Mientras dormías

Al igual que el año pasado, esta semana estamos como gato pata p’arriba (o como padrino pataconero) moviendo cielo y tierra para que no nos declaren al Casco Viejo como patrimonio en peligro. Como a estas alturas de mi vida ya no estoy para trasnocharme y todavía no me pasan un rip en youtube, toca conformarse con la crónica de La Prensa. Y dice:

Ayer, por más de una hora, los 21 países miembros del Comité de Patrimonio Mundial de la Organización de Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura (Unesco, por sus siglas en inglés), reunidos en su asamblea anual en Nom Pen, Camboya, no lograron acordar si incluir o no al conjunto monumental en la lista de sitios en peligro. […]

Los avances de la cinta costera tienen cinco años en la agenda del Comité de Patrimonio Mundial (WHC, por sus siglas en inglés). En las últimas tres asambleas anuales –la de París, en 2011; la de San Petersburgo, en 2012, y ahora la de Nom Pen– el sitio se ha salvado en el último momento de ser incluido en la lista de patrimonio en peligro, gracias a falsas promesas de más estudios por parte del Gobierno panameño.

Them’s fightin’ words!

Ayer, tras una intensa discusión, la presidencia del WHC optó por formar un grupo de trabajo para llegar a un “consenso”.

Algunos países miembros del WHC admitieron que no querían emitir un voto en contra del sitio panameño, porque eso afecta el concepto de “solidaridad internacional”, y por ello prefirieron una “solución de compromiso”.

Ese “grupo de trabajo” entró de inmediato a estudiar el caso, a fin de presentar sus conclusiones al pleno de la asamblea.

Confirmando así que los editores del Diario del NO son asiduos lectores del “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. Pero continuemos:

Panamá, que no es parte del WHC, pero sí es signatario de la Convención de Patrimonio Mundial, está representada en Camboya por María Eugenia Herrera y Raúl Castro, directora y subdirector del Instituto Nacional de Cultura (Inac); Sandra Cerrud y Yamileth Stanziola, directora y subdirectora de Patrimonio Histórico, y Carlos Martínez, director de la Oficina del Casco Antiguo (OCA).

Esta misma delegación aseguró en San Petersburgo, en 2012, que no se estaba trabajando en el viaducto. Un año después, las obras tienen un avance de 60%.

Con ellos también están Flavio Méndez, embajador permanente de Panamá ante la Unesco, y los arquitectos Eduardo Tejeira Davis y Carlos Fitzgerald.

Los ocho miembros de la delegación panameña estuvieron en la sesión plenaria de ayer, pero solo dos tomaron el micrófono: Cerrud y Méndez.

¿Carne de cañón much?

La discusión sobre el futuro de Panamá Viejo-Casco Antiguo empezó ayer a las 4:15 a.m., hora de Panamá (4:15 p.m. de Nom Pen). La primera intervención fue de la secretaría técnica del WHC, que preparó y leyó un documento en el que se acordó la inclusión del sitio en la lista en peligro.

“Fuertes palabras, fuerte recomendación”, dijo el representante de India. […]

El enviado de Estonia argumentó que el comité está en una posición difícil, pero que ya es muy tarde para posponer la decisión. Este país hizo propias las palabras del representante de Senegal, que utilizó una particular metáfora para referirse al viaducto y su impacto sobre el Casco Antiguo: “cuando un animal ha comido, ha comido”. […]

La delegación panameña obtuvo el apoyo de Rusia, Sudáfrica y Qatar, que opinaron que los efectos del viaducto era un tema “subjetivo”, porque también podía argumentarse que el sitio histórico se podría ver “desde el mar”.

Sandra Cerrud y Flavio Méndez insistieron que el puente marino está fuera de la zona de amortiguamiento. La secretaría técnica del WHC replicó que no se podía hablar de zona de amortiguamiento, dado que esta nunca había sido formalmente definida.

Cerrud restó importancia a los informes de Icomos por estar basados en “premisas subjetivas”.

El programa de hoy fue presentado por la letra S de subjetivo y por el número 2. ¡Hasta mañana, amiguitos!

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Y vuelve al ruedo el Casco, como todos los años

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 1.10.48 PM

¡Detengan las imprentas! Unesco acaba de colgar aquel faltante documento del que hablábamos ayer: el WHC-13/37.COM/7B.AddSi no tienen tiempo de correr a la página 184 a ver lo del Casco Viejo, les damos el resumen ejecutivo:

The World Heritage Committee,

[…] Considers that the work already undertaken on the new construction of the Maritime Viaduct impacts adversely on the property and decides to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in conformity with Paragraphs 177 and 179 of the Operational Guidelines; 

Entonces, después del golpe echemos pa’trás a ver cómo fue que quedamos en estas. Semblanza histórica de una muerte anunciada. Las partes resaltadas en rojo son mías propias de mi persona misma.

d) Cinta Costera project

i. Background

The 2009 reactive monitoring mission to the property noted that the Phase II of the Cinta Costera project, located at the seaside area of Terraplan, had been constructed without carrying out environmental impact studies or a heritage impact assessment, and without informing the World Heritage Committee. Additionally, the mission noted that the Phase III project foreseen at the time could have an impact on the property; consequently the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009) requested the State Party to provide a final report, including the analysis and monitoring of the impacts derived from the construction of the Cinta Costera Phase II and the potential impacts on the property from the possible continuation of Phase III.

In 2010, the state of conservation report examined by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010) noted that Phase III of Cinta Costera was expected to continue at the time with a tunnel that would cross approximately 1 km. of the Historic Centre or by surrounding the Peninsula of the Historic District. The 2010 reactive monitoring mission to the property verified that works had continued on Phase II and that no additional information could be procured regarding the social impacts, conservation requirements, or impact assessments of the project. It also noted that Phase II of the Cinta Costera had resulted in the radical transformation of the waterfront and the impacted on the character of the old harbour area at Terraplan. The mission noted that the proposal of Cinta Costera Phase III to surround the peninsula could have an aggressive impact on the view sheds to and from the Historic Centre and could impact on the conditions of authenticity and integrity of the property. It further noted that no other alternatives for the continuation of the project at Phase III had been sufficiently explored at the time. In Decision 34 COM 7B.113, the World Heritage Committee requested the State Party to halt the Cinta Costera Project and to submit the necessary technical studies and impact assessments prior to approval and implementation, as well as to explore and submit other alternative proposals to address the traffic concerns effectively.

At its 35th Session (UNESCO, 2011) the World Heritage Committee noted the commitment made by the State Party at the Committee session to submit all projects, studies and proposals related to alternatives for future works of the Cinta Costera Phase III for evaluation, including technical specifications and heritage impact assessments. The Committee also requested that the construction of Phase III of the Cinta Costera be discontinued, as it would potentially have an adverse impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

On 31 January 2012, the State Party presented, as the only alternative it was submitting for consideration and review by the World Heritage Committee, a definitive proposal to construct a Maritime Viaduct, Phase III of the Cinta Costera, to the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS. In the state of conservation report examined by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) it was noted, based on the evaluation of the Heritage Impact Assessment, that the project posed a potential threat to the integrity and authenticity of the property as it would transform the Historic District’s traditional form, its appearance on the coastline and would irreversibly compromise the existing relationship between the Historic Centre and the sea and particularly impact the setting of the property in the peninsula and the singularity of the fortified precinct. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies considered that alternative solutions had not yet been sufficiently explored nor had comprehensive technical assessments to discard other options had been presented. The statement requesting the evaluation of only one proposal also precluded the possibility for dialogue about other potential solutions. The World Heritage Committee requested, in Decision 36 COM 7.B103, that impact studies on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property be carried out and also requested the State Party to implement a series of measures to comprehensively address the precarious state of conservation of the property.

On 21 January 2013 the State Party provided a report “Solution for the future traffic demand of Panama City”, elaborated by Halcrow Consulting. This report explains the rapid growth of Panama City and details of the traffic problems and states that the Maritime Viaduct will have urban expressways with three lanes in each direction, connecting directly to Avenida de Balboa and Avenida de los Poetas. The report does not provide any details for alternative options to face the acknowledged increasing growth of traffic.

ii. Current situation

On 7 September 2012, the State Party made a presentation at UNESCO of the “Impact Study of the Cinta Costera III Maritime Viaduct to its Outstanding Universal Value under the currently inscribed criteria of C790 Property, Archaeological Site of Panama Viejo and Historic District of Panama”. In further communications with the World Heritage Centre, throughout September 2012, the State Party indicated that the presented option had been revised to address impacts identified through the incorporation of mitigation measures and compensations. It underscored that the San Felipe Island, which would have faced the Presidential Palace, had been removed from the final design.

On 24 September 2012, a letter from civil society organizations in Panama was received by the Director General of UNESCO providing notification of the construction of the maritime viaduct. On 17 October 2012 a letter from the Permanent Delegation of Panama to UNESCO was received in response to the request for information regarding claims of the commencement of construction works. The State Party indicated that the impact study delivered in September 2012 for evaluation was considered as formal compliance with paragraphs 6 and 7 of the decision of the World Heritage Committee (36 COM 7B.103) and that it therefore considered the construction of the Road Interconnection on Maritime Viaduct could commence. The letter also confirmed the disposition of the State Party to receive suggestions, contributions and inputs on the necessary technical viability for optimizing the design and informed that Delegations of the World Heritage Committee had visited the site to this purpose. As of January 2013, information available in the public domain states that almost 50% of the Viaduct has been constructed. By official communication, the State Party confirmed on 25th April 2013 that 55% of the infrastructure has already been completed.

iii. Assessment of impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property

The impact study submitted by the State Party noted that the Maritime Viaduct, Phase III of the Cinta Costera does not affect the criteria for inscription of the property. However, the report highlighted the attributes of the property in terms of the shape and design that influenced the evolution of military architecture in the Americas. It underscored their low profile and adaptation of the settlement to the shape of the peninsula, and considered the prime importance of the location and the setting, both critical attributes to the authenticity of the property. The report indicates “the main reason why the city was moved after the destruction of Panama Viejo was the desire to fortify it. As the site of the cove lent itself to the building of a walled enclosure, it was chosen despite its narrowness. The peninsula afforded an additional advantage: on its eastern and southern flanks the beach has a surface of sharp rocks that would have significantly hampered any attempt to attack from there. Given these characteristics, this environment was an integral part of the defensive system”.

The study highlighted that the setting and current landscape, understood as being comprised of the Historic District, the surrounding Bay of Panama and its panoramas, the waterfront, the skyline of Panama City and Ancon Hill, that had remained unaltered in terms of the location of the Historic Centre, the environment of sharp rocks to the east and south of San Felipe, around three crags which appear in historical cartography as “The Three Sisters”, would be altered. The report included a photo, taken from Google Earth, corresponding exactly to a 18th century map of the city and it further highlighted that “from a distance, the landscape of the Historic Centre seems to be largely unchanged since the 19th century”. The report also mentions that “the unobstructed view, in its perception of foreground and background, is part of the collective memory of the capital’s population”. The indirect impacts noted are classified to include visual repercussion, noise impact, tidal, background of the metropolitan scene, functional, and territorial relation on the site. The report acknowledges the indirect, visual impact on the waterfront setting of the property and ranks them as large to very large major changes (pages 209, 213-215). Notwithstanding these considerations, the report considered that the visual impact on the waterfront setting could be mitigated through changes to the design. No technical details were provided in terms of the mitigation measures foreseen to ensure the viaduct did not impact adversely on the waterfront setting.

Conclusion

[…] The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies concur with the need to consider improvements to road infrastructure to meet increasing traffic demands but point out that no alternatives to the Maritime Viaduct were sufficiently explored and that the construction began without allowing the World Heritage Committee appropriate time for evaluation, and identification of possible recommendations. They note the efforts made in carrying out the impact studies but consider that, although adverse impacts had been identified with the option selected for the Maritime Viaduct, there was not a clear explanation in any of the documents provided on why other alternatives were totally rejected. In addition, the report “Solution for the future traffic demand of Panama City” underscores the accelerated growth of Panama City and the challenges it faces in regard to traffic demands and the urgent need to reorganise road infrastructure. However, it focuses on justifying why the Maritime Viaduct is the only alternative without contemplating any other alternatives or balancing their pros and cons. There are no substantiated justifications that would indicate that the viaduct will effectively and, most importantly, sustainably provide long-term solutions to these traffic issues.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies underscore the negative visual impacts of the Maritime Viaduct that will adversely impact on and transform the setting of the Historic Centre. They further note that the Maritime Viaduct is a structure of a very strong shape with a high visual impact which does not integrate harmoniously with the Historic District and establishes an undesirable contrast with regard to its maritime context. They consider that the ability of the property to convey its Outstanding Universal Value, as a fortified settlement in a Peninsula and as a testimony to the nature of the early settlements, with a layout and urban design adapted to a particular context, are being adversely compromised. The urban layout and scale and the relationship between the city and its setting, attributes crucial to the understanding of the evolution of the property, will also be adversely impacted.

The Maritime Viaduct, which, when complete in a few months’ time, will closely encircle the coastline that has been the edge of the Historic District since its foundation in the 17th century, will alter view sheds to and from the Historic Centre. Furthermore, the work already carried out on this large-scale infrastructure is impacting significantly and adversely on the integrity and the authenticity of the property, in terms of the way it conveys its historic strategic and defensive location on the Central American isthmus, a crucial attribute of its Outstanding Universal Value.

Given the current degree and extent of the adverse impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property derived from the construction of the Maritime Viaduct and the state of conservation of the built fabric, the World Heritage and the Advisory Bodies note that the World Heritage Committee might wish to inscribe this property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Entonces, marquen su calendario entre el 17 y 27 de junio. Abrimos las apuestas a ver quiénes son los suertudos que van a defender nuestra cinta costera nuestro patrimonio en Nom Pen y Siem Reap/Angkor Wat.

Y hablando de Portobelo

Parece que fue antes de ayer que el Presidente resaltara el trabajo de su equipo en el rescate y protección de nuestro patrimonio cultural:

Igualmente […] con este contrato […] arreglar también Portobelo que está incluido ahí, en otro contrato, no ha habido un gobierno que haya invertido más en un, en el patrimonio histórico que este gobierno [fuertes aplausos].

Bueno, casualmente ahora del 16 al 27 de junio es la 37ma sesión del Comité de Patrimonio Mundial de Unesco en Cambodia. Como Unesco es una máquina de eficiencia, las agendas y conclusiones propuestas para la sesión están listas desde hace rato, y disponibles en su sitio web. ¿Ya se los leyeron? Si no tienen mucho tiempo, les soplo que los importantes son estos dos:

WHC-13/37.COM/7A : State of conservation of the properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

WHC-13/37.COM/7B: State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List

Con el segundo ni pierdan mucho tiempo, porque la información sobre el Casco Viejo no está ahí, porque parece que nuestro State Party no la entregó a tiempo (“late receipt of additional information”), y viene en una adenda WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add que yo no encuentro todavía. Si alguien la tiene, plis me la facilita porfa.

Pero bueno, el cuento de qué hemos hecho sobre nuestro sitio en peligro está en la página 91 del 7A. Les arruino la sorpresa reproduciendo la draft decision.

Draft Decision: 37 COM 7A.36

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A,
  2. RecallingDecision 36 COM 7B.102, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Takes note of the information provided by the State Party on the conditions at the property and the actions implemented and regrets that the report did not specifically relate information to the adopted corrective measures;
  4. Expresses its serious concern for the limited progress that has been achieved in the execution of the corrective measures and urges the State Party to implement them within the approved timeframe, with particular attention to:
a)  Formulation of a budgeted Emergency Plan that includes the identification of priority interventions for stabilization, conservation and protection with timeframes and priority interventions for implementation,
b)  Ensuring that operational conservation arrangements are in place and that budgets have been secured for the implementation of the Emergency Plan,
c)  Identification of measures to address encroachments and urban pressure;
  1. Requests the State Party to submit comprehensive technical and graphic information on the planned construction of a retaining wall at the Santiago de la Gloria fort in Portobelo by 30 October 2013, and to halt the interventions until the evaluation of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies is submitted to the State Party;
  2. Also requests the State Party to submit clear information on the role of the Patronato de Portobelo for the conservation of the property within the framework of a collective Management Plan for this property and the Archaeological Site of Panamá Viejo and Historic District of Panamá;
  3. Further requests the State Party to invite an advisory mission to support the State Party in providing guidelines to finalize the diagnosis and to prepare a comprehensive conservation Emergency Plan as soon as possible,
  4. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;
  5. Decides to retain Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama) on the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Entonces, en caso que no hayan leído, se lamenta que el reporte enviado no incluyera información específica sobre las acciones correctivas efectuadas; se expresa seria preocupación por el limitado avance en la ejecución de estas acciones y se insta al State Party a que las implemente; se solicita que se envíe información sobre el muro de retención propuesto en el fuerte de Santiago de la Gloria en Portobelo y que se detengan las intervenciones hasta que las propuestas sean evaluadas; et cetera, et cetera. Evidentemente este gobierno está invirtiendo más que ningún otro en el patrimonio. Juntos haciendo un mejor Panamá.

Y hablando de los expertos del MOP (Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!)

Yo y mi bocaza. Dice la Prensa que dice Pepe Suárez: “Unesco no decide absolutamente nada”:

“Esto que sale hoy [ayer, en La Prensa] es una propuesta de un comité asesor que tiene Unesco para la cumbre que viene ahora en Rusia”, dijo ayer el ministro en Telemetro Reporta.

[De hecho es la agenda provisional oficial de la trigésimo sexta sesión del Comité de Patrimonio Mundial, but I digress.]

“Unesco no decide absolutamente nada”, agregó, y se jactó de que el año pasado, la secretaría “proponía exactamente lo mismo”.

Sin embargo, lo que no dijo Suárez es que lo que hace un año salvó al sitio de ser incluido en la lista en peligro, fue el compromiso de una delegación gubernamental (con él a la cabeza) de suspender la interconexión vial del proyecto de la tercera fase de la cinta costera. El Gobierno panameño –como recoge el documento propuesto por la secretaría técnica– no cumplió estos acuerdos.

Por si no captan la ironía, y no entienden por qué el Ejecutivo vetó la ley de cultura, noten que la instancia a la que se hacen consultas sobre nuestro patrimonio histórico es el Ministerio de Obras Públicas. ¿Para qué ascender a Maruja si Pepe bien puede hacer ese trabajo? ¡Reingeniería institucional y súper eficiencia ministerial! Pero mejor volvamos a revivir el éxito de nuestra delegación panameña a la reunión de París del año pasado. La Prensa:

El año pasado, [el] comité estuvo a punto de incluir al Casco Antiguo en la lista en peligro (incluso se redactó y discutió un borrador al respecto).

Sin embargo, se salvó a último minuto porque una delegación de funcionarios panameños se comprometió a detener las obras de interconexión de las avenidas Balboa y los Poetas […] a la espera de que un panel de expertos internacionales estudiara todas las opciones: túnel (que fue la opción licitada y adjudicada a la empresa constructora Norberto Odebrecht por $779 millones), costanera o puente marino.

Esa delegación panameña estuvo encabezada por el ministro de Obras Públicas, Federico Suárez, y la directora del Instituto Nacional de Cultura (Inac), María Eugenia Herrera.

Aquello ocurrió el 23 de junio de 2011, en la sede de la Unesco en París, durante la sesión anual del Comité de Patrimonio. Pero cinco días después, el presidente, Ricardo Martinelli, desconoció lo pactado por la delegación panameña, y señaló que “no hay ninguna pausa” en el desarrollo de la tercera fase de la cinta costera.

 La historia de nuestra presente administración: carne de cañón y piquitos de oro prometiendo oro y moro por un lado y el mazo dando por el otro según dicten las fases de la luna. ¡Vamos bien!

Bye Bye, Patrimonio Mundial


La trama se complica. The end is nigh. Dice La Prensa de hoy que

El ministro de Obras Públicas, Federico Suárez, aseguró que la Unesco está siendo mal informada por los “acaparadores inmobiliarios de San Felipe” y algunas personas que allí residen.

Sobre la construcción de un túnel o circunvalación en la tercera fase de la cinta costera, proyecto criticado por la organización, el funcionario dijo: “lo que estamos haciendo es beneficioso para el patrimonio y para el país (…) llegaremos a acuerdos con la Unesco”.

Totalmente posible es que el acuerdo consista en poner este año al Casco Viejo (arrastrando consigo a Panamá Viejo) en la lista de patrimonio en peligro, para luego retirarle su estatus de Patrimonio de la Humanidad al año siguiente; esto le da a la presente administración dos años y pico para esmerarse en invertir en el área sin intervención extranjera, como deben ser las cosas que para eso somos independientes y soberanos, carajo. No hay por qué preocuparse. Más adelante el ministro añade

“La comunicación entre el Gobierno panameño y la Unesco ha sido fluida. La Unesco no sabe qué está pasando acá con las agrupaciones que tienen intereses en el Casco Antiguo”

¿Será posible que nadie se va a dignar en mandarme una copia del famoso informe? Mientras salga algún Deep Throat los dejo con las jugosas citas textuales seleccionadas por Newsroom Panama el lunes:

  • Of the many severe problems “the construction of the Cinta Costera is probably the most alarming one.” The report describes the project as ambitious and costly  and refers to the almost completed $53 million phase 2 , running along Terraplen  as “a rather unnecessary and radical transformation of the waterfront.”
  • The third phase it says  would either surround the peninsular of the historic district or pass under it through a tunnel. “The first option would aggressively modify the natural seascape of the old town, and the second could result in risks to the physical conditions of the historic buildings, some of which are in danger of collapse.“ In both cases, the values and the integrity for which the District was included in the World Heritage List could suffer irreversible losses.
  • “Despite  several requests and warnings from the World Heritage Committee, the State Party  has not submitted the Cinta Costera Project for the review and approval of the World Heritage Centre and the advisory bodies, neither has it presented the requested impact studies.”
  • “The  Cinta Costera Project Phase 3 should be immediately suspended and technical information on proposed alternatives submitted to the World Heritage Centre for further analysis and to start the consultative process.”
  • The report recommends that Casco Viejo should be listed as in danger of losing its Heritage status and calls for “a new, comprehensive and legally supported national policy … endorsed by the Government of Panama at its highest levels.”
  • “A legal and satisfactory solution for those pending cases such as the Hotel Central and the PH Independencia must be elaborated with the support of the top levels of the State Party if necessary, in order to avoid the generalized feeling of impunity as it relates to the historic environment.”

Complementadas por las publicadas en el update de hoy:

  • “There have been cases of aggressive  interventions and alterations resulting in irreversible damage to the site’s integrity  and authenticity.”
  • UNESCO also drew attention to disappearing funds, “previously allocated by the IDB (Inter American Development Bank) for social housing  have been re-routed to other projects, further compounding the poor social conditions that exist at the site.”
  • “Notwithstanding the detailed assessment , the proposals for action are limited and there is no indication regarding timelines, sources of funding, or how corrective  measures and actions will be implemented … criteria and methods for intervention at historic buildings are lacking.”

Día multinoticioso

Suspendemos momentáneamente nuestra celebración del día del trabajo y del anuncio de la erradicación del desempleo en Panamá —vamos bien— para empezar a enfrentar la pila de noticias publicadas en La Prensa de hoy.

Primero: El Gobierno ‘crea’ el nuevo relleno de Atlapa.

[E]l Consejo de Gabinete aprobó una adenda al contrato de concesión entre el Estado e ICA Panamá mediante la que […] se otorgan derechos de relleno en el lecho marino de hasta 40 hectáreas.

El relleno se ubicará entre el antiguo Aeropuerto Marcos A. Gelabert (actualmente Punta Pacífica) y el Centro de Convenciones Atlapa.

Este es el relleno que antes era de 60 hectáreas. Para no quitarles la vista a esos edificios nuevos, apuesto por Boca La Caja. Vamos a ver cómo llevan una calle hasta allá. Yo apuesto por extender la cinta costera. ¿Y la danza de los millones? No se preocupen, conciudadanos:

La comercialización de las 40 hectáreas de relleno —la extensión sería casi el doble de Punta Pacífica—, [sic] servirán para financiar la ampliación del Corredor Sur a seis carriles en todo su recorrido y para extender el Corredor Norte hasta la 24 de Diciembre. No obstante, el Gobierno aún no ha decidido de qué manera explotará esos derechos de relleno. Aunque tampoco se ha decidido la ubicación exacta del mismo, Suárez dijo que no afectaría a la zona de amortiguamiento del conjunto histórico de Panamá Viejo.

Naturalmente, porque estamos comprometidos con la preservación de nuestro patrimonio histórico. Lo que nos lleva al otro asunto en la agenda: Casco Antiguo, en riesgo: Unesco.

Si el Gobierno construye la tercera fase de la cinta costera, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura (Unesco) eliminará de su lista de patrimonios históricos de la humanidad al Casco Antiguo, en San Felipe.

La Unesco recomendó a Panamá en un informe, detener “inmediatamente” la tercera fase de la cinta costera que pretende interconectar la avenida Balboa con la de los Poetas mediante un túnel o una vía de circunvalación.

Pero la trama se complica

El proyecto para comunicar las avenidas Balboa y de los Poetas fue adjudicado, el 18 de marzo pasado, a la empresa brasileña Norberto Odebrecht, por $776.9 millones. El pliego de cargos señala que el contratista tiene la opción de conectar ambas avenidas con un túnel o con una costanera, lo que implica rellenos en el mar alrededor del Casco Antiguo. [Esto no es así aunque sea exactamente así. El pliego solicitaba un túnel, pero prácticamente invitaba a presentar un diseño conceptual opcional, i.e. rutas alternas.]

Pero la Unesco ya tomó una decisión. Si el Gobierno permite la construcción del túnel o el relleno marino, la salida del Casco Antiguo de la lista de patrimonios de la humanidad será un hecho.

Máscara contra cabellera. Una fuerza irresistible choca contra un objeto inamovible. Si no estuviera felizmente adormecido por un binge de comida tailandesa —y buena— me pondría a gugulear a ver si encuentro una copia del citado informe de la Unesco para no andarme refiriendo a fuentes secundarias. Necesito un pasante. Seguiremos informando.

UNESCO vs la cinta costera en el Casco

Detengan las imprentas. El Comité del Patrimonio Mundial de la UNESCO, reunido en Brasilia la semana pasada, no está contento con la extensión de la cinta costera hacia el Casco Antiguo. En el acta WHC.10/34.COM/7B.Add, una adenda con el estado de conservación de los sitios que no entregaron a tiempo para entrar al informe principal, se resumen lo discutido sobre el tema:

The Cinta Costera project is a coastal freeway being executed at the seaside area of Terraplan that is projected to continue along the border of the Historic Centre with plans for a tunnel beneath the Centre’s core. At the 33rd session of the World Heritage Committee, the State Party was requested to, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guideline, to submit to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a final report, including the analysis and monitoring of the potential impacts of this project.

The Mission in 2010 realised that the State Party had commenced the execution of this project. No additional information could be procured regarding the social impacts, conservation requirements, impact assessments, etc. of this project. The Mission was therefore left to conclude that these assessments were not undertaken.

Lo que pasa en el resto del Casco tampoco pinta bien:

With regards to the Historic Centre, information on planned and ongoing projects, including the structural changes at the Hotel Central and the impacts of the PH Plaza Independencia condominium, was not included. […]

Various buildings have been rehabilitated and many others are currently being restored, however there are a significant number of neglected buildings at risk of collapse. It also noted that real estate speculation and interests continue to pervade decision-making processes, leading to detrimental interventions at the property. […]

To conclude, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the received information does not provide a definite and precise course of action to address the current threats to the property that have been highlighted in the 2009 reactive monitoring mission and in Decisions made by the World Heritage Committee. There are no clear schedules or comprehensive technical information about how critical issues, including social housing and its derived conflicts, the impacts of the Cinta Costera and the alternative route for the Avenida Cincuentenario will be addressed. The document does not evidence how the highest level of authority will commit to the conservation of the property or the definition of a clear policy for the preservation and development of the historic area.

Concluyen en un Draft Decision 34 COM 7B.113

The World Heritage Committee, […]

4. Requests the State Party to halt the Cinta Costera Project and to submit, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, the necessary technical studies and impact assessments for consideration and review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies prior to approval and implementation;

5. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/Advisory Bodies reactive monitoring mission in 2010 to assess the state of interventions at the historic monuments, current management arrangements, planned development projects and the state of conservation of the property;

6. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2011, a report on this issue above-mentioned, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011, with a view to considering, in the absence of substantial progress, the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

La trama se complica.