1.         Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa'a) (Jordan) (C 1093)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2004

Criteria  (i)(iv)(vi)

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/1093/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1093/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

ICOMOS mission in 2005

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Absence of management structures and protective measures;

b) Lack of management and conservation plans;

c) Lack of security and risk of collapse due to open trenches and unstable structures;

d) Important tourism development project with new constructions.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1093/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

Upon inscription of the property on the World Heritage List, the World Heritage Committee, at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004), formulated the following requests to the State Party:

a) to submit its annual work plan for the first year following the inscription, as well as the complete conservation and management plans;

b) to review the progress of the implementation of these plans through two monitoring missions.

The first monitoring mission carried out by ICOMOS took place from 30 March to 3 April 2005. As the report had not been made available at the previous session of the Committee, a short summary is provided hereunder. Among the main issues raised by the report are:

a) the site is not protected against exterior potential threats;

b) the general state of conservation of the site is not good;

c) most of the restoration works already conducted at the site were not adequate, notably due to the absence of a homogenous restoration approach and methodology;

d) the site does not receive visitors in appropriate conditions both in terms of security and for the protection of the archaeological remains.

Furthermore, the mission reported some details concerning a European Commission Project which aims at providing the Jordanian authorities with assistance in view of the tourism promotion of the sites of Um er-Rasas and Lehun, through a preservation programme.

The State Party submitted, on 31 May 2005, a document presenting a series of guidelines for the establishment of the future management plan. This document mentioned the objectives of the authorities and the themes to be addressed, including conservation, documentation and management. This document was not a management plan.

In a letter dated 1 February 2006, the State Party informed the World Heritage Centre about certain difficulties regarding the implementation of the European Commission Project, which led to delays in the submission of the documents presenting the foreseen visitors centre, shelters and parking. The elaboration of the management plan had been delayed. Therefore, the State Party suggested to postpone the second monitoring mission until the first draft of the management plan is available, possibly by May 2006. In the meantime, the above-mentioned designs and documents were sent to the World Heritage Centre and are being examined.

In the light of the information provided concerning the site since its inscription on the World Heritage List, it appears that there are some priority measures to be undertaken as regards its conservation and management, prior to any development project. These priority measures, which should constitute the first elements of the management plan to be elaborated at the same time, should be:

a) to clearly identify the boundaries of the area(s) to be protected and fenced if necessary, even temporarily;

b) to address the security issues, notably by prohibiting access of visitors to potential dangerous areas and carrying out the necessary works to cover the trenches and archaeological soundings;

c) to isolate and preserve the most endangered and damaged archaeological and architectural components by establishing a temporary restricted plan of visit paths;

d) to preserve the mosaics with adequate temporary and protective materials (special geo-textile layers and draining sand layers);

e) to consolidate the most endangered architectural elements using temporary but secure structures;

f) to stop restoration works and reconstruction of collapsed elements;

g) to resolve, when possible, using simple and temporary solutions, the humidity problems, notably for the mosaic floor of the sheltered St. Stephen Church;

h) to define the future management structure and financial system which will be adopted in the management plan for the site.

The State Party should define, in consultation with ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre, how to implement these priority measures and review the current design, schedule and work-plan of the European Commission funded programme accordingly. 

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.51

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.41, 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 several unforeseen constraints led to delays in the elaboration and finalization of the management and conservation plans for the property;

5. Recommends that the State Party concentrate its efforts on the implementation of priority measures, in close consultation with ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre. These priority measures include:

a) Clearly identify the boundaries of the area(s) to be protected and fenced if necessary, even temporarily;

b) Address the security issues, notably by prohibiting access of visitors to potential dangerous areas and carrying out the necessary works to cover the trenches and archaeological soundings;

c) Isolate and preserve the most endangered and damaged archaeological and architectural components by establishing a temporary restricted plan of visit paths;

d) Preserve the mosaics with adequate temporary and protective materials (special geo-textile layers and draining sand layers);

e) Consolidate the most endangered architectural elements using temporary but secure structures;

f) Stop restoration works and reconstruction of collapsed elements;

g) Resolve, when possible, using simple and temporary solutions, the humidity problems, notably for the mosaic floor of the sheltered St. Stephen Church;

h) Define the future management structure and financial system, which will be adopted in the management plan for the site.

6. Requests the State Party to engage, possibly with the support of the World Heritage Centre, in discussions in order to make sure that the European Commission funded project be redesigned so as to integrate the above mentioned priority measures and adapt its work-plan and schedule accordingly;

7. Also requests the State Party to organize the second monitoring mission, to be carried out by ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre, by 30 November 2006;

8. Further requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2007, a progress report on the recommendations made in points 5 and 6 above as well as on the elaboration of the draft of the management and conservation plans, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session in 2007.