As a follow up to Decision 35 COM 7B.59, the State Party submitted to the World Heritage Centre a report on the state of conservation of the property dated January 2012. It contains the decree cancelling inappropriate declassifications made from 1992 to 2008 (Decree No. 2011-11 of 10 March 2011 related to the National Archaeological Park of Carthage-Sidi Bou Saïd). This land management policy is continuing with the acquisition of land with funding from the 2012 budget of the National Heritage Institute (INP).
The State Party has embarked upon a major programme of restoration and enhancement at several sites including three important sectors: the amphitheater, the Antonin baths and the Maalga cisterns. This policy includes an increase in staff of the two teams working jointly for the conservation and enhancement of the property. Thus the number of heritage conservators has increased from two to ten, and the head architects from two to four, while the property and the museum each have their own responsible curator.
The report of the joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission that went to Carthage from 24 to 28 January 2012 emphasizes two types of damage affecting the property: aggression for financial profit and the development of infrastructures on the one hand, and negligence of the responsible authorities, on the other. The mission issued four recommendations, in addition to the revision of the property’s boundaries. It stressed, as an absolute priority, the revision and implementation of the Management Plan (PPMV: Protection and Enhancement Plan); the development of a presentation plan and of a tourism Management Plan; the adoption of an archaeological and conservation strategy; the coordination of the tools and stakeholders involved in the management and preservation of the property. The mission report is available online at the following Internet address: http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/36COM
a) Protection and Enhancement Plan (PPMV)
Produced between 1996 and 2003, the Protection and Enhancement Plan (PPMV) was never approved or submitted to the World Heritage Centre, nor applied. Following the 14 declassifications of land belonging to the Archaeological Park between 1992 and 2008, including two large-scale ones in 2006 and 2007, the Decree of 10 March 2011 allowed the return of the parcels within the protected area and the fixing of boundaries of the property to the perimeter of the site classified at the national level in 1985. To help resolve disputes arising from these previous situations, the joint reactive monitoring mission recommended a regrouping of the components of the PPMV of 1998 and 2003 and a synchronization of their procedures with that of the Urban Development Plan of Carthage. It stressed the urgency of accomplishing this rapidly and efficiently.
b) Presentation Plan and Tourism Management Plan
In order to give coherence to a scattered ensemble difficult to comprehend for non-specialists, the mission recommends the elaboration of a general presentation plan for the property, and of a tourism Management Plan. An efficient guidance of visitors would enable greater economic benefits and an interesting cultural appeal.
c) Archaeological and Conservation Strategy
In view of the lack of a comprehensive global strategy document on conservation and archaeological excavations, the mission members recommend its preparation be undertaken. Despite numerous restoration and enhancement interventions conducted in recent years and highlighted in both reports of the INP of 2011 and 2012, the mission recommends that priority improvements be made in areas of the circus, the Borj Boukhris, the park of Roman villas and the Maalga cisterns.
d) Coordination of tools and stakeholders involved in the management and preservation of the property
Currently, two separate bodies are responsible for the management and preservation of the property. As this situation causes misunderstandings and overlapping, the mission recommends the establishment of a coordination mechanism between the INP and the Heritage Enhancement and Cultural Promotion Agency (AMVPPC), to achieve a clear designation of functions and powers to be integrated into the Protection and Enhancement Plan (PPMV).
e) Retrospective Inventory and property boundaries
In response to previous requests and to the World Heritage Committee’s Decision 35 COM 7B.59, the State Party submitted on 31 January 2012 a map of "clarification of boundaries at the time of inscription", indicating a return to the boundaries classified at national level in 1985, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at this session (see document WHC-12/36 COM/8D). Previously, on 30 March 2011, the State Party had submitted a request for "minor boundary modifications" with regard to the creation of a buffer zone which will also be examined by the World Heritage Committee under Item 8 of the Agenda (Document WHC-12/36.COM/8B.Add).
The joint mission recommends a revision of this perimeter and the components of the property to better correspond to the reality of the archaeological site today. Similarly, the creation of a buffer zone is expected to provide additional protection to the property.