1.         Historic Inner City of Paramaribo (Suriname) (C 940rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2002

Criteria  (ii)(iv)

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/940/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/940/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 23,000 for the project “Management Plan for Paramaribo” in 2010; and USD 125,362 provided for the project “Inner City of Paramaribo. Phase I & II” from 2005 to 2008 (UNESCO/Netherlands Funds in Trust)

Previous monitoring missions

August 2013: ICOMOS Advisory mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/940/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 14 January 2020, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/940/documents/, which reports the following:

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

Important actions are being undertaken in the framework of the PURP in a wide variety of areas such as housing, mobility, water management, communication and the updating of the Management Plan for 2020-2024.

The withdrawal of the license for construction at the Waterfront, and the development of a Strategic Master Plan (SMP) for the whole Waterfront, is highly welcomed. The version submitted by the State Party aims to prepare the city for a one-metre rise in sea level by the end of this century. This is highly relevant for the conservation of the property and, at the same time, poses a major challenge for the adaptation of one of its most important attributes. The State Party should be commended for its intention to involve the World Heritage Centre in the review of final designs in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

It is unfortunate that the State Party has not made any progress in the extension of the boundaries of the property to include a 50-metre strip along the river - which is even more relevant and urgent in light of the Waterfront development - nor in the extension of the buffer zones. Therefore, the State Party should be urged to complete this process following the procedures established for a Minor Boundary Modification.

The demolition, destruction by fire or decay of monumental buildings is considered to be a key factor affecting the property. The State Party should be recommended to actively pursue the restoration of publicly-owned buildings, raise awareness among private owners, support private initiatives and enforce obligations under local legislation.

It is noted with interest that under PURP, three government-owned buildings are being restored and that the former National Assembly Building will be reconstructed.

Regarding the former National Assembly Building, the State Party and ICOMOS engaged in a constructive consultation process, including ICOMOS Technical Reviews of three successive design stages. Agreement was reached on a final design that implies the reconstruction of the volumes, roofs and three façades (front and sides) of the original buildings, while use of contemporary materials and architectural language in the interior and back sides of the buildings has been accepted. ICOMOS emphasizes that this should be considered an exceptional case under exceptional circumstances (such as the existence of reliable drawings and documentation; that these buildings are essential elements in the urban landscape of this part of the inner city; and the importance in the collective memory of the population of these landmark buildings of the periods of colonialism and independence) and should not be seen as a precedent for other cases. In this sense, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit as soon as possible the projects and designs of the three government-owned buildings (Mirandastraat 10 and Waterkant 30-32) that will be restored under PURP, as well as the guidelines that are included in the Retrofit Manual for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies.

Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7B.70

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.42, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Takes note with appreciation of the activities that are being undertaken in the framework of the Inter-American Developmen Bank IADB-funded Paramaribo Urban Rehabilitation Programme (PURP) and its Strategic Master Plan that expresses an integral approach to the conservation of the World Heritage property, including housing, mobility, water management and community participation;
  4. Welcomes the withdrawal of the license for construction at the Waterfront, and that the Strategic Master Plan proposed for the whole of the Waterfront is being developed to address the challenges posed by rising sea-levels of up to one metre by the end of this century;
  5. Considering that the Waterfront constitutes one of the main attributes of the World Heritage property, invites the State Party to submit the final designs for the Waterfront, as soon as they become available, to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  6. Recalls the importance of the extension of the boundaries of the property to include a 50 metre strip along the river, as well the extension of the boundaries of the buffer zone, and urges again the State Party to proceed with these extensions and to submit them as a Minor Boundary Modification in accordance with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Also takes note of the completion of the Updated Management Plan 2020-2024 for the property and also urges the State Party to finalize its approval as soon as possible;
  8. Regrets the repeated demolition, destruction by fire and decay of the wooden building stock, both government and privately-owned, and recommends that the State Party increase its efforts to raise awareness and promote participation of the population and owners in the recuperation of the historical centre and its individual structures;
  9. Notes with appreciation that the State Party engaged in constructive consultations with ICOMOS regarding the reconstruction of the former National Assembly Building, and emphasizes that the reconstruction as agreed upon is an exceptional case due to exceptional circumstances and should not be seen as a precedent for other cases;
  10. Also welcomes that three government-owned buildings will be restored in the framework of PURP, and requests the State Party to submit as soon as possible their architectural designs as well as the guidelines that are included in the Retrofit Manual for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  11. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session.