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Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo

Panama
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Housing
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Land conversion
  • Legal framework
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Fragile state of the property and accelerated degradation by environmental factors and the lack of maintenance

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Fragile state of the property and accelerated degradation by environmental factors, lack of maintenance and limited conservation planning;
  • Erosion;
  • Lack of established boundaries and buffer zone;
  • Absence of a conservation and management plan;
  • Encroachments and urban pressure;
  • Tourism pressure (particularly at Portobelo);
  • Insufficient legislation for the preservation of built heritage and regulations combining the two components of the property.
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Fragile state of the property and accelerated degradation by environmental factors, lack of maintenance and limited conservation planning;
  • Erosion
  • Lack of established boundaries and buffer zone;
  • Absence of a conservation and management plan;
  • Encroachments and urban pressure;
  • Tourism pressure (particularly at Portobelo)
  • Insufficient legislation for the preservation of built heritage and regulations combining the two components of the property
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 4 (from 1980-1993)
Total amount approved : 76,800 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**

November 2001: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; March 2010: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission. February 2014: ICOMOS advisory mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

The State Party invited, in February 2014, an ICOMOS advisory mission to assist the State Party in the finalisation of the assessment of current conditions and in the preparation of a conservation emergency plan (the mission report is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/135/documents).

Subsequently, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 28 January 2014, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/135/documents. The report provides an overview on the present state of conservation at the different component parts of the property and the proposed plans to address existing threats. It also includes the Emergency Plan in the annexes as well as cartography. Actions implemented are reported as follows:

  • UNESCO Heritage Management Plan: this plan was formally adopted via Institutional resolution 186 DNPH. A Panama UNESCO Heritage office has been established.
  • The Emergency Plan has been finalized and formally adopted in March 2014 via Resolution 62 DNPH from the Instituto Nacional de Cultura .
  • Stabilisation of the slope adjacent to the Santiago fortifications, an area affected after the massive landslide of 2010: Actions included the construction of a gabion retaining wall, the construction of drainage systems and reforestation.
  • Condition and risk assessments including proposal of urgent measures were carried out. A comprehensive photogrammetric and condition survey of the cannons located at different component parts has also been completed.
  • Actions including vegetation control, improved fencing and signage at different sectors.
  • Outreach and awareness raising activities were undertaken.
  • Improvement of road network is foreseen, which includes mitigation provisions in case of culturally sensitive areas.

The advisory mission to the property noted that the UNESCO World Heritage Management Plan in Panama was only partially implemented throughout 2013, given that resources had not been allocated. The mission also underscored that boundaries for the component parts of the property and the buffer zone had not been defined or approved, nor had the necessary regulatory measures been defined to adequately control pressures from urban growth. The mission highlighted the fast rate of decay of the historic fabric that continues to threaten the integrity and authenticity of attributes that convey Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and deficiencies in current management arrangements.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

The finalisation and adoption of the Emergency Plan is a crucial step to begin addressing the extensive decay of the historic fabric of the property. The plan is an important tool that provides extensive assessments and a clear identification of priority actions to ensure conservation and stabilization of the different component parts. It is therefore recommended that financial resources need to be immediately allocated to commence implementation.

Regarding the management structure, progress has been achieved with the setting up of the Technical Office and the Patronato but adequate staffing and resources have yet to be secured so that it becomes fully operational and can implement actions in a consistent and sustained manner, in accordance to the provisions made in the Emergency Plan. Until this occurs, the component parts of the property will continue to decay and could potentially reach a stage where damage would be irreversible. A potential issue that might hinder implementation, and that would warrant consideration by the State Party, are the limited capacities in terms of conservation expertise. In this respect, opportunities for international cooperation should be explored and capacity building at the local level should be prioritised.

Besides the fabric decay being a considerable concern, other factors have also remained unaddressed, such as lack of control of encroachments and urban pressure. As requested by the Committee, priority should be given to the definition of boundaries and buffer zones for each component part of the property and to the establishment and enforcement of regulatory measures to address these threats. As proposed by the State Party, the development of a land use plan is also a crucial measure in this respect. These planning tools should be complemented at a further stage with the specific development, in collaboration with local communities and municipalities, of policies imbedded in territorial and urban development plans for the long-term protection and conservation of built heritage at San Lorenzo and Portobelo. Efforts need also to be made to better integrate tourism development projections with conservation and issues that affect not only heritage sites but also the local communities, such as problems with waste management, sewage systems and environmental degradation.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7A.20
Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama) (C 135)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7A.36 adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Appreciates the efforts made by the State Party to fund and organize the advisory mission conducted in 2014 and encourages it to implement the recommendations contained in the mission report;
  4. Welcomes the development and adoption of the Emergency Plan for the property and urges the State Party to secure the necessary resources to commence the immediate implementation of the identified priority conservation and stabilisation measures;
  5. Expresses its concern about the findings of the mission regarding the continuing deterioration of the historic fabric and erosion of the conditions of authenticity and integrity and also urges the State Party to prioritise implementation of the following provisions of the UNESCO World Heritage Management Plan and of the Emergency Plan for the property:
    1. Update the legislative and regulatory measures to ensure the protection of the property and its terrestrial and maritime setting and to legally define the functions of the Patronato Portobelo-San Lorenzo,
    2. Strengthen management arrangements and establish a technical office for conservation, with specialised staff, at the local level to guarantee high quality interventions at the component parts,
    3. Define the boundaries of the component parts of the property and their buffer zones, including regulatory measures for their management and submit the revised boundaries as a minor boundary modification for consideration by the World Heritage Committee,
    4. Develop a land use plan for Portobelo and San Lorenzo and include provisions and measures to control urban development and relocation of families occupying the inscribed property;
    5. Promote international and interdisciplinary collaboration for the implementation of conservation actions and define a capacity building strategy to ensure the sustainability of conservation efforts,
    6. Define, in collaboration with local authorities, measures to address environmental degradation and deficiencies in infrastructure services that are impacting cultural and natural heritage assets and constitute public health concerns,
    7. Carry out the necessary scientific studies in relation to deterioration processes to better inform decision-making regarding conservation options;
  6. Requests that technical details of proposed major interventions be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review prior to making commitments to their implementation;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.
  8. Decides to retain Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
38 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (retained sites)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-14/38.COM/7A and WHC-14/38.COM/7A.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 38 COM 7A.14)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 38 COM 7A.15)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 38 COM 7A.31)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.34)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 38 COM 7A.21)
  • Colombia, Los Katíos National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.32)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.35)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.36)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.37)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.38)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.39)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.41)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 38 COM 7A.1)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.43)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 38 COM 7A.16)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 38 COM 7A.17)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.33)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 38 COM 7A.28)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 38 COM 7A.2)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 38 COM 7A.3)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 38 COM 7A.4)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 38 COM 7A.44)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 38 COM 7A.24)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 38 COM 7A.25)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 38 COM 7A.45)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 38 COM 7A.5)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 38 COM 7A.20)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 38 COM 7A.22)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.46)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 38 COM 7A.18)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 38 COM 7A.29)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 38 COM 7A.26)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 38 COM 7A.19)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.30)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 38 COM 7A.23)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 38 COM 7A.13)
38 COM 8E
Adoption of Retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E,
  2. Congratulates the States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in their territories;
  3. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC:
  • China: Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area;
  • Japan: Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu; Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara; Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama; The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome);
  • Sri Lanka: Sinharaja Forest;
  • Vietnam: Hoi An Ancient Town; Complex of Hué Monuments;

    EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA:

    • Albania: Butrint;
    • Armenia: Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley;
    • Austria: Semmering Railway; Wachau Cultural Landscape;
    • Azerbaijan: Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower;
    • Belarus / Estonia / Finland / Latvia / Lithuania / Moldova / Norway / Russian Federation / Sweden / Ukraine: Struve Geodetic Arc;
    • Belgium: Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels); Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons); Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai; Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex;
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar;
    • Cyprus: Paphos;
    • Denmark: Ilulissat Icefjord;
    • Finland: Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki; Fortress of Suomenlinna; Old Rauma; Petäjävesi Old Church; Verla Groundwood and Board Mill;
    • Georgia: Historical Monuments of Mtskheta; Upper Svaneti;
    • Germany / Poland: Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski;
    • Germany: Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch; Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau; Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Brühl; Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg; Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz; Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg; Monastic Island of Reichenau; Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin; Pilgrimage Church of Wies; St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church at Hildesheim; Völklingen Ironworks; Wartburg Castle; Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square; Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen;
    • Holy See / Italy: Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura;
    • Holy See: Vatican City;
    • Iceland: Þingvellir National Park;
    • Italy: Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua; Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta; Historic Centre of Florence; Historic Centre of Naples;
    • Lithuania / Russian Federation: Curonian Spit;
    • Lithuania: Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė);
    • Malta: City of Valletta; Hal Saflieni Hypogeum; Megalithic Temples of Malta;
    • Mongolia / Russian Federation: Uvs Nuur Basin;
    • Montenegro: Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor;
    • Netherlands: Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao;
    • Norway: Vegaøyan -- The Vega Archipelago; West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord;
    • Poland: Centennial Hall in Wrocław; Historic Centre of Warsaw;
    • Portugal: Historic Centre of Évora; Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture; Monastery of Alcobaça; Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon;
    • Russian Federation: Church of the Ascension, Kolomenskoye; Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl; Kizhi Pogost;
    • Slovakia: Bardejov Town Conservation Reserve; Vlkolínec;
    • Slovenia: Škocjan Caves;
    • Spain: Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida; Burgos Cathedral; Historic Centre of Cordoba; Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid; Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias; Mudejar Architecture of Aragon; Old City of Salamanca; Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches; Old Town of Cáceres; Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct; Poblet Monastery; Route of Santiago de Compostela; Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe; San Cristóbal de La Laguna; Santiago de Compostela (Old Town); Works of Antoni Gaudí;
    • Turkey: Archaeological Site of Troy; City of Safranbolu; Hattusha: the Hittite Capital; Xanthos-Letoon;
    • Ukraine: Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra;
    • United Kingdom: Gough and Inaccessible Islands; Henderson Island; Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda;
    • United States of America: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site; Chaco Culture; Independence Hall; Mesa Verde National Park; Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; Statue of Liberty;

    LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARRIBBEANS:

    • Argentina: Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks; Los Glaciares; Península Valdés;
    • Belize: Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System;
    • Bolivia: City of Potosí;
    • Brazil: Brasilia; Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia; Historic Centre of São Luís; Historic Centre of the Town of Diamantina; Historic Centre of the Town of Goiás; Historic Centre of the Town of Olinda; Historic Town of Ouro Preto; Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas;
    • Colombia: Los Katíos National Park;
    • Costa Rica / Panama: Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park;
    • Cuba: Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba; San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba; Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos; Viñales Valley;
    • Dominican Republic: Colonial City of Santo Domingo;
    • Guatemala: Tikal National Park;
    • Panama: Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection; Fortifications on the Caribbean Side, Portobelo and San Lorenzo;
    • Suriname: Central Suriname Nature Reserve; Historic Inner City of Paramaribo;

    4.  Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in priority;
    5.  Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

    • World Heritage properties in the Arab States;
    • World Heritage properties in Africa;
    • World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific;
    • World Heritage properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;
    • World Heritage properties in Europe and North America;

    6.  Takes note that the World Heritage Centre is in the process of harmonising all sub-headings in the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value and, as appropriate, reflects name changes of World Heritage properties throughout the text of the Statements as requested by the Committee at its 37th session, and requests the World Heritage Centre to also update the size of the property and/or its buffer zone, as appropriate, following subsequent Decisions of the World Heritage Committee concerning Minor Boundary Modifications.
    7.  Requests the States Parties to provide support to the World Heritage Centre for translation of the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value into English or French respectively, and finally requests the Centre to upload the two language versions on its website.

    Draft Decision:   38 COM 7A.20

    The World Heritage Committee,

    1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7A.Add,
    2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7A.36 adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
    3. Appreciates the efforts made by the State Partyto fund and organizethe advisory mission conducted in 2014 and encourages it to implement the recommendations contained in the mission report;
    4. Welcomes the development and adoption of the Emergency Plan for the property and urges the State Party to secure the necessary resources to commence the immediate implementation of the identified priority conservation and stabilisation measures;
    5. Expresses its concern about the findings of the mission regarding the continuing deterioration of the historic fabric and erosion of the conditions of authenticity and integrity and also urges the State Party to prioritise implementation of the following provisions of the UNESCO World Heritage Management Plan and of the Emergency Plan for the property:

    a) Update the legislative and regulatory measures to ensure the protection of the property and its terrestrial and maritime setting and to legally define the functions of the Patronato Portobelo-San Lorenzo,

    b) Strengthen management arrangements and establish a technical office for conservation, with specialised staff, at the local level to guarantee high quality interventions at the component parts,

    c) Define the boundaries of the component parts of the property and their buffer zones, including regulatory measures for their management and submit the revised boundaries as a minor boundary modification for consideration by the World Heritage Committee,

    d) Develop a land use plan for Portobelo and San Lorenzo and include provisions and measures to control urban development and relocation of families occupying the inscribed property;

    e) Promote international and interdisciplinary collaboration for the implementation of conservation actions and define a capacity building strategy to ensure the sustainability of conservation efforts,

    f) Define, in collaboration with local authorities, measures to address environmental degradation and deficiencies in infrastructure services that are impacting cultural and natural heritage assets and constitute public health concerns,

    g) Carry out the necessary scientific studies in relation to deterioration processes to better inform decision-making regarding conservation options;

    1. Requests that technical details of proposed major interventions be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review prior to making commitments to their implementation;
    2. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.
    3. Decides to retain Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
    Report year: 2014
    Panama
    Date of Inscription: 1980
    Category: Cultural
    Criteria: (i)(iv)
    Danger List (dates): 2012-present
    Documents examined by the Committee
    SOC Report by the State Party
    Report (2014) .pdf
    arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
    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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