1.         Lamu Old Town (Kenya) (C 1055)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2001

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(vi)

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/1055/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2000-2010)
Total amount approved: USD 31,776
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1055/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March 2004: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS monitoring mission; May 2010: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of approved management plan and accompanying action plan;

b) Lack of risk preparedness, especially in the case of fire;

c) Lack of adequate sewerage, waste disposal, and overall infrastructure, and risk to limited fresh water supplies;

d) Uncontrolled development

e) Lack of resources;

f) Urban and industrial development pressure, including possible new port and of oil exploration;

g) Inadequate buffer zone.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1055/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 1 February 2011, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report responding to issues related to the proposed port, water catchment area, boundaries and buffer zone, and other factors affecting the property.

a) Proposed New Port in Lamu District

The State Party reports that the Ministry of Transport has engaged a consultant, Japan Port Consultants, to carry out a full technical, economic, and financial feasibility study for the proposed Port of Lamu at Manda Bay, approximately 15-20 km to the north of Lamu, and for the Lamu-Addis-Juba-Kigali corridor development project. In addition, the consultant has been asked to advise on appropriate regulatory and institutional frameworks for support of the project and to develop at least three investment models for financing it. They have been further asked to develop a Lamu Port master plan as well as detailed designs for the first three berths and associated infrastructure. 

The National Museums of Kenya (NMK) was contacted by the consultant to obtain information about heritage sites in the area concerned, and the NMK stressed to the consultant the need for a comprehensive heritage, archaeological, and socio-cultural impact assessment. To this end, the Permanent Secretary, of the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture, has requested the Ministry of Transport, as a matter of urgency, to include heritage experts from the NMK as part of the team that will assess the overall Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and also as an integral part of the teams that undertake individual EIAs for project components. The report does not, however, indicate a response from the Ministry of Transport.

b) Development at the Shela Sand Dunes

The State Party reports that the NMK and the Water Resource Management Authority (WRMA) conducted a survey of the Lamu sand dune in February 2010, to map the 19 square kilometres proposed for gazettement, including the fragile water source for Lamu town. In May 2010, the Chief registrar of Lands cancelled title deeds for the 21 plots illegally issued within the dune area. Currently the NMK and the WRMA are preparing documents to facilitate the gazettement of the 19 square kilometres as a protected area. Further, the WRMA and the Lamu WHS and Conservation Office (LWHSCO) have established a water catchment management committee, which brings together stakeholders from the civil society.

c) Boundaries of the property and buffer zone

The State Party reports that it is developing a heritage map of all historical and archaeological sites within Lamu Island with the help of a local Geographic Information System (GIS) expert. This map will show the historical core of the Stone Town and the buffer zones. The NMK has initiated consultations with the District Development Committee and other stakeholders on the proposed extensions to the buffer zone, requested by the Committee.

d) Finalization of the management plan

The State Party reports that it has received International Assistance of the amount of USD 8,900 for the completion of the management plan. No plan, however, has been received by the World Heritage Centre. 

e) Uncontrolled development

The State Party reports that the Lamu World Heritage Site Office (LWHSCO) is developing a strategic proposal for the improvement of the informal settlements surrounding the World Heritage property. This strategy will be incorporated into the 2010–2030 Lamu District Development Plan. Further, the chairperson of the NMK has requested the Minister of Local Government to include Lamu into an ongoing World Bank project, for upgrading of informal settlements in medium-sized towns. 

f) Other issues

The State Party also provides information on a number of ongoing conservation and restoration projects, cultural festivals, and other heritage development projects. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the information provided by the State Party regarding the new port proposal for Manda Bay, north of Lamu. In the light of information that has appeared in the Kenyan press which indicates that the proposed port can be considered as a mega-project, and that the State Party formally invited bids for the first phase of construction in September 2010, they recommend the World Heritage Committee to express its great concern, that the State Party has not provided the necessary basic details about the project as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010).

As it is difficult to make an assessment based solely on press reports, given that their accuracy cannot be confirmed, it is essential that the State Party provide the necessary information such as the scope of the project, its exact location and scale, the kind of development foreseen, including associated infrastructure, and the foreseen population growth, in order for the World Heritage Committee to understand its potential adverse impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. 

From the details in the press, there is a concern that this proposed major development might impact substantially on the morphology of a long part of the coastline, on tidal flows and on the formation of sandbanks over a wide coastal area, as well as on the socio-economic development of Lamu and its surrounding landscape.

The State Party mentions that the consultants are collecting information on the cultural and natural heritage near the port site and along the proposed transportation corridor. Given the potential extensive scale and extent of the port development, there is a need for any impact assessments carried out to include a heritage impact assessment on Outstanding Universal Value from a wide range of perspectives. Although the property is located some distance away, it could still suffer adverse impacts due to the construction of such a large infrastructure project and the resulting increase of population that might accompany it. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies wish to highlight the efforts of the National Museums of Kenya to play an active role in the EIA process. They also stress, however, the need for this EIA process to incorporate a Cultural Heritage Impact assessment specifically for the property.

In regard to the water catchment area at the Shella Sand Dunes, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies acknowledge the progress made by the State Party in dealing with this very delicate environmental problem. The revocation of the 21 land titles is a very positive step, and it is hoped that the process of gazettement will be completed in the near future. 

Likewise, the progress on the precision of the boundaries and buffer zone, and the development of the management plan, are noted, and it is hoped that these activities will be completed as soon as possible.

Finally, in regard to the uncontrolled development and informal settlements surrounding the Lamu World Heritage property, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider this issue to be of great importance, especially given the potential influx of additional population. Clear planning and control mechanisms need to be set up as soon as possible to avoid an even more difficult situation developing in the future. 

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.39

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.46, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Notes the information provided by the State Party on the proposed Port of Lamu at Manda Bay and the Lamu-Addis-Juba-Kigali corridor development project;

4. Expresses its concern that basic detailed information on the project, such as its scope, exact location and scale, the projected kinds of development foreseen, and the projected population growth has not been provided by the State Party as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010);

5. Also notes that the details currently available in the public domain suggest that the port project could be considered a mega-project which could impact on the morphology of the coastline, on tidal flows, and on the formation of sandbanks over a wide coastal area, as well as on the socio-economic development of Lamu and its surrounding landscape;

6. Reiterates its request to the State Party for detailed information on the proposed Port of Lamu at Manda Bay and the Lamu-Addis-Juba-Kigali corridor development project to be provided as soon as possible, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and before any commitment is given;

7. Requests the State Party to confirm that the National Museums of Kenya will be fully involved in impact assessments of the Port project and that a Heritage Impact Assessment will be carried out to assess its potential impact on Outstanding Universal Value in line with "ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for Cultural World Heritage properties";

8. Further notes the ongoing work on the gazettement of the Shella Sand Dunes water catchment area, the mapping exercise for the boundaries and buffer zones, the preparation of the management plan, and the progress on the issue of uncontrolled development at informal settlements;

9. Also requests that the State Party provide the requested maps showing the precisely the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone, and to finalise the management plan as soon as possible and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;

10. Further requests the State Party to complete the work on the gazettement of the Shella Sand Dunes water catchment area as soon as possible;

11. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and in particular on the issues mentioned above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/8E,

2. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex I of Document WHC-11/35.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:

3. Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed in priority;

4. Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely: