Macau Heritage not in danger
Macau Daily Times
13 July 2008
Sara Farr with AFP
Macau's Heritage sites are not at risk nor in danger, according to UNESCO's list of world heritage in danger.
The local government has been reprimanded by several locals and support groups for not “properly protecting” Macau's cultural heritage sites. The government has also been accused of its carelessness in protecting cultural sites, mainly the Guia lighthouse.
The Guia Lighthouse Protection Group last year sent an appeal letter to UNESCO demanding its immediate concern into the matter.
Tony Yuen from the group said at the time the action resulted from the continuous negligence by the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) and the Cultural Affairs Bureau (ICM).Earlier this year, the government set a maximum height limit of 90 metres around the culturally protected area of the Guia Lighthouse.
“There are about 128 projects that are not protected, of which around 40 something are in historical areas in Macau,” Fernando Chui Sai On, secretary for social affairs and culture said last year, adding that ICM had been carrying out preservation works on the sites listed as part of UNESCO's World Heritage list.
“There are no constructions affecting these cultural heritage sites. I clarified this,” Chui added at the time.
UNESCO said on Thursday it would boost surveillance of Bordeaux, Machu Picchu, Timbuktu and Samarkand due to their increased risk of degradation. But Macau nor any other mainland city was listed as being “in danger.”
The four properties are listed as World Heritage sites, but are said to be under stress from urban construction, poor governance and, or nature.
Under the new monitoring mechanism established by the World Heritage Committee last year, regular missions will be dispatched to sites to examine developments, and report back to the committee.Bordeaux's Port of the Moon in France entered the World Heritage List last year, but the Committee said on Thursday it is worried about the visual impact of new river crossings and the destruction in late 2007 of the Pertuis Bridge.
In Timbuktu, Mali, construction near three mosques, notably that of the Ahmed Baba Cultural Centre, threatens to place the site back on UNESCO's "in danger" list only three years after being removed from the list, the committee said.
Meanwhile in Peru, there are "urgent problems" with deforestation, the risk of landslides, uncontrolled urban development affecting the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, it said.And the Crossroads of Cultures in Samarkand, Uzbekistan is being threatened by new roads and buildings which affect the integrity of its traditional urban fabric, in the absence of an adequate regulatory framework.
"Reinforced monitoring" continues to be applied for seven other sites deemed at risk last year. All seven are on UNESCO's list of world heritage in danger, which includes a total of 30 sites.
UNESCO last year alerted Beijing to threats facing the lighthouse, saying it might remove at least two mainland sites from the World Heritage list and warned against damage to others.
However, China did not make it among the 30 countries in this year's endangered list.