The State Party provided a report on the state of conservation of the property on 15 March 2010, which includes information on the actions implemented to comply with the Decisions of the World Heritage Committee, and on activities carried out to address the identified corrective measures.
From 19 – 23 April 2010, a joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was carried out at the property, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009).
a. State of conservation and consolidation projects
The State Party reports that the intervention study and projects have been concluded for the 15 buildings considered in the Priority Interventions Programme in August 2009, and were sent to the World Heritage Centre. It indicates that consolidation works were finalised at the Boy Scout’s meeting place and also that consolidation works were tendered for the Humberstone chimney, with financial resources from the Council of National Monuments (CMN), and was expected to be completed in March 2010. The report states that additional funding is being sought for interventions at the upper part of the Santa Laura Leaching Plant and for the Santa Laura Surgery. The State Party mentions that although elements exist to implement the emergency consolidation projects, limited funding has hindered its sustained implementation.
The reactive monitoring mission verified the state of conservation of the property and the interventions carried out to date. It noted that notwithstanding the existence of the intervention study, scientific studies for both metal and wood materials are still needed to understand the decay mechanisms, so as to better identify interventions that do not compromise the attributes of the property. The mission noted with concern the considerable damage that exists at some structures, particularly in Santa Laura, with some of them at imminent risk of collapse. Interventions need to consider the potential impacts on the authenticity and integrity of the property. The mission report also highlights the need to review some of the interventions carried out and identify more suitable solutions, particularly with regards to modern constructive systems that have been integrated and their compatibility with original materials.
The mission suggested organizing an international meeting to assist the State Party in identifying the required measures to stop or mitigate the degradation of wood and timber structures, and to provide the guidelines to ensure the conditions of authenticity and integrity of the property. The meeting will be organized in coordination with the International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH).
b. Buffer zone
The report submitted by the State Party indicates that no significant progress has been made with the protection of the buffer zone. The CMN has requested assistance in its definition, taking advantage of the Municipal Zoning plan. In addition, it is exploring whether the area can be effectively protected through a National Monuments Act. The Saltpeter Museum Corporation is working towards getting a concession over government owned land at the northern and eastern limits to manage areas where the Peña Chica Saltpeter works and the Don Guillermo camp are located, including nitrate extraction areas.
The State Party also reports that the perimeter fence was completely established, and as of November 2009, its maintenance is under the responsibility of the Saltpeter Museum Corporation. It indicated that the documentation to apply for the review of boundaries, as indicated in 2009, would be submitted after the mission.
The reactive monitoring mission noted the importance of reviewing the legislative framework to control activities at the buffer zone. It stated in particular the importance of regulating activities at the existing Iodine Factory to the south of Humberstone, to mitigate the visual impacts derived from the industrial buildings and to address environmental concerns, including dust generated during the extraction of materials.
The mission also verified the proposed new trace for the bypass of Route A-16. It noted that while the revised route has diminished impacts on Humberstone, it will create visual impacts on Santa Laura which is already in a vulnerable state. It also underscored the need to revise the proposed boundaries and buffer zone, taking into account the conditions at Santa Laura. It noted that once approved, efforts should be made to disseminate information on the proposed boundaries to avoid potential conflicts with neighbouring properties.
c. Management plan
The State Party reports that funding is being sought for the update and review of the management plan.
The mission noted that the management plan originally defined to be implemented between 2005 and 2009 was not implemented due to limited funding and resources. Although personnel have been assigned to the property, there is still insufficient collaboration for the implementation of actions at the property. The mission underscored the need to have personnel on site to coordinate the implementation of the management plan, and to define strategies to secure funding for its implementation.
d. Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and desired state of conservation
The State Party indicated in its report that the draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and the desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger would be discussed during the reactive monitoring mission. Attributes that sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property were briefly discussed during the reactive monitoring mission.
Within the framework of the Periodic Reporting exercise for the Region, the “Workshop on the preparation of the Retrospective Inventory, Retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value of the properties included in the World Heritage List and an introduction to the Second Cycle of the Periodic Reporting for the Latin America and the Caribbean Region” took place November 2009 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The focal point for Chile participated and was trained on how to produce the Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value which should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre by 31 July 2010.
The State Party reports that at least three more years are needed to fully comply with the corrective measures previously set forth.
e. Other issues
The State Party noted the efforts made by the Saltpeter Museum Corporation in promoting the property as a tourism destination and also works implemented to facilitate access and interpretation, including the recovery of movable heritage and historic documentation.
The reactive monitoring mission considers that cultural aspects of the Pampinos need to be effectively integrated in this respect, to create a stronger commitment to the conservation of the property and to highlight their role in the cultural process. It noted that information and capacity building is needed among tour guides to better understand and convey the significance of the property, and mentioned the need to create facilities for emergency medical services and other elements for civil protection.
In conclusion, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the progress made by the State Party in addressing concerns that caused the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. However, they remain concerned about the conditions affecting the structural stability of emblematic buildings, particularly at Santa Laura. They also note that interventions have to balance the potential impacts on the authenticity of the property with the need to secure the structural stability of the elements, and the importance of revising methodologies and materials for intervention to guarantee their appropriateness. They recognise the achieved progress in spite of limited funding, but highlight the need to secure the required resources to have a fully operational management system in place that can coordinate both interventions at the property and the management of the buffer zone.