1.         Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou (Morocco) (C 444)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (iv)(v)

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/444/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2001-2007)
Total amount approved: USD 52,333
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/444/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

September 2003: reactive monitoring mission; November 2003: World Heritage Centre mission; April 2006: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; February 2007: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission. 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Partial abandonment of the property;

b) Gully erosion;

c) Rock falls due to erosion;

d) Increased offences in old Ksar and degradation;

e) Delays in the establishment of a technical and administrative structure responsible for the property;

f) Uncontrolled tourism and visitor pressure.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/444/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

During its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), the World Heritage Committee noted that while progress had been made in completing the management plan and in establishing consultative committees, it was concerned that a satisfactory, overall, and well resourced management structure on the property was not yet functioning and there were no sustainable funding arrangements for long term conservation and management of the property.

The mission of February 2007 identified several measures to be effectively implemented by 1 February 2009, including the establishment of an effective and transparent on site management structure with legal powers, adequate decentralised financing and technical staffing; the issuance of a special decree or by-laws to mandate interventions regarding ownership issues in relation to planning activities, the finalization of the draft and formal adoption of the management plan and the ccontinuation of preventive conservation measures.

The State Party report, received on 10 February 2009 notes that the management plan has been completed (in French and Arabic), reviewed, adopted by the appropriate authorities, diffused to all stakeholders and is now being implemented, with the support of the local site management committee.

Concerning the need expressed by the World Heritage Committee to develop an overall and adequately funded management structure for the property, the State Party’s progress report was less positive. At present, decisions for the property are taken by the Governor of the Province of Ouarzazate on the basis of advice provided by CERKAS (Centre de Conservation et de Réhabilitation du Patrimoine Architectural des Zones Atlasiques et Subatlasiques). The report notes that the authorities have explored giving CERKAS these responsibilities (as recommended by the 2007 mission above) – rather than creating a new institution for the purpose - but that CERKAS lacks sufficient human and financial resources to take this on.

The State Party report also notes - following the recommendations of the management plan - that from October 2008, a special account has been created to receive visitor revenues, and proceeds from other site activities (such as film making), and to direct these revenues to conservation on site.

The State Party report also describes completion of two preventive conservation projects mentioned in the 2007 State Party report. The report also described efforts by CERKAS to improve support for conservation work undertaken by the local population, including efforts to provide appropriate materials and tools for the work.

Finally, the report reviews the progress of initiatives included within the Action Plan (2007-2012) of the .Management plan, including:

a) Plan for the restoration of the fortification walls financed by the Ministry of Culture, on the basis of studies carried out by CRATerre and CERKAS;

b) Plan for the improvement of water quality, financed by the Government of Belgium;

c) Development of a First Aid response facility within the Ksar staffed by two young people of the Ksar;

d) Plan for the restoration of the houses of the Ksar, financed by a private sector holding company in collaboration with CERKAS, the Agence Urbaine Ouarzazate-Zagora and the population of the Ksar.

With respect to the need to ensure a well resourced management structure on the property, to co-ordinate communication among all involved and to direct implementation of decisions, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are pleased to see the continuing efforts of the State Party devoted to the property but are very concerned that the State Party has merely noted that no progress has been made in reinforcing CERKAS or creating an a new purpose-built management agency with over-arching responsibility for the site. Securing the necessary funding and support internally should be the highest priority of the State Party in protecting the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS have also reviewed the 2007 management plan prepared with the expertise of CRATerre, which provides a very comprehensive overview of the situation and identifies many important potential remedial actions. The Plan has been built according to an explicitly stated set of eight ethical principles including the necessity to build such a plan with the full involvement of local stakeholders at all phases, giving priority to re-establishing craftsmanship, reinforcing existing local capacities, and privileging maintenance and preventive actions.

However, the management plan, while accurately describing the many management groups involved with the property, does not align itself with the World Heritage Committee’s observations concerning the need to consolidate and co-ordinate these functions within one overarching management authority. Nor does it, in the section devoted to analysis of the significance of the property, mention the Outstanding Universal Value, authenticity and integrity of the property. Certainly, these need to drive the management of this property from a World Heritage perspective.

While drafting this document, a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value was received by the World Heritage Centre, and will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in due course. 

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


Decision Adopted: 33 COM 7B.60

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.65, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes the continuing efforts of the State Party to improve the state of conservation of the property;

4. Also notes with satisfaction the completion of the management plan in 2007, and initial efforts to implement it;

5. Reiterates its concern that no progress has been made in establishing a satisfactory overall management structure and in putting in place sustainable funding arrangements for conservation and management of the property;

6. Urges the State Party to undertake the following:

a) Put in place a fully resourced management structure to co-ordinate the planning process for the property, take responsibility for the decision-making and implementation,

b) Integrate the draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for the property into the management plan;

7. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2011 an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, and on the progress achieved in implementing the measures identified above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.