In its report submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 1 February 2008, the State Party presented the progress in implementing the decisions of the World Heritage Committee:
Emergency Action Plan
An Emergency Plan has been prepared for the Cabinet of Conservation of Mozambique Island and it includes the following major activities:
1. An inventory of immovable properties existing in the Island. The inventory indicates that there are 1,192 immovable properties in Macuti town, 557 in the Stone town and 42 ruins;
2. A letter directed to the owners of the ruins to sensitize them about their obligations to restore and make use of them.
As a result, the report states that many ruins have been now properly maintained with a better appearance. No further details are provided for the Plan or for any short-term remedial actions.
A request has been made to the Africa 2009 Programme to assist with the preparation of a conservation and management plan. This request will be considered by the Africa 2009 steering committee at its next meeting.
The State Party also reported that in 2007, the Portuguese Government allocated USD 250,000 to the African Development Bank for the preparation of a Master Plan to be started in 2008. No further information has been received on this allocation. There is clearly a need, if this project goes ahead, for the Master Plan to be strongly linked to the proposed management plan.
Timetable for the restoration of the San Sebastian Fortress
Based on an architectural survey, an implementation strategy has been devised for 2007-8 and for a budget of USD 1 million. This includes:
a) removal of all invasive vegetation;
b) structural consolidation and repair;
c) rehabilitation of the original water collection and storage system;
d) construction of a new cistern to provide a source of water for use by the local population;
e) provision of basic infrastructural services and facilities;
f) restoration of one building to accommodate facilities, to set restoration standards and to provide on-the-job training for local craftsmen.
g) appointment of a site manager in January 2008, the letting of a main contract in January 2008 and fund-raising for a subsequent phase II. Phase I is due for completion in December 2008.
Raising awarenees on World Heritage values
No progress has yet been made on this but a project to sensitise stakeholders on the value and significance of the Island of Mozambique, and on the Convention, has been included as part of an International Assistance request.
The State Party also reported on the completion of the restoration project for Casa Girassol one of the main monuments on the island. This has been accomplished with the support of the City of Bergen and will act as an exemplar for conservation work on the Island.
Overall progress has been made in addressing the conservation of the San Sebastian Fortress and in applying for assistance for finalizing the conservation and management plan and these, together with the work on Casa Girassol are to be welcomed.
At its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), the World Heritage Committee reaffirmed its great concern “that the Island of Mozambique continues to be threatened by serious degradation of its historical monuments and urban structure and is in danger of loosing its authenticity”. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are concerned that very little progress has been made in addressing the fundamental problems affecting the outstanding universal value of the property. They consider that there is a need to raise the profile of this property in order to mobilize support for a coordinated action from the international community. They recommend a reactive monitoring mission from the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in order to assess the extent of the degradation of the property and the threats affecting its outstanding universal value. The mission would also identify, in consultation with the relevant authorities, a Desired state of conservation, the corrective measures needed and the timeframe for implementation.