Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1985
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/277/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 3,500
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/277/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/277/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015
On 12 April 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report for the four World Heritage properties in Iraq, as well as for ten of the eleven sites included in the country’s Tentative List. The report is available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/277/documents/.
The State Party reports that, between 2011 and 2013, the responsible authorities carried out conservation work in the central area of the ancient city and the zone of temples, and also developed a parking square and some green spaces. These works were favoured by a calm situation at the site. The State Party also reports that the responsible authorities have not been able to access the property since it has been occupied by ISIL and turned into a military camp, and that the only information available is the one provided by media.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
Other sources report that parts of the site, and notably sculptures on the walls, have been destroyed by armed groups, using weapons, explosives and bulldozers. This information has been communicated via Internet (either through articles or videos) or e-mail messages or orally by reliable experts, representatives of archaeological missions or the responsible authorities themselves who confirm that the property has been damaged but are not able to define the scale of destruction.
On 17 July 2014, an expert meeting held at UNESCO Headquarters led to the adoption of an Emergency Response Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Iraq’s Cultural Heritage (also see Part I of Document WHC-15/39.COM/7). The content of this action plan should be taken into consideration even if the prevailing situation makes its implementation difficult.
The confirmation by the State Party of the occupation of the property by ISIL and the absence of detailed information about the situation at the site raise a very high concern that the conditions to ensure the conservation and protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are not optimal anymore. The property being also threatened by both ascertained and potential danger, in accordance with paragraphs 177 to 179 of the Operational Guidelines, the World Heritage Committee may wish to consider inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
It would be essential, as soon as the security conditions permit, that the responsible authorities carry out a rapid assessment of the state of conservation of the property and submit the results of this assessment to the World Heritage Centre, prior to any action on the ground.
Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.51
The World Heritage Committee,
Decision Adopted: 39 COM 8C.1
The World Heritage Committee,