Decision : CONF 205 V.82-86
Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen)
V.82 The Secretariat reported on the findings of the joint multidisciplinary mission carried out by ICOMOS to Zabid, confirming the extremely serious conditions of the site. According to the mission’s report, 35% of the urban texture of Zabid has disappeared or has been replaced with modern constructions since the time of inscription. 20% of the old houses have been vacated by their former habitants, and the city market has been almost completely abandoned. Mention was made of the main qualifying points of the Action Plan envisaged by the joint WHC-ICOMOS report, including as a preliminary measure, the preparation of a detailed urban conservation Plan focusing in terms of strategy on the social and economic revitalization of Zabid as the only means to ensure its long-term conservation.
V.83 ICOMOS supported the analysis of the Secretariat, drawing the attention of the Bureau to the catastrophic situation of Zabid, and supported the Action Plan devised by the joint WHC-ICOMOS mission. The Action Plan includes the proposal for an emergency assistance request to be immediately submitted by the State Party for the preparation of an urban conservation and revitalization Plan.
V.84 The Delegate of Morocco asked that the recommended action not be limited to a request of assistance, and called for a broader appeal to be launched by UNESCO for an international campaign towards safeguarding this outstanding city, that is important in the context of the South-Arabic civilization. The Delegate of Australia supported the call made by the Delegate of Morocco for an extraordinary effort involving a wide range of international actors. The Director of the World Heritage Centre reported on his efforts to secure World Bank funding. The Secretariat further explained that the Action Plan formulated by the Centre and ICOMOS experts took into account, and integrated in its proposal, all the various actors involved or potentially involved in initiatives for the conservation of the cultural heritage of Yemen, such as the World Bank and others.
V.85 The Bureau took note of the report prepared by the WHC/ICOMOS mission, as well as the will manifested by the Yemeni authorities to take immediate steps to carry out corrective measures to safeguard Zabid. The Bureau hoped there would be international donors to contribute to the major effort required from the State Party for the safeguarding of this World Heritage site. The Bureau recommended to the State Party to take all necessary measures to immediately stop all new constructions within the Old City of Zabid.
V.86 The Bureau approved the Action Plan presented in the experts’ report, and recommended the State Party that a request of emergency assistance be immediately submitted to start its implementation.