1.         Old City of Sana'a (Yemen) (C 385)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1986

Criteria  (iv)(v)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   2015-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/385/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1990-2003)
Total amount approved: USD 72,167
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/385/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: 1988: USD 374,800, UNDP/UNESCO project in support of local staff training and fund-raising. 2004-2006: USD 60,000 for the Inventory of the historic city (Italian Funds-in-Trust)

Previous monitoring missions

1998, 1999, 2003: World Heritage Centre monitoring missions; 2003 to 2005, and 2010: World Heritage Centre and experts missions.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/385/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

The State Party did not submit a state of conservation report as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session. In March 2011, the State Party had reported that since the World Heritage Committee’s 25th session (Helsinki, 2001), the state of conservation of the property had not significantly improved and that uncontrolled development of new constructions and vertical additions had continued to occur, impacting the skyline of the old city and generating structural instability due to the use of modern materials in the additions.

The State Party noted that these issues were related to the lack of a functioning management system, with adequate resources for implementation of conservation and protection measures and the lack of a finalised conservation plan. In addition, legal measures were still pending approval and capacity building was still needed for the adequate management and conservation of the property.

The reactive monitoring mission requested by the World Heritage Committee could not take place due to security restrictions. Therefore, no official information is presently available on the state of conservation of the property. Nevertheless, several reports in the press have highlighted the vulnerability of the urban fabric and the continuing number of houses falling into disrepair or being demolished. In February 2012, UNESCO addressed a letter to the Yemeni authorities urging them to ensure the protection of the cultural heritage of the country.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend that the Committee regret that the mission could not take place and insist that such a mission is highly needed. While understanding the difficult situation that prevails in the country, the Committee should also urge the State Party to take some substantial actions to preserve the historic city and to prepare an efficient and adequate management system, and should highlight the need for the international community to support the State Party in this endeavour. 

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7B.60

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.60, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Regrets that the State Party did not submit the report as requested;

4.   Expresses its concern at the increasing vulnerability of the property as a result of the current difficult situation as well as the potential threats to its integrity;

5.   Calls upon the international community to support the State Party, in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop priority conservation and management measures and capacity building programmes;

6.   Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the property and identify measures needed to reverse the decay and ensure the conservation and protection of the property;

7.   Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013.