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Colonial City of Santo Domingo

Dominican Republic
Factors affecting the property in 2003*
  • Housing
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Legal framework
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Need for the adoption of a Master Plan
  • Housing rehabilitation programme
  • Tourism development programme
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Hurricane in 1999 (issue resolved)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2003
Requests approved: 3 (from 1990-2000)
Total amount approved : 82,207 USD
Missions to the property until 2003**

1993: monitoring mission;  August 1998: expert mission; August 2001: ICOMOS Advisory mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003

On 14 March 2003, the Secretariat received a report from the State Party concerning progress in the restoration and remodelling project of the Hostal Nicolás de Ovando in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, and the draft Law on monumental heritage. In a letter, dated 6 February 2003, from the State Under-Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources to the Director of the National Office of Monumental Heritage, mention is made of the fact that, in order to obtain a certification on the impact on the environment of the interventions at the Hostal Nicolás de Ovando, this project is under evaluation by the Secretary of Environment. It further mentions that the nature of this project requires a declaration on its impact over the environment and human beings.

Prior to the execution of the works, the office of the Secretary of Environment provided the terms of reference to prepare the necessary information. The promoter company of the project did not submit the information requested by the Secretary of Environment to enable a decision to be made on the environmental impact for a subsequent issuing of a certification, and has continued the infrastructure works without the required permit. Furthermore, the report stated that the restoration, remodelling and enlargement project for the hostel is in an advanced state of implementation, and completion of the project was expected in the first months of 2003. The project converts former residential houses into hotel use from three to five buildings, all of which have remnants that date from the 16th century, the earliest settlement period. Two of the houses, Ovando and Dávila's House, are near completion with the installation of the interiors, bathrooms and painting. In two other colonial houses, no. 51 and 53 of the Las Damas Street, the installation of technical facilities is near to completion.

The report further stated that the external wall towards the River Ozama has been covered with stones up to the level of the adjacent wall; that a treatment plant for waste water has been built and that the existing sewer was cleaned until the exit to the river. Although specifically requested for, the small defensive battery at the rear of the houses, named El Fuerte Invencible, has not yet been restored. According to the report, the project has been carried out with the approval and under the supervision of the Dirección Nacional de Patrimonio Monumental, respecting the atmosphere of the old colonial constructions. The Secretariat notes, however, that the State Party did not follow the Committee's recommendation (25COM/CONF.208/24, p.37) “to seek a more compatible use for the site”, as the conversion into a hotel has required significant interventions on the site and in the historic buildings. The report further elaborates on the different sections and articles of the draft law on monumental heritage, the “Ley del Patrimonio Monumental de la República Dominicana”. According to information received from ICOMOS on 24 April 2003, this new law was submitted to the National Congress, but has not been approved. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2003
27 COM 7B.90
Colonial City of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)

The World Heritage Committee [54],

1. Takes note of the report transmitted by the State Party;

2. Regrets that the restoration and enlargement works have been nearly completed without a proper environmental assessment being executed on the impact of these works on the historic setting and fabric of the World Heritage property;

3. Strongly recommends a closer institutional coordination between the different governmental departments approving and supervising restoration and reconstruction works in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo;

4. Encourages the adoption and strong enforcement of the new law on monumental heritage;

5. Requests that the State Party inform the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2004 on the progress made with the adoption of the new law on monumental heritage in order that the World Heritage Committee can examine the state of conservation of the property at its 28th session in 2004.

[54]  Decision adopted without discussion.

Draft Decision: 27 COM 7 (b) 90

The World Heritage Committee,

1.Takes note of the report transmitted by the State Party,

2.Regrets that the restoration and enlargement works have nearly completed without a proper environmental assessment being executed on the impact of these works on the historic setting and fabric of the World Heritage site,

3.Strongly recommends a closer institutional coordination between the different governmental departments approving and supervising restoration and reconstruction works in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo,

4. Encourages the adoption and strong enforcement of the new law on monumental heritage;

5.Requests that the State Party inform on the progress made with the adoption of the new law on monumental heritage, by 1 February 2004, for review  at its 28th session. 

Report year: 2003
Dominican Republic
Date of Inscription: 1990
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 27COM (2003)
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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