, and to what extent planning provisions have been improved to enable the city to better deal with and control investor proposals.