1.         Historic Centre of Macao (China) (C 1110)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2005

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(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/1110/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1110/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

January 2009: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1110/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

Since 2015, the World Heritage Centre requested comments from the Chinese authorities, in the framework of Paragraph 174 of the Operational Guidelines, concerning the construction of high-rise buildings in the vicinity and in co-visibility of the Historic Centre of Macao, yet these requests remained unanswered. After receiving third-party information in late 2016, the Centre requested that the State Party provide to the World Heritage Centre any relevant information and comments on this issue and the overall state of conservation of the property, for possible consideration at the present session of the Committee.

On 3 March 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1110/documents/. The State Party also provided information on a project, which caused slight damage to Lou Kau Mansion in the Historic Centre of Macao, in response to the inquiries made by the World Heritage Centre in February 2016. These reports highlight the following:

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

The possible impact of high-rise developments on the landscape of Guia Lighthouse and Penha Hill, as well as growing concerns about lack of a Protection and Management Plan (PMP) of the property could have serious consequences for the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.

While the State Party's efforts to protect the Historic Centre of Macao from adverse development projects through the adoption of the 2014 Cultural Heritage Protection Law and the Urban Planning Law are noted, the current issue of height restrictions concerning the project at Macau Fisherman's Warf, the proposals for land reclamation around the property, and possible developments involving high-rise buildings all raise serious concerns.

Furthermore, information on the expected timescale for the completion of the Management Plan has not been provided. In view of the growing development pressure on the property, it is imperative that the Management Plan be completed as a matter of urgency, and submitted to the World Heritage Centre prior to its adoption, for review by the Advisory Bodies. It is also recommended that the Committee recall that the completed Management Plan was requested by 1 February 2015 and note the slow progress with the completion of the comprehensive Urban Plan, which was requested on several occasions.

It is noted that the MPLR is currently being developed in consultation with the Cultural Affairs Bureau and the general public, but it is unclear how this relates to the wider Urban Plan. Since land reclamation and subsequent developments could have a major impact on the property, it is also recommended that the Committee request that the State Party provide to the World Heritage Centre details of the draft MPLR for review by the Advisory Bodies before it is approved, and meanwhile to submit details of all current proposals for land reclamation, e.g. for Zone B.

It is finally recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) are carried out for all new major construction projects.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.87

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.59, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Notes the efforts made by the State Party to further strengthen the protection of the property through the Cultural Heritage Protection Law and the Urban Planning Law, both adopted in 2014;
  4. Regrets the lack of progress with the completion of the Management Plan, which was due for submission by 1 February 2015, and reiterates its requests to the State Party to complete this Management Plan as a matter of priority, and to submit it to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for review prior to its adoption;
  5. Expresses concern over possible future development projects involving reclaimed land and requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the draft Master Plan for Land Reclamation (MPLR) before it is approved, along with details of all current proposals for land reclamation, e.g. for Zone B, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  6. Also notes that a holistic Urban Master Plan is foreseen to be launched in the next three to five years, to be followed by a detailed plan that aims to control and regulate urban development in a scientific and transparent manner, and also requests the State Party to provide details of the draft Urban Master Plan for review by the Advisory Bodies, as well as information on how it relates to the MPLR;
  7. Further requests the State Party to carry out Heritage Impact Assessments for future and planned development projects, focusing on the potential impact of new construction projects on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and to submit these to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before any irreversible decision is made;
  8. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, 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 43rd session in 2019.