1.         Old City of Sana'a (Yemen) (C 385)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1986

Criteria  (iv)(v)(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/385/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1990-2003)
Total amount approved: USD 72,167
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/385/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: 1988: USD 374,800, UNDP/UNESCO project in support of local staff training and fund-raising. 2004-2006: USD 60,000 for the Inventory of the historic city (Italian Funds-in-Trust)

Previous monitoring missions

1998, 1999, 2003: World Heritage Centre monitoring missions; 2003 to 2005, and 2010: World Heritage Centre and experts missions

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/385/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

At the time of drafting the present document, the State Party has not yet submitted a state of conservation report as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session. Nor was a report submitted in 2012.

The prevailing difficult security situation meant that the reactive monitoring mission requested by the Committee at its 35th session still could not be undertaken.

There has thus been no official report of the prevailing condition at the property since the State Party reported in March 2011. In that report, it was stated that the conservation of the property had not improved over the previous ten years. The inappropriate use of modern materials and uncontrolled vertical development, which threatened the city’s skyline, were continuing as was the limited maintenance of old buildings and the gardens. The State Party reported that the lack of a functioning management system, a conservation plan, adequate resources and a functioning legal system meant that little progress could be made.


In the 2013 report submitted by the State Party on the property of Zabid, it was reported that a draft law of the Protection of Historic Sites, Monuments, Cities and their Urban and Cultural Heritage had been submitted to Parliament and is expected to be issued officially in 2013. On 6 January 2013, the Yemen Times reported that this bill was designed to preserve historic cities, to allow funds to be allocated for the preservation of historic sites, especially World Heritage properties such as Old Sana’a and Zabid, and to allow the General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities in Yemen to have full authority to take measures to care for such sites.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, while understanding the difficult situation that prevails in the country, underscore the urgent need for substantial actions to be undertaken to preserve the historic city from deteriorating to such an extent that it might be considered by the Committee to be endangered.

They recommend that the Committee welcome the draft Heritage Protection Bill being considered by Parliament as a very positive step forward.


They also reiterate the need for a reactive monitoring mission to visit the property as soon as the security situation allows, in order to ascertain the current conservation of the property.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.58

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.60 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Regrets that the State Party did not submit the report in time as requested;

4.  Expresses its concern at the apparent continuing vulnerabilityf the property as a result of the current difficult situation;

5.  Urgently calls upon the international community to support the State Party, in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in any way possible for priority conservation, management measures and capacity building programmes;

6.  Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the property and identify measures needed to reverse the decay and ensure the conservation and protection of the property, as soon as the security situation allows;

7.  Also requests the State Party to provide information to the World Heritage Centre on progress with the Heritage Protection Bill being currently considered by Parliament;

8.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.