Tripoli-Kufra-Jebel Ouenat, 27 March - 5 April 2004

Jebel Ouenat (in Arabic "Mountain of the springs") is a natural and cultural heritage site located at the border among Egypt, Libya and Sudan, which was discovered by the Egyptian explorer Ahmed Hassanein Bey only in 1923. This spectacular mountain, together with the neighbouring Jebel Arkenu, in Libya, and Jebel Kissu in Sudan, is the result of the interaction between an ancient plate-tectonic movement and locally stable “hot spots” persistent for tens of millions of years, emerging abruptly from the vast plains of the Eastern Sahara up to 2000 metres above the sea level.

The area of these three mountains has a great ecologic value (including endangered species such as the Barbary Sheep) as well as cultural significance. Thousands of rock art sites of different styles and themes are distributed all over the area, witnessing to the development of early pastoralism in Africa and exchanges among different ethnic groups across the Sahara.

The World Heritage Centre has launched an initiative to mobilize the regional and international expertise and sensitize the three concerned countries on the need to further document and protect the exceptional heritage of Jebel Ouenat. A Workshop was thus organized in Libya from 27 March to 5 April 2004, with the financial support of the Italian Government and the contribution of the Libyan authorities, including a four-day field trip to Jebel Ouenat. The event was attended by experts from the three concerned countries as well as by international scientists and researchers.

The results of the Workshop are illustrated in a Technical Report (in English only), which contains also the conclusions and recommendations of the participants.