Panama’s historic district, Casco Viejo, is once again being threatened to be removed from the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Casco Viejo was added to the UNESCO list in 1997 and until recently has been in good standing with the organization as the area has slowly gone from a slum to one of Panama’s most visited destinations. When plans were announced to build Cinta Coster 3, a viaduct that would connect Avenida Balboa to Avenida Las Poetas, UNESCO warned Panama that doing so could cause them to lose the title because the road would block the original ocean view.
The road encircling Casco Viejo was inaugurated on April 9, 2014 and UNESCO has just released a report on their website explaining the negative impact of the viaduct.
The construction of Cinta Costera Phase III causes an evident impact on the relationship of the Historic District and its maritime wider setting. This was already a key conclusion by previous missions and the Decisions of the World Heritage Committee.
The report also goes on to suggest a reduction in the area that is considered a World Heritage site.
Mara Eugenia Herrera, the Director of Panama’s Culture Institute, downplayed the released report and told La Prensa that “Panama has excellent relations with Unesco at this time. We have delivered all the necessary documentation.”