1.         Colonial City of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) (C 526)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1990

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(vi)

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/526/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1990-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 82,207
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/526/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

1993, 1995, 1998; August 2001: ICOMOS monitoring mission; 2009: World Heritage Centre site visit

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Undefined and unregulated buffer zone leading to urban development pressure and inadequate control of land use;

b) Pressures derived from tourism;

c) Inadequate and inefficient management and conservation arrangements (including legislation, regulatory measures, technical capacity for conservation and service infrastructure);

d) Lack interpretation and presentation of the property;

e) Natural vulnerability to earthquakes and hurricanes;

f) Deterioration of historic structures derived from natural and social factors (including environmental pollution and lack of sensitisation of local residents).

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/526/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

At its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007) the World Heritage Committee requested the State Party to formally submit any proposed modifications to the buffer zone and to provide a draft of the new law for the protection of immovable heritage for consideration by the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS.

The State Party submitted the state of conservation report on 3 February 2009. The report includes details concerning the methodologies used to define the extension for the buffer zone and the progress made on the developing the legal framework for the protection of cultural heritage.

In February 2009, a World Heritage Centre staff member undertook a mission to the country and during this visit there was an opportunity for informal discussions with the developers of the project Sans Souci.


a) Submission of proposed modifications to the buffer zone and its regulation.

The State Party report included information on the proposed new buffer zones, and draft regulations. The process for adopting these regulations has been finalized and no precise timetable has been provided. The report also states that the steering committee responsible for the Master Plan is working the review and approval of the regulations of the buffer zone.


b) Law on the protection, safeguarding and encouragement of cultural heritage protection.

The proposal for the future law for the ‘Protection, safeguarding and awareness-raising of the Nation’s Cultural Heritage’ has been included in the report; this project is a result of the coordination work of the Office of Cultural Heritage (Secretary of Culture) and the National Directorate of Cultural Heritage. The project was also reviewed by a legal advisor and will be sent to the Government for approval, however, no precise information on the time frame for its final approval was sent.


c) Other matters

The report described interventions that were finalized and others to be undertaken such as: The recent recovery of the Barrio Chino with the restoration of the two main entrances, the enhancement of the South Sea shore and the construction of two new tourist docks in the Ozama River. These projects were described in the report but no detailed information on the projects was received.


No updated information was provided on an Integrated Revitalization Plan and the Risk management plan for the protected area that were mentioned in 2006. No other additional information concerning the current management and works undertaken within the protected area were included.


During the informal meeting in February (mentioned above) information was provided by the developer on a large scale high-rise urban development project known as Sans Souci, on the opposite bank of the river that has been planned to revitalize the ancient military area facing the colonial centre of Santo Domingo. The intervention foresees a marine construction along the fortifications and entertainment installations, urban areas and a destination port for international cruise ships. No technical plans have been submitted yet.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note with extreme concern the proposed Sans Souci development project in the immediate vicinity of the property. They appreciate the fact that the Steering Committee brought this issue to their attention of the World Heritage Centre, but would like to remind the State Party about its obligations under Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines to formally notify the World Heritage Committee about “new construction which may affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property”.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that this project has the potential to impact adversely on the visual integrity of the property and also through the proposed extreme increase in visitor number on the physical fabric and overall management of the property. 

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


Decision Adopted: 33 COM 7B.135

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.125, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007

3. Encourages the adoption, and strict enforcement of the new law on monumental heritage, the Integrated Revitalization Plan and the implementation of the related actions proposed, and the adoption and full implementation of the Risk management plan for the Zona Colonial;

4. Requests the State Party to:

a) Submit to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible, the complete technical documentation of the Sans Souci project to be undertaken in the South Area, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines,

b) Withhold any approval of the development until the World Heritage Committee has had the opportunity to fully review the project,

c) Invite a joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the property to consider its overall state of conservation and particularly the possible impact of the Sans Souci project on the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property and to review the proposal for the delineation and protection of the buffer zone ;

5. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and on the implementation of the above recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.