1.         Bahla Fort (Oman) (C 433)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1988-2004

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1988-1988)
Total amount approved: USD 57,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 25,000 (private funding).

Previous monitoring missions

2001, 2002 and 2003: World Heritage Centre expert missions 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Deterioration of the earthen structures of the Fort;

b) Use of inappropriate conservation techniques;

c) Urban pressure;

d) Lack of a management plan and appropriate legislation.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

At its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008), the World Heritage Committee requested the State Party to finalise and adpot the Management plan and to provide a detailed progress report on the Souq project, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.

On 1 February 2009, a report on the state of conservation of Bahla Fort was submitted by the State Party. A major portion of this report is dedicated to the technical studies, archaeological excavations, and restoration works undertaken in the Qasaba area of the Bahla Fort. The report also contains details about the visitor facilities, training activities and the work on the Bahla wall (Sur).

 

a) management plan

With regard to the management plan requested by the World Heritage Committee there is very little information in the report except to say that the Plan prepared in 2003 and updated in 2005 is now being further updated by a consultant before its adoption.

b) Souq project

With reference to the project to rehabilitate the Souq, the report says that the project is being developed “in full consultation with the World Heritage Centre”. However, in July 2008, the State Party submitted a detailed report on the proposed restoration work of the Souq, which is considered to be the most important surviving section of the Fort. ICOMOS has made detailed comments on the project proposal which were transmitted to the State Party. These comments reflect concerns on the overall approach of the project which it considers needs considerable modifications.

c) Archaeological excavations and restoration work

The State Party’s report contains a detailed account of the work carried out in the property including important archaeological excavations in the Qasaba portion and the findings and, moreover, major restoration work in the same area, said to be the most ancient of the property. This seems to be a major activity about which details have not been submitted.

d) Additional information

The report also mentions the establishment of a new workshop, including a brick production unit, which will also serve for the restoration and maintenance of wooden and iron elements in the whole country, by means of specialised manpower.

 

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are concerned about the lack of progress in the finalisation and the adoption of the management plan. They are also concerned about the new proposal for the rehabilitation and restoration of the Souq, as well as about the major works being undertaken in the property, particularly in the Qasaba area for which no details were provided for assessment in advance, in conformity with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines. In the absence of the management plan and other details, indicating the priorities and the type of activities undertaken, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are not in a position to judge the impacts of the work being carried out on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

 

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 33 COM 7B.61

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.62, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Regrets that the State Party did not yet finalise and adopt the management plan taking into account the recommendations of the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies and did not establish the necessary legal and administrative frameworks for its implementation;

4. Notes that the State Party has provided a revised detailed project proposal for the restoration of the Souq and the concerns expressed by ICOMOS on the overall approach of the project, and requests the State Party not to commence the work until a further revised proposal has been agreed;

5. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to the property to assess the overall state of conservation of the property, in particular the activities in the Qasaba area and the Souq, and their effects on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

6. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, the adopted management plan in three printed and electronic copies and a detailed progress report on its implementation, the legal framework and administrative structure, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.