The State Party sent a report to the Secretariat in January 2004 with regard to the decision taken at its 27th session, where the Committee expressed its concern with regard to the state of abandonment and degradation, the lack of legal protection and the delay in establishing an administrative and technical structure responsible for the property, as well as in the elaboration of a management plan, and the finalization of the listing at the national level.
The State Party emphasized that the procedure for the inscription of the property is almost finalized. Following examination and rectification, the decree containing the inscription of the Ksar Ait Ben Haddou as a historic monument, has been signed by the different governmental authorities. It is in the process of being published in the Official Journal.
An environmental study of the property was elaborated at the request of the State Party in order to prepare a Management Plan. In March 2004, the State Party called upon the World Heritage Centre to obtain further assistance for expertise in the elaboration of the Management Plan.
An operational intervention unit comprising CERKAS, local delegates from the Ministry of Urbanism and Housing, and representatives from the local authorities and the rural community, was established. The responsibility of this unit is to note threats to the ancient ksar and to the new village and to order the demolition of all constructions that threaten the integrity of the property.
A consultative workshop for the safeguarding of the property of Ksar Ait Ben Haddou was organized by the UNESCO Bureau in Rabat from 29 and 30 November 2003, with the participation of the World Heritage Centre. The objective of the Workshop was to bring together, for the first time, all parties concerned with the safeguarding of the Ksar Ait Ben Haddou, to define the expectations and examine the perspectives, taking into account the decision of the Committee. A “Pact for the Safeguarding of the Ksar Ait Ben Haddou” was signed by all the participants. The possibility for the creation of a Management Committee for the property was also foreseen.
The state of conservation of the property was evaluated during a reactive monitoring mission, organised to Ksar by the World Heritage Centre in close cooperation with the State Party on 11 and 12 September 2003. The observations made during the reactive monitoring mission, taking into consideration the results of the mission carried out by the “Commission du Service des Etudes d’Aménagement des Forêts des Bassins Versants” (SEABV) which took place on 2 July, comprise:
a) State of quasi total abandon of the property;
b) Rapidly increasing infractions in the old ksar and its degradation;
c) Divergence between the perimeter of the property inscribed on the World Heritage List and the perimeter proposed for the listing of the site at the national level;
d) Delay in the establishment of a technical and administrative structure responsible for the property;
e) Risk of erosion of the property illustrated by:
(i) the development of nearly 28 ravines (length 100 to 200 m)
(ii) the landslide of rocks which could cause the fall of large blocks of stone.
Despite the initiatives taken by the State Party to ensure the legal protection of the property, the state of conservation observed during the September 2003 mission corresponds to the conditions foreseen in the Operational Guidelines for the inscription of a property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, both with respect to ascertained dangers (serious deterioration of materials; serious deterioration of urban or rural space, or the natural environment; significant loss of historic authenticity) as well as potential threats (lack of conservation policy).