Previous monitoring missions November 2000, March 2006: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN reactive monitoring missions; January 2010: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Lack of comprehensive management plan;
Lack of conservation of parks and palaces;
Rapid encroachment by urban and infrastructure development;
Lack of institutional coordination.
Illustrative material http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/723 http://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/
Current conservation issues
From 11 to 15 January 2010 a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission visited the property, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville 2009). The mission report is available online at the following web address: http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/34COM .
A report on the state of conservation of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra dated 1 February 2010 was submitted by the State Party after the mission. The report addressed the issues outlined in Decision 33 COM 7B.116 (Seville, 2009. The annexes comprise a total of 483 pages and include restoration projects, Municipal Plans, works executed under the Management Plan for 2005-2009 including fire protection, and actions planned for 2010- 2012, continuing the strategic direction set out in the Management Plan.
a) Urban encroachment and visitation pressure
The State Party claims that there was no reason to identify urban encroachment on the property and its buffer zone as a risk. In support the authorities referred to a survey showing that 90% of urban licences granted in the municipality were for rehabilitation of buildings in the core zone.
The mission found that although urban rehabilitation is slow, it is satisfactorily controlled in terms of quality by the permit system of the municipality.
With regard to visitation pressure, the State Party maintains that while there has been growing tourist demand, this has been countered by careful tourism management including the promotion of new centres of interest, new circuits and thematic tours and better distribution of visitors. In support, a favourable comparison of visitor numbers between those for the Palace of Pena (the most visited component of the property) and other components of the World Heritage site is made. For example a table (Annex 1, p.76) shows the number of visitors in an average month in 2009 as 49,104 to Pena Palace.
The mission found that there is an impressive range of events and activities designed to attract tourists. It was concerned about a funded proposal to create a new garden between the Park of Pena and the Chalet of the Countess of Edla as a means of attracting visitors to a less-visited area. The mission suggested instead that the funds could be used to rehabilitate existing redundant buildings to accommodate a school for gardeners, or perhaps a museum about the water systems of the Sintra hills. However, the new garden project is still retained in Annex 3 to the State Party’s report, covering actions planned by Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua (PSML) for 2010 – 2012.
b) Lack of co-ordination between all relevant stakeholders responsible for the management of the property and its buffer zone
State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List
WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 157