1.         Aapravasi Ghat (Mauritius) (C 1227)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2006

Criteria  (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/1227/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1227/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Urban development;

b) Restoration works;

c) Visitor pressure.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1227/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 1 February 2011, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report. The report provides the following information:

a) Halting of demolition of historic buildings in the buffer zone

Subsequent to Decision 34 COM 7B.49, the Municipal Council of Port Louis, responsible authority for development controlling in the buffer zone, was requested by the Ministry of Arts and Culture, on 22 October 2010, not to allow any further demolition pending the coming into force of the Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) for the property. The report states that since then there has not been any demolition noted. Furthermore, all existing notices for pulling down buildings such as the Grade I building, commonly known as the WAQF building, have been halted.

b) Legal protection of the buffer zone and adoption of the Policy Planning Guidance

On 21 January 2011, the Government approved the request to amend the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund Act so as to provide a legal status to the property’s buffer zones. In view of complying with the request by the World Heritage Committee, the Government instituted a seven-member Ministerial Committee and Technical Committee to finalize the existing draft PPG. On 28 January 2011, the Government approved the Ministerial Committee’s recommendations and their issuance by the Ministry of Housing and Lands in accordance with Section 13(I) of the Planning and Development Act 2004. The PPG’s purpose is to control development in the buffer zones of Aapravasi Ghat in order to protect the property’s Outstanding Universal Value and to control, together with other existing tools, legitimate aspirations, development and change in the buffer zones. The report also states that the Technical Committee will primarily have the responsibility to assess all Heritage and Visual Impact Assessments as defined in the PPG. While the report informs that the PPG addresses in particular the issue of height restriction of future constructions, it also recognizes that the onus will remain on proponents willing to construct beyond the prescribed heights to demonstrate and substantiate the absence of negative impact by way of a full Heritage Impact Assessment. The PPG document was approved on 28 January 2011.

c) Preparation of the Management Plan for Aapravasi Ghat

The State Party informs that a Heritage Management Plan and a Conservation Manual are in preparation and would be ready by July 2011. These tools should facilitate the use of the PPG, guide the harmonization of the different systems of land use proposed in the PPG, set the institutional framework for a heritage-friendly management in the area, and guide interventions for the conservation and restoration of the historical buildings in the buffer zone.

d) Preparation of a tourism strategy

The report refers to the Visitor Management Plan of 2008 which will be reviewed in the course of the setting up of an interpretation centre. The centre is tentatively scheduled to open in November 2011. According to the report, the review of the Visitor Management Plan should include promotional and educational activities reflecting the objectives of the interpretation centre. The plan will be reviewed in close collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, and the Municipality of Port Louis.

e) Research on Indentured labour and inscription of Aapravasi Ghat archives on the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register

According to the report, the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund has sought the support of the Government to organize an international conference on indenture in December 2011, to help better understand the global impact of the indentured labour system. Regarding inscription on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, the State Party mentions that all necessary information is being compiled to be submitted by March 2012.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies acknowledge the approval of the PPG, yet remain greatly concerned that its enforcement may not succeed as it depends on the preparation and adoption of a comprehensive and integrated Management Plan.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies welcome the completion and approval of the PPG, which will have the effect of controlling the demolition of historic buildings within the buffer zone, a matter of concern since inscription. Nevertheless, they are greatly concerned that the PPG alone will not be sufficient to protect all aspects of the setting of the property without a management plan, requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), and specific conservation tools such as the Conservation Manual proposed by the State Party. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies therefore encourage the State Party to finalise and enforce these tools as soon as possible in the light of strong development pressures. In addition, there is a concern about the need for a structured system of coordination among key institutional stakeholders, which should underpin the delivery of the management plan.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.41

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.49, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Takes note of the State Party's official adoption of the Planning Policy Guidance, the main purpose of which is to control, together with other existing tools, the development, legitimate aspirations and change in the buffer zone of Aapravasi Ghat in order to protect the property's Outstanding Universal Value;

4. Acknowledges the progress made in undertaking research on indentured labour;

5. Regrets that the State Party has not completed the Management Plan for the property which impedes the full enforcement of the Planning Policy Guidance, and urges for a finalization of the plan before September 2011;

6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to prepare as a matter of urgency a structured system of coordination among key institutional stakeholders for the implementation of the Management Plan and the Conservation Manual in order to allow full enforcement of the Planning Policy Guidance;

7. Encourages the State Party to continue halting any demolition or any inadequate development in the buffer zone until the Management Plan and the Conservation Manual are prepared;

8. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the property, to assess the effectiveness of the implementation of the Planning Policy Guidance in sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.