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Committee Decisions

32 COM 7B.63

Ancient City of Damascus (Syrian Arab Republic) (C 20)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.55, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Takes note with great satisfaction that the State Party has decided to cancel the urban development of King Faisal Street, and requests, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to be informed in advance of any proposals to re-design or re-shape the Faisal Street area, and of any other major project planned;

4. Also requests the State Party to ensure that:

a) all future infrastructure and sub-surface works on structures include an archaeological impact assessment, salvage excavation and mitigation as may be necessary to conserve archaeological resources;

b) traditional approaches to conservation, restoration, repair and maintenance of building fabric be employed in all work within the property and its neighbouring historic quarters within the buffer zone, in order to maintain the authenticity of the property;

c) conservation and planning procedures for adaptive re-use of the important stock of abandoned buildings within the property and the foreseen buffer zone be established, and implemented;

5. Regrets the construction of the new cultural centre on Medhat Pasha Street, and urges the State Party to transmit all available information on the project to the Word Heritage Centre, and to study how to mitigate the negative impact on the values of the urban historic context;

6. Reiterates its invitation to the State Party to consider extending the boundaries of the property in order to include its valuable historical neighbourhoods and further requests the State Party to complete its work on defining the proposed buffer zone to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, for approval by the World Heritage Committee;

7. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to develop and implement a management plan intended to ensure co-ordination of all actions affecting the property and its surroundings, and which would bring together the many existing planning mechanisms, strategies, and international co-operation programmes in a framework which ensures respect for the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

8. Invites the State Party to explore the means to grant the bodies responsible for the Ancient City of Damascus, the authority, resources and status to develop, and implement the management plan mentioned above;

9. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a progress report on the above recommendations and on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.