1.         Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Libya) (C 190)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1982

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2016-present

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

Conflict situation prevailing in the country

Corrective measures identified

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet identified

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

January 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; August 2008: World Heritage Centre mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 12 February 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/documents/. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report, as follows:

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

The information provided by the DOAC demonstrates its commitment to the conservation of the property despite the prevailing conflict situation in the country, and constitutes a substantial progress in the understanding of the situation at the property. At the same time, the report raises a number of questions.

The DOAC reports “no critical damage or serious threats” at the property, while underlining the fact that urban encroachment remains the major issue. It also states that, “Since 2015, there has been no new recording of buildings around or within the archaeological site”. In the UNOSAT Interim Activity Report of 20 December 2016, an analysis of satellite images taken between 9 and 12 November 2012 and others taken between 18 and 20 March 2016 shows 1,839 new constructions in Cyrene. However, the absence of a clear map showing the precise boundaries of the property and its buffer zone, and the impossibility, for the time being, of visiting the property, make it difficult to gauge whether these are in the property or its settings. In either case, they appear to have a considerable impact on the property.

The DOAC’s request for assistance to organize a workshop to define the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone should be given priority. It is essential to see precisely where the threats to the property are, and where the DOAC undertook the measures it presents in its report. The agreement between the City Council of Shahat and the DOAC that foresees the removal of illegal constructions is a positive step. Nevertheless, there is no indication whether this measure has already been applied.

Regarding the restoration works carried out at the property, notably in the Odeon area, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide a detailed report on these works, including technical explanations on why these interventions were necessary at this stage.

The actions that the DOAC has been able to undertake at the property over the past year, despite a prevailing unstable situation, are very important steps toward improving the situation in terms of management and conservation. The mobilization of heritage professionals as well as civil society are key achievements that the DOAC should use as bases for further actions. The important efforts made by the DOAC would be more effective and easier to assess by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies if they were implemented in the framework of the short- and medium-term measures identified during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage, held in Tunis in May 2016. The report is available at the following web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1496.

It remains essential that the joint mission requested by the Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015) be sent to the property as soon as the security conditions permit. In the meantime, it is important that DOAC pursue its efforts to keep the World Heritage Centre updated on the situation on the ground, as well as on the further implementation of the measures it has launched, while addressing, to the extent possible, the comments and requests of the Committee.

Other sources report that there is an increasing awareness at the level of the civil society and local authorities about the necessity to protect heritage in Libya, especially the sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. Such awareness needs to be harnessed to promote understanding of the decision of the Committee, at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), to inscribe the property, as well as the other four Libyan World Heritage properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger, as a means of raising awareness of its problems and mobilizing the support of the international community.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7A.37

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7B.24 and 40 COM 7B.106, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Commends the State Party for the important efforts made to ensure the protection and conservation of the property, despite the prevailing unstable situation and difficult working conditions on the ground;
  4. Expresses its concern regarding the numerous difficulties faced by the Department of Antiquities of Cyrene (DOAC) in the protection of the property, especially from urban encroachment;
  5. Reiterates its call for an increased mobilization of the international community to provide more financial and technical support to Libya to implement the short- and medium-term measures identified during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage (Tunis, May 2016);
  6. Requests the World Heritage Centre to assist the State Party to organize as soon as possible a follow-up technical workshop to explore ways for the monitoring and management of the property and for the elaboration of a map indicating the precise boundaries of the property and of its buffer zone, as well as the locations of encrochments and interventions of the DOAC , and any additional information useful in the conservation of the property and its buffer zone;
  7. Also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre regularly informed of the evolution of the situation at the property and of any new measures undertaken to ensure the protection and conservation of the property, and to provide a detailed report on the restoration works carried out, including technical explanations justifying these interventions;
  8. Reiterates its request that the State Party invite the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS to carry out a mission to Libya as soon as the security conditions permit;
  9. Calls on all UNESCO Member States to support emergency safeguarding measures, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
  10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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 42nd session in 2018;
  11. Decides to retain Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Libya) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 41 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/17/41.COM/7A, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add and WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: