1.         Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou (Morocco) (C 444)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (iv)(v)

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/444/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2001-2007)
Total amount approved: USD 52,333
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/444/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

Reactive monitoring mission in September 2003; World Heritage Centre mission in November 2003; UNESCO-Rabat mission in March 2005; Joint World Heritage Centre -ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission in April 2006; joint World Heritage Centre -ICOMOS Reactive monitoring mission in February 2007

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Near total abandonment of the property;

b) Gully erosion;

c)  Rock falls due to erosion;

d) Increased offences in old Ksar and degradation;

e) Delays in the establishment of a technical and administrative structure responsible for the site;

f) Lack of a management plan for the property;

g) Uncontrolled tourism and visitor pressure.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/444/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

As requested by the Committee, the State Party submitted a report in January 2007, in which it provided information about the progress made regarding conservation and management of the property. Work on the site was guided by a multi-sectoral committee, presided by the Governor of Ouarzazate and composed of CERKAS (Centre de Conservation et de Réhabilitation du Patrimoine Architectural des Zones Atlasiques et Subatlasiques), a delegation of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Housing, division of Urbanism and local authorities.

The Ministry of Culture and CERKAS, assisted by CRATerre (Centre International de la Construction en Terre) had started drafting a site management plan through International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund. It contains a vision of the future state of the site in 2012, a comprehensive SWOT analysis and an Action Plan for 2007-2012. Several crucial sections then remained to be completed on resources, visitor management, and monitoring. The Plan includes details of a request for human and financial resources made to the Prime Minister and to be allocated to CERKAS to strengthen local management.

In February 2007 a joint World Heritage Centre /ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission visited the property at the invitation of the Moroccan authorities. The mission reviewed the implementation of the decision 30 COM 7B.45 of the World Heritage Committee, evaluated the overall state of conservation of the site.

The mission noted that conservation activities and standardscontinue to improve but are held back by lack of resources. The mission was concerned that CERKAS is still under-funded and as an example, has no vehicle to allow access to the many sites for which it responsibility. No overall programme of conservation has yet been prepared. However the mission was encouraged by news of the development of earth building codes through collaboration between the State Party and the Getty Conservation Institute and others. Furthermore, a partnership between the Getty and CERKAS on a project at Ksar Ait-Ben-Haddou is under negotiation.

The mission noted that plans for the construction of a bridge connecting the Ksar to the opposite bank of the wadi were now at an advanced state and construction is expected to begin during 2007. The mission urges caution during the completion of designs and implementation phases of the bridge and recommends that the visual impact remains as low as possible. Further, the mission recommends that no development should occur on the Ksar side of the bridge and that proper controls should be in place to strictly limit the access of people and of animals, and of fire and ambulance vehicles.

Despite the improvements, the World Heritage property is not yet managed by a single authority with legal powers and financial autonomy. Two committees have been established: at the local level, a committee is in operation that comprises representatives of CERKAS, the Municipality, the president of the rural community, delegation of Culture of Ouarzazate, Public Works, Tourism, Urbanism, Housing, Environmental Inspection, Health, National Education, Directorate of Drinking Water, Maroc Telecom and the Delegation of Arts & Crafts. A second committee operates at an inter-ministerial level, focusing on improving cooperation at the highest level. Both of these committees are now active and fully operational. A management structure is now emerging from meetings held by these Committees at local and at ministerial levels, but further progress and resources are still needed.

The mission identified the following measures to be effectively implemented by 1 February 2009:

a) Establishment of an effective and transparent management structure, on site, with legal powers, adequate decentralised financing and technical staffing. The mission noted that CERKAS should be given this role and be strengthened;

b) Establishment of regular decentralized financial allocations by the Government of Morocco to reinforce CERKAS and its conservation activities;

c) Establishment of a special decree or by-laws to mandate interventions regarding ownership issues in relation to planning activities, particularly for structures in a critical state;

d) Finalisation of the draft and formal adoption of the Management Plan;

e) Continuation of preventive conservation measures with increased programming in respect to the buildings requiring urgent intervention to prevent further decay and deterioration, to be developed simultaneously with setting up the Management Plan.

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


Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.65

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.       Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.45 adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3.       Notes with satisfaction the continuing commitment of the State Party to the implementation of the decisions of the Committee;

4.       Also notes that progress has been made in completing the Management Plan, and that this is likely to be adopted in the near future;

5.       Expresses its concern that, although progress has been made in establishing consultative committees, a satisfactory overall resourced management structure on the property is not yet functioning and there are no sustainable funding arrangements for conservation and management of the property;

6.       Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with the adopted Management Plan as well as an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, and on the progress achieved in implementing the identified measures by 1 February 2009 for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.