State of Conservation
Factors affecting the property in 2017*
- Commercial development
- Ground transport infrastructure
- Interpretative and visitation facilities
- Land conversion
- Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
- Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Heavy flooding in 1996 (issue resolved)
- Insufficiency or non-existence of sewage disposal facilities (issue resolved)
- Insufficient conservation of antiquities (issue resolved)
- Housing (uncontrolled development of villages in the vicinity of the site)
- Ground transport infrastructure (construction or road widening projects leading to the site)
- Other encroachments upon the integrity of the site
- Lack of management plan for the property
- Lack of clear boundary delimitations
- Land conversion
- Commercial development and major visitor associated infrastructure in the property (proliferation of shops), and its vicinity (new hotels under construction, Petra Museum project)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2017
Total amount provided: USD 1 million from the Italian Fund-in-Trust
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2017
Requests approved: 4
Total amount approved : 167,079 USD
|2010||Urgent assessment mission||0 USD|
|2010||Urgent Investigation of the Rock Stability in the Siq ... (Approved)||67,579 USD|
World Heritage Skills Development Workshop for Young ...
Reapproval: 22 Mar, 2002 (n°1515 - 20,000 USD)
|1995||Flash flood control at Petra (Approved)||29,500 USD|
|1987||Contribution towards research work on weathering and ... (Approved)||50,000 USD|
Missions to the property until 2017**
September 2000: ICOMOS mission; March 2004: UNESCO mission; 2009: UNESCO technical expert missions; December 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017
On 1 February 2017, the State Party submitted a report available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/326/documents/, addressing the requests made by the Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015) and providing information on the management and conservation of the property, and the development of projects in the planned buffer zone.
- Integrated Management Plan (IMP): currently under elaboration in collaboration with the UNESCO Office in Amman, following a wide participatory approach, with 14 advisory groups, based on previous management documents. The IMP, which includes the definition of conservation priorities and scheduling of conservation projects is expected to be completed end of 2017;
- Planned buffer zone and related regulatory measures: the State Party mentions that it has decided not to submit a minor boundary modification proposal;
- Risk management: the implementation of the Siq Stability Monitoring Programme, which includes capacity-building initiatives, continues, particularly targeting members of the local community, with the support of international organizations. Conservation measures in the framework of the Strategic Plan (2015-2017) of the Petra Archaeological Park (PAP) Directorate for Cultural Resource Management have also been defined, notably in relation to the effects of regular flooding and displacement of stones in various areas of the visitor main trail. The report also presents an overview of the archaeological excavations and research for the years 2015 and 2016;
- Sustainable local development and improvement of the local communities’ livelihood; five initiatives have been launched: the Um Sayhoun Development Center, the Care for Petra Campaign, the Princess Alia Foundation, the Petra National Trust and the Capital of the Nabateans Cooperative;
- Petra Back Road project: the report assures that it complies with the requirements in terms of protection of archaeological remains and of the environment; necessary precautions and control measures were taken during the implementation. The project is expected to be completed in 2017;
- The Petra museum: the design was completed and the tender process was completed in December 2016; the construction works are scheduled for 2017. The report contains only the floor plan of the museum;
- A “Natural Protection Area” in Petra has been established, aiming at preserving and promoting the biodiversity of the area. A comprehensive study on this area has been provided with the report, together with a map showing its boundaries;
- Eco-lodge project: foreseen in the buffer zone and currently at design development stage. An archaeological survey has been carried out and resulted in no evidence of remains at the location of the project;
- The Crown Plaza Hotel: extension and upgrading works are foreseen; restaurant owned by the hotel currently in the Basin area, within the property will be relocated in the Heritage Village. The beginning of the works is scheduled for Spring 2017;
- The Heritage Village: conceived as a community-based tourism model, this project foresees to move commercial activities from the PAP to the planned buffer zone, in order to reduce the pressure on the property. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been carried out to define its location, and sustainable design principles and materials have been identified. The village would be connected to the property through the Back Road.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2017
On 22 April 2017, the Petra National Trust contacted the World Heritage Centre to raise a number of issues in relation to the conservation of the property. It underlined the decision of PDTRA to modify land-use regulation to favour development around the property. It also pointed out the pressure generated by current or planned projects, including those related to tourism.
The finalization and adoption of the management plan of the property is a top priority. Although regulatory measures are activated, additional details about what they stipulate would be useful.
The projects presented in the report are at an advanced level of development, either from the concept or design point of view, while the boundaries of the planned buffer zone have not yet been finalized; the maps provided in the report do not indicate the boundaries of the property and clarifications would be required.
As regards risk management, the work pursued at the Siq is important; the involvement of members of the local communities in the project is a positive element; however, it would be also useful to extend risk-preparedness studies and measures, notably landslide risks, to other areas of the property.
Concerning the Petra museum, the State Party did not follow the request of the Committee to have the final architectural drawings submitted to the World Heritage Centre prior to the start of the works.
The State Party did not provide detailed information on the achieved works at the Petra Back Road that would highlight the compliance of the works with the protection of archaeological remains and of the environment. It appears from the report that apart from becoming an exit from the PAP, the Petra Back Road will also connect the site to a number of projects in the buffer zone and notably the Heritage Village with the possibility of becoming a major component in the development process of Petra’s territory; such a potential impact should be assessed.
The initiative to establish a Natural Protected Area in Petra is relevant and it supports the protection of the property. However, the comprehensive scientific study annexed to the report does not provide enough details on how the link between this new area and the PAP is defined. It is recommended that cultural and natural attributes not be separated when considering the protection and management of the site of Petra, beyond the boundaries of the World Heritage property whose Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) relies also on an exceptional natural setting.
The justification of the Crown Plaza Hotel extension an upgrade is presented as a major employment opportunity for local communities and a substantial contribution to the conservation of the property since it foresees to relocate the restaurant owned by the hotel from the Basin area to the Heritage Village. However, as the previous draft of the minor boundary modification transmitted by the State Party had foreseen the area of the Crown Plaza Hotel as being a no-construction zone, the extension of this project is very preoccupying in terms of urban encroachment and density of land use. There is an urgent need for clarity in the defined urban planning of the setting of the property, including its zoning.
The EIA of the Heritage Village project did not include a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA). The archaeological soundings carried out are not enough to measure the impact on the heritage of the area to be selected for the implementation of this project.
The Eco-lodge project is presented as best practice in terms of design but it is not clear whether and how the design criteria apply to the context of Petra. Moreover, the conceptual and preliminary designs would need to be examined in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines. This project also raises a number of questions as regards its impact on the property and its connection to the other development projects, which are foreseen in the buffer zone as well. The potential impact of such a project is not only physical, on the land where it will be located, but has other aspects at the level of the territory of Petra in general.
The “Sustainable Development and Community Initiatives” highlight an increasingly people-centered approach to development in the region of Petra. International cooperation plays an important role in the development of Petra, with numerous organizations providing financial support to projects in the property’s planned buffer zone and technical support for conservation purposes. All these development projects are foreseen in the setting of the property where a planned buffer zone has not yet been formally defined. In the absence of an overall master plan at the level of the territory, there is a lack of information on what their connections with one another are, and how financially and economically sustainable they are. Despite a positive focus on local communities, the creation of employment opportunities cannot be the main justification for the development of projects in the property’s setting. It is also unclear what impact these initiatives will have on the property and its setting.
Furthermore, information relating to these projects should have been submitted in advance for review according to the process defined by Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, prior to the submission of the State of conservation report and supported by HIAs and within a clearly defined strategy for zoning of the property and its setting.
It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission as soon as possible, in order to assess the overall situation at the property and its setting and to discuss the development of a Master Plan. This mission should include a number of specialized experts in order to cover all aspects of the proposed development and planning.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2017
Draft Decision: 41 COM 7B.80
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.52, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
- Regrets that the Management Plan has not been finalized yet and expresses concern that a number of major projects foreseen in the planned buffer zone have reached an advanced level of development prior to their submission to the World Heritage Centre and review by ICOMOS, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
- Also regrets the decision of the State Party not to submit a minor boundary modification proposal towards the adoption of the boundaries of the planned buffer zone and considers that nonetheless the setting of the property must be adequately protected and requests it to clarify the protective urban regulations of the planned buffer zone including its zoning as a matter of urgency, in the context of the development of an overall Master Plan;
- Also requests the State Party to invite, as soon as possible, a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission, with additional fields of expertise as needed, to assess the situation at the property and in the planned buffer zone, particularly those were the development projects are located or foreseen and to discuss the development of a Master Plan;
- Urges the State Party to put the ongoing or planned development projects on hold and to control urban development in the planned buffer zone, until the Reactive Monitoring mission has visited the property, and to submit to the World Heritage Centre, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, detailed information on each of the development projects implemented or foreseen in the vicinity of the property, prior to the mission, for review by ICOMOS;
- 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.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).