a) Planning and Legal Framework
The State Party report, received on 1 April 2010, notes that there has been a recent positive progress in developing plans and legal frameworks for the management of the Stone Town of Zanzibar.
As a part of a Swedish International Development Assistance (SIDA) initiative, a Heritage Management Plan was developed in a participatory process and the final document has now been submitted to the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority (STCDA). The State Party states that the Heritage Management Plan proposes new integrated strategies to control land uses, open spaces, traffic planning and visitor management and that a clear action plan has been proposed. Overall, the lack of public awareness of heritage value has been perceived as contributing to the gradual erosion of the historic town, but that the process of preparing the Heritage Management Plan is reported to have empowered and informed stakeholders.
However it is noted that there remain considerable challenges for the management and conservation of the historic town and the work with the Zanzibar Municipality Council. As a parallel initiative, SIDA is reported to have assisted in improving capacity in human resources and equipment, specifically with the Documentation Centre, which is intended to serve as a research and coordination unit and host for the proposed GIS database.
At its 32nd session meeting, the World Heritage Committee requested that the State Party review their 1994 legislation. SIDA has now also financed this initiative, which is reported to cover issues of STCDA empowerment and the design of a structure for stakeholder involvement in development issues. The STCDA Act was passed by the House of Representatives on 25 March 2010, and awaits assent by the President.
b) Conservation of the urban fabric
The State Party notes the difficulties encountered with the rapid development of tourism, the increasing numbers of vehicles, and the material deterioration of ‘soft’ building fabric.
An inventory of the public spaces in Zanzibar was completed in January 2010 by the Centre for World Heritage Studies of the College of Design at Minnesota University, in coordination with the STCDA and the World Heritage Centre in the framework of the UNESCO Netherlands Funds in Trust.
This inventory was undertaken with the input of Tanzanian university students and civil servants and should serve as an additional management tool for the conservation of the property.
The State Party reports that it is ‘programming the possibility’ of documenting the rest of the historic warehouses remaining in the Port area so as to ensure that they are not demolished or altered without its approval. The State Party reports that traffic planning for one-way streets is in progress as well as planning for parking spaces with a concern for ample provision of open spaces for children. The Forodhani Park Project is shown completed with the support of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the overall 2010 State Party report conclusions mirror those presented in 2008, with an emphasis on requesting financial and technical assistance for training, analysis and planning. They also note that as recommended in the 2008 joint UNESCO/ICOMOSMission Report the work of recording the warehouses is urgent, and a commitment for their documentation is needed.
c) Malindi Port Project
At its 32nd session meeting (Quebec City, 2008) the World Heritage Committee requested that the State Party carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment which would include a 3-5 year monitoring project, in order to assess, and enable measures to mitigate, potential negative impacts of the 2008 Malindi Port project, which it regretted had already commenced. Similarly, at its 31st session meeting one year earlier, the World Heritage Committee had requested an independent Environmental Impact Assessment, prior to any approval of the proposed port project which it requested to be developed in consultation with the World Heritage Centre (31 COM 7B.49). The State Party has not met either of these requests. The port project has now been completed without the requested Environmental Impact Assessment, or related monitoring of the project’s potentially negative effects, as identified by the 2008 joint UNESCO/ICOMOS mission.
In its April 2010 State of conservation report, the State Party, represented by STCDA, the latter regrets that it could not complete ‘all process of facilitating the independent Environment Impact Assessment before the due date as requested by the World Heritage Committee. It also notes that they are ‘continuing to take some initiatives in monitoring the impact of the project’. There are no monitoring details provided and the monitoring section of the report (III.2) contains no information, as was the case in the 2008 State Party’s state of conservation report.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that these statements need to be clarified. The continued lack of any Environmental Impact Assessment or monitoring arrangements for the Malindi Port Project despite several requests from the World Heritage Committee - is of great concern considering that:
· The port development has the potential to alter the waterfront conditions and the coastal morphology,
· There are existing resources, including completed hydraulic baseline studies undertaken by the European Commission during the feasibility-study phase of the wharf project, and a Beach Erosion Study reported to be undertaken by the Department of the Environment Zanzibar, which could have formed a starting point for impact assessments and monitoring actions.
The State Party reports that they would try to include the long due Environmental Impact Assessment of the Malindi Port within the on-going Environmental and Social Impact Assessment undertaken by the World Bank for the proposed Sea Front Project phase II.
Finally, a previous project that included dredging in the Ferry terminal area, and extracting and depositing large amounts of sand into the nearby wetland was also undertaken without an Environmental Impact Assessment.
d) Sea Front project – Phase II:
The State Party report notes that a part of the deteriorated seawall was re-constructed in the framework of the Aga Khan Project for the Forodhani Park improvement.
A separate document, Zanzibar Seafront Phase II, was provided to the World Heritage Centre by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture as the second phase to the recently completed Forodhani Park improvement project; both projects are funded by the World Bank and implemented by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
This second project involves the restoration of the sea front wall along Mizingani Road with its grand facades of buildings such as the Old Customs’ House and the former Grand Hotel. The document shows ‘before’ and ‘after’ views of the sea wall. The after views show an enlargement of the sea front road towards the sea, a reconstruction of the sea front wall and various civic works such as new benches, paving, trees, and road surface. The illustrations show a substantially rehabilitated waterfront, including a continuous and elevated promenade on landfill and a substantial increase in the hard surface area. The waterfront is shown with a new and extended retaining wall, resulting in a higher elevation of the road above these, eliminating the sandy beach edge characteristic of part of the historic Mizingani Road.
STCDA states that there is a further initiative for ‘the northern part of the sea wall’ to be constructed under the same World Bank project and that it is scheduled to commence this year. STCDA reports that it is working with the World Bank to ensure that all ‘safeguards, social, cultural and environmental issues are met’. The World Heritage Centre was informed that an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment would be completed on 24 May 2010 and could include considerations over the 2009 Malindi port wharf project.
The Report notes the State Party’s intention to inform the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS of their proposed projects, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the Report on the overall Seafront project has a substantial impact on the property and await the results of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for review by ICOMOS. They consider that further work to the foreshore and the seawall project should be halted until a full appraisal can be made of their impact on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value and of their appropriateness.
e) Statement of Outstanding Universal Value
Arising from decisions of the 31st session, the World Heritage Committee requested that a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, including the conditions of integrity and authenticity, be developed for examination in 2009. The State Party submitted a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value following its report.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the continuing difficulties over progress to halt the gradual erosion of fabric in the historic town and the lack of progress with documenting the historic warehouses in the port area. Although work on the management plan, and protective legislation is to be welcomed and should help to raise awareness and provide the necessary framework for future conservation, they consider that work on documenting the warehouses must be carried out urgently.
Finally, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies express serious concern that there has been no progress to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment on and regular monitoring of the Malindi port project; they wait the submission of the results of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the Sea Front Project, for review by ICOMOS, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.