1.         Island of Mozambique (Mozambique) (C 599)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1991

Criteria  (iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/599/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1994-2009)
Total amount approved: USD 209,880
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/599/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: For the rehabilitation of the Saint Sebastian Fortress: USD 1,108,078 by Japan Funds in Trust; USD 526,015 by UCCLA; USD 397,122 by Portugal/IPAD; USD 270,000 by Flanders Funds in Trust; USD 729,729 by the Netherlands Funds in Trust. For other conservation and management projects: USD 50,000 by World Heritage Cities Programme (Netherlands); USD 89,000 by IPAD; USD 23,175 by Africa 2009; USD 13,450 by AWHF.

Previous monitoring missions

2005, 2006, 2007, 2008: World Heritage Centre missions; February 2007: ICOMOS mission; February 2009: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; April 2010: ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Management Plan not yet finalized;

b) Growing number of collapsed or seriously dilapidated buildings;

c) Threats to authenticity through unsympathetic repairs;

d) Lack of development control;

e) Lack of adequate sewage and water systems;

f) Lack of adequate financial and human resources.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/599/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

An ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was undertaken from 22 to 25 April 2010, to assess the state of conservation of the property. The subsequent World Heritage Decision 34 COM 7B.50 commended the State Party for its work in bringing about considerable improvements, but expressed concern over some aspects of the conservation, in particular the uncontrolled development in Macuti Town and the insufficient number of technical staff in charge of management issues. It requested copies of the Management Plan for approval and the submission of a state of conservation report by 1 February 2012. The mission report also mentioned that further work was required on buildings’ stabilization and the still inadequate provision of sanitation.

On 18 March 2012 the State Party sent a state of conservation report in Portuguese to the World Heritage Centre along with a document concerning the revision of the buffer zone’s delimitation. The English version of the report was received on 30 April 2012.

a) Uncontrolled development in Macuti Town

The 2010 mission reported that the authenticity of Macuti Town was threatened by uncontrolled development impacting on the historic urban features. It had therefore urged the cessation of all new development and welcomed the authorities’ consideration to relocate some residents. It also noted unsatisfactory water and sewerage conditions in the property, especially in Macuti Town, including the abandonment of the effective traditional water storage.

The State Party reports that relocation of residents to newly established residential plots has been planned, with 53 requests for relocation received in 2010. In addition, new sanitation facilities both for the Macuti Town and the new residential areas have been constructed and operations are in progress to sanitize and designate beaches for leisure purposes. The World Bank, with Australian Funds, intends to develop a programme of water supply mainly to Macuti and the new Millennium Village on the main land and the Conservation Office of Mozambique Island (GACIM) has recommended the recuperation of elements of the historic water storage system for this pupose.

The report describes the resurfacing of the coast road in the eastern zone of Mozambique Island improving flood control. Further, a study of 180 houses out of 1330 in Macuti Town undertaken in 2010 with funding from the Flemish Government has been added to the built heritage archive of GACIM.

b) Management Plan and its implementation

The 2010 mission had recommended increasing efforts for the implementation of the 2006 Emergency Plan especially with regard to sustainable emergency conservation of buildings, development control measures in Macuti Town, and an enhanced participatory approach to conservation and management.

The State Party reports that the completed Management Plan has been approved by the Ministry of Culture in 2010 and three copies (in Portuguese with an executive summary in English) have been sent to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies.

The report states that the Ministry of Culture, with the support of the World Heritage Centre and in the framework of the World Heritage Cities Programme, organized, in 2011, a seminar on the management approach for Historic Urban Landscapes with funding from the Flemish Funds in Trust to debate issues of appropriate conservation, management and sustainable housing in the property. Subsequent field research conducted in partnership between the regional Lúrio University (Mozambique), Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands) and University of Minnesota (USA), surveyed open spaces on the island and developed a cadastral map for GACIM to strengthen management tools. The results of the work were presented to stakeholders on the island.

c) Capacity building and Increase of Technical staff in GACIM

The 2010 mission and Decision 34COM 7B.50 encouraged the employment of further technical staff to improve the management of the property.

The State Party reports that the necessary administrative measures are being taken to prioritise employment by GACIM of further architects, researchers and technicians; furthermore, training of civil servants in heritage matters has been undertaken and new agreements have been established whereby staff for management of the Underwater Heritage Area are to be retained and recruited.

In 2011, the State Party organized a stakeholders’ seminar to raise awareness and discuss the potential ratification of the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. Finally, a project funded by Finland trains tourist operators in English language.

d) Implementation of Emergency Plan and Legal Framework

The 2010 mission report and Decision 34 COM 7B.50 requested further implementation of the 2006 Emergency Plan in strengthening the legal framework for management of the property. 

The State Party reports that the Management and Conservation Plan of Mozambique Island will now guide the actions formerly promoted by the Emergency Plan. The reinforcement of the legal structure is underway, and this will extend to the buffer zone.

Some of the objectives from the Emergency Plan remain pending, such as the creation of a Common Fund for the Preservation of Mozambique Island, and the establishment of a co-ordinating structure with partners to facilitate conservation and restoration activities. The latter, however, might be encouraged by an international conference to be held in 2012 on the conservation of the island.

e) Buffer Zone

Decision 34 COM 7B.50 invited the State Party to enlarge the buffer zone of the property to facilitate the protection of the archaeological underwater areas.

The State Party agrees that protection should be extended to Mossuril bay for the protection of both ecological and cultural features, though makes no mention of underwater wrecks or the necessity for marine archaeological survey. It states that the extension of the buffer zone is under active discussion in particular at Ministerial level of decision. Although the submitted document concerning the buffer zone indicates an extension in this spirit, the World Heritage Centre sent it back to the State Party for clarification to comply with the procedure outlined in the Operational Guidelines.

f) Conservation and Development Projects

The mission had recommended that further work on the stabilization and conservation of buildings be undertaken, in particular at the Saint Sebastian Fortress with an important social implication, as well as removal of illegal and inappropriate development which threatened the authenticity of the property.

The State Party lists a number of on-going rehabilitation projects including the rehabilitation of the platform bridge, the bridge connecting the island with the mainland, the telecommunication building and the museum, along with 22 other rehabilitation projects of public and private buildings, financed by the Mozambique Government, the Norwegian Embassy for the museum project, and others. The State Party mentions 12 more major works currently being considered and developed. Some of these are located in the extended buffer zone and include new tourist developments which may require review by the World Heritage Committee. The success of the State Party in organizing and developing projects with partnership funding is noteworthy.

The State Party report does not mention the second phase of the rehabilitation project of the Saint Sebastian Fortress, launched in March 2012 shortly after submission of the report. The project, funded by the Government of the Netherlands, will rehabilitate an extended gallery block to host the documentation centre of Mozambique Island (CEDIM) created in 2011 by the regional University of Lúrio in cooperation with the Government of Mozambique and UNESCO. Works will also include repair of the low level batteries of the fortress damaged by a cyclone in 2008 and funded by the International Emergency Assistance granted in 2009. The documentation centre should catalyze further rehabilitations within the complex in alignment with the overall reuse-plan of the fortress. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the considerable progress made by the State Party in implementing the recommendations of the 2010 ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission and World Heritage Committee Decision 34 COM 7B.50. in particular in regards to the Management Plan, the decongestion measures in Macuti Town, increased dialogue with the community and awareness raising, improvments in water management and sanitation, as well as to the continuous documentation and research on the architectural and urban heritage. Further, the impressive series of future projects for conservation and infrastructure shows the State Party’s successful efforts in fund-raising and seeking partnerships. However, some of the larger infrastructure projects mentioned may require Heritage Impact Assessments.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies wish to highlight that the authenticity of Macuti Town remains to be threatened by uncontrolled development. The State Party should therefore consider further ways of mitigation, improve the legal frameworks for management of the property, and consider the creation of the specific Fund for the Preservation of Mozambique Island envisaged in the Emergency Plan. Moreover, the implementation of the management plan needs further work with reinforced human and financial resources in particular at GACIM’s where technical staffing remains insufficient despite the reported capacity building efforts in heritage matters.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the work towards the ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Heritage and recommend that the marine component of the intended increased buffer zone should receive careful attention with appropriate research and surveys. They also take note of the intended request for a clarification and minor modification of the buffer zone, which was sent back for revision and clarification to comply with procedures outlined in the Operational Guidelines

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7B.46

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2.   Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.50, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3.   Commends the State Party for the considerable progress made in improving the state of conservation of the property including the completion of the management plan, the hiring and training of staff, establishment of new zones for residential use to reduce congestion in Macuti Town, the infrastructure projects of sewage and water provision and the increased dialogue over conservation issues with stakeholders;

4.   Expresses its concern about the impact of past uncontrolled development on the authenticity of the property and encourages the State Party to seek ways to mitigate its impact;

5.   Also encourages the State Party to continue its efforts to recruit technical staff to the Conservation Office of Mozambique Island (GACIM) to a level compatible with the effective management of the property;

6.   Requests the State Party to implement the Management Plan by organizing appropriate conservation of buildings and strengthening the legal framework for management;

7.   Notes the work of the State Party in clarifying and enlarging the buffer zone to protect marine archaeology, as well as surrounding islands and coastal strip and further encourages the State Party to pursue efforts to formalize and adopt the buffer zone in conformity with Paragraph 107 of the Operational Guidelines;

8.   Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, details of any large-scale conservation or infrastructure projects planned for the property with Heritage Impact Assessments designed to show their potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

9.   Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2014 an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and progress with the implementation of the above for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.