1.         M'Zab Valley (Algeria) (C 188)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1982

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(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/188/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2001-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 60,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/188/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted to the property: USD 25,000 in the framework of the France-UNESCO Convention during 2003-2004.

Previous monitoring missions

September 2001: World Heritage Centre mission; December 2003, World Heritage Centre mission and expertise in the framework of the France-UNESCO Convention.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Development linked to socio-economic changes and population growth, causing strong urban pressure;

b)  Deterioration of the environment, uncontrolled urban growth in the palm groves and the bed of the wadi, visual impact impaired by new construction on the hills;

c) Lack of a legal protection framework and safeguarding plan;

d) Loss of craftsmanship and knowledge of traditional materials for the rehabilitation of the vernacular architecture;

e) Loss of the traditional system for the management and distribution of water;

f)  Risk of flooding and pollution of the ground water.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/188/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

In previous reports, emphasis was placed on the need to ensure the legal protection of the property, with regard to urban development pressure. The nomination dossier of the M’Zab Valley as a Safeguarded Sector had been prepared by the Office for the Protection and Promotion of the M’Zab Valley (OPVM) in 2003, in conformity with Law 98-04 relating to heritage protection. It should enable the Algerian authorities to preserve the landscape value of the property and the contrast between the built and non-built areas. The executive decree concerning the creation of the Safeguarded Sector was finally adopted in 2005.

Independent of this procedure, the Algerian authorities implemented a very dynamic restoration policy concerning the most important monuments and the rehabilitation of vernacular architecture of the ksour. This work, which was carried out by OPVM in cooperation with the population and the different State services, led notably to the creation of new quarters inspired by the ancient ksour. Furthermore, OPVM has compiled and disposes of very extensive documentation that enables it to carry out ongoing awareness raising and training activities.

Reestablishment of the management of the dilapidated hydraulic network was also part of the priorities to ensure the preservation of the Outstanding Universal Value of this property. Following a request to the World Heritage Fund, OPVM implemented between 2003 and 2005, the project entitled Rehabilitation of the traditional hydraulic system in the M’Zab Valley, concerning the following activities:

a) Preparation of basic documentation;

b) Surveysof the area (general plan, sections, façades);

c) Documentation concerning hydraulic data;

d) Typology of local construction materials;

e) Description of the hydraulic system;

f) Preparation of the documentation required for repair work of the system;

g) Emergency work and rehabilitation.

On 11 April 2006, the State Party sent a concise report on the implementation of the decision taken by the World Heritage Committee at its 28th session in 2004, providing the Committee with new information, as follows:

1) The listing of the M’Zab Valley as a Safeguarded Sector:

The delimitation and the creation of the protected area of the M’Zab Valley by Executive Decree No 05-209, published in the Official Journal on 5 June 2005.

2) The Permanent Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan:

a) The prescription for the preparation of the Permanent Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan was undertaken by the Ministry for Culture and the Wilaya de Ghardaïa;

b) Funds have been allocated for the period 2006-2007 for the preparation of the permanent plan for the safeguarding and enhancement of the M’Zab Valley;

c) A meeting of the Mixed Committee, comprising representatives of the Ministry for Culture and the Wilaya de Ghardaïa should be held shortly to decide upon an emergency plan, foreseen in the first phase of the execution of the permanent plan for the safeguarding and enhancement of the Safeguarded Sector.

3) The hydraulic network:

a) To improve the presentation of the water separation system, the following actions have already been undertaken:

· Site surveys above the Ghardaïa palm grove;

· Consolidation and restoration work of the hydraulic works.

b) A project is underway for the implementation of the water separation system in the Ghardaïa palm grove:

· Construction of an access road;

· Construction of an orientation and information centre;

· Restoration of the building for the Management Commission of the water separation system ;

· Enhancement of the site by the installation of a lighting system.

4) Definition of the non aedificandi areas:

These areas will be indicated by the Permanent Plan for the Safeguarding and Enhancement of the M’Zab Valley. Development, restoration and urbanism projects are submitted for examination by the Mixed Committee, which can delay proceedings until the approval of the Permanent Plan for the Safeguarding and Enhancement.

It should therefore be noted that, despite numerous actions undertaken by the State Party for the protection and the conservation of the property, the Development and Safeguarding Plan for the M’Zab Valley, considered as a priority since the 2001 mission, still remains at the preparatory phase.

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


Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.48

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 28 COM 15B.44, adopted during its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Notes with satisfaction the creation and the delimitation of the Safeguarded Sector of the M'Zab Valley by Executive Decree N° 05-209 dated 5 June 2005 and requests the State Party to transmit to the World Heritage Centre a copy of the Decree and the corresponding topographical maps or cadastral survey indicating the listed perimeter and its eventual buffer zone;

4. Congratulates the State Party for the numerous actions carried out, notably the rehabilitation of the traditional hydraulic network, in a sustainable development perspective;

5. Regrets that the Permanent Plan for the Safeguarding and Enhancement of the M'Zab Valley, already initiated in 2001, was still in draft form and urges the State Party to accelerate its elaboration during the 2006 to 2007 exercise, as a budget has been allocated for this purpose, as well as the definition of the non aedificandi areas;

6. Recommends to the State Party to submit a request for international assistance to obtain the support of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in this respect;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Committee, before 1 February 2008, a report on progress made in the implementation of the above recommendations for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008.