Support for the World Heritage Earthen Architecture Programme (WHEAP)
In 2007, the World Heritage Centre, with the support of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement, launched a study and analysis of the World Heritage List and the Tentative Lists (of States parties which have signed the 1972 World Heritage Convention) to identify earthen architecture among the listed properties. Following Terra 2008, the 10th International Conference on the Study and Conservation of Earthen Architectural Heritage and as part of the World Heritage Earthen Architecture Programme (WHEAP), the interest for a study and a detailed inventory was confirmed. It was finalised in 2012.
This study improves the knowledge of the properties, including the identification of key issues and requirements, which, in turn, allows better targeting of both the programme and the content of its activities of safeguarding and capacity building. It is all the more important for the World Heritage Centre who manages the earthen architecture conservation projects, and must plan priority actions.
The World Heritage Inventory of Earthen Architecture demonstrated the importance of the presence of earthen architecture among the listed properties. It is available on-line and identifies 150 properties listed per region (Africa, Arab States, Asia & the Pacific, Europe & North America and Latin America & the Caribbean). It presents data, provided by site managers; and synthesised in illustrated data sheets, which present each property in its geographic and cultural context. Furthermore, it describes the characteristics and singularities of earthen architecture.