Historic Centre of Macao (China) (C 1110)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2005
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/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1110/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
January 2009: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Housing (Including high-rise buildings)
- Land conversion (Land reclamation)
- Management systems / Management Plan (Inadequacy of the current management systems; Lack of Management Plan)
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1110/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 28 November 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1110/documents/, in which the following activities are reported:
- An extensive public consultation has been conducted about the conservation and management of the property, as part of the process towards preparing a comprehensive Management Plan. The report includes an overview and some key sections of the Management Plan, which will also include action plans and regulations to protect visual corridors in and around the property, including regulations to limit the height of new buildings within the boundaries of the site and in the buffer zones. The Management Plan will also include the establishment of scenic streets and the identification of urban fabric of importance, with specifications for its protection. The finalisation and implementation of the Management Plan is scheduled for 2019 and will be achieved through administrative regulations, following its submission to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
- The State Party has also prepared and submitted the Macao New Urban Zone Master Plan, and Urban Condition Plan, which are particularly relevant for Zones A and B, where land reclamation has been completed; this plan includes regulations for new constructions. Although the New Reclamation Urban Zones are located outside the property and buffer zone, the principles of the UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscape (2011) are being applied to reflect the context of the Historic Centre of Macao;
- Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA), in line with the ICOMOS Guidance, have been prepared and the State Party has committed to submitting future HIAs and relevant documentation to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before any irreversible decisions is made or any construction commences for any project that might impact the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
- The height of a proposed Macau Fisherman's Wharf development is still under discussion in order to avoid negative visual impacts on the landscape setting of the Historic Centre of Macao. Having intervened to stop construction of an intrusive building project on the periphery of Guia Hill, the State Party is negotiating a compensatory arrangement with the property owner.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
The State Party has made progress with the development and completion of the Management Plan for the property through a consultative process, and the proposed contents of the plan are focused on the conservation of the property’s OUV. The necessary regulatory instruments and processes are expected to be in place in the course of 2019. It will be important to ensure that the Management Plan is operational in practice and supported by the necessary regulatory controls and procedures, such as Heritage Impact Assessments. The full draft Management Plan should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to its adoption and implementation.
In 2017, the Committee noted the efforts made by the State Party to strengthen the protection of the property, notably through the 2014 Cultural Heritage Protection Law and Urban Planning Law. The Macao New Urban Zone Master Plan and Urban Condition Plan are also welcome, and the State Party's intent to protect the Historic Centre of Macao from adverse development projects is noted. There remain concerns about building height and various new developments that may have an impact on the OUV of the property, including developments located outside the property and its buffer zone. The level of land reclamation that has occurred near the property, which was not disclosed at the time of nomination, also requires careful management to balance the opportunity that new urban areas provide to reduce pressure on historic areas with the effects of these projects on the setting of the property. The commitment to completing HIAs for major projects, including land reclamation, offers a useful tool to address and manage the potential impacts, including the visual impacts arising from development pressures on the OUV of the property. Further analysis of the documents submitted on the New Reclamation Urban Zones is provided in ICOMOS’ technical review.
One concerning aspect related to the public consultation is the high percentage of answers which were uncertain or had no opinion on the questions about World Heritage. This raises the question of a possible lack of understanding or interest from the general public in the World Heritage status of the property, and may hint at important awareness raising opportunities.
Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7B.57
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.87, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
- Notes the progress made towards the development and finalisation of the comprehensive Management Plan for the property and its related regulations, as well as the preparation and submission of the Macao New Urban Zone Master Plan and Urban Condition Plan, and welcomes the application of the principles of the UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscape (2011);
- Requests the State Party, as a matter of high priority, to submit the completed Management Plan of the Historic Centre of Macao to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies prior to its adoption and implementation;
- Reiterates its ongoing concern that potential new developments may impact adversely on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and also requests the State Party to liaise with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies regarding the operationalisation of the New Urban Zone Master Plan and to ensure that the potential impact of new developments, including their visual impacts, continue to be evaluated through the preparation of Heritage Impacts Assessments (HIA), in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on HIA for World Heritage cultural properties;
- Reminds the State Party that, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, it is invited to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, detailed information for any major development project that may potentially have an impact the OUV of the property before any work commences or any irreversible decision is made;
- Encourages the State Party to pursue awareness-raising initiatives for the general public about the history of the property, its heritage values, and the provisions in place to facilitate conservation of its OUV;
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, 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 45th session in 2021.