At its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008) the World Heritage Committee requested the State Party to develop a draft Statement of Oustanding Universal Value, including the conditions of integrity and authenticity; to invite a joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS / ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to examine the state of conservation of the property and determine if it was under ascertained or potential threats; to submit a report on the progress made in implementing the Emergency action plan and in undertaking short-term remedial actions, and on the preparation of the conservation and management plan, for examination by the World Heritage Committee with a view to considering, in the absence of substantial progress, the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission took place in February 2009 (ICCROM was unable to attend). The mission report confirms that progress has been made on the Emergency action plan and the Conservation Plan as outlined in the State Party’s report below. However it notes that:
a) The responsible authority GACIM has identified that 20 buildings have collapsed completely, 40 private properties and 3 State owned ones are extremely decayed but still partially inhabited, and 38 private and two public owned properties that are decayed and inhabited;
b) GACIM needs a stronger legal context in relation to development and technical issues;
c) GACIM needs the services of a conservation architect on staff;
d) The Conservation Plan (partly covered by the Master Plan currently under preparation by the State Party) and the management plan are being funded with technical support by two different bodies and need to be properly coordinated so as to provide an integrated strategy and avoid duplication;
e) The underwater heritage around the island needs to be considered in relation to the buffer zone for the property, and a map showing the buffer zone needs to be provided;
f) The authenticity of the Macuti town is under threat in view of the changes that have occurred and are occurring, and the growing scarcity of traditional materials used for construction;
g) The lack of sewerage and water supply remain major problems, although projects funded by the Flemish community of Belgium and the Government of the Netherlands will go some way towards assisting with the latter.
The State Party reported in January 2009 as follows:
a) Emergency actions:
The inventory of buildings on the Island comprises 1749 immovable properties and 42 ruins. In response to the use of local radio, newspapers and letters to building owners and users aimed at promoting the care of heritage buildings, 37 buildings were rehabilitated including 4 religious buildings, 29 privately owned buildings and 4 State owned buildings. In relation to the effects of Cyclone Jokwe, which caused extensive damage across the Island in March 2008, the State Party has, with Portuguese assistance, provided funds for the repair of 495 houses in Macuti town– 330 house with traditional material (macuti) and 165 houses of conventional material.
b) Rehabilitation of the San Sebastian Fortress:
The first phase of the rehabilitation of the San Sebastian Fortress was completed in December 2008. However, as a consequence of damage caused by Cyclone Jokwe in March 2008, a site inspection by UNESCO and the contractor for the rehabilitation project identified a requirement for additional works over and above those that form part of the contract. The cyclone damaged parts of the lower defensive walls, including sections adjacent to the Nossa Senhora do Baluarte chapel and the cemetery, the structural stability of buildings and defences. A request for International Assistance has been submitted to cover the cost of these additional remedial works. It is proposed that this work will be carried out using the team and methodology currently in place for the San Sebastian Fortress rehabilitation project. However, ICOMOS has expressed concerns about the proposed materials and methodology which need to be addressed. The State Party was requested to provide the needed clarification before the request is considered for approval.
c) Master Plan:
The Master Plan is being developed with financial support from the African Development Bank. A number of actions taken include training (organised by UNESCO) of the staff of the responsible authority GACIM and the recruitment of 6 additional staff (but according to the mission report they have not been appointed), and creation of a Technical Commission of GACIM to consult on and co-ordinate interventions. Priority actions have been identified, including the improvement of infrastructure (sewerage and water supply), co-ordination with the municipal and other relevant authorities regarding heritage protection, establishing partnerships with colleagues in other countries who are experienced in the management of World Heritage, and promoting actions that enable employment opportunities and generate revenue. The State budget allocation for 2009 has been increased by 200% from 2008.
d) Management and conservation Plan
Funding for the management plan has been approved by the Programme Africa 2009.
The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS consider that although some progress has been made on addressing the Emergency action plan, through sensitising owners to the need to conserve their properties, the development of conservation and management plans and fund-raising, the property nevertheless remains under severe threat. There are threats to its integrity, through the collapse of buildings, and to its authenticity through the use of non-compatible and un-conventional materials in some restorations, and the overall sustainability of the property is vulnerable in terms of water collection and lack of active management. There remain particular problems with Macuti town where a lack of infrastructure, for both sewage and water, and support for sympathetic improvement and upgrading of buildings is absent.
Consistent and urgent progress still needs to be made and a clear, integrated and coordinated strategy for the property is still lacking. Although serious efforts have been made since the last mission report in February 2007, the situation on the Island of Mozambique remains critical.