OPEC Fund approves US$100,000 Grant to renovate Cuban World Heritage Site



December 13, 2004
Vienna, Austria
The OPEC Fund for International Development today approved a grant of US$100,000 in support of a program to renovate and preserve historic buildings in Old Havana, the ancient center of the Cuban capital, Havana.
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1982, Old Havana is home to numerous buildings, squares, monuments and forts of architectural and cultural importance from Cuba ’s colonial period and is considered the biggest colonial center in the Caribbean.
While many structures have been rescued and restored to their original state under a master plan overseen by the city’s Office of the Historian, a large number of buildings that provide housing for local residents remain in a seriously dilapidated condition, many under threat of imminent collapse.
The Fund’s grant will support a program to rehabilitate 79 selected buildings, housing some 175 families. Activities will include structural reinforcement and refurbishment as well as the construction of temporary accommodation for endangered residents. Steps will also be taken to increase awareness and preparedness of the affected community and national authorities for disaster management. Specifically, the resources provided by the Fund will help renovate two buildings, comprising a total of 23 housing units, in the district of Belen.