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   2015-present

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 provided to the property: 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 2011

The State Party submitted a state of conservation report on March 2011 in response to the request made by the World Heritage Centre on 15 November 2010. The report was requested given the concerns for the rapid rate of deterioration of the historic fabric raised within the context of a UNESCO training course on urban conservation, carried out in Sana'a in summer 2010. 

The State Party reports that since the decision made by the World Heritage Committee at its 25th session (Helsinki, 2001) the state of conservation of the property has not significantly improved. It notes that the historic suq continues spreading within the residential area along the South/North axis of the property. Uncontrolled development of new constructions and vertical additions has continued to occur impacting the skyline of the old city and generating structural instability due to the use of modern materials in the additions. Historic houses are in a general state of disrepair and require immediate interventions to stop the increase in ruinous buildings.

These issues are related to the lack of a functioning management system, with adequate resources for implementation of conservation and protection measures and the lack of a finalised conservation plan. In addition, legislative measures are also pending approval and are consequently not being enforced and capacity building is still needed for the adequate management and conservation of the property.

The State Party also reports on some elements related to the actions suggested in the World Heritage Centre letter of November 2010. In particular, the State Party reports that the Social Fund for Development has expressed interest in supporting the development of the Urban Conservation Plan for Sana’a and the setting up of a training institute to enhance existing capacities.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies wish to highlight the poor state of conservation of the property and the potential impacts to its Outstanding Universal Value. Since the last monitoring mission in 2003, no progress has been made in the preservation of the historic fabric and the preparation of an efficient and adequate management system. They consider that substantial actions have to be taken urgently by the State Party and that a monitoring mission would be useful in order to discuss how progress might be achieved to reverse the situation.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.60

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 25 COM III.239, adopted at its 25th session (Helsinki, 2001),

3. Notes the information provided by the State Party, expresses its deep concern about the state of conservation of the property and urges the State Party to implement measures to control urban development and finalise the approval process for the legislative framework;

4. Also urges the State Party to prepare the Urban Conservation Plan and develop capacity building programmes with the support of the Social Fund for Development (SFD);

5. 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 to discuss how progress might be achieved in ensuring the conservation and protection of the property;

6. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, 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 36th session in 2012.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/8E,

2. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex I of Document WHC-11/35.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:

- Afghanistan: Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam; Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley;

- Bahrain: Qal'at al-Bahrain - Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun;

- Benin: Royal Palaces of Abomey;

- Botswana: Tsodilo;

- Cameroon: Dja Faunal Reserve;

- Central African Republic: Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park;

- China: Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas;

- Germany: Upper Middle Rhine Valley;

- India: Manas Wildlife Sanctuary;

- Kenya: Lake Turkana National Parks; Lamu Old Town;

- Malawi: Chongoni Rock-Art Area;

- Mali: Old Towns of Djenné;

- Pakistan: Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore;

- Peru: Chan Chan Archaeological Zone;

- Philippines: Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras;

- Senegal: Island of Saint-Louis;

- South Africa: iSimangaliso Wetland Park; Robben Island; Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape; Cape Floral Region Protected Areas; Vredefort Dome;

- Togo: Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba;

- Turkey: Historic Areas of Istanbul;

- Uganda: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; Rwenzori Mountains National Park;

- United Republic of Tanzania: Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara;

- Yemen: Old Walled City of Shibam; Old City of Sana'a;

- Zimbabwe: Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas;

3. Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed in priority;

4. Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

- World Heritage properties in the Arab States;

- World Heritage properties in Africa;

- World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific;

- World Heritage properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;

- World Heritage properties in Europe and North America.