1.         Colonial City of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) (C 526)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1990

Criteria  (ii)(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/526/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1990-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 82,207
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/526/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

1993, 1995, 1998: Monitoring missions; August 2001: ICOMOS Monitoring mission; 2002: World Heritage Centre mission; December 2009: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2009: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2014: ICOMOS Advisory mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/526/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 12 December 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/526/documents/, which addresses the following:

  1. Elaboration of an action protocol for interventions in the historic fabric of the Colonial City,
  2. Request to the Ministry of Public Works and Communications (MOPC) the development of regulations to control the interventions in the buildings,
  3. Elaboration of geotechnical and topographical vulnerability studies;

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

The progress made at the property is welcomed.  The reinforcement of the DNPM is considered an important step to allow for the necessary oversight of all of the projects implemented as part of the PFTCCSD although it is still not clear at what level the DNPM is involved within the complex administrative structure of the programme and its decision making influence. Thus, the concern remains that decisions will be taken primarily from a tourism perspective without proper consideration of conservation issues. Therefore, more information about the content of the projects within this programme should be requested from the State Party, for review by the Advisory Bodies.  

The actions proposed after the partial collapse of the Hotel Francés seem adequate and the restoration work seems to be nearing completion.  It is recommended that the Committee request to the State Party to submit the action protocol, structural regulations, and geotechnical and topographical vulnerability studies to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, as well as their implementation effectiveness. 

The increasing number of visitors should continue to be monitored and carrying capacity margins should be respected. However, the State Party must define and implement clear actions to control interventions in historic buildings and to develop a clear sustainable tourism strategy prioritizing the safeguarding of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). 

It is further noted that the proposed project at the Convent of San Francisco has not been implemented and that in the immediate term, the Subway Line 6 is not foreseen to be funded. Furthermore, there is confirmation that no work has been carried out on the Sansouci project affecting the property or its buffer zone. Nevertheless, in the case that any of these projects move forward, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to comply with its responsibility to provide information and plans to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies at an early date before final decisions are taken. 

Work on the regulations for the buffer zone should be finalized as soon as possible, followed by the submission of the Minor Boundary Modification to the World Heritage Centre. It should be noted, that the potential extension of the property to the east of the river Ozama may be considered a Significant Boundary Modification. Early consultations with the Advisory Bodies would be useful if the State Party continues with this potential modification.

Regardless of the current investment in upgrading the property, the majority of the threats identified during the 2014 Advisory mission and addressed in Decision 38 COM 7B.42, continue to be unresolved. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to submit a detailed strategic plan to address the following as a matter of priority:

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.37

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.4, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Takes note of the progress at the property to date, and in particular the reinforment of the Direccion Nacional de Patrimonio Monumental (DNPM), reiterates its request to ensure that the DNPM is fully involved in decision-making and oversight in regard to the projects being planned and implemented as part of the Programme for Tourism Development in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo (PFTCCSD) and in a second Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-financed programme that is awaiting approval by Congress, and requests the State Party to provide more detailed information about this second programme to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, by 1 December 2018;
  4. Notes the proposed action protocol, structural regulations, and geotechnical and topographical vulnerability studies being proposed in the aftermath of the collapse of the Hotel Francés, and also requests these documents be forwarded to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as they become available;
  5. Acknowledges that the visitor’s carrying capacity system is being implemented within the property and urges the State Party to define and implement actions to control interventions in historic buildings and to develop a sustainable tourism strategy that prioritizes heritage conservation;
  6. Welcomes the indications by the State Party that the proposed project at the Convent of San Francisco has not moved forward, that no work has been carried out on the Sansouci project that impact the property or its buffer zone, and that the Subway Line 6 is not foreseen to be funded in the immediate term, and also reiterates its request to the State Party, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to inform and submit the necessary technical information to the World Heritage Centre in a timely manner so that they can be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies before final decisions are taken;
  7. Expresses its concern for the number of threats identified during the 2014 Advisory mission and addressed in Decision 38 COM 7B.42, many of which remain unresolved, and further requests it to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, a strategic plan with the responsible authorities and timelines to address the following:
    1. Finalize the work on the extension of the buffer zone and its regulations followed by a Minor Boundary Modification request, as per Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines,
    2. Finalize the process for approval of the Law for Protection, Safeguarding and Development of Cultural Heritage,
    3. Review and improve the management structures with clearly defined responsibilities and authorities to allow adequate conservation, protection and management actions,
    4. Finalize Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo including detailed implementation timelines and funding,
    5. To reassure that all projects within the property undertaken by any governmental, non-governmental and private entities must be consulted and approved by the DNPM;
  8. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, 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 44th session in 2020.