1.         Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata (Italy) (C 829)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1997

Criteria  (iii)(iv)(v)

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/829/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/829/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS advisory mission in December 2010 and January 2011

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/829/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

After the collapse of the Schola Armaturarum on 6 November 2010 and further collapses of walls at Pompei at the end of November 2010, the State Party invited a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS advisory mission, which was carried out from 2 – 4 December 2010 and from 10–13 January 2011. The mission report is available online at http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/35COM.  

The mission assessed the impact of the collapses on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property as well as the overall state of conservation, reviewed the management arrangements and provided recommendations for its conservation and management.

The mission considered that the collapses that occurred in November were regrettable. However, they did not consider that these collapses threatened the OUV of the property. Nevertheless they considered that the conditions that caused these collapses are wide-spread within the site and the consequences of cumulative on-going deterioration could potentially threaten the OUV. A considerable number of houses and other structures at Pompei and Herculaneum are at risk and therefore require major conservation work. The identified factors include:

a) Management

There is a general backlog in the property’s maintenance and monitoring due to institutional instability and the resulting lack of adequate management and coordination. In addition, on several occasions the scarce resources have been diverted from conservation and maintenance to non-urgent projects. Although Pompei has a management plan, it is not used as an effective means to protect the property or to guide decision-making. Furthermore, basic documentation for the management and monitoring of the property and its surroundings is missing or outdated for Pompei, leading to uncontrolled development in the vicinity of this portion of the property.

b) Restoration, maintenance and lack of skills base

Inappropriate restoration methods and a general lack of qualified staff for the restoration and maintenance of the property have impacted the property. Restoration projects are outsourced and the quality of the work of the contractors is not being assessed. An efficient drainage system is lacking leading to water infiltration and excessive moisture which gradually degrades both the structural condition of the buildings as well as their décor. The mission was also concerned by the amount of plant growth, particularly ivy, in some places at Pompei.

c) Visitor pressure

In 2010, Pompei received 2.3 million visitors with a peak of 300 000 visitors per month in spring and early summer. This situation contrasts with the fact that large areas of Pompei are not accessible for visitors due to the lack of custodians, so accessible parts are over-visited and suffer considerably from visitor erosion.

Altogether, the mission considers that it is essential that the Ministry of Culture maintains institutional stability within the Superintendency in order to allow it to focus on managing and conserving the property as its main priority. Required technical and financial resources need to be identified to carry out an effective programme and steps should be taken to secure them for sustained implementation. The management plan needs to be reviewed to include a comprehensive public use plan and a risk management plan. Priority in work programmes should be given to dealing with the backlog in conservation and maintenance. An effective drainage system needs to be installed urgently to prevent further deterioration of unstable areas.

The mission also recommended that the Superintendency develop and implement a set of simple monitoring measures for the condition recording and use of the site, which would entail the updating of the Geographic Information System (GIS) for Pompei and the development of common standards for GIS for all the components of the property. Concerning Herculaneum, the Superintendency should plan with the Herculaneum Conservation Project for the integration in due course of the Herculaneum GIS.

d) Other conservation issues

On 12 April 2011, the World Heritage Centre was informed about the current construction of a large concrete building immediately North of the Pompei portion of the property, in the vicinity of the Porta di Nola. According to a press article of 1 April 2011, the building will serve as a deposit for the archaeological findings and will additionally house office space. The State Party has not informed the mission members about this project, nor submitted any information to the World Heritage Centre so far.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that a considerable number of structures at Pompei and Herculaneum are in a poor state of conservation and maintenance. They consider that substantial efforts are necessary to urgently address the property’s management, conservation and continuous monitoring, in order to forestall a repeat of the collapse that occurred in November 2010. They also note that the current construction of a large concrete building immediately north of the Pompei portion of the property could impact on the visual setting of the property and that actions are needed to protect it.

They consider that a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission should be invited in 2012 in order to review the implementation of the proposed recommendations.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.96

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 8D, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Notes with deep concern the collapses that occurred at the property in November 2010 and urges the State Party to address the underlying conditions that have contributed to the collapses, as a matter of urgency;

4. Also notes the conclusions of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS advisory mission to the property that while the collapses in November 2010 did not compromise the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, nevertheless the underlying conditions could threaten the Outstanding Universal Value if they remain unaddressed in the short term;

5. Deeply regrets that neither the World Heritage Centre nor the mission were informed about the construction of a large concrete building north of the Porta di Nola at the Pompei portion of the property and also urges the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with detailed information on this project for review;

6. Requests the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre regularly and in due time about any building project planned in the vicinity of the property in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

7. Also requests the State Party to give priority to work programmes dealing with the backlog in conservation and management of the property and to:

a) review the management plan to include a public use plan and risk management plan as well as provisions to regulate and control development at the vicinity of the property,

b) ensure that there are adequate qualified staff and contractors for the restoration and maintenance of the property,

c) develop and implement measures to monitor conditions and use of the property, including the updating of the Geographic Information System (GIS) for Pompei,

d) design and install effective drainage systems,

e) identify and secure the required technical and financial resources in order to carry out an effective programme of conservation and maintenance of the property;

8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value by 1 February 2012;

9. Requests furthermore the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission during 2012 in order to assess the progress achieved in implementing the measures outlined above;

10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013, with a view to considering, in the case of confirmation of ascertained or potential danger to the Outstanding Universal Value, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.