1.         Samarra Archaeological City (Iraq) (C 276rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2007

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2007-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

State of conflict in the country that does not allow the responsible authorities to assure the protection and management of the property

Corrective measures identified

 Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet established

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/276/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/276/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: 100,000 USD from the Nordic World Heritage Fund for training and documentation aiming at the preparation of the Nomination File.

Total amount granted for all World Heritage Sites of Iraq:

Previous monitoring missions

June 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/276/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 17 February 2016, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/276/documents/.

The State Party reports that recent events have affected the city due to military operations in Salah Ad Din Governorate. The most damaged components of the property are the Great Mosque, Abu Dalaf mosque and the dome of Salibia.

The protection and preservation works have been stopped due to the conflict situation. The destruction process continues in the sites controlled by extremist armed groups.

The State Party calls on the activation of the 1954 Convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict. It also presents the halt of looting as an immediate priority and highlights the need for international support by providing funding, training, equipment and maintenance. Finally, the State Party asks the World Heritage Committee to send assessment missions to the site as soon as the situation permits.

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

The State Party did not report on the two main issues pointed out by the World Heritage Committee in its last Decision (39 COM 7A.26): the measures to ensure that no ostentatious religious signs are displayed at the property and the implementation of the measures recommended in the technical note elaborated in view of addressing the graffiti issue. Nor did it provide details about the damage to the Great Mosque, Abu Dalaf mosque and the dome of Salibia.

With the deterioration of the security situation in Salah Ad Din Governorate, due to military operations, the site appears to be inaccessible to the responsible Iraqi authorities. However, according to additional sources, the threats seem rather contained at present.

As for the other World Heritage Sites of Iraq for which no information about the situation at the site is available, it is crucial that an emergency rapid assessment at the property be carried out by the responsible authorities, as soon as the security conditions permit, in close coordination with the UNESCO Office for Iraq.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7A.12

The World Heritage Committee, 

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.26, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Encourages the State Party to pursue its efforts to ensure the protection of the property, despite the impossibility to acces it;
  4. Expresses its great concern about the absence of information on the state of conservation of the property and requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of the evolution of the situation on the ground;
  5. Calls upon all the UNESCO Member States to comply with the provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols with Regulations for the Execution of the Convention 1954 and the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 1970, and to cooperate to fight the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage coming from Iraq, pursuant to Resolution 2199 of the United Nations Security Council, adopted in February 2015;
  6. Also calls upon the international community to further support the safeguarding of Iraqi cultural heritage through earmarked funds;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, 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 41st session in 2017;
  8. Decides to retain Samarra Archaeological City (Iraq) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/16/40.COM/7A, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: