Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1979
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/86/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 81,450
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount provided to the property: USD 100,000 for the Sphinx of Giza, Special Account for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Egypt: USD 2,203,304 dollars for the development of the management plans for the World Heritage sites of Historic Cairo, Memphis and Luxor
Previous monitoring missions
1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, November 2014: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission, July 2015: ICOMOS Advisory mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016
On 29 January 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/documents, as a response to the World Heritage Committee’s Decision 31 COM 7B.61.
The report provides information about conservation and development projects for the archaeological sites on the Giza Plateau and in the Saqarra and Mit Rahina areas, including a list of the national institutions and international organizations involved.
Due to the unrest of 2011 and financial constraints, the implementation of projects has been delayed and conservation activities and excavation works have stopped, giving priority to the protection of archeological sites and related storages.
Conservation was resumed slowly in 2012-2013, and the Ministry of Antiquities had to face the issue of illegal constructions that emerged during the period of unrest. As the situation stabilized in 2014, development projects for the enhancement and protection of the property resumed and committees have been established for their implementation.
Finally, the report indicates that the management plan for the entire site should be sent to the World Heritage Centre in 2016.
Due to longstanding and evolving major urban growth issues in the Cairo Megalopolis, the State Party invited an ICOMOS Advisory mission between 27 and 30 July 2015, to address the protection of the property in the face of development pressures, the growing traffic around the property, and to examine alternative solutions. The report of the Advisory mission is accessible at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/documents.
Some of the issues considered by the mission date back to the beginning of the 1990s, when urban encroachment had taken place and construction works had been begun to connect the Cairo Ring Road to the south of the Giza Plateau with a road across the World Heritage property. In 1995, the project was halted as a result of local pressure and in response to the recommendation 19 BUR VI.22 of the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee (Berlin, 1995). In 1998, an Agreement signed between UNESCO and the Egyptian Government, reaffirmed the importance of preventing any encroachment upon the property, including from highways, roads, water supply pipes and buildings. In 2001, a World Heritage Centre mission reported that uncontrolled urban encroachment and the potential resumption of the Ring Road were threatening the integrity of the site.
This issue has been subject to reporting at several Committee sessions in 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2005. At the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee (Christchurch, 2007), the State Party announced the reactivation of the Ring Road project to cross the Pyramid Plateau in the property; the World Heritage Committee reiterated “its previous decisions requesting the abandonment of the Ring Road project, tunnel or trench, crossing the Pyramid Plateau of Giza” and requested “the State Party to officially confirm this cancellation” (Decision 31 COM 7B.61).
In addition, on 12 April, the State Party submitted a document entitled Ring road (Mansouria Axis, - Cairo Fayoum) that provides the General layout of an open tunnel. On 29 March 2016, it submitted a technical report on the impact on the air quality of the Plateau Area for the proposed construction across the property of a 6 kilometre, eight lane, road cutting (referred to as an open tunnel) called the Mansouria Axis – Cairo Fayoum Ring road. It concluded that although current air pollution is below limits established by law, the construction of the proposed road cutting would further decrease concentration of air pollutants.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
The delays in the implementation of conservation projects and the preparation of a Management Plan for the property have hindered the efficacy of measures for holistic conservation of the property and its setting.
The mission examined in detail the urban encroachment and traffic growth in the Cairo Megalopolis and the related future prospects. It noted that the alternative routes to the Ring Road, which were recommended by the World Heritage Committee in 1995 (namely through the Maryoutiyah and Mansouriyah canals), as well as an alternative motorway bypass to the north of the Giza Plateau, linking the existing Ring Road, the 6th of October City and the road to Alexandria, have been implemented by the State Party. However, they are no longer sufficient to address the fast-growing traffic volume.
The State Party informed the mission about urban development plans, the potential evolution of traffic in the larger area surrounding the property, and several urban and traffic projects such as the metro. The State Party requested the mission to reconsider the former Ring Road project in view of the growing development pressures in the Cairo Megalopolis; moreover, it informed the mission that the Ring Road would allow access to the Great Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), currently under construction.
After discussion with the Egyptian authorities, the mission produced the following recommendations which were discussed with the State Party on site:
It is acknowledged that the State Party is seeking a viable solution that protects the property, while addressing the uncontrolled growing development pressure in the Cairo Megalopolis. However, an informed World Heritage Committee decision on the issue of traffic management and urban growth of the area can only be taken if the State Party provides the following documents, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, before any works are approved:
The air quality report for the proposed 6 km, eight land, road cutting (referred to as an open tunnel) called the Mansouris Axis – Cairo Fayoum Ring road was submitted without any further details of the project across the property to which it referred. It is understood that the State Party intends to provide further details in the near future. The World Heritage Committee might like to acknowledge that the proposals for an open road cutting across the property are not in line with the recommendations of the mission which were discussed with the State Party on site.
Moreover, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, it is recommended that the Committee remind the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre of any proposed urban and architectural developments surrounding the Giza Plateau that could potentially affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.
Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.22
The World Heritage Committee,