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uncontrolled urban development and tourism pressures, have not been addressed. Erosion by the sea is also evident, and some structures are in danger of collapsing. Conservation projects supported by the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), the World Monuments Fund and the Spanish Agency for Cooperation and Development (AECID) have been interrupted or not implemented, along with a number of projects and proposals for action derived from initiatives such as the UNESCO/UNDP Regional Project for Cultural Heritage and Development (1983).

The mission assessed the current state of the different components of the property and considers that the degradation of the fabric over considerable areas is in a critical state and at risk of collapse and potential loss. Although these conditions can be partially attributed to natural processes and the lack of systematic interventions and regular maintenance, the impact of unregulated human activities has also generated deterioration of the fabric and has compromised their integrity and authenticity. Development pressures in Portobelo, arbitrary and spontaneous growth and uncontrolled constructions that result from the lack of coherent territorial and urban planning, despite developed plans, constitute a significant and increasing threat. This is further exacerbated as there are still no legally defined buffer zones for the property.

The Patronato’s Working Plan for 2010-2013 is a comprehensive document to address a wide variety of tasks ranging from the preservation of the monumental components of the property including both preventive and emergency actions, urban planning, orientation and control of tourism activities, education, information and research programs, management and monitoring, budget and fund raising, among the main issues. However no resources have been identified for the implementation of this Plan.


Other issues

The mission underscored that communities at both Portobelo and San Lorenzo have significantly differing interests and have no involvement in the protection of the property, leading to situations where conflict might easily arise. It noted that local awareness is limited and for many sectors of the community, heritage places are elements that hinder the implementation of large projects. There are currently no projects in place to stimulate community involvement and to jointly define projects to contribute to human development and an improvement in the quality of life. These are added to the various issues that threaten the physical fabric of the property.

The mission also noted that tourism is not a planned activity and there is no coherent policy currently in place for its development. Both the municipal authorities and the community indicate that derived benefits are very limited. Unplanned tourism activities, without any studies on potential impacts and means to mitigate them also constitute a significant decay factor and could exacerbate existing conditions if projects to develop additional infrastructure and facilities for tourism are implemented without holistic planning and the pertinent impact studies.

To conclude, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the limited recent efforts made to address the current conditions at the property, particularly the creation of the Patronato and the development of a working plan. However many necessary actions remain in the planning phase and long-time lack of systematic attention to the property, the lack of legally defined buffer zones and the discontinuity in implementation of planning tools and conservation projects, have compromised the attributes of the property and it is faced with significant threats to the Outstanding Universal Value, integrity and authenticity that warranted the inscription of the property on the World Heritage List.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are strongly concerned about the state of conservation of the property and consider that the World Heritage Committee might wish to include the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger in order to assist the State Party in addressing the significant threats and in garnering the support at the international,

State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List

WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 191

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