Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1986
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/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 101,997
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 2015
On 31 January 2015, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/385/documents/.
The State Party reports that Yemen continues to suffer significant adverse political, socio-economic and security conditions, which have worsened in early 2015. These conditions have compromised institutional frameworks, causing conservation and development activity to cease.
The State Party reports that some steps have been taken to sustain cultural heritage protection, through the Ministry of Culture, the General Organisation for the Preservation of Historic Cities of Yemen (GOPHCY), in collaboration with the German Agency for International Corporation (GIZ), including:
The State Party confirms its support for the development of a Conservation Plan, using USD 29,700 made available from the World Heritage Fund, but advises that available resources are inadequate and that international experts cannot enter Yemen at present.
A project initiated in conjunction with GIZ to support GOPHCY with capacity building was terminated in December 2014. This project developed important initiatives including the preparation of the National Strategy and the drafting of regulations and guidelines for World Heritage Sites, and preparation of a brochure about inappropriate behaviour in the Old City of Sana’a.
The State Party expresses concern about the level of engagement and capacity of GOPHCY and the barrier represented by the inability of international experts to visit Yemen.
It has not provided any detail about the proposed water and sewerage rehabilitation project, but advises that the project has been postponed and offered assurances that the requested documents will be provided by the Ministry of Culture, GOPHCY and the Sana’a Secretariat.
The proposed joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission has been prevented by the security situation in Yemen.
The State Party has not yet started implementing the International Assistance Request “Preparation of the conservation plan – Old City of Sana’a (I phase inventory update)” (IA2014-2665) because of the current situation but intends to initiate it as soon as possible with local resources.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
For some time, the integrity of the property has been eroding, as a result of contemporary social changes and inappropriate development. The incremental progressive impact has recently been masked by the more-prominent impact of worsening political, socio-economic and security conditions. In combination, incremental change and deteriorating security present a significant threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.
More-effective management provisions need to be established, including preparation of the Conservation Plan which has been previously recommended by the Committee and supported through International Assistance funding. This Conservation Plan should build upon existing documentation including The Inventory of the Historic City of Sana'a: a Tool for Urban Conservation (2008). It should also be incorporated within the Action Plan being prepared to implement the new National Strategy (see below).
The preparation of the draft: National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020 is very welcome. It is important that the Action Plan arising from the strategy specifically address this property and include provisions for fostering community support and awareness, and international involvement in heritage management, as well as identification of physical conservation requirements.
It is acknowledged that the water and sewerage system requires rehabilitation and that this important work to underpin the infrastructure of the property should receive priority. However, the project should only proceed following the preparation of a thorough Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) and identification of appropriate risk mitigation measures. It is highly desirable that GOPHCY become directly involved in this project, once it is recommenced, so as to ensure that it is implemented in a manner that is consistent with cultural heritage values of the property.
The property would benefit from greater involvement of GOPHCY and improved capacity building. Further involvement from international experts is also desirable, but currently impossible.
Support from GIZ has made a significant contribution to heritage management of the Old City of Sana’a and other World Heritage properties in Yemen. The contribution from GIZ warrants acknowledgement, encouragement and augmentation with support from the international community, although this will necessarily depend on the evolving security situation.
Owing to the unstable situation in Yemen, it has not been possible to organize the recommended joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission. However, the State Party has reiterated its support for such a mission, which should be arranged at the earliest possible time.
Finally, a report on the state of conservation of the property should be requested for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session, in order to assess the evolution of the situation in the country and whether the property is facing an ascertained or potential danger.
Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.59
The World Heritage Committee,
Decision Adopted: 39 COM 8C.1
The World Heritage Committee,