1.         Qal’at al-Bahrain – Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun (Bahrain) (C 1192ter)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2005

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1192/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2002-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 26,500
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1192/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

January-February 2006: World Heritage Centre; June 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Project of land reclamation (“North Star”) in the bay in front of the site, as well as the project of a fishing harbour;

b) Physical and visual integrity threatened by the urban and architectural development projects around the protected area;

c) Visual integrity threatened by a project of a causeway foreseen off the northern coast as part of the global response to the traffic congestion in this part of the country.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1192/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

With respect to the issues raised by the Committee in its Decision 30COM 7B.49, the report submitted by the State Party on 26 March 2007 provided the following information:

a) The North Star project has, according to the final version of the development master plan, been shifted to an entirely different location which no longer threatens the visual integrity of the property. Two of the three causeway projects which were also considered as potentially compromising the immediate environment of the property have been abandoned. The temporary fishing harbour project has been shifted eastwards to the edges of the visual corridor. At its new location, the 2 metre above sea-level structure has a minimal visual impact

b) Development pressures on land are not yet fully solved, but a general agreement of the various authorities concerned on the need for an integrated planning and zoning concept for the surroundings of Qal’at al-Bahrain has been achieved. The discussion about the zoning plans is still in process. A continuing revision of the urban planning regulations for this district is pending until the National Planning and Development Strategies have been formally approved. Priority can then be given to the finalisation of the zoning plan as a step towards implementing the general strategies defined. A temporary practice established for the intermediate period until the finalisation of the zoning plan, is that all building permission requests which concern the core and buffer zones as well as their wider surroundings are forwarded to the Sector for Culture and National Heritage.

c) The connecting road off the northern coast proposed as a causeway should be constructed as a bridge, its design to be co-ordinated in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre according to the Decision 30 COM 7B.49 when crossing the visual corridor to allow natural water movement and maintain the tidal flow at the coast.

d) Three different surveys are planned for the coming two years, one of which has started recently. The geophysical survey requested by ICOMOS in order to better define the extensions of the archaeological site has been accommodated in the budget and will be carried out by the French archaeological mission by the end of 2007. A laser scanning survey of the excavated archaeological structures in the central excavation area and the coastal fortress has already started. The Sector of Culture and National Heritage is planning to attribute a budget for an underwater archaeological survey, of the bay to the north of Qal’at al-Bahrain in 2008.

e) According to the recommendation of the World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS 2006 mission, special attention is being given to the local community living at the southern edge of the property. The relocation of this community at its specific request, is envisaged and land properties less than one kilometre away from the present village have been identified as a future location. The Ministry of Works and Housing is currently investigating the requirements and needs of the new housing units to be provided and will develop a design proposal to be discussed with the community later this year. According to the results achieved, the budget and time schedule of the relocation programme will have to be established and communicated.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.60

The World Heritage Committee,

1.       Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B,

2.       Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.49, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3.       Notes with satisfaction the progress achieved by the State Party in the implementation of a series of important measures aiming at conserving and protecting the property;

4.       Invites the State Party, as mentioned in Decision 30 COM 7B.49, to submit, before 1 February 2008, a proposal for a modification of the boundaries of the inscribed property according to the procedures indicated in Paragraphs 163 to 165 of the Operational Guidelines, for revising the core zone to include the ancient channel and the sea tower, and for revising the buffer zone to include the visual corridor, for examination by the Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

5.       Requests the State Party to send to the World Heritage Centre:

a)      the written official decisions and explanatory documents (maps, graphics, photos) concerning the relocation of the North Star Project and fishing harbour,as well as the final decisions related to the re-housing of part of the local community,

b)      the decision to replace the portion of the connecting road located off the northern coast by an appropriate bridge,

c)      the approved National Planning and Development Strategies for the implementation of the revision of the urban development and zoning plan,

d)      the legislative framework for the protection of the World Heritage property,

e)      the draft management and conservation plans;

6.       Also requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2009, a progress report on the implementation of the above recommendations to be examined by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.