In August 2002, a joint UNESCO-ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was undertaken to Coro and its Port to assess its management and state of conservation. The mission concluded that there were strong indications that the site met the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger and it issued a list of fourteen recommendations to remedy this situation.
As requested by the Committee, the State Party submitted a report, dated 22 January 2005, in which it provided ample information about the creation and composition of a Presidential Commission for the Protection of Coro, the Port of La Vela and their Areas of Influence, its meetings, goals and activities. The report included details of the results of several studies, the plan for emergency intervention and the results of technical working meetings with the communities of Coro, La Vela and their areas of influence. Furthermore, UNESCO and ICOMOS undertook a second reactive monitoring mission to assess whether the site met the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The mission took place from 12 to 19 April 2005. It reviewed the implementation of the recommendations of the first reactive monitoring mission of 2002, evaluated the overall state of conservation of the site, assessed if it met the criteria for danger listing and elaborated elements for a programme of action to strengthen the conservation and management.
The mission concluded that the State Party had committed itself at the highest level to address the issues of concern expressed in the 2002 mission report and the subsequent decisions of the Committee, particularly through the creation of a Presidential Commission for the Protection of Coro, the Port of La Vela and their Areas of Influence. This Commission has the task to prepare, over a three year period, an integral plan for the conservation and development of the area, including a proposal for a management structure. Furthermore, it noted the increased presence and control of the National Institute for Cultural Heritage (IPC) and advances in the consolidation of the Municipal Institutes for Heritage (IMP) of Miranda (Coro) and Colina (the port of La Vela). The mission noted, however, that most actions were in the planning phase and that the results, scope and impact of the work of the Presidential Commission on the state of conservation of the site could only be assessed at a later stage. In the meantime, the World Heritage property is not managed as one integrated whole, there is no conservation plan and actions and interventions are ad-hoc and isolated. The mission concluded, therefore, that the conclusions and recommendations of the 2002 mission remained valid.
In addition, the mission was informed that heavy rains occurred between November 2004 and February 2005 and that these rains caused severe damage to a great number of structures, both in Coro and La Vela.
A comparison of the state of conservation between the years 2002 and 2005 revealed a surprisingly high level of deterioration of the historical centre of Coro. The buildings that have the highest level of protection (national monuments and buildings with total protection) are the ones that were most affected by the recent rains (50 and 83 % respectively). As to La Vela, although no detailed assessment of the damages was available, the mission noted a marked deterioration as compared to 2002 and that more than a quarter of the buildings is in critical conditions.
In addition, the mission observed a serious deterioration of the authenticity and integrity of the urban ensemble, particularly in La Vela. In 2002, 41% of the constructions had no heritage value, a situation that is aggravated by the deteriorated state of conservation of numerous historic structures as well as the construction of inappropriate walls and fences.
It should also be noted that in the framework of the bicentenary of the arrival of Francisco de Miranda, the municipality of Colina (the port of La Vela) is planning the construction of a new monument, a beach walkway and an entrance gate to the city. These are located along the beach in the buffer zone of the World Heritage site and in their present form, could have a considerable impact on the values of the site and disrupt the relation of the port city with the water.
As per Decision of the Committee (28 COM 15B.106), the World Heritage Centre in consultation with ICOMOS initiated the preparation of a SIRCHAL stakeholder workshop (Site International sur la Revitalisation des Centres Historiques des villes de l'Amérique Latine et Caraïbes) under the France-UNESCO Cooperation programme foreseen in Coro for the start of 2005 to contribute to the planning process. However, due to difficulties in communication and delays, this workshop did not take place.
The mission concluded that the property meets the following criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
- Serious deterioration of materials
- Serious deterioration of structures
- Serious deterioration of town-planning coherence
- Lack of conservation policy.
The mission confirmed the validity of the conclusions and recommendations of the reactive monitoring mission of 2002, identified elements for a programme of action to strengthen the management and conservation of the site and established the following benchmarks for the future assessment of the effectiveness of measures the State Party may take in response:
- Adoption and effective implementation of an Emergency Action Plan;
- Adoption and implementation of a comprehensive integrated Management Plan for the World Heritage property;
- Adoption and implementation of an effective Management Structure;
- Marked improvement of the state of conservation of the property, both in terms of individual structures and the urban ensembles of Coro and La Vela.
The World Heritage Centre transmitted, on 9 May 2005, the mission report to the national authorities of the State Party for comments. On 10 June 2005, at the time of the finalization of this report, no response had been received.