1.         Old Town of Ghadamès (Libya) (C 362)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1986

Criteria  (v)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2016-present

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

Conflict situation prevailing in the country

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/362/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/362/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

January 1998: UNESCO mission; March 2003: World Heritage Centre mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/362/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 8 February 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report. An executive summary of this report is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/362/documents/. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report, as follows:

There have been no security violations or specific threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, therefore the State Party requests the Committee to remove the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. To this end, the State Party has formally invited a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property.

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

The information provided by the State Party demonstrates its commitment to the conservation of the property, despite the prevailing conflict. Progress is being made regarding the analysis of the situation at the property. The allocation of funds for emergency maintenance works and the efforts being made by the State Party to elaborate regulatory and management tools, such as the risk preparedness plan, are welcomed. The State Party should consider an International Assistance request in order to address the necessary planning and implementation of comprehensive conservation and restoration actions that would ensure the property’s integrity and authenticity.

Detailed information on the ongoing conservation and restoration works has not been submitted, nor has any information been received by the World Heritage Centre on the development of land use within the boundaries of property and the proposed buffer zone. Information about these and any other plans for major restoration or new construction projects that may affect the OUV of the property needs to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

The commitment and interest of the local communities and owners in maintaining and conserving the property is welcomed. It is recommended that the Committee encourage them to continue their efforts to maintain its OUV and to prepare a management plan for the property following the approach of the 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL).

The effort made to clarify the property’s boundary is recognized as an indispensable step towards its effective protection and management. The ongoing close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS concerning the definition of an appropriate buffer zone is appreciated. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its appeal to the State Party to continue this cooperation, in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines.

With the commencement of the third cycle of the Periodic Reporting exercise, the State Party has expressed its willingness to initiate the elaboration of management plans for all five of its World Heritage properties, and will seek international support to achieve this objective. It also reported on the increasing awareness by civil society, local and national authorities, and high-level decision-makers about the necessity to protect cultural heritage in Libya, including World Heritage properties. The organization of workshops and symposiums on the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties has emphasized the importance of their protection and conservation, linking national identity with cultural heritage.

It is recommended that the State Party continue to orient the important efforts made in conserving the property in line with the strategy developed during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage, held in Tunis in May 2016 (report available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1496), building on the short-, medium- and long-term measures identified during that meeting.

The recent escalation of violence raises much concern about the sustainability of the efforts made to conserve the Old Town of Ghadamès, as the situation prevents the State Party from undertaking necessary actions to protect and conserve the property. It remains essential that the joint mission invited by the State Party and requested by the Committee at its 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions takes place as soon as the security conditions permit. In the meantime, it is important that the State Party pursues its efforts to keep the Committee, through the World Heritage Centre, updated on the situation on the ground, as well as on the further implementation of the measures it has launched, while addressing, to the extent possible, the comments and requests made by the Committee.

It is recommended that the Committee call upon the international community to support the State Party in its conservation efforts.

Considering the above-mentioned information, it is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7A.26

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.2,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.25, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Commends the State Party for its important efforts in conserving the property and its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), in close coordination with the local communities and civil society, and urges it to continue its efforts in this regard to the extent possible;
  4. Requests the State Party, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to keep the Committee regularly informed about the evolution of the situation at the property and to inform it, through the World Heritage Centre, of any future plans for major restoration or new construction projects that may affect the OUV of the property, including the conservation and restoration works at buildings affected by the heavy rains of 2017, before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse;
  5. Encourages the State Party to submit an International Assistance request in order to address the necessary planning and implementation for comprehensive conservation and restoration actions to ensure the property’s integrity and authenticity including the completion and adoption of the management plan in line with the approach of 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL);
  6. Also encourages the State Party to continue the finalization of the Minor Boundary Modification in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Acknowledges the invitation from the State Party for a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, and further encourages it to take place as soon as the security conditions permit;
  8. Calls for an increased mobilization of the international community to provide financial and technical support to the State Party to implement the short-, medium- and long-term measures identified during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage (Tunis, May 2016);
  9. Also requests the State Party to develop 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), in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, and to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, 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 44th session in 2020;
  10. Decides to retain the Old Town of Ghadamès (Libya) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 43 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/19/43.COM/7A, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3 and WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3.Corr),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: