1.         M'Zab Valley (Algeria) (C 188)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1982

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(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/188/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2001-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 60,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/188/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 25,000 in the framework of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement in 2003-2004.

Previous monitoring missions

September 2001 : World Heritage Centre mission; December 2003 : World Heritage Centre and expert mission in the framework of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Development linked to socio-economic changes and population growth causing major urban pressure;

b) Degradation of the environment, uncontrolled urban growth in the palm groves and the bed of the oued, visual impact of new buildings on the surrounding hills;

c) Lack of a Safeguarding Plan ;

d) Loss of craftsmanship and knowledge of traditional materials for rehabilitation of the vernacular architecture ;

e) Loss of the traditional network for the management and distribution of water;

f) Risk of flooding and pollution of the water table.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/188/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

On 31 January 2008, the State Party submitted to the World Heritage Centre a report on the state of conservation and management of the property.

A vast operation for the restoration and enhancement of the cultural heritage of the M’Zab Valley has been established, also involving the restoration of the old hydraulic network, the restoration of historic monuments, and the restoration and rehabilitation of traditional dwellings. This was a successful operation, despite the lack of skilled work force.

A policy for the rehabilitation of the vernacular architecture has been carried out and new Ksours were built based on ancient techniques.

This report is accompanied by a draft request for international assistance following encouragement by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006). This draft request is for technical assistance for an approximate amount of USD 75,000 up to 2010, for capacity building in the preparation of a safeguarding and management plan for the Valley.

An international seminar was organized by the State Party in December 2007, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the inscription of the property, to which the World Heritage Centre was invited.

The following conservation problems have been raised by the State Party:

a) Alteration to the palm groves due to accelerated urbanisation, as well as the saturation and rising of the level of the water table that is causing damage to the palm trees;

b) Lack of human and material means for the integrated preservation of the M’Zab Valley, due to the vast area of this property;

c) The overpopulation of the Valley (150 000 inhabitants) causing a saturation of mechanical vehicles with adverse affect to the ecological balance;

d) The presence of old industrial areas dating back to the 1970s that have not been relocated beyond the safeguarded sector.

The establishment of a Permanent Safeguarding Plan is underway, with a call for tender to be submitted by 9 February 2008. A budget has been allocated by the Ministry of Culture for this purpose.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies have taken note of the efforts made by the State Party in the restoration of the traditional hydraulic system and its intention to establish a safeguarding and management plan for the property. 

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


Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7B.55

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.48, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3. Notes with satisfaction the State Party's intention to prepare a safeguarding and management plan foreseen for 2010; and encourages it to submit a revised international assistance request for experts to assist local authorities in the preparation of this plan;

4. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, three printed and electronic copies of the safeguarding and management plan, for examination by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies.