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Colonial City of Santo Domingo

Dominican Republic
Factors affecting the property in 2013*
  • Earthquake
  • Housing
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Land conversion
  • Legal framework
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Storms
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Undefined and unregulated buffer zone leading to urban development pressure and inadequate control of land use;
  • Pressures derived from tourism;
  • Inadequate and inefficient management and conservation arrangements (including legislation, regulatory measures, technical capacity for conservation and service infrastructure);
  • Lack of interpretation and presentation of the property;
  • Natural vulnerability to earthquakes and hurricanes;
  • Deterioration of historic structures derived from natural and social factors (including environmental pollution and lack of sensitisation of local residents);
  • SANSOUCI Urban development project.
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2013
Requests approved: 3 (from 1990-2000)
Total amount approved : 82,207 USD
Missions to the property until 2013**

August 2001: ICOMOS monitoring mission; December 2009: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

As requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 1 February 2013.

a)  Sansouci project

The State Party reports that, in consideration of the recommendations made by the 2009 reactive monitoring mission and by the technical review of the project proposal, the Ministry of Culture has undertaken an assessment of the view shed from the Colonial City to the area of proposed development for the Sansouci project. The assessment will allow evaluating clearly the potential impact on the inscribed property. The report includes simulations of the four analysed view sheds. In these simulations, the potential impact from the project proposal for development on the existing view sheds between the Colonial City and the Ozama River and its left bank are evidenced.

b)  Definition of height regulations and buffer zone for Santo Domingo East

The State Party reports that the Ministry of Culture has requested the Municipality of Santo Domingo East about the progress made in the definition of the buffer zone for the east of the Colonial City. Documentation was received by the World Heritage Centre in July 2012 and included a topographic survey, the existing land use and construction heights at the predetermined and neighbouring zones. No information is provided on whether regulations have been formulated and adopted for the area or a timeframe for completing the establishment of the buffer zone at this sector. The State Party also reports that until 2012, no project that could have a negative visual impact on the Colonial City has been implemented at the Santo Domingo East area.

c)  New Law for the protection, safeguarding and development of cultural heritage and regulations for archaeological investigations

The State Party reports that in April 2012, the draft Law for the protection, safeguarding and development of cultural heritage was submitted to the Office of the Legal Council of the Executive Power. Comments are still pending given the change of governmental administration in August 2012. In regard to the regulations for archaeological investigations, the Office of the Legal Council of the Executive Power recommended the revision, prior to the approval, of Law 41-00, which set up the Ministry of Culture according to the new provisions of the Constitution of the Republic, proclaimed in January 2010. No timeframe for when the new law and the regulations might be passed for enforcement has been provided.

d)  Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo

The State Party reports that in June 2012, the Tourism Ministry started the implementation of the Programme for the promotion of tourism at the Colonial City, which is based on the Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City. The programme, financed by a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has a USD 30 million budget and will cover three main components: development of the touristic offer, the integration of the local population in the development of tourism and the strengthening of tourism management. A consultant has been contracted for the project design for the holistic renovation of the most emblematic streets of the Colonial City. No additional information is provided on whether the Strategic Plan has been formally approved or whether additional resources have been secured for its sustained implementation.

e)  Management of the property

The review of regulations regarding the Steering Committee for the Colonial City of Santo Domingo by the new national authorities is pending. No timeframe for when the management entity is expected to be fully operational has been provided.

The State Party has included Ordinance 03-2011 adopted by the Municipality of the National District on 23 May 2011 which approves the zoning regulations for land use and for interventions at the Colonial City. The ordinance also includes the definition of the buffer zone in its jurisdiction. Additional Ordinances by the same municipality concern management of solid waste and circulation of heavy weight vehicles at the Colonial City.

f)  Other issues

The State Party also reports on additional projects that have been implemented. These include the renovation of infrastructure for water supply, sewage and drainage for rain water at the Santa Barbara quarter. Work on streets and public spaces at the same quarter are also foreseen for 2013. The pilot plan ReViMe has also started in coordination with the cities of Habana and Port au Prince to raise awareness on the issue of recycling for historic cities. The construction of a vertical garden in El Conde Street and the first edition of Santo Domingo Colonial Fest in October 2012 were also mentioned in the report.

 

The State Party reports also on the project of a subway line through the Colonial City. Soil analysis was carried out in July 2012 to assess the feasibility of constructing Line 3 of the Santo Domingo subway, which would have an extension of 3.2 km. If constructed, stations are foreseen at three locations at the Colonial City: Parque Independencia, Parque Colon (nearby the cathedral) and at Plaza de España, nearby the Alcazar de Colon. The State Party indicates that the project is currently under study and only the potential route was included in the report.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2013

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the visual relationship between the Colonial City, the Ozama River and its left bank and the sea is an essential component of the property. If the Sansouci development were to occur at the proposed area, alternative designs would be needed that take into account the results from the visual studies carried out as well as the existing scale of the property.

 

They also consider that the approval of Municipal Ordinances to regulate zoning and land use is a crucial step in ensuring the conservation and protection of the property. They would recommend that the Committee reiterate the importance of having an operational management system in place to ensure consistent decision-making, avoid duplication of mandates and enhance synergies between the different agencies currently implementing projects. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2013
37 COM 7B.96
Colonial City of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) (C 526)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.123 , adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.  Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party on the actions carried out in response to the decisions made by the World Heritage Committee and urges the State Party to continue its work, with particular attention to:

a)  Formal establishment of the buffer zone at Santo Domingo East and approval of regulations for construction heights,

b)  Approval and implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo,

c)  Approval of regulations for the Steering Committee to ensure that the management system becomes fully operational,

d)  Finalization of the approval process for the new law for the protection, safeguarding and development of cultural heritage and the regulations for archaeological investigation;

4.  Encourages the State Party to submit, according to paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines , the designated buffer zone as a minor boundary modification to allow a clear understanding for the protection of the visually sensitive areas around the property;

5.  Reiterates its deep concern to the State Party about the results of the view shed studies for the proposed Sansouci development at the left bank of the Ozama River;

6.  Reiterates its request , as expressed in Decisions 34 COM 7B.108 and 35 COM 7B.123 to develop alternative designs which take into account the attributes and scale of the inscribed property, and to submit the revised designs for evaluation prior to making any commitments for implementation;

7.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the project proposal, technical specifications and heritage impact assessment for the potential subway line and associated infrastructure, for review by the Advisory Bodies prior to making commitments to its construction, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines ;

8.  Welcomes the request of the State Party to receive an ICOMOS Advisory mission to assist in identifying the necessary measures to ensure the protection and conservation of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

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 the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014. 

37 COM 8D
Clarifications of property boundaries and areas by States Parties in response to the Retrospective Inventory

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/8D,

2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 8D, adopted at its 36th session (Saint Petersburg, 2012),

3. Acknowledges the excellent work accomplished by States Parties in the clarification of the delimitation of their World Heritage properties and thanks them for their efforts to improve the credibility of the World Heritage List;

4. Recalls that the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies will not be able to examine proposals for minor or significant modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties whenever the delimitation of such properties as inscribed is unclear;

5. Takes note of the clarifications of property boundaries and areas provided by the following States Parties in response to the Retrospective Inventory, as presented in the Annexes of Document WHC-13/37.COM/8D:

  • Algeria: Kasbah of Algiers;
  • Brazil: Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas; Brasilia; Historic Centre of São Luís;
  • Cuba: San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba;
  • Dominican Republic: Colonial City of Santo Domingo;
  • Germany: Hanseatic City of Lübeck; Völklingen Ironworks;
  • Jordan: Petra;
  • Mexico: Sian Ka’an; Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque; Historic Centre of Puebla; Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines; Historic Centre of Morelia; Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino; Historic Centre of Zacatecas; Rock Paintings of the Sierra de San Francisco; Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, Casas Grandes; Historic Monuments Zone of Tlacotalpan;
  • Panama: Darien National Park;
  • Paraguay: Jesuit Missions of La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná and Jesús de Tavarangue;
  • Peru: City of Cuzco; Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu; Chavin (Archaeological Property); Chan Chan Archaeological Zone; Historic Centre of Lima; Río Abiseo National Park; Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana;
  • Russian Federation: Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments; Kizhi Pogost;
  • Spain: Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches; Historic City of Toledo; Historic Walled Town of Cuenca; Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona;
  • Viet Nam: Complex of Hué Monuments;

6. Requests the States Parties which have not yet answered the questions raised in the framework of the Retrospective Inventory to provide all clarifications and documentation as soon as possible and by 1 December 2013 at the latest.

Draft Decision:  37 COM 7B.96

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.123, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.  Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party on the actions carried out in response to the decisions made by the World Heritage Committee and urges the State Party to continue its work, with particular attention to:

a)  Formal establishment of the buffer zone at Santo Domingo East and approval of regulations for construction heights,

b)  Approval and implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo,

c)  Approval of regulations for the Steering Committee to ensure that the management system becomes fully operational,

d)  Finalization of  the approval process for the new law for the protection, safeguarding and development of cultural heritage and the regulations for archaeological investigation;

4.  Encourages the State Party to submit, according to paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines, the designated buffer zone as a minor boundary modification to allow a clear understanding for the protection of the visually sensitive areas around the property;

5.  Notes with concern the results of the view shed studies for the proposed Sansouci development at the left bank of the Ozama River and reiterates its request to develop alternative designs which take into account the attributes and scale of the inscribed property;

6.  Also requests the State Party to submit, to the World Heritage Centre the project proposal, technical specifications and heritage impact assessment for the potential subway line and associated infrastructure, for review by the Advisory Bodies prior to making commitments to its construction, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

7.  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 the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.

 

Report year: 2013
Dominican Republic
Date of Inscription: 1990
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 37COM (2013)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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