Decision : 31 COM 8B.22
Nomination of natural, mixed and cultural properties to the world heritage list - Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Documents WHC-07/31.COM/8B and WHC-07/31.COM/INF.8B.1,
2. Inscribes Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes, Namibia, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (iii) and (v);
3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:
The rock art forms a coherent, extensive and high quality record of ritual practices relating to hunter-gather communities in this part of southern Africa over at least two millennia and, eloquently reflects the links between ritual and economic practices of hunter-gatherers in terms of the value of reliable water sources in nurturing communities on a seasonal basis.
Criterion (iii): The rock art engravings and paintings in Twyfelfontein form a coherent, extensive and high quality record of ritual practices relating to hunter-gather communities in this part of southern Africa over at least two millennia.
Criterion (v): The rock art reflects links between ritual and economic practices in the apparent sacred association of the land adjacent to an aquifer as a reflection of its role in nurturing hunter-gather communities over many millennia.
The integrity of the property is generally intact. The Twyfelfontein Country Lodge was permitted by the Conservancy in 1999/2000 within the Seremonienplatz rock engraving site in the buffer zone. This has severely compromised the integrity of the rock engravings in this area.
All the rock engravings and rock paintings within the core area are without doubt the authentic work of San hunter-gatherers who lived in the region long before the influx of Damara herders and European colonists. The setting of the Twyfelfontein rock art is also authentic as other than one small engraved panel which was removed to the National Museum in Windhoek in the early part of the 20th century, no panels have been moved or re-arranged.
The core area was designated a national monument in 1948 and is now protected by the National Heritage Act 2004. A buffer zone has been established and proclaimed. The overall state of conservation of the property has improved over the past few years, particularly in terms of the way visitors are managed. Implementation of the Management plan began in 2005.
4. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following issues:
a) Giving higher priority to monitoring and documentation as a means of sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
b) Considering the possibility of appointing a rock art specialist to the site who could have a monitoring role at other similar sites in the Region.
c) Exploring ways to allow San participation in the site.
d) Giving serious consideration to ways of changing the entrance to the Twyfelfontein Lodge in order to better conserve and manage the nearby rock art.