Decision : 29 COM 8B.5
Nominations of Natural Properties to the World Heritage List [Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley)]
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Documents WHC-05/29.COM/8B, WHC- 05/29.COM/8B.Add 2 and WHC-05/29.COM/INF.8B.2,
2. Inscribes Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley) (Egypt) on the World Heritage List on the basis of natural criterion (i):
Criterion (i): Wadi Al-Hitan is the most important site in the world to demonstrate one of the iconic changes that make up the record of life on Earth: the evolution of the whales. It portrays vividly their form and mode of life during their transition from land animals to a marine existence. It exceeds the values of other comparable sites in terms of the number, concentration and quality of its fossils, and their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape. It accords with key principles of the IUCN study on fossil World Heritage Sites, and represents significant values that are currently absent from the World Heritage List.
3. Recommends the State Party of Egypt to further develop the management plan for the property, which should consider:
a) revising the boundary to use topographic features visible in the landscape, primarily the tops of the escarpments within the protected area, to ensure that they are clearly identifiable on the ground, and more useful for site management;
b) further exploring the feasibility of extending the buffer zone of the property to the Bahariya Road, and across the desert to the south, in order to ensure effective management and control of vehicular traffic;
c) carefully designing and implementing a management programme for vehicular traffic;
d) providing the essential management infrastructure within the nominated property that minimises intrusion and damage to its natural values; and
e) making full use of the results and recommendations from programmes and studies that are underway in relation to the development of sustainable tourism, including visitors management and interpretation.
4. Welcomes the support provided by the State Party of Italy for the management of this property and recommends the State Party of Egypt, in conjunction with Italy, identify measures to maintain and enhance this support in the future to ensure the effective implementation of the management plan and protection of the values of the property in the long term;
5. Urges the State Party to consider any future nomination of the Gebel Qatrani Formation for natural fossil values as an extension of Wadi Al-Hitan.