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Churches of Chiloé

Chile
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Commercial development
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Legal framework
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Insufficient delimitation of boundaries

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Insufficient delimitation of boundaries
  • Construction of a shopping mall in the vicinity of the Castro Church
  • Insufficient legal definition of buffer zones and visually sensitive areas of each component 
  • Commercial development
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Legal framework
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 1 (from 2002-2002)
Total amount approved : 50,000 USD
2002 Emergency assistance for the Churches of Chiloé (Approved)   50,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

December 2013: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 1 February 2021, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, a summary of which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/971/documents/. Progress in several conservation issues addressed by the Committee in Decisions 43 COM 7B.97 and 43 COM 8B.51 is presented, as follows:

  • In line with the Comprehensive Plan for the Protection of Church’s Wider Environment, working groups with the local governments are addressing the establishment of effective buffer zones through their declaration as Typical Zones. Castro Church’s surrounding area has been approved by the National Monuments Council (CMN) as a Typical Zone. Regulation of Typical Zones in urban areas is underway through Regulatory Plans. Studies for the regulation of ten Typical Zones in rural areas are in process, and Rilan is being transformed into an urban area. Once all Typical Zones have been declared, the CMN will prepare specific Intervention Guidelines for each;
  • A reviewed submission for a minor modification to the boundaries of the buffer zones of Chonchi and Tenaún churches will be prepared;
  • A diagnosis of the property’s needs and conditions has been concluded as part of the ongoing technical assistance for the elaboration of an Integrated Management Plan;
  • An architectural competition for mitigation of the visual impact caused by the construction of the shopping mall in Castro is being discussed with the owner, the municipality and local actors;
  • The new institutional framework is implemented through the Regional Ministerial Secretaries, Regional Directorates of the National Cultural Heritage Service and Regional Technical Offices of the CMN. The National Monuments Law is being modified, aiming towards a holistic Law of Cultural Heritage;
  • The World Heritage Sites Social Program (PSSPM) and the Cultural Heritage Fund, of which the Churches of Chiloé are beneficiary, continue to operate;
  • Conservation and restoration works with an approximate budget of USD 630,000 are to be implemented on the churches of San Juan and Castro (under execution); Ichuac and Detif (in project stage); and Caguach (in project stage with former emergency intervention);
  • Multisectoral work commenced for the preparation of a Risk Prevention Plan for the property. The urgency of this action became evident after the fire in the Church of Ancud, part of the Chilota School of Religious Architecture, in January 2020, which emphasized the vulnerability of the property’s wooden components;
  • An inventory of 152 churches of the Chilota School of Religious Architecture in Wood, covering the whole archipelago was concluded, and an inventory of the religious imagery of the churches within the property is in progress;
  • The Chiloé Coastal Edge Plan, which proposes the creation of recreational walkways/vehicular tracks and infrastructure for the riversides, has continued;
  • Municipal maintenance works and dissemination activities continue.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

It is noted that the Protection Plan for the Buffer Zones of the Churches of Chiloé, which is being elaborated together by local governments and the community, has been delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Pending procedures include the definition of buffer zones for six churches, and the preparation of guidelines for interventions for the whole serial property. 

Regarding the referred back minor boundary modification for four components’ buffer zones (Decision 43 COM 8B.51), the State Party will review the Typical Zone Decrees of Chonchi and Tenaún, as established in 2000 and 2004, after finalizing the complete protection of all the buffer zones of the property. However, the delimitation of the Quinchao and San Juan Typical Zones are not planned to be revised as it is considered that they are sufficient for their rural and geographical context. Considering that the property’s landscape is an essential attribute to be preserved, the lack of cooperation regarding the extension of the officially-established Typical Zones, an issue that has been discussed since the 2013 Reactive Monitoring mission, is regrettable.

Regarding Castro’s buffer zone, the significantly-reduced Typical Zone proposed by the working group, which is limited to the blocks immediately surrounding the church, does not include the Meseta of Castro and Palafitos area, and differs considerably from the former proposal reviewed by ICOMOS, was approved by the CMN in July 2019, representing an area of 32.06 ha. Modifications to the Communal Regulatory Plan of Castro regarding the 16-metre maximum height limit for the Meseta and the sea edge were approved in the second half of 2020, but this process has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is recommended that the Committee reaffirm the importance of the effective protection of the whole Meseta that advances into the sea, the sea edge, where important prehistoric remains are found, and the Palafitos area, which is of great vernacular value, which together form exceptional heritage and cultural landscape elements in the wider environment of this church that is considered the “head” of the serial property.

The cooperative development of the Integrated Management Plan for all 16 churches and their buffer zones by the authorities responsible for culture and heritage on a national and regional level is acknowledged and welcomed. The first studies of the plan’s diagnosis phase, undertaken through contracted technical assistance, are of excellent quality, and show that, since the property’s inscription, the understanding has changed from a focus on the churches and their restoration to a larger protection of the surrounding areas. Cultural and social changes in the traditional maintenance system provided by the community have to be envisaged.

Regarding the traffic issues, it is noted that the construction of the Castro by-pass suffered delays in order to take into consideration archaeological findings, but is now reactivated, with its conclusion programmed for 2023.

Despite the recommendations of the Committee, the 2013 mission and ICOMOS’ Technical Reviews, the construction of the Castro shopping mall was completed without significant modifications to its design, and to date, no mitigation measures have been undertaken or reported. It was previously mentioned that potential mitigation measures would be limited to the colours, textures and materials of the façade facing the sea, and the planting of trees, which are considered an insufficient solution. The proposed architecture competition might achieve effective solutions, but it is urgently recommended that the designs and mitigation measures be sent for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, prior to their implementation. It may be considered that the absence of appropriate measures in this regard constitute a threat and a potential danger to the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).

The preparation of a Risk Management Plan is of fundamental importance considering the great vulnerability of the property’s wooden architecture, and should be welcomed. Nevertheless, this Plan was not provided in the SOC report, it might be necessary to request the State Party to submit the document.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.164
Churches of Chiloé (Chile) (C 971bis)
Decision: 44 COM 7B.164

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 43 COM 7B.97 and 43 COM 8B.51, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Notes the progress made by the State Party in the identification and protection of the buffer zones, despite the difficulties related to the Covid-19 pandemic, and requests it to:
    1. Proceed as soon as possible with the submission of the proposed buffer zones of Castro, Achao, Rilan, Aldachildo and Dalcahue churches as a minor boundary modification, and conclude the identification of a buffer zone for Caguach,
    2. Review the delimitation of the buffer zones of Chonchi and Tenaún after finalising the complete protection of all the property’s buffer zones,
    3. Consider the Committee’s request to review the delimitation of Quinchao and San Juan, both rural areas, to include a larger surrounding landscape and reinforce the setting of these important components through stronger valuation of its topography and vegetation,
    4. Consider the protection of Castro’s wider environment and its exceptional heritage and landscape elements;
  4. Also requests the State Party, after concluding the delimitation of the buffer zones, to complete and submit Intervention Guidelines for all Typical Zones of the property to the World Heritage Centre;
  5. Welcomes the advances made on the preliminary studies for the Integrated Management Plan (IMP), and urges the State Party to complete the draft IMP and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before it is approved;
  6. Commends the State Party for the emergency structural works carried out in Iglesia Jesús Nazareno of Caguach, the conservation actions to be undertaken on five churches (San Juan, Castro, Ichuac, Detif, Caguach), and the efforts to take into consideration the archaeological findings in the construction of the Castro by-pass;
  7. Notes with appreciation the ongoing initiatives regarding administrative and legal issues and economic resources, the important inventories on the Chilota School of Religious Architecture and the Religious Imagery of the Property, and, in particular, the preparation of a Risk Management Plan, which is of fundamental importance considering the great vulnerability of the property’s wooden architecture, and also requests the State Party to submit the Risk Management Plan for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Reiterates its extreme concern and regret, as expressed in its earlier decisions, particularly Decision 41 COM 7B.59, that the construction of the shopping mall in Castro was completed without significant modifications to its design and that to date no mitigation measures have been undertaken or reported, and further requests the State Party to urgently submit the designs and mitigation measures selected following the planned architectural competition for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, prior to their implementation;
  9. Finally 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.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.164

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 43 COM 7B.97 and 43 COM 8B.51, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Notes the progress made by the State Party in the identification and protection of the buffer zones, despite the difficulties related to the Covid-19 pandemic, and requests it to:
    1. Proceed as soon as possible with the submission of the proposed buffer zones of Castro, Achao, Rilan, Aldachildo and Dalcahue churches as a minor boundary modification, and conclude the identification of a buffer zone for Caguach,
    2. Review the delimitation of the buffer zones of Chonchi and Tenaún after finalising the complete protection of all the property’s buffer zones,
    3. Consider the Committee’s request to review the delimitation of Quinchao and San Juan, both rural areas, to include a larger surrounding landscape and reinforce the setting of these important components through stronger valuation of its topography and vegetation,
    4. Consider the protection of Castro’s wider environment and its exceptional heritage and landscape elements;
  4. Also requests the State Party, after concluding the delimitation of the buffer zones, to complete and submit Intervention Guidelines for all Typical Zones of the property to the World Heritage Centre;
  5. Welcomes the advances made on the preliminary studies for the Integrated Management Plan (IMP), and urges the State Party to complete the draft IMP and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before it is approved;
  6. Commends the State Party for the emergency structural works carried out in Iglesia Jesús Nazareno of Caguach, the conservation actions to be undertaken on five churches (San Juan, Castro, Ichuac, Detif, Caguach), and the efforts to take into consideration the archaeological findings in the construction of the Castro by-pass;
  7. Notes with appreciation the ongoing initiatives regarding administrative and legal issues and economic resources, the important inventories on the Chilota School of Religious Architecture and the Religious Imagery of the Property, and, in particular, the preparation of a Risk Management Plan, which is of fundamental importance considering the great vulnerability of the property’s wooden architecture, and also requests the State Party to submit the Risk Management Plan for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Reiterates its extreme concern and regret, as expressed in its earlier decisions, particularly Decision 41 COM 7B.59, that the construction of the shopping mall in Castro was completed without significant modifications to its design and that to date no mitigation measures have been undertaken or reported, and further requests the State Party to urgently submit the designs and mitigation measures selected following the planned architectural competition for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, prior to their implementation;
  9. Requests furthermore 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 in 2023.
Report year: 2021
Chile
Date of Inscription: 2000
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iii)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2021) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
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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