1.         Colonial City of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) (C 526)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1990

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(vi)

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/526/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1990-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 82,207
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/526/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

August 2001: ICOMOS monitoring mission; December 2009: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; January 2014: ICOMOS advisory mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/526/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

An ICOMOS advisory mission visited the property in January 2014. Subsequently, the State Party submitted a State of conservation report on 6 February 2014, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/526/documents/

Progress in the implementation of recommendations of the World Heritage Committee is reported as follows:

Even though the State Party Report does not refer to the approval of the Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, it informs about some progress made regarding its implementation:

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

Conservation and management efforts have been made by the State Party, in particular by the National Directorate of Monumental Heritage and the Municipality of the National District, to ensure the protection of the property. Some neighbours' associations and business groups promote and take actions contributing to improve the conditions of the Colonial City. The importance of finalising the approval process for the buffer zone at Santo Domingo East and its corresponding regulatory measures, to ensure the protection of the property and the adequate management of large-scale development, should be stressed.

There are however some concerns related to the property are in a process of control and reorientation such as the Sansouci Project, Subway Number 6 and Programme for the Promotion of Tourism at the Colonial City. As underscored by the mission, the Sansouci Project has been modified according to the recommendations made and revised designs have been produced. However, work is required for the definition of clear design parameters to be determinate by a working group of local architects, international experts, ICOMOS and Sansouci architects. The resulting final design would need to be submitted for review prior to making any commitments to its implementation and should take into account the attributes of the property and ensure that potential negative impact are mitigated, so the Sansouci Project does not become a threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. These include the control in terms of the high quality of urban and architectural design, achieving the best views of the river and providing the City with large public and attractive cultural/commercial activities. In addition, it is recommended to lower land occupation density and to eliminate the boutique hotel located on the corner close to Punta Torrecillas so as to provide more public space. The revised proposals submitted in the additional information received in March 2014 do not seem to indicate the occupational density has been reduced and this essential recommendation needs to be taken into account prior to granting the approval for the development. ICOMOS would reiterate that at this stage a blanket approval for the overall development is being sought and that architectural projects and development for each of the building components will need to be closely monitored to ensure high quality design that does not compromise the qualities of the property.

In relation to Subway Number 6, even feasibility studies have been undertaken; the Advisory Mission noted that excavations and other works under the Colonial City might be risky, especially considering the high vulnerability of old structures like the Cathedral. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to perform Heritage Impact Assessments and analyse other alternatives, e.g.: creating a light transportation system to circulate within the historic core of the city. Regarding the Programme for the Promotion of Tourism in the Colonial City, financed by the Inter-American Development Bank, work is on track and, while some coordination exists between heritage and tourism entities, it is important to ensure that the Ministry of Culture, through the National Directorate of Monumental Heritage, be fully involved in the implementation of the project Furthermore, very large cruise ships are often anchored by the property, which obstructs views. Studies regarding these issues and potential alternatives for solutions need to be undertaken.

It is considered that although measures have been implemented, there are gaps that need to be addressed in relation to technical capacities, secured resources for interventions at heritage buildings, adoption of legislative frameworks and addressing overlapping mandates and duplication of functions in institutions related to the property. Finally, the risk preparedness preparation and management needs to be prioritized and a plan is needed on this matter.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.42

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.95, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Acknowledges the efforts made by the State Party to fund and organise the advisory mission conducted in January 2014 and encourages it to implement the recommendations contained in the mission report;
  4. Recognizes the efforts made by national and municipal authorities in implementing recommendations to control concerns for the property such as Subway Number 6, the Programme for the Promotion of Tourism financed by an Inter-American Development Bank project at the Colonial City and the Sansouci Project; as well as the work of neighbours’ associations and private investment groups to promote and take actions contributing to improve the conditions of the Colonial City;
  5. Considers that all projects or actions affecting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and undertaken by any international, governmental, non-governmental or private entity, including the Inter-American Development Bank project, must involve and be approved by the institution responsible for the protection of the property;
  6. Requests the State Party to implement the following and ensure specific and realistic timeframes are applied:
    1. Finalize the process for approval of the buffer zone in East Santo Domingo and its corresponding regulatory measures,
    2. Finalize the approval process for the new Law for the Protection, Safeguarding and Development of Cultural Heritage and ensure that its provisions are integrated into planning tools for the property,
    3. Improve management capacities and secure adequate resources for sustained implementation of conservation, protection and management actions, specially concerning the full functioning of the Steering Committee and the Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo,
    4. Identify alternatives to address transportation issues and develop Heritage Impact Assessments for the Subway project and submit them to the World Heritage Centre for review prior to making any commitments for implementation,
    5. Review the occupation-open space ratio of the Sansouci development project and define parameters for the further design of specific projects to ensure that potential negative impacts to the visual qualities of the setting of the property are mitigated,
    6. Ensure that design parameters for architectural projects consider the attributes that convey OUV and the conditions of integrity and authenticity of the property and that, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines , the revised development project and specific building designs be submitted for review prior to commencing implementation;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2015, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E,
  2. Congratulates the States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in their territories;
  3. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC:

    EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA:

    LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARRIBBEANS:

    4.  Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in priority;
    5.  Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

    6.  Takes note that the World Heritage Centre is in the process of harmonising all sub-headings in the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value and, as appropriate, reflects name changes of World Heritage properties throughout the text of the Statements as requested by the Committee at its 37th session, and requests the World Heritage Centre to also update the size of the property and/or its buffer zone, as appropriate, following subsequent Decisions of the World Heritage Committee concerning Minor Boundary Modifications.
    7.  Requests the States Parties to provide support to the World Heritage Centre for translation of the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value into English or French respectively, and finally requests the Centre to upload the two language versions on its website.