1.         Coro and its Port (Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)) (C 658)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1993

Criteria  (iv)(v)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/658/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/658/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

July-August 2002: joint UNESCO/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/658/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003

WHC:

Following the receipt of several letters expressing concern about the management of the site, and with regard to potential damage caused by heavy rains, the Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre addressed, on 4 January 2001, a letter to the authorities of Venezuela requesting information on the state of conservation and management of the World Heritage site. The President of the Institute for Cultural Heritage of Venezuela responded by letter dated 16 April 2002 informing that among other matters, the management structure for Coro and its Port had been abolished. He requested a joint UNESCO-ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to address the following issues:

·  The abolition of the existing management structure;

·  The impact of external factors such as the heavy rains;

·  The definition of new strategies for the conservation and management of the site.

The mission was undertaken from 29 July to 2 August 2002. The report of the mission was transmitted to the authorities on 14 February 2003. To date, no response has been received from Venezuela. The text below is an excerpt of the executive summary of the mission report.

“Since its inscription in the World Heritage List, important changes have taken place in the management structure of the site. In 1995, a corporation –Corporación Mariano Talavera– was created with the specific task to manage and preserve the historical towns of Coro and La Vela. Although the corporation was able to undertake important activities, particularly an inventory and the preparation of a rehabilitation project, the board of the corporation decided its abolition in 2001. Since then, there has been a lack of definition of responsibilities and institutions have been competing for power and authority. The National Institute for Cultural Heritage –IPC- has had difficulties to assume its responsibilities due to severe limitations in financial and human resources. The municipal institutes for cultural heritage, both created in response to the collapse of the corporation, are too new and lack resources to assume full responsibilities. There are no co-ordinating mechanisms between these two municipal institutes to ensure a coherent planning for both parts of the World Heritage site. To date, no agreed management plan or master plan exists and decisions have been and are being taken on an ad-hoc basis. There is no common vision on the values, the importance and the future of the historic areas. Under the present conditions it is difficult to envisage a common approach to the two World Heritage areas of Coro and La Vela. The state of conservation of the site has deteriorated since its inscription on the World Heritage List. Although some individual buildings and the pavements and walkways are in relative good conditions, the overall state of conservation of the ensemble and the urban context is bad. There are strong indications that the World Heritage site meets the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

·  the management structure for the World Heritage site collapsed and no new structure has been established;

·  there is a serious deterioration in the architectural and urban coherence and integrity;

·  there is no management plan;

·  there is no conservation plan.

In order to revert this situation, decisive action and the immediate implementation of the recommendations formulated by the expert mission are required. Before considering the inscription of the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger, the Venezuelan authorities, particularly the IPC, should be given the opportunity to consider the recommendations and to propose new mechanisms for co-ordination, planning and action. A re-evaluation of the situation during the course of 2003 will be necessary. The benefits of an inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger should be considered in this process.”

ICOMOS:

ICOMOS wishes to draw the attention of the State Party to the need to pursue the conservation work of the buildings that have been damaged following the 1999 earthquake, or that are in a bad state of conservation, and to prevent any further demolition.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

N/A

Decision Adopted: 27 COM 7B.102

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Takes note of the report of the UNESCO/ICOMOS mission;

2. Expresses its serious concerns about the lack of adequate management, planning and conservation mechanisms for the property;

3. Urges the State Party to consider and implement the recommendations of the UNESCO/ICOMOS mission and requests the State Party to submit a progress report on this matter by 15 October 2003;

4. Authorizes the Chairperson of the Committee to consider the State Party's progress report and to approve, if deemed necessary, a second UNESCO/ICOMOS mission that should prepare a report by 1 February 2004 on the implementation of the mission's recommendations as well as an assessment as to whether the property meets the conditions for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

5. Decides to examine the state of conservation of the property at its 28th session in 2004.