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

Panama
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • 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, lack of maintenance and limited conservation planning

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Housing
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Land conversion
  • Legal framework
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • 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 zones
  • 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 2018
Requests approved: 4 (from 1980-1993)
Total amount approved : 76,800 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

1993: technical mission; November 2001, March 2009, March 2010: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions; February 2014: ICOMOS Advisory mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 26 January 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/135/documents/ and reports the following:

  • The timeframe for the implementation of the programme of the corrective measures covers a three-year period from January 2016 to June 2019, with a detailed timetable for actions to be carried out in each quarter. However, its implementation was affected by the lack of funds. Consequently there is a considerable list of activities that were foreseen for 2017 but ultimately not realized. Some of these activities are:
    1. The National Commission of World Cultural and Natural Heritage reactivation;
    2. The territorial and urban development plan of Portobelo;
    3. The implementation of the site museum of Portobelo
    4. The visitor centre of San Lorenzo;
    5. Only partial consolidation works of San Lorenzo Castle;
    6. Other emergency interventions;
    7. The preparation of a Management Plan.

Nevertheless, some actions were carried out with funding from the Panama Tourism Authority, the National Institute of Culture (INAC) and the Ministry of the Environment;

  • As almost every action of the work plan foreseen for 2017 had to be postponed, a new timeframe has been established on the basis of funds that have been approved by the INAC and are expected from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loan under the project “Support for the conservation and management of cultural heritage”. This INAC-IDB project has a duration of four years (2017-2020) and a budget of USD 45 million. From the global project, an amount of USD 22 million is allocated for the implementation of the Emergency Plan for the World Heritage site. Its objectives include institutional strengthening, emergency works for the property, and technical cooperation that includes the elaboration of the Management Plan that is scheduled to be finalized by December 2018. The project’s funds should be available from March 2018;
  • The Ministry of Environment approved a new Public Use Plan (PUP) for Portobelo National Park, including the fortifications of Portobelo, which identifies tourist attractions and regulates the park’s use and management (order and flow of visitors, rules for visits, and management models);
  • INAC has strengthened its relationship with the Patronato de Portobelo y San Lorenzo, which receives annual funding for its operations. The Patronato has improved its management, has recruited additional staff, and is in the process of establishing a technical office in San Lorenzo.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

It is regrettable to note, once again, that the implementation of the programme of corrective measures has had to be rescheduled due to the lack of funds allocated to INAC and the Patronato de Portobelo y San Lorenzo in 2017. Previous decisions of the Committee and recommendations of Reactive Monitoring and Advisory missions (the most recent being in 2014) have drawn attention to the fragile state of many of the components of the property, and stressed that further delays could significantly affect the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). The Committee has frequently urged the State Party to secure sustained government funds for the integral implementation of the programme of corrective measures. The revised timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures respects the final date of June 2019, but the condensed scheme of activities will pose serious challenges to the capacity of management and technical staff of INAC and the Patronato.

In this situation, it is very much welcomed that INAC and the IDB have agreed on a major loan for the conservation and management of cultural heritage in Panama. A major component of this programme is the strengthening of the capacities of INAC, as well as actions to be implemented in the property. These include:

  • Consolidation interventions in Portobelo;
  • Restoration and rehabilitation of the fortifications Santiago el Nuevo, San Jeronimo, San Fernando and Santiago el Viejo;
  • Design and construction of a multifunctional building for restrooms, administration offices, the customs and immigration service, and ticket sales;
  • Rehabilitation of harbour facilities;
  • Restoration and rehabilitation of the museum in the fort of San Lorenzo;
  • Development of integral Management Plans;
  • Capacity building activities with the staff of the Patronato and in conservation and restoration;
  • Design and construction of a customs building with a museum on the second floor.

It is to be noted that the IDB project excludes some of the corrective measures such as the definition, protection and management of the buffer zones, and legal processes for the territorial and urban development plan for Portobelo. It is also observed that the project foresees important infrastructure and tourist facility projects. In this context, it should be recalled that tourism pressure was one of the factors identified as affecting the property when it was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Therefore, the Management Plan needs to be truly integral and give priority to conservation programmes, and identify sustainable public use levels, facilities and activities. It is recommended that the Management Plan, scheduled to be finalized by December 2018, be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies by 1 February 2019.

It is recommended that the Committee congratulate the State Party for the INAC-IDB project that will provide funding over a four-year period, while also emphasizing the need to fully implement the programme of corrective measures in order to be able to achieve the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR).

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7A.10
Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama) (C 135)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.25, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Expresses its regret that the implementation of the programme of corrective measures has suffered delays due to a lack of appropriate fund allocation, as a consequence of which the property risks losing important attributes and its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  4. Welcomes the opportunity of funding offered by the Inter-American Development Bank for the conservation and management of cultural heritage that includes a major component for interventions in the World Heritage property;
  5. Notes that the revised timeframe proposed by the State Party for implementation of the programme of corrective measures confirms June 2019 as the final date, and urges it to ensure that this programme be implemented in its entirety, and that due attention be given to the definition and protection of buffer zones and the preparation of an integral Management Plan, which should give priority to conservation programmes and a sustainable public use plan;
  6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, the finalized Management Plan for review by the Advisory Bodies and 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;
  7. Decides to retain the Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
42 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/18/42.COM/7A, WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add and WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 42 COM 7A.1)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 42 COM 7A.2)
  • Austria, Historic Centre of Vienna (Decision 42 COM 7A.5)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 42 COM 7A.8)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.45)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 42 COM 7A.9)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.46)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.47)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.48)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.49)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.50)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.51)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 42 COM 7A.17)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.44)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 42 COM 7A.40)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 42 COM 7A.18)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 42 COM 7A.19)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 42 COM 7A.20)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 42 COM 7A.21)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 42 COM 7A.22)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 42 COM 7A.23)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 42 COM 7A.24)
  • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 42 COM 7A.25)
  • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 42 COM 7A.26)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 42 COM 7A.53)
  • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 42 COM 7A.13)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 42 COM 7A.14)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 42 COM 7A.15)
  • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 42 COM 7A.3)
  • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 42 COM 7A.54)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 42 COM 7A.27)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 42 COM 7A.29)
  • Palestine, Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Decision 42 COM 7A.28)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 42 COM 7A.10)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 42 COM 7A.11)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.55)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 42 COM 7A.6)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 42 COM 7A.41)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 42 COM 7A.30)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 42 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 42 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 42 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 42 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 42 COM 7A.35)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 42 COM 7A.16)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 42 COM 7A.7)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.56)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.42)
  • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 42 COM 7A.4)
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 42 COM 7A.12)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 42 COM 7A.37)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 42 COM 7A.38)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 42 COM 7A.39)
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7A.10

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.25, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Expresses its regret that the implementation of the programme of corrective measures has suffered delays due to a lack of appropriate fund allocation, as a consequence of which the property risks losing important attributes and its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  4. Welcomes the opportunity of funding offered by the Inter-American Development Bank for the conservation and management of cultural heritage that includes a major component for interventions in the World Heritage property;
  5. Notes that the revised timeframe proposed by the State Party for implementation of the programme of corrective measures confirms June 2019 as the final date, and urges it to ensure that this programme be implemented in its entirety, and that due attention be given to the definition and protection of buffer zones and the preparation of an integral Management Plan, which should give priority to conservation programmes and a sustainable public use plan;
  6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, the finalized Management Plan for review by the Advisory Bodies and 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;
  7. Decides to retain Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2018
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 (2018) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 42COM (2018)
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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