VII.32 Aksum (Ethiopia)
In November 1998, a staff member of ICCROM during a preappraisal mission for The World Bank in Ethiopia, noted that a wooded site directly across from the main Stele had been cleared of its trees, and that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church had plans to build a residence for the Patriarch of the Church. However, no construction work had yet commenced. It furthermore noted that the Director of the Centre for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (CRCCH), while aware of the planned construction, had not been shown the plans of the proposed building nor was he informed that work was about to begin.
The Committee, aware of the very important role of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the life of the community, and as a hold of very important cultural heritage in the town of Aksum and Ethiopia, requested
1. the Centre to send a letter to the Centre for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (CRCCH) and the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church drawing attention to the significance of the World Heritage values of the site and underlining the need to preserve it, which would require the postponement of any further work in the proximity of the Stele,
2. that the mission on the state of conservation planned by the World Heritage Centre in June 1998, which was postponed for security reasons, be carried out as soon as possible with the purpose of drawing a clear definition of the boundaries of the World Heritage site,
3. due support and consideration be given by the Ethiopian institutions and UNESCO to the preparation of a comprehensive town plan of Aksum with a clear conservation component which balances the conservation constraints with the need for the continued growth and development of the city and the communities of Aksum.