At its 33rd session in 2009 (Seville), the World Heritage Committee expressed satisfaction of the efforts of the State Party in regard to the first phase of rehabilitation of San Sebastian Fortress and the considerable work to deal with damage caused by Cyclone Jokwe. At the same time, the Committee expressed ongoing concern about the conditions of historic structures in the town and the lack of adequate planning instruments which were affecting the authenticity of the property. The Committee also indicated that in the absence of substantial progress, it might consider inscribing the property on the World Heritage List in Danger at its 34th session.
The World Heritage Centre received a report on the state of conservation of the property from the State Party on 19 February 2010, which detailed the progress in response to recommendations made by the 33rd session of World Heritage Committee.
In April of 2010, a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission was invited by the State Party to assess progress of the Emergency action plan as well as the steps for implementation of the recommendations of the previous monitoring mission. Due to the ash cloud over Europe in April 2010, the experts from the World Heritage Centre and ICCROM were unable to travel to Mozambique, and the mission, therefore, was carried out only by the ICOMOS expert.
a) Ongoing rehabilitation of the Saint Sebastian Fortress
The State Party reports that the first phase of the rehabilitation of the Saint Sebastian Fortress was completed successfully in 2009, including the removal of damaging vegetation, the structural repair and reinforcement of the walls and other structures, the repair of the roof and water collection system, and the restoration of part of the fort for use as an administrative wing and visitor centre. Before beginning the next phase, a provisional management committee for the fortress has been established to be overseen by the Museum of the Island of Mozambique.
The mission visited the fortress and confirmed that the majority of work had been carried out positively. The mission did report, however, some ongoing problems with vegetation as well as with leaking roofs. The State Party indicated that they were aware of the problems and were pursuing solutions. The mission also pointed out the need to ensure that the local population is able to utilize the fortress for community based activities in addition to its role as a tourist site.
b) Human and financial resources for conservation and management
In regard to human resources, the State Party reports that two technicians, an architect and a tourism specialist, were recruited in 2009 for the Island of Mozambique Conservation Office (GACIM), made possible by additional funding provided to the GACIM by the Government of Mozambique. The State Party also reports that 4 technicians took part in internships in heritage management in Portugal funded by the Portuguese Institute for Development Assistance (IPAD). IPAD also financed two architects (one Portuguese and one Danish) to reinforce the staff at the GACIM. A short mission was also undertaken to Denmark to collect documentation from the 1980s by the School of Architecture of Aahrus. Staff from the GACIM is also active in the Organization of World Heritage Cities network.
The mission reported positively on the additional staff already recruited, and noted that an additional five technicians were scheduled to be employed in the near future. The mission also noted, however, that even with this additional staff, the GACIM is still short of the full contingent necessary for the proper management of the property.
The mission further noted that the amount of financial resources for conservation and conservation-related activities seems to have risen since the last mission. It stated that while most of these did not come directly from the State Party, it was important that the State Party was able to harness funding from a variety of sources for ongoing work. It cautioned, however, that there was a need to ensure coordination to avoid duplication and ensure that the true priorities of the property are dealt with first.
c) Degradation of the historical fabric and the collapse of buildings
In regard to rehabilitation of the historic fabric, the State Party reports that 25 private and public buildings have undergone restoration work. In addition, there were 20 worksites in operation at the time of the report, and 12 additional requests for permits being considered. Owners with buildings in advanced states of disrepair were notified in writing of the need to prepare a plan for rehabilitation of those buildings.
The mission found that the situation in regard to collapsed buildings had improved considerably since the last mission with no collapses in the intervening period. It reported that the State Party had also made strong efforts to clean and clear those buildings that had collapsed previously. The mission did report, however, that there had been some collapses of fencing walls.
The mission further reported that the GACIM and Municipality had become stricter in regard to repairs and constructions not in conformity with the historic environment in the Stone Town. The mission reported several projects that were stopped and/or demolished. Such actions have served as examples for those implementing projects at the property.
The mission did report, however, that there were still serious problems in relation to the transformations of urban space in the Macuti Town, affecting both the urban layout and traditional layout of individual houses, and to the use of modern building materials, both which affect the authenticity of the property. The GACIM and the municipality have yet to be able to implement the necessary planning controls to stop illegal development which has a negative effect on this part of the property. In addition, the question of building materials is of particular importance as there is an ongoing conflict between the use of the traditional materials and the need for a more sustainable development and improvement of quality of life for residents. These issues will need to be resolved in order to ensure a better state of conservation for the property as a whole.
d) Improvement of infrastructure, and in particular sewage and water systems
The State Party reports that it is in the process of producing a sustainable development plan for the Macuti Town as per the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee. In the meantime, an inventory of existing sanitary infrastructure has been carried out, and 34 sanitation facilities (out of 166 foreseen) have been constructed in the Macuti Town. The World Bank and the Government of Australia are also currently funding a plan to modernize and augment the supply of potable drinking water to the island. A plan to pave the road from the San Sebastian Fortress to the port and other roads to be determined is also underway coordinated by the municipal council and financed by the National Authority for Roads.
The mission also reported on the various initiatives to improve both water supply and sewage, including those mentioned above and others being carried out by the government of Portugal and the municipality. The mission notes that these projects show a positive effort by the State Party to improve the situation. It does point out, however, that there is a need to better control and coordinate all of these efforts to ensure that they produce the maximum benefit for the local residents.
e) Implementation of stronger legal framework
The State Party reports that the legal framework for the protection of the heritage of the Island of Mozambique is under revision. It, however, gives no further details on the actions being undertaken.
f) Delineation of the buffer zone to include concern for underwater heritage
The State Party reports that there is ongoing discussion amongst the local and national authorities as well as local community on the need to create a buffer zone to protect the cultural and natural heritage in its entirety, including underwater archaeological sites. No further details are provided.
g) Finalization of the management plan and other planning controls
The State Party reports that through the financial and technical assistance of the AFRICA 2009 Programme and the Africa World Heritage Fund, the management plan is close to being completed. Three consultation meetings were held in 2009, and the mission reports that a final stakeholder meeting will take place in the near future to allow for its finalization. The mission was shown a copy of the draft plan and told that it should be ready for implementation in the near future.
The State Party also reports the organization of regular meetings of an inter-ministerial commission to discuss activities and projects that will affect the conservation of the Island of Mozambique. In addition, the GACIM has developed a master list of projects which may affect the state of conservation of the property.
The mission found that the development control situation had improved considerably in the past year. In addition to the work on the management plan and the coordination of activities by the inter-ministerial commission, the mission reports the existence of an advisory technical commission co-chaired by the municipality and the GACIM with membership of many key institutions on the island. This commission has allowed for a more open and transparent process of decision making. The only problem reported by the mission was the non-arrival of technical equipment which would make the planning control process easier.
The mission also reported that the State Party has recently put into force a new National Monuments Policy and National Cultural Policy. Both these documents have been approved at the Cabinet Level showing the commitment at the highest levels to conservation of the cultural heritage.
The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies note the many positive steps taken by the State Party in the past year. Efforts have been made to implement the emergency action plan including stopping the collapse of historic urban fabric, cleaning the town, and stopping illegal developments. Improvements in sewage and water supply are also underway. Further, it should be noted that the State Party has funded two additional positions within the GACIM and are continuing with the completion of the management plan. A most valuable contribution to the management plan is the architectural survey on both Stone Town and Macuti Town, which was conducted in early 2010 by a Mozambican architectural consultant team with the support of Mozambican architecture students. With funding from the World Heritage Cities Programme (Netherlands) and the Flemish Government, the survey was produced together with a study on the vernacular architecture in Macuti Town and submitted to the World Heritage Centre in April 2010. Both documents should inform the management plan and should be duly taken into consideration for the finalization.
The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies remain concerned however, with the continued problems facing the Macuti Town in regard to illegal developments, the loss of open space, and the use of inappropriate materials. These issues need to be discussed fully and proper solutions developed to allow for necessary development, while ensuring that the authenticity of the property is not compromised further. For this reason, the State Party is encouraged to finish the sustainable development plan for the Macuti Town mentioned in its report. It is also hoped that these issues are covered within the management plan that is nearing its completion. In this regard, it would be useful for the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies to have a copy of the draft management plan as soon as possible, to ensure that these issues are addressed.
The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies also note that steps have been made to coordinate the various development and conservation projects, but are concerned that such efforts still need to be strengthened to ensure that there is no wasted effort or overlap.
The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies also note that although the State Party reports on actions taken to improve the legislative framework and buffer zones, there is little information as to the substantive progress made.
In summary, the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies feel an important progress has been made by the State Party in the past year, but more efforts are needed in order to consolidate gains and deal with serious problems (particularly in the Macuti Town) that still need to be addressed.