A report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party on 1 February 2011. From 23 to 31 January 2011, an ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was carried out, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010). The mission report is available online at the following web address:http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/35COM.
a) Malindi Port
The State Party reports that works have now been completed and the Port is fully operational. Problems have arisen due to the lack of completion of the passenger terminal, which causes congestion, and the landing of craft at the Shangani Beach. It notes that this will be addressed by using another area within the Port for landing. The Zanzibar Port Corporation has agreed to carry out the environmental auditing, using the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Sea Wall extension as baseline documentation, but the State Party notes that funding might be requested from the World Heritage Centre to implement it. It is not clear how the results from the environmental audit will be used to put in place a 3-5 year monitoring project for the port area as requested by the World Heritage Committee. No timeframe has been provided for the implementation of this request.
The mission states that the monitoring of the project will be carried out by the Zanzibar Port Corporation and the first report is expected by March 2011, based on which the number and timescale of other reports will be defined. It notes that some environmental changes, like the increase in wave height, have been observed but these have yet to be monitored.
b) Sea Front Project Phase II
An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment on the planned Sea Front Project was submitted to the World Heritage Centre in July 2010 for review. The project, planned to begin in early 2011, will refurbish infrastructure for services (water and storm sewers, electricity and telecommunications) below Mizingani Road, resurface the road itself, and create a pedestrian area. The project is likely to receive financial support from the World Bank and the Aga Khan Development Network.
The mission evaluated the proposal and noted that there is a need to harmonise future refurbishment projects at open spaces to ensure that visual harmony is maintained in consideration to the historic attributes of the property.
c) Management system and legislative arrangements
The State Party reports a new Act for the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority (STCDA) was passed in July 2010 and this is expected to significantly improve the conditions of the property by providing additional funding, capacity for enforcement of regulations and application of sanctions and the creation of a stakeholder’s forum to broaden consultation in regard to interventions at the property.
The mission noted that due to the recent approval of the new arrangements, it is difficult to ascertain at this point how efficiently they operate. It underscored that cooperation between key institutions exists but communication can be improved. Human and financial resources remain limited for ensuring effective and sustainable implementation of the Heritage Management Plan.
d) Current conservation conditions
The State Party reports that work has continued on the implementation of the Heritage Management Plan; a series of goals have been identified for the preservation of built heritage and the historical environment and also to address tourism development pressures; a traffic management plan has been developed and is currently under review prior to implementation. No precise information is provided on the actual implementation of actions prescribed in the Heritage Management Plan.
The mission noted a series of factors that currently affect the property and which need to be adequately monitored. The monitoring process is expected to improve by implementing a Geographic Information System (GIS). Factors include pressures to meet the demands of tourism development, poverty and living conditions of the Stone Town inhabitants, over-occupation of buildings due to limited housing opportunities, changes in land uses, traffic congestion and management of waste. The mission also noted that decay of the historic fabric continues given the limited interventions carried out to date. Illegal constructions have also continued to affect the overall setting of the property. Further, the control and regulations in the buffer zone have yet to be fully addressed. The mission also noted that there are several planned projects for the property including the reorganisation of the northern part of the port and development for commercial activities, as well as interventions in the House of Wonders and at the Tippu Tip House. Because these projects entail major interventions, they need to be submitted for review prior to their approval and implementation, as per paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.
As for new constructions, the mission expressed concern regarding a proposal by the Kempinski Group to build a hotel using in part the Mambo Msiige historic building and the adjacent designated public space. As per letters dated 19 January 2011, and 8 March 2011, the World Heritage Centre alerted the State Party to the potential risk of Danger Listing as the proposed development could fall under conditions set out in Paragraphs 178 and 179 of the Operational Guidelines and requested the Government’s position in this regard. At the time of writing this report, no response has been received.