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Historic Centre of Macao

China
Factors affecting the property in 2009*
  • Housing
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2009
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2009**

January 2009: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

The World Heritage Committee, in its Decision 32 COM 7B.68, focussed on two principal conservation issues.

a) Negative Impacts of Urban Development near buffer zones

It noted with concern that that urban development around the property’s buffer zones, especially around the Guia Hill and Lighthouse and the Monte Fortress (Mount Fort), might impact negatively on the visual integrity of the property. These concerns had already led to the State Party issuing a Chief Executive Directive 83/2008 in April 2008 designed to mitigate this threat in sensitive areas through the use of building height controls. While welcoming these measures the World Heritage Committee requested the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the property to determine whether the measures are adequate to ensure the long term protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

b) Statement of Outstanding Universal Value

In order to make such a determination, as well as to develop a comprehensive long-term strategy to safeguard the property, there was seen to be an urgent need to clearly define the property’s Outstanding Universal Value. Decision 32 COM 7B.68 therefore requested the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity and authenticity. The Decision further asked that the mission provide advice on defining the setting of the property and any possible revision of the boundary of the buffer zone that might be required.

It further requested the State Party to submit an updated report on the progress made in implementing the measures mentioned above. A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission visited Macao from 18 to 24 January 2009. Its report covered the main concerns raised in 32 COM 7B.68 but also identified another serious issue and made eleven recommendations for staged action. The mission found that the Chief Executive Directive 83/2008 introducing measures to reduce the height of the buildings constructed or planned near the Guia Hill and Lighthouse and establish new controls over the area provided adequate protection to maintain the visual connections between the Guia Lighthouse and the sea, towards the east, and to the Monte Fortress, to the west. It noted, however, that to the south, the visual connection had already been compromised by several tall buildings on the more distant reclaimed land, mostly constructed before the inscription, and it therefore concluded that the newly proposed buildings near the Guia Hill’s southern buffer zone would not constitute a problem once their height had been reduced in line with Chief Executive Directive.

The mission found that a larger issue was that the present management and conservation system was inadequate – indeed a significant risk – for the future conservation of the property. While the system, with its boundaries and legal provisions, is effective for protecting the main monuments, a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value was needed to ensure that the very important visual and functional linkages between the monuments and the wider land and seascape of Macao were also protected. Without such linkages it would be difficult to understand why Macao had come to be what it is today – a trading port along commercial sea-routes. The mission therefore recommended more work to identify these linkages through a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value that included identifying the attributes that carry Outstanding Universal Value and then to develop the appropriate legal and planning tools to protect them. This would include, in the medium term, a comprehensive urban plan that seeks to protect the heritage significance of what is left of the historic urban landscape, related to the setting and views of the property. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies will be able to provide assistance to the State Party in developing these components of the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, within the framework of the forthcoming periodic reporting exercise for Asia and the Pacific.

The State Party responded to Decision 32 COM 7B.68 on 13 February 2009, shortly after receiving the mission, assuring the World Heritage Committee that the monuments inside the property are in a very good state of conservation through continuous efforts that are in line with conservation charters and supported by sound financial resources made possible by Macao’s growing economy. The response confirmed that measures adopted to mitigate against the negative impacts of development projects on the visual integrity of the property are as outlined in its response to the World Heritage Committee in March 2008 and subsequently written into legislation under Chief Executive Directive 83/2008. The response also indicated that the drafting of the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, including conditions of authenticity and integrity is under way and the final Statement will be submitted for consideration by the World Heritage Committee.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies take note of the State Party report.

 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2009
33 COM 7B.67
Historic Centre of Macao (China) (C 1110)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.68, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Welcomes the measures taken by the State Party of China to mitigate possible negative impacts of development projects on the visual integrity of the property by reducing height limits for construction in sensitive areas surrounding the Guia Hill and the Monte Fortress;

4. Notes with concern, however, the apparent inadequacy of the current management system, with its buffer zone and legal provisions, to protect effectively the very important visual and functional linkages between the inscribed monuments and the wider urban land and seascape of Macao;

5. Requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the above-mentioned linkages;

6. Also requests the State Party to develop the appropriate legal and planning tools to protect these linkages, including a comprehensive urban plan that seeks to protect the heritage significance of what is left of the historic urban landscape that contributes to the setting and views of the property;

7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, an updated report on the progress made in implementing the measures mentioned above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.

Draft Decision: 33 COM 7B.67

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.68, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Welcomes the measures taken by the State Party of China to mitigate possible negative impacts of development projects on the visual integrity of the property by reducing height limits for construction in sensitive areas surrounding the Guia Hill and the Monte Fortress;

4. Notes with concern, however, the apparent inadequacy of the current management system, with its buffer zone and legal provisions, to protect effectively the very important visual and functional linkages between the inscribed monuments and the wider urban land and seascape of Macao;

5. Requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, including the conditions of integrity and authenticity, including the above-mentioned linkages;

6. Also requests the State Party to develop the appropriate legal and planning tools to protect these linkages, including a comprehensive urban plan that seeks to protect the heritage significance of what is left of the historic urban landscape that contributes to the setting and views of the property;

7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, an updated report on the progress made in implementing the measures mentioned above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.

Report year: 2009
China
Date of Inscription: 2005
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 33COM (2009)
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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