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

World Heritage Centre mission in 2006

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

When inscribing this property on the World Heritage List at its 29th Session in 2005, the Committee requested the State Party to submit complete management and conservation plans for the property for consideration at its 30th Session in 2006 (decision 29 COM 8B.26). The State Party was requested to refrain from approving any land reclamation or construction in the sea anywhere in front of the site and to check the new construction on existing reclaimed land in order to protect the visual integrity of the site and to maintain the principal views within the area nominated. The conservation and consolidation of the fortress and of the excavated area were expected to be firmly integrated into both the management and the conservation plans.

The State Party submitted an Action Plan and a Progress Report on actions carried out to produce a management plan for the site. This is an impressive piece of work, covering the points raised by the Committee at its 29th Session. It explains that the management and conservation plans were not yet complete, since the Directorate of Culture and National Heritage had to concentrate its efforts on stopping the planned development projects referred to in the Committee’s decision. Steady progress has been made, but it has not been possible to begin detailed work on the plans until all the problems are resolved.

One of the annexes to this document was the report on the mission carried out from 27 January to 2 February 2006 by an expert from the World Heritage Centre. The mission report notes that important development projects have been planned in the northern part of the country, where Qal’at al-Bahrain Archaeological Site is located. Notably, an important artificial island (North Star project) and a causeway are foreseen in the immediate vicinity of the site. It is important to note that the mission benefited from the full assistance of the Government officials in charge of these projects.

This mission report made a number of recommendations, among which the following are the most significant:

a) To ensure that the decisions taken at the highest level of the State Party, as regards the abandonment or relocation of the North Star project and the proposed zoning of the area surrounding the Archaeological Site of Qal’at al-Bahrain be officially reported to the World heritage Centre as soon as possible ;

b) To collaborate with the World Heritage Centre on the identification of the most appropriate solution for the construction of the causeway, in order to respond to the concern relating to the traffic congestion of the northern coast while preserving the visual integrity in the sea in front of the site ;

c) To define the legislative framework for the protection of the World Heritage Site, which is currently being discussed ;

d) To postpone any archaeological excavation in the protected areas within the core zone, concentrating on archaeological survey in the most threatened areas (notably in the buffer zone and the bay in front of the site) ;

e) To create a National Committee for World Heritage, based on close collaboration between national authorities, the civil society, and the private sector ;

f) To include the local community in the management process, notably the inhabitants of the village located on the southern border of the archaeological hill, who complain about their life conditions and have expressed their will to move elsewhere.

Moreover, in order to better reflect the outstanding universal value of the site as ancient capital of the Dilmun civilization, the State Party requested the World Heritage Committee to consider the change of the name of the property from “Qal’at al-Bahrain Archaeological Site” to “Qal’at al-Bahrain – the ancient harbour and capital of Dilmun” (Document WHC-06/30.COM/8B).

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.49

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 8B.26, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Commends the State Party on its commitment for the protection and conservation of the World Heritage property;

4. Notes that priority has been given to the resolution of the main threats which are likely to affect the property (the North Star and causeway projects) and that a revision of the development plan of the northern coast of the country and a zoning plan aiming at controlling the height of the buildings in the areas surrounding the property are currently being discussed by the responsible authorities;

5. Welcomes the proposal to delineate a visual corridor, in which any land reclamation in the sea in front of the property would be prohibited in order to preserve its visual integrity, and which has been developed by the State Party in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS during the mission of June 2006, which identified eight defining geographic coordinates;

6. Supports the possible replacement of the foreseen causeway by a bridge and invites the State Party to consult the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS on the design of this future project;

7. Invites the State Party to pursue the discussions described in point 4 here above in order to identify the most appropriate solutions to be included in the future revised development plan;

8. Invites the State Party to submit 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 as identified in point 5 above;

9. Requests the State Party to officially notify the World Heritage Centre confirming the decision to abandon or relocate the North Star project and endorsing the delimitation of the "visual corridor", as identified in point 5 here above;

10. Also requests the State Party to report to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2007, on the progress on the application of the measures described in points 5, 6, 7 and 8 above, and also on the elaboration of the management and conservation plans, the definition of the legislative framework for the protection of the World Heritage property, the archaeological survey in the most threatened areas surrounding the core zone and the response to the issues relating to the future re-housing of part of the local community, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session in 2007.

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 8B.1

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/8B,

2. Approves the proposed name change to the Qal'at al-Bahrain Archaeological Site as proposed by the Bahrain authorities. The name of the property becomes Qal'at al-Bahrain - Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun in English and Qal'at al- Bahreïn - ancien port et capitale de Dilmun in French.