1.         Old Walled City of Shibam (Yemen) (C 192)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1982

Criteria  (iii)(iv)(v)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2015-present

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

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/192/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1982-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 121,966
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/192/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/192/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 20 March 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/192/documents/, in which the following matters are reported:

The State Party has continuously communicated with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies regarding conservation processes, but has pointed out the urgent need of financial support for emergency planning and capacity building actions. While thanking the German Government for its support, the State Party has noted that, owing to the security situation in the country, the support of the German Agency for international Cooperation (GIZ) has been terminated.

The State Party has extended an open invitation for a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to evaluate state of conservation of the property and identify measures needed to reverse current deterioration of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.

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

The security situation in Yemen, in combination with a lack of organisational support and resources, continues to prevent both effective heritage management and physical conservation works within the property. However, the efforts of both GOPHCY and the Shibam community, in damage assessment, documentation, first-aid interventions, capacity building and continuous communication with the World Heritage Centre, UNESCO Doha and the Advisory Bodies, are commendable.

Support from the international community remains essential for capacity building to conduct adequate preventive and restoration measures at the property. Owing to the security situation, it has not been possible to make progress with the preparation of a management plan, nor the Action Plan arising from the draft National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020, which was prepared in collaboration with the German Agency for International Corporation (GIZ). The discontinuation of GIZ involvement in the property further reduces the general capacity for conservation activities.

Although future financial support is necessarily constrained unless and until the security situation improves, it is urgent to explore means to provide the needed financial and technical support to safeguard the property. Therefore, it would be appropriate for the international community to continue to express its support for the State Party and GOPHCY, and where possible to offer technical proposals and practical support.

It remains desirable for a Reactive Monitoring mission to visit the property in order to advise on short-term repair works and to identify in consultations with GOPHCY both the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and associated corrective measures, as soon as the security situation allows.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7A.53

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.25, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Expresses its continuing concern at the recent damage caused to the cultural heritage of the Old Walled City of Shibam as a result of natural elements and ongoing armed conflict, and that the property continues to be vulnerable, owing to the residual impact of previous flooding, as well as the current security situation, ongoing social change and continuing lack of organisational support and resources for both heritage management and physical conservation;
  4. Commends the State Party for its involvement in damage assessment, documentation and emergency interventions, and for its communication with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies and acknowledges the efforts of the General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities in Yemen (GOPHCY), the community and the other concerned stakeholders of Shibam to protect and conserve the property despite the very difficult conditions in the city;
  5. Welcomes the open invitation for a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to advise on short-term repair and conservation works, and to contribute to the development of a set of corrective measures and a timeframe for their implementation, as well as the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), as soon as the security situation in Yemen has improved;
  6. Urges all parties involved in the conflict to refrain from any further action that would cause damage to the cultural heritage of Yemen and the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and to fulfil their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, in particular the safeguarding of properties on the World Heritage List and those included in the Tentative List of Yemen, and encourages all concerned stakeholders to unite for the preservation of cultural heritage in Yemen;
  7. Requests the State Party to continue dialogue with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in all restoration and/or reconstruction processes to ensure the safety of the inhabitants and the respect of international conservation standards;
  8. Expresses regret that owing to the security situation in Yemen, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) has been compelled to discontinue its direct support for Yemeni cultural heritage;
  9. Reiterates its previous calls for the international community to provide technical and financial support, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund, for the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Yemen’s Cultural heritage, adopted at the UNESCO Expert meeting in July 2015, including funding for capacity building and first-aid restoration and protection measures, and calls on the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to continue providing the State Party with technical assistance and support where needed;
  10. Also 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 Old Walled City of Shibam (Yemen) 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: