1.         Bahla Fort (Oman) (C 433)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1988-2004

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1988-1988)
Total amount approved: USD 57,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 25,000 (private funding).

Previous monitoring missions

World Heritage Centre expert missions in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Deterioration of the earthen structures of the Fort;

b) Lack of appropriate conservation techniques;

c) Urban pressure essentially due to the project for a new market near the Fort, including proposals for the urban development of the area;

d) Lack of management mechanisms, including legislation.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

At its 28th session, in 2004, the World Heritage Committee, noting with satisfaction the commitment of the State Party towards the implementation of conservation measures and the preparation of a management plan for the Bahla Fort (inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger since 1988), decided to remove the site from the List of World Heritage in Danger (Decision 28 COM 15A.19). However, the Committee requested the State Party to “pursue its efforts towards the finalisation and adoption of the management plan, taking into account the recommendations of the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS”.

In May 2005, a new version of the management plan, dated 2005 but similar to the plan of 2003, was transmitted to the World Heritage Centre, without mention of its finalization or adoption. In its Decision 29 COM 7B.46, the World Heritage Committee reiterated its request to the State Party to “report on the finalisation and adoption of the management plan, taking fully into account the recommendations of the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS”.

In February 2006, the Omani authorities transmitted an abbreviated report, listing three completed restoration activities, one foreseen restoration, a museum project and the preparation of a presentation booklet.

A short section of the report describes activities being planned to support future implementation of the Management plan, notably the constitution of a team for the “verification and perusal” of the Management plan, discussions in view of its implementation, the establishment of a legal framework for its implementation, the establishment of a “bureau” for its execution and the organisation of a number of seminars concerning the plan. However, the report does not actually specify whether the plan is complete, or the status of the implementation effort.

The status of work on the Souq Bahla is also described very briefly, informing that the design has been attributed to an expert (Mr Larsen), that meetings took place, notably with the Mayor of Bahla, and that the shop owners have been “reassured concerning the resumption of their activities after the restoration works of the souq”. The revised design – if complete – is not attached, nor described, and its impact on the values of the World Heritage site not mentioned. It is not possible either to estimate if the revised project takes into consideration the criteria suggested by the World Heritage Centre and CRATerre (Decision 28 COM 15A.19).

In conclusion, it is impossible, on the basis of the information provided, to evaluate whether the State Party has responded or not to the World Heritage Committee’s Decisions 27 COM 7A.19, 28 COM 15B.19 and 29 COM 7B.46. Since the property was only recently removed from the World Heritage List in Danger, this lack of information is of great concern as it does not allow assessing the implementation, by the State Party, of the commitments taken at the time of the removal from the World Heritage List in Danger in 2004.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.56

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.46, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Regrets that the briefness of the information provided by the State Party does not allow assessment of the progress achieved with respect to the previous decisions and recommendations of the Committee;

4. Further regrets that no mention is made of the finalization of the Management plan taking into account the recommendations of the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, nor of its official adoption;

5. Urges the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre, as early as possible, the documents mentioned in its report, notably :

a) A comprehensive report on the restoration works carried out at Bahla Fort, including graphic documentation and pictures;

b) The final adopted version of the Management plan;

c) The legal framework being established for the implementation of the Management plan;

d) The administrative structure established for the execution of the Management plan;

e) A summary of the seminars which took place concerning the Management plan and their outcomes;

f) A progress report on the work already undertaken for Souq Bahla;

6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2007, a thorough progress report including all the documents indicated in point 5 above, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.