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 missions; July 2015: ICOMOS Advisory mission; March 2017: Joint World Heritage Centre/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 2017
A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Technical Assistance mission visited the property from 5-9 March 2017. The mission was preceded and facilitated by a meeting held in Cairo on February 13, 2017 by the Director of the World Heritage Centre with the national authorities in charge of the Ring Road project. The mission report is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/documents. The State Party did not submit a state of conservation report, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session but provided regular updates on the proposed Tunnel Project. The mission was invited by the State Party to give guidance on implementing Decision 40 COM 7B.22 of the Committee in relation to plans for the Cairo Ring road.
The Committee at its 19th session (Berlin, 1995) had asked the State Party to halt construction of a Ring road through the Giza Plateau. Subsequently, a road to the North of the Giza Plateau was developed. This is no longer sufficient to address the traffic needs of the rapidly developing Cairo Metropolis. As a result, the State Party is considering plans for a 6-8 lane tunnel under the Giza Plateau. At its 40th session in 2016, the Committee requested the State Party to provide a traffic management study of the wider area that would justify the need for the Tunnel Project, and to undertake a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for the proposed tunnel on the basis of a detailed Tunnel project.
Following discussions with the State Party in September 2016, ICOMOS provided it with advice on details of the data and other background documents necessary for the production of an HIA that could consider potential impacts of a proposed tunnel on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. Based only on previous documentation and reports, this document advised a four-stage process: (a) the assembly of preliminary data, (b) preliminary engineering design, (c) drafting of a Retrospective Statement of OUV (RSOUV) and (d) scoping for a HIA. The mission aimed to provide more advice on the first two aspects and recommended that as a basis for the preparation of a HIA, the following stand-alone documents should be developed:
It also recommended that these stand-alone project documents be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS in advance of the HIA being undertaken (and also submitted for review).
The mission report provided the following additional information:
On 9 May 2017, the State Party sent additional documents, which included a Management Plan for the property, maps, documents related to the tunnel, a traffic study and a PowerPoint presentation showing the removal of waste material in the property. Due to the amount of information provided at a late stage in the drafting process, the analysis of these documents could not be completed prior to the drafting of the present report.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
The February 2017 UNESCO mission and the two Advisory missions to the property (in 2015 and early 2017) to consider the Ring road/Tunnel proposals have demonstrated the commitment of the State Party to engage fully with the World Heritage Centre, the Advisory Bodies and the Committee over the possible development of an appropriate scheme for Tunnel across the Giza Plateau.
The report of the last mission has set out clearly the three types of documentation (archaeological, traffic management and design reports) necessary to underpin a satisfactory HIA that could determine the potential impact of the proposed road on the property. The mission highlighted the fragmentation of the archaeological evidence and the need to assemble all known archaeological, historical and photographic data as well to undertake surveys, aerial photographs, satellite mapping etc. for the archaeological report. This should cover the whole property in order to understand how this part of the Giza Plateau is linked to the other areas. It also stressed the need for the traffic management study to demonstrate a credible assessment of alternative routes using established traffic engineering principles and a long-term traffic vision for the city. The design details for the Tunnel Project need to cover the approach roads to the tunnel together with any physical interventions such as lighting, ventilation, emergency exists, etc.
As part of the mission, a site visit was undertaken to the line of the proposed tunnel and this revealed that the planned ring road of 1995 had been partially constructed across a 5km stretch, impacting adversely on the landscape. The abandoned road had facilitated illegal traffic, numerous dumps of soil/rock and construction debris, and large scale illegal sand quarrying. Two of the quarries reflected near-industrial exploitation, while the dumps extend from the El Faiyum-Desert Road across a large area of the property. Google Earth maps reveal many thousands of individual piles dumped from around 2000 to 2011. The waste incineration contributes to highly negative air quality around the Pyramids. All in all the degradation impacts adversely on the setting of some of the key component sites of the property.
The development of plans for the Tunnel have bought into focus the management and protection arrangements for the property and the need to strengthen them, both in terms of management systems and protection, especially in terms of landscape. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to undertake work on finalizing a single enforceable Management Plan for the property as a priority, to strengthen the overall co-ordination and management of the property and reinforce the management and conservation of the property by the Ministry of Antiquities; to investigate national legislation specific to World Heritage properties, and to define a buffer zone and submit a request for Minor Boundary Modification. The latter is particularly needed in the Giza pyramids area to protect the property form the increasing urban pressure in Cairo.
There is also clearly a need to stop illegal activities within the property that impact highly adversely on its open desert landscape, and it is also recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to activate immediate measures.
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.78
The World Heritage Committee,
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 8E
The World Heritage Committee,
EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARRIBBEAN