In February 2002, a World Heritage Centre mission observed that most of the vestiges were in a fragile or dangerous state of conservation. The mission mentioned in particular alarming acts of vandalism, (destruction, theft, waste dumping, etc.), growing urbanisation near the site, frequent property disputes with the owners or the public and private operators, natural degradation due to sea salt, shore line and wind erosion, and uncontrolled vegetation. The Committee expressed its grave concern over this situation, incompatible with the maintenance of the outstanding universal value of the property that had justified its inscription on the World Heritage List. Consequently, the Committee inscribed the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2002 and invited the World Heritage Centre to send a new mission to identify safeguarding measures and actions required to mitigate the risks affecting the integrity of the property and its buffer zone. The Committee also recommended that the Centre assist the State Party in the preparation of a remedial plan, including visitor management and public awareness raising, uniting the site with its environment.
During its 27th session in 2003, and following an additional mission, the World Heritage Committee recommended:
a) the immediate delimitation of the official perimeter of the World Heritage site and its buffer zone, based on existing archaeological studies, and the publication of a temporary official decree blocking all construction within these boundaries;
b) the elaboration of a plan and timetable for the relocation beyond the boundaries of the property, of the 100 families presently living on the site;
c) strengthening of human and financial resources of the Local Inspection;
d) urgent preventive conservation measures for the mosaics and other exposed elements, as well as more effective visitor control;
e) the application of the 1998 Law and the preparation and rapid implementation of the Safeguarding and Presentation Plan, in consultation with the Centre, to replace the present urban instruments; as well as
f) the preparation of a Management Plan in conformity with the guidelines provided in the technical reports drafted by the Centre’s consultants in 2002.
The Committee examined the progress made in the implementation of the above recommendations during its 28th and 29th sessions in 2004 and 2005. It recommended that an additional World Heritage Centre – ICOMOS mission be dispatched to consider the possibility of removing the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 30th session in 2006.
The State Party transmitted a report dated 28 January 2006 informing the World Heritage Committee of the measures undertaken by the Algerian Government following the In-Danger status of the site, in the framework of a joint procedure implemented by the Ministry of Culture and the Wilaya of Tipasa. The report also covered the recent (December 2005) reorganisation of the Cultural Heritage Sector, concerning the creation of a Management and Cultural Properties Exploitation Office (OGBC), a public establishment of industrial and commercial character (EPIC) under the auspices of the Ministry for Culture, and a National Centre for Archaeological Research, a public establishment of scientific and technological nature. This Office is placed under the double umbrella of the Ministry for Culture and the Ministry for Higher Education and Research. Moreover, the sectors of Public Authority and Conservation of Cultural Properties have been transferred to the Culture Directorates of the Wilayas. The creation of a National Centre for the Restoration of Cultural Property was also foreseen.
As concerns the site of Tipasa, the report mentioned the implementation of a Plan for the Protection and Presentation of the Archaeological Site of Tipasa and its Buffer Zone. It also referred to a call for bids for the elaboration of the study for this Plan, already announced in the report presented by the State Party in 2005. Mention was further made of a request for international assistance (recommended by Decision 29 COM 7A.16, paragraph 6), never submitted by the State Party for financing under the World Heritage Fund.
As requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session, the State Party invited a joint World Heritage Centre-ICOMOS mission, to study the possibility of removing the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006).
The joint mission observed that the new political situation, a remodelled legal framework, revised regulatory and urban management tools, decentralization of State services and the reorganisation of the Heritage Services had radically modified the 1992 situation (which had worsened between 1992 and 1999) and the conditions which had led to the request for In-Danger listing. Financial commitments made by Algeria indicated its will to integrate heritage protection in the general planning issues and its concern with finding sustainable solutions rather that timely responses to the different problems raised. Substantial investments have already been made or foreseen, such as repair work to the access road, reorganisation of the parking areas, creation of a welcome and information centre in the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania, and creation of a separate sewer system, and the water purification and collection stations in Tipasa. Studies have also been financed and are being carried out such as the establishment of a cadastral plan, a Plan for the Protection and Presentation of the Archaeological Site and its Buffer Zone (PPMVSAZP), and the revision of the PDAU of Tipasa.
In accordance with the calendar and time constraints of the country’s legislative process (finance laws, construction authorisations, loan applications…), the authorities representing the State are committed to implementing solutions in accordance with the Committee’s recommendations (Decision 28 COM 15A.16):
a) Delimitation of the official perimeter to be officially established, based on the new cadastral plan.
b) The Wali of Tipasa has committed to a timetable and a relocation plan for the families installed within the site to be finalised before the end of 2006.
c) Strengthening of human and financial resources, other than recent recruitment, will be defined by the newly created OGBC.
d) In addition, the OGBC, presently in charge of the site management, will undertake precise measures for the protection of the remaining in-situ mosaics.
e) Recent decrees legally establish the Protection Plan (PPMVSAZP), which is in the process of being implemented; its effects vis-à-vis third parties and its substitution to the POS in the “buffer zone” will be thus defined. Moreover, the official consultation of the Curator, who is now responsible to the Director of Culture of the Wilaya, is henceforth necessary for any operation on the site.
f) A site management plan is being prepared by the OGBC.
On 9 April 2006, following the reactive monitoring mission, the Algerian Minister of Culture sent a letter to the Director-General of UNESCO, mentioning the policy of de-densification and displacement of the urban centre of Tipasa in the framework of an integrated programme for the protection of the shoreline. This letter also included the elements presented in the State Party’s report concerning the reforms undertaken for the management and preservation of the cultural heritage.