Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

i
ii
iii
iv
v
vi
vii
viii
ix
x

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

Panama
Factors affecting the property in 2023*
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Housing
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Land conversion
  • Legal framework
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Lack of established boundaries and buffer zones

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Housing (encroachments and urban pressure)
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation (tourism pressure -particularly at Portobelo)
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan (absence of a conservation and management plan)
  • Fragile state of the property and accelerated degradation by environmental factors, lack of maintenance and limited conservation planning
  • Legal framework
  • Lack of established boundaries and buffer zones
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
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2023

N/A

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2023
Requests approved: 4 (from 1980-1993)
Total amount approved : 76,800 USD
Missions to the property until 2023**

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 2023

On 1 February 2022, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/135/documents, which provides information on the implementation of the corrective measures and progress achieved in 2021 as follows:

  • Within the framework of the project financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), several works and projects have been undertaken, among them the restoration project for San Lorenzo Castle, the conservation project for San Jeronimo and San Fernando Fortifications (Portobelo), the conservation project of Santiago Fortifications (Battery and hilltop stronghold) and Old Santiago Fortification (Portobelo) and the visitor centre and natural trails in the Protected Forest of San Lorenzo;
  • The integral Management Plan is expected to be tendered in 2022. In the first quarter of 2022, the Ministry of Culture will initiate the international public tender process for the selection and award of the consultancy to the contractor company. The Community Development Plan for Portobelo has been completed and will provide an important input to the Management Plan;
  • A formal request for a Minor Boundary Modification (MBM) has been submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 31 January 2022;
  • In June 2021, the Inter-Institutional Commission of Portobelo and San Lorenzo, an inter-institutional communication office, was opened with the aim of providing information on the progress of projects;
  • Through the Inter-Agency Committee for the Territorial and Urban Development Plan of Portobelo, other projects and actions aiming at improving the quality of life of the residents of Portobelo include the development of a water treatment plan, the sanitary sewerage and drinking water distribution network and the Unique Methodology for Regularization and Mass Titling of Portobelo by the National Authority for Land Titling (ANATI) and the Municipality of Colón;
  • The Ministry of Housing, in coordination with other agencies, completed the final draft of the new Land Management Plan for the town of Portobelo, which will include new urban regulations and greater protection for historical monuments, including their buffer zones, and the new area for urban expansion. Implementation is expected during the first half of 2022;
  • Actions and projects planned for 2022 include containment works on the slopes of Portobelo; intervention plans for Santiago Battery and Santiago de la Gloria Castle (Portobelo); consolidation works in San Jerónimo and San Fernando Forts (Portobelo) and San Lorenzo, and a project for the improvement of the road to access San Lorenzo Castle;
  • The timeframe for the execution of the corrective measures (2019-2023) is not suitable, since a series of events has affected budgetary performance, among them the transition from the National Cultural Institute to the Ministry of Culture, the COVID-19 pandemic, and two hurricanes that occurred in 2020, which have redirected resources. The State Party is working on an updated timeframe and is negotiating with the IADB for an extension of the loan; the draft timeframe under discussion is set to be extended until mid-2025.
  • On 17 March 2022, the State Party submitted additional information on the visitor centre and on the consolidation, conservation and restoration works in some of the fortifications in Portobelo and San Lorenzo
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2023

The proposed MBM for the establishment of a buffer zone at the property will be examined by the World Heritage Committee under Item 8 of the agenda (Document WHC//45.COM/8B).

The financial contribution provided by the IADB has allowed progress in the consolidation, conservation and restoration works and projects undertaken in San Lorenzo and Portobelo. The State Party has expressed its commitment to the implementation of the corrective measures to remove the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The reasons put forward to extend the foreseen timeframe can be considered acceptable, but it becomes peremptory that a roadmap and timeframe to reach the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) be agreed between the State Party and the IADB.

The opening of the Inter-Institutional Commission of Portobelo and San Lorenzo constitutes an important step to ensure open public access to information on the progress of projects. The Community Development Plan for Portobelo is a key step to ensure community inclusion and participation in the management system. The programmes and projects foreseen in the plan are adequate and in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, but it is regrettable that little progress has been made in the elaboration and adoption of the new integral Management Plan for both components of the serial property and their buffer zones. It is noted that the State Party states that the international tender process to decide the consultancy company will be launched soon and that the Management Plan will be completed in 2022. The objectives and specific plans to be included within the integral Management Plan are adequate, although it is advised that specific considerations on the real or potential impact of climate change are included in the sections related to risk management.

The progress achieved in the conservation and restoration works and projects is noted, but it becomes apparent that the state of conservation of the property’s components is still fragile and that most of the factors that justified its inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012 are still present. Once the extension of the loan is agreed with the IADB, a roadmap and timeframe for actions to be undertaken in the next future would be necessary.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2023
45 COM 7A.19
Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama) (C 135)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7A.36 adopted at its extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online, 2021),
  3. Acknowledging the important contribution of the project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) for the conservation and management of the property, takes note of the commitment expressed by the State Party to implement the full set of corrective measures;
  4. Also takes note that the original timeframe to reach the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) is no longer suitable, and requests the State Party to provide regular updates to the World Heritage Centre on progress in the negotiation with the IADB to extend the loan until 2025, and to update the roadmap and timeframe for achieving the DSOCR;
  5. Further takes note of the State Party’s submission of a proposal for the establishment of a buffer zone for the property as a Minor Boundary Modification for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its current 45th session under Agenda Item 8;
  6. Welcomes the completion of the Community Development Plan of Portobelo, but regrets that little progress has been made in the elaboration of the new integral Management Plan for the serial property and its buffer zones, and also requests the State Party to strengthen the efforts that would allow for the plan’s completion in 2022 and to submit the document once finalised to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Also welcomes the works and projects to improve the quality of life of the residents of the town of Portobelo and the completion of the new Land Management Plan, and further requests the State Party to submit the plan to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Further welcomes the works and projects oriented towards the consolidation, conservation and restoration of the elements that make up the two components of the serial property and those related to the visitor centre and natural trails in San Lorenzo, and notes the State Party’s submission of the documentation for these works and projects to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  9. Welcomes furthermore that steps to include Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) in World Heritage properties are in progress, and requests furthermore that a HIA for the visitor centre be carried out as soon as possible and the results submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  10. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2024, 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;
  11. Decides to retain the Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
45 COM 8B.63
Minor boundary modifications - Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo, Panama

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/23/45.COM/8B and WHC/23/45.COM/INF.8B1,
  2. Refers the examination of the minor modification to the boundary and the buffer zones of the Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo, Panama, back to the State Party in order to allow it to:
    1. Clarify the rationale to define the boundaries of the buffer zone in the San Lorenzo Castle, and eventually consider its extension if appropriate,
    2. Consider the possibility to adopt the area of the Monumental Historic Ensemble of Portobelo established by Law 91 of 1976 as a single buffer zone that encompasses the component parts located in the area of Portobelo,
    3. Elaborate an integral management plan for the serial property that clarifies the protection and management for its component parts and their buffer zones.
45 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/23/45.COM/7A, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add.3, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add.4),
  2. Having examined the recommendations of the Advisory Bodies, 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 45 COM 7A.51)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 45 COM 7A.52)
  • Austria, Historic Centre of Vienna (Decision 45 COM 7A.55)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 45 COM 7A.18)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 45 COM 7A.3)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 45 COM 7A.4)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 45 COM 7A.5)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 45 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 45 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 45 COM 7A.8)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 45 COM 7A.26)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 45 COM 7A.1)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 45 COM 7A.15)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 45 COM 7A.27)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 45 COM 7A.28)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 45 COM 7A.29)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 45 COM 7A.31)
  • Kenya, Lake Turkana National Parks (Decision 45 COM 7A.10)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 45 COM 7A.33)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 45 COM 7A.34)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 45 COM 7A.35)
  • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 45 COM 7A.36)
  • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 45 COM 7A.37)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 45 COM 7A.11)
  • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 45 COM 7A.22)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 45 COM 7A.23)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 45 COM 7A.24)
  • Mexico, Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California (Decision 45 COM 7A.2)
  • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 45 COM 7A.53)
  • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 45 COM 7A.12)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 45 COM 7A.39)
  • Palestine, Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Decision 45 COM 7A.38)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 45 COM 7A.19)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 45 COM 7A.20)
  • Romania, Roșia Montană Mining Landscape (Decision 45 COM 7A.56)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 45 COM 7A.13)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 45 COM 7A.57)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 45 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 45 COM 7A.40)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 45 COM 7A.41)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 45 COM 7A.42)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 45 COM 7A.43)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 45COM 7A.44)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 45 COM 7A.45)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 45 COM 7A.14)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 45 COM 7A.17)
  • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 45 COM 7A.54)
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 45 COM 7A.21)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 45 COM 7A.47)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 45 COM 7A.49)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 45 COM 7A.50)
3.    Recalls that the following properties were inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 18th extraordinary session (UNESCO, 2023):
  • Lebanon, Rachid Karami International Fair-Tripoli (Decision 18 EXT.COM 5.1)
  • Ukraine, The Historic Centre of Odesa (Decision 18 EXT.COM 5.2)
  • Yemen, Landmarks of the Ancient Kingdom of Saba, Marib (Decision 18 EXT.COM 5.3)
Draft Decision : 45 COM 7A.19

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC//45.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7A.36, adopted at its extended 44th session (Fuzhou/Online, 2021),
  3. Acknowledging the important contribution of the project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) for the conservation and management of the property, takes note of the commitment expressed by the State Party to implement the full set of corrective measures;
  4. Also takes note that the original timeframe to reach the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) is no longer suitable, and requests the State Party to provide regular updates to the World Heritage Centre on progress in the negotiation with the IADB to extend the loan until 2025, and to update the roadmap and timeframe for achieving the DSOCR;
  5. Further takes note of the State Party’s submission of a proposal for the establishment of a buffer zone for the property as a Minor Boundary Modification for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its current 45th session under Agenda Item 8;
  6. Welcomes the completion of the Community Development Plan of Portobelo, but regrets that little progress has been made in the elaboration of the new integral Management Plan for the serial property and its buffer zones, and also requests the State Party to strengthen the efforts that would allow for the plan’s completion in 2022 and to submit the document once finalised to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Also welcomes the works and projects to improve the quality of life of the residents of the town of Portobelo and the completion of the new Land Management Plan, and further requests the State Party to submit the plan to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Further welcomes the works and projects oriented towards the consolidation, conservation and restoration of the elements that make up the two components of the serial property and those related to the visitor centre and natural trails in San Lorenzo, and notes the State Party’s submission of the documentation for these works and projects to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  9. Welcomes furthermore that steps to include Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) in World Heritage properties are in progress, and requests furthermore that
  10. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 202, 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;
  11. Decides to retain the Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2023
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 (2022) .pdf
Initialy proposed for examination in 2022
arrow_circle_right 45COM (2023)
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.


top