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3. Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.1. Protection, conservation and management of World Heritage properties

Case Law


Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends the States Parties to develop a long-term strategy for the sustainable financing of the property, and to ensure adequate human, material and financial resources to support the effective management (based on Case law on decisions on Nominations).
Date year: 2017 2016
See for examples Decisions (6)
Code: 41 COM 8B.3

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/17/41.COM/8B and WHC/17/41.COM/INF.8B2,
  2. Approves the extension of the W National Park of Niger, Niger, to become the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex, Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ix) and (x);
  3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

    Brief synthesis

    The W-Arly-Pendjari Complex is a transnational property shared between the Republic of Niger, Burkina Faso and the Republic of Benin in West Africa. Located in the transition zone between the savannas of the Sudanese region and the forested Guinean region, the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex lies at the heart of the most extensive protected area block in the West African Woodlands/Savanna Biogeographical Province and includes the largest and most important continuum of terrestrial, semi-aquatic and aquatic ecosystems in the West African savanna belt. The property encompasses 1,714,831 ha and is a contiguous mosaic of nine protected areas. It includes the trinational complex of W Regional Park (shared between Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger), Arly National Park (Burkina Faso), Pendjari National Park (Benin) and the hunting zones of Koakrana and Kourtiagou (Burkina Faso) and Konkombri and Mékrou (Benin).

    Criterion (ix): Stretching across three countries, W-Arly-Pendjari Complex is the largest and most important continuum of terrestrial, semi-aquatic and aquatic ecosystems in the West African savanna belt. Situated within the Volta River basin it comprises a dynamic system, where the ebb and flow of water with alternating wet and dry seasons creates a rich variety of plant communities and associated fauna. The Complex is a major expanse of intact Sudano-Sahelian savanna, with numerous and diverse types of vegetation such as grassland, shrub, wooded savannah, open forests and extensive gallery and riparian forests as well as the rare semi-deciduous forest of Bondjagou within Pendjari National Park. The long-term effects of fire linked to human occupation, perhaps dating back some 50,000 years, have shaped the vegetation of the property, and the continued traditional use of fire maintains the diversity of vegetation types, which in turn provide habitat for the property’s characteristic wildlife.

    Criterion (x): The property and the broader landscape are a refuge for species of fauna that have disappeared or are highly threatened in most of the rest of West Africa. The W-Arly-Pendjari Complex is particularly crucial to the conservation of the last healthy populations of mammals belonging to the Sahelian and Sudanian domains. The Complex includes the largest and most ecologically secure elephant population in West Africa, representing 85% of the region's savanna elephants. It also protects almost the complete assemblage of characteristic flora and fauna, providing crucial habitat for most of the large mammal species typical of West Africa, such as African Manatee, Cheetah, Lion, Leopard, African Wild Dog and Topi Antelope. It harbours the only viable population of lion in the area and probably the only population of cheetah in West Africa. The site exhibits particularly high levels of endemism among fish species and is home to seven of the nine endemic fish species reported in the Volta Basin.


    The W-Arly-Pendjari Complex is of sufficient size to permit unimpeded ecological function and the overall integrity of the system is good amongst protected areas in West Africa, many of which have suffered significant degradation from anthropogenic pressures. Covering a comparatively large area of 1,714,831 ha, the trinational property contains a representative suite of Sudano-Sahelian ecosystems that are in good condition. It includes a large variety of habitats indispensable for the survival of characteristic species and is large enough to support the healthy populations of large mammal species such as elephant and lion which range over wide territories.

    The W National Park and the Arly-Pendjari Regional Park complexes are connected through the four hunting reserves, allowing for connectivity across the property and free movements of animals in the complex. Hunting within the hunting reserves has, to date, been sustainably managed and these reserves include natural systems and habitat that are regarded as being of a similar quality to that within the national parks, thereby enhancing resilience. The hunting reserves would be considered equivalent to IUCN Category VI and the activity, at the time of inscription, does not appear to be negatively impacting on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value as a whole.

    The buffer zone of W-Arly-Pendjari Complex consists of areas of different protection status (hunting reserves, wildlife reserves, and special legally designated buffer zones) all established by national laws and covers a total area of 1,101,221 ha. The buffer zones are designed to strengthen integrity and are managed as to mitigate impacts from surrounding human activities.

    Protection and management requirements

    The property benefits from long-term legal protection through national laws and receives financial and technical support from the States and some development partners. Five of the protected areas making up the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex are protected as national parks (managed as IUCN Category II). The four hunting reserves within Benin and Burkina Faso are also managed under the same regime as national parks, noting that sustainable hunting is permitted. The hunting in these reserves is regulated through annual quotas, closely monitored and aimed at generating benefits for local communities and conservation of nature.

    Although the boundaries of the property are clearly defined, known by the surrounding population and regulated, there are threats such as poaching, illegal grazing and encroachment of agricultural land which persist. Adequate measures must be undertaken to address these threats including working closely with agricultural development sectors to regulate, incentivize and raise awareness among communities surrounding the property. Monitoring of the scale of transhumance activities, which are a long-standing use, is important to ensure so that it remains sustainable in relation to the property’s Outstanding Universal Value.

    The property is managed in Benin by the Centre National de Gestion des Réserves de Faune (CENAGREF); in Burkina Faso, Arly National Park is managed by the Office National des Aires Protégées (OFINAP) and W National Park, Burkina Faso is managed by the Direction Générale des Eaux et Forêts (DGEF). The W National Park, Niger is managed by the Direction Générale des Eaux et Forêts (DGEF) / Ministère de l'Environnement et du Développement Durable (MEDD). The multi-agency responsibilities across the three States Parties require considerable and sustained effort to ensure effective coordination and harmonization of protected area policies and practice. All national parks in the Complex have a 10-year management plan all following a joint “Schéma Directeur d’Aménagement du complexe” to foster coordination. A workable system of transboundary governance is in place under a tripartite management agreement (now quadripartite with the integration of the State Party of Togo). However, ongoing efforts are needed to improve the levels of transnational cooperation for the property.

    Ongoing attention is needed to ensure that the traditional application of fire continues to support fire regimes which maintain Outstanding Universal Value, particularly under the influence of climate change. Similarly the three States Parties should work cooperatively with UEMOA (Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine) to plan, monitor and act such that transhumance movements taking place in the property and its buffer zones do not adversely impact on the Outstanding Universal Value.

    There is also a need to sustain long-term adequate funding for the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex. The States Parties should ensure that adequate government funding is provided to manage the Complex and the necessary coordination. The West African Savannah Foundation (FSOA) created in 2012 is an endowment fund which requires further investment to ensure sustainability. It is critical that the FSOA becomes a source of funding for the entire Complex and continues to be supported and grow. Furthermore, it is important that all protected areas within the Complex are eligible to access this endowment fund.

  4. Recommends that the States Parties within their adopted joint management framework:
    1. Continue to strengthen and coordinate measures to control the threat of wildlife poaching and other illegal activities including through the provision of adequate equipment and training of rangers and patrols,
    2. Monitor the impacts of climate change on the ecosystems of the property, in particular to understand and anticipate any changes to the ecological outcomes resulting from the traditional application of fire and to ensure that the use of fire is based on robust ecologically-based conservation objectives,
    3. Improve institutional coordination between the agencies in charge of the management of the property and the administrations responsible for agricultural development, in order to avoid potential negative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property,
    4. Develop a long-term strategy for the sustainable financing of the property including strengthening the viability of the Fondation des savanes ouest-africaines (FSOA) and ensuring that all the protected areas within the property are eligible to access the funding of the FSOA,
    5. Work closely with UEMOA (Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine) to plan, monitor and implement activities as described in the property’s management plan concerning transhumance taking place within the property and its buffer zones, in order to support these activities at sustainable levels and to ensure that they are not negatively impacting the property’s Outstanding Universal Value;
  5. Requests the States Parties of Benin and Burkina Faso to submit a new map of the buffer zone boundaries at 1:50,000 scale to the World Heritage Centre by 1 December 2019;
  6. Also recommends the State Party of Niger to consider designating the buffer zones which exist for the W National Park, Niger as formal World Heritage buffer zones through the submission of a Minor Boundary Modification in order to provide a consistent approach to buffer zones across the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex as a whole;
  7. Commends the efforts of the States Parties, working with partners, for the high quality of conservation management that has been achieved in the protected areas of the Complex, and encourages these efforts to continue to improve the conservation of the property.

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Code: 41 COM 8B.5

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/17/41.COM/8B and WHC/17/41.COM/INF.8B2,
  2. Decides not to inscribe the Bhitarkanika Conservation Area, India, on the World Heritage List on the basis of natural criteria;
  3. Recommends that the State Party:
    1. Ensures adequate human, material and financial resources to support the effective management of the Bhitarkanika Conservation Area, and in particular to provide adequate resources for the management of the Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, including year-round patrolling to prevent illegal fishing by commercial fishing vessels,
    2. Implements additional protection for the two additional mass Olive Ridley Turtle nesting beaches on the Odisha Coast;
  4. Thanks the State Party for its continued efforts to protect and conserve the values of the nominated property, including previous efforts to re-establish the Saltwater Crocodile population and to protect the Olive Ridley Turtle population and the nesting beach on the Gahirmatha Coast.

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Code: 41 COM 8B.9

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/17/41.COM/8B, WHC/17/41.COM/INF.8B1 and WHC/17/41.COM/INF.8B2,
  2. Refers the mixed nomination of Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley: originary habitat of Mesoamerica, Mexico, back to the State Party, in order to clarify:
    1. In relation to cultural criteria, a revised approach focusing on the chronological development of the property, starting with the prehistorical sites, preclassical villages, classical cities, postclassical kingdoms, and early colonial settlements, based on irrigated agriculture; associated industries, techniques and practices; and aspects of ancestral religious expressions that emphasise the cultural dimension of the nominated property,
    2. Regarding the natural criterion, clarify and clearly demonstrate that all natural attributes contributing to the potential Outstanding Universal Value are included within the serial components and boundaries of the nominated property within Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve;
  3. Recommends that the State Party give additional consideration to the following:
    1. Undertake an augmented comparative analysis of sites with evidence for irrigation within Mesoamerica to justify the complexity of the systems compared to others,
    2. Consider including criterion (ix) in a revised nomination, in view of the global ecological significance of the region within which the nominated property is located,
    3. Finalise the specific plan for the management and protection of the archaeological sites within the nominated property, and link it to the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve Management Programme to cover the conservation aspects of archaeological sites in their natural context,
    4. Provide evidence of institutional coordination for sustainable funding and appropriately skilled staff for holistic, integrated management of natural and cultural heritage values within the nominated property; and strengthen the overall human and financial resources for management of cultural assets within the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve,
    5. Develop a visitor management strategy for the nominated property that is based on a holistic approach;
  4. Encourages the State Party to expedite its plans to update the Nature Tourism Strategy for the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve (2010-2015) to improve visitor management strategies including defining carrying capacities; to identify suitable private-sector tourism partners; to define appropriate tourism infrastructure; and to build sustainable development capacities of local communities and other sectors to handle increasing tourism interest in the nominated property;
  5. Also encourages the State Party to refine the governance structure of the nominated property to involve more effective participation of local communities in co-management and decision-making, and ensure the economic needs and sustainable development aspirations of these communities are appropriately addressed.

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Code: 41 COM 8B.11

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/17/41.COM/8B and WHC/17/41.COM/INF.8B1,
  2. Inscribes Asmara: Africa’s Modernist City, Eritrea, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ii) and (iv);
  3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

    Brief synthesis

    Located on an highland plateau at the centre of Eritrea, Asmara, a Modernist city of Africa is the capital of the country and is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a colonial planned city, which resulted from the subsequent phases of planning between 1893 and 1941, under the Italian colonial occupation. Its urban layout is based mainly on an orthogonal grid which later integrated elements of a radial system. Asmara preserves an unusually intact human scale, featuring eclectic and rationalist built forms, well-defined open spaces, and public and private buildings, including cinemas, shops, banks, religious structures, public and private offices, industrial facilities, and residences. Altogether, Asmara’s urban-scape outstandingly conveys how colonial planning, based on functional and racial segregation principles, was applied and adapted to the local geographical conditions to achieve symbolic meaning and functional requirements. The town has come to be associated with the struggle of the Eritrean people for self-determination, which was pursued whilst embracing the tangible, yet exceptional, evidence of their colonial past.

    Asmara’s urban character and strong urban form exhibits a human scale in the relationship between buildings, streets, open spaces, and related activities adapted to the local conditions, which embodies both colonial and post-colonial African life, with its public spaces, mixed-use fabric and place-based material culture. These spaces and use patterns also bear witness to interchange and cultural assimilation of successive encounters with different cultures as well as to the role played by Asmara in building a collective identity that was later instrumental in motivating early efforts for its preservation. Asmara’s urban layout with its different patterns associated to the planning phases, illustrates the adaptation of the modern urban planning and architectural models to local cultural and geographical conditions. The ensembles attesting to the colonial power and to the presence of a strong and religiously diverse local civic society, with its institutional and religious places, the elements of the urban architecture (Harnet et Sematat avenues; Mai Jah Jah park; the walking paths; the old plaques with traces of the street names), the buildings, complexes and facilities resulting from the 1930s programmes (the post office building at Segeneyti Street), the cinemas (Impero, Roma, Odeon, Capitol, Hamasien), the schools, the sport facilities, the garages, the residential complexes and buildings, the villas, the commercial buildings, the factories; the cores of the community quarters (e.g. the Italian quarter and market square and mosque square); the major religious buildings, marking the landscape with bell-towers, spires, and minarets, and the civil and military cemeteries which illustrate the diversity of the populations and of their rituals.

    Criterion (ii): Asmara, a Modernist City of Africa, represents an outstanding example of the transposition and materialization of ideas about planning in an African context and were used for functional and segregation purposes. The adaptation to the local context is reflected in the urban layout and functional zoning, and in the architectural forms, which, although expressing a modernist and rationalist idiom, and exploiting modern materials and techniques, also relied on and borrowed heavily from local morphologies, construction methods, materials, skills and labour. Asmara’s creation and development contributed significantly to Eritrea’s particular response to the tangible legacies of its colonial past. Despite the evidence of its colonial imprint, Asmara has been incorporated into the Eritrean identity, acquiring important meaning during the struggle for self-determination that motivated early efforts for its protection.

    Criterion (iv): Asmara’s urban layout and character, in combining the orthogonal grid with radial street patterns, and picturesque elements integrating topographical features, taking into account local cultural conditions created by different ethnic and religious groups, and using the principle of zoning for achieving racial segregation and functional organisation, bears exceptional witness to the development of the new discipline of urban planning at the beginning of the 20th century and its application in an African context, to serve the Italian colonial agenda. This hybrid plan, that combined the functional approach of the grid with the picturesque and the creation of scenic spaces, vistas, civic plaza and monumental places, served the functional, civic and symbolic requirements for a colonial capital. The architecture of Asmara complements the plan and forms a coherent whole, although reflecting eclecticism and Rationalist idioms, and is one of the most complete and intact collections of modernist/rationalist architecture in the world.


    All the significant architectural structures and the original urban layout, including most of the characteristic features and public spaces, have been retained in their entirety. The site has also preserved its historical, cultural, functional and architectural integrity with its elements largely intact and generally in relatively acceptable condition, although a number of buildings suffer from lack of maintenance. Limited negative impacts have been the occasional inappropriate restoration of older structures and the construction of some buildings in the late 20th century that are inappropriate in size, scale or character. Despite continuing developmental pressures, the establishment of the ‘Historic Perimeter’ around the centre of the city since 2001 and a moratorium on new construction within this perimeter by the municipal authorities have safeguarded the site’s integrity.

    The integrity of the intangible attributes associated with the local community that has inhabited parts of the site for centuries has been maintained through a process of cultural continuity that, despite successive waves of foreign influence, has been successfully assimilated into a modern national consciousness and a national capital.


    Asmara’s combination of innovative town planning and modernist architecture in an African context represents important and early developmental phases of town planning and architectural modernism that are still fully reflected in its layout, urban character and architecture.

    Climatic, cultural, economic and political conditions over subsequent decades have favoured the retention of the artistic, material and functional attributes of the city’s architectural elements to an almost unique degree of intactness, which allows also for future research on the history of construction of its buildings.

    The authenticity of local intangible attributes manifested in language, cultural practices, identity, and sense of place have been retained through Asmara’s evolution from an indigenous centre of economy and administration, through a colonial capital, to a modern African capital.

    Protection and management requirements

    The protection of Asmara has been granted by the Regolamento Edilizio 1938, issued at the time of Cafiero’s plan, and by the moratorium on new construction issued in 2001. The Cultural and Natural Heritage Proclamation 2015 provides conditions for the legal protection of the property through ad-hoc designations. The Asmara Heritage Project and the Department of Public Works Development hold responsibilities for issuing building permits and granting permission for maintenance works in compliance with existing regulations. Planning instruments at different scales are crucial in complementing the legal protection of Asmara and its setting and in guaranteeing its effective management: the Urban Conservation Master Plan and the related Asmara Planning Norms and Technical Regulations under development are key tools in this regard. Both need to ensure that the intactness of Asmara’s urban and built fabric, its human scale and specific modernist yet African character, are preserved, though favouring proactive maintenance, conservation and rehabilitation of its urban fabric and spaces. Given the several administrative/technical structures and instruments already in place, the envisaged management framework needs to build on existing experiences and structures and ensure coordination and clear mandates, which avoid duplication.

  4. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
    1. Issuing the specific protective designations for the property as per the provisions of the Cultural and Natural Heritage Proclamation 2015 and developing an implementation calendar to monitor advancements in this regard,
    2. Finalising the Urban Conservation Master Plan and the Asmara Planning Norms and Technical Regulations, making consistent the zoning in the relevant plan and regulations, taking into account the 15 zones of the urban analysis, and developing action plans with clear priorities for conservation intervention and budget proposals,
    3. Developing strategies to ensure a steady influx of financial resources, including loans and tax reduction or exemption measures, substantial qualified human resources, and considerable institutional and technical capacity,
    4. Setting up the central management body envisaged by the Integrated Management Plan, based on the existing capacities and functioning structures, and giving it the function to coordinate all relevant stakeholders, both public and private, acting within the property and its buffer zone and providing it with the necessary technical and financial means and adequate human resources;
  5. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 December 2018 a report on the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019;
  6. Decides that the name of the property be changed to Asmara: a Modernist City of Africa.

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Code: 41 COM 8B.31

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/17/41.COM/8B.Add and WHC/17/41.COM/INF.8B1.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7A.32 adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013) which “Requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2014, a request for a major boundary modification for the property to allow Gelati Monastery to justify the criterion on its own”;
  3. Approves the significant boundary modification of Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery, Georgia to exclude Bagrati Cathedral, to become Gelati Monastery, Georgia;
  4. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

    Brief synthesis

    On the lower southern slopes of the mountains of the Northern Caucasus, Gelati Monastery reflects the 'golden age' of medieval Georgia, a period of political strength and economic growth between the reigns of King David IV 'the Builder' (1089-1125) and Queen Tamar (1184-1213). It was David who, in 1106 began building the monastery near his capital Kutaisi on a wooded hill above the river Tskaltsitela. The main church was completed in 1130 in the reign of his son and successor Demetré. Further churches were added to the monastery throughout the 13th and early 14th centuries. The monastery is richly decorated with mural paintings from the 12th to 17th centuries, as well as a 12th century mosaic in the apse of the main church, depicting the Virgin with Child flanked by archangels. Its high architectural quality, outstanding decoration, size, and clear spatial quality combine to offer a vivid expression of the artistic idiom of the architecture of the Georgian “Golden Age” and its almost completely intact surroundings allow an understanding of the intended fusion between architecture and landscape.

    Gelati was not simply a monastery: it was also a centre of science and education, and the Academy established there was one of the most important centres of culture in ancient Georgia. King David gathered eminent intellectuals to his Academy such as Johannes Petritzi, a Neo-Platonic philosopher best known for his translations of Proclus, and Arsen Ikaltoeli, a learned monk, whose translations of doctrinal and polemical works were compiled into his Dogmatikon, or book of teachings, influenced by Aristotelianism. Gelati also had a scriptorium were monastic scribes copied manuscripts (although its location is not known). Among several books created there, the best known is an amply illuminated 12th century gospel, housed in the National Centre of Manuscripts.

    As a royal monastery, Gelati possessed extensive lands and was richly endowed with icons, including the well-known gold mounted Icon of the Virgin of Khakhuli (now housed in the Georgian National Museum) and at its peak, it reflected the power and high culture of Eastern Christianity.

    Criterion (iv): Gelati Monastery is the masterpiece of the architecture of the “Golden Age” of Georgia and the best representative of its architectural style, characterized by the full facing of smoothly hewn large blocks, perfectly balanced proportions, and the exterior decoration of blind arches. The main church of the monastery is one of the most important examples of the cross-in-square architectural type that had a crucial role in the East Christian church architecture from the 7th century onwards. Gelati is one of the largest Medieval Orthodox monasteries, distinguished for its harmony with its natural setting and a well thought-out overall planning concept.

    The main church of the Gelati Monastery is the only Medieval monument in the larger historic region of Eastern Asia Minor and the Caucasus that still has well-preserved mosaic decoration, comparable with the best Byzantine mosaics, as well as having the largest ensemble of paintings of the middle Byzantine, late Byzantine, and post-Byzantine periods in Georgia, including more than 40 portraits of kings, queens, and high clerics and the earliest depiction of the seven Ecumenical Councils.


    The whole monastic precinct is included in the property and contains all the main 12th century buildings as well as those added in the 13th century. All the attributes necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value are present and included in the area. No important original feature of the monastery from the 12th and 13th centuries have been lost during the centuries, and its landscape setting remains largely intact. Not all buildings are in a good state of conservation.

    Some development pressures exist, in the buffer zone and the wider setting of the property but the level of threats is low and the processes are currently under control.


    Overall, the architectural forms, spatial arrangement and decoration fully convey their value. For a long period, major parts of the mural paintings were in a bad state of conservation. With the repair of the roofs, the process of degradation has been slowed down and restoration work undertaken although some remain vulnerable.

    The Academy building which was roofless in 1994 at the time of inscription was re-roofed with reversible material in 2009. The extensive buffer zone allows a full appreciation of the harmony between the enclosed monastery and its natural setting.

    Protection and management requirements

    Gelati monastery has been a Listed Monument of National Significance since the Soviet period and was listed in the Georgian National Register of Monuments by presidential decree in 2006. The cultural protection area was enlarged beyond Gelati Monastery to encompass the buffer zone in a Decree of the Minister of Culture and Monument Protection in 2014. The buffer zone is protected for its monuments but also for visual attributes. The natural values of the surrounding landscape are regulated by the Forest Code of Georgia, the Law on Soil Protection, the Law on Environmental Protection and the Water law that constitute the legal framework for the management of the forests and the rivers in the area. Applications for new constructions or reconstructions, including the infrastructure and earthworks within the buffer zone require the approval of the Cultural Heritage Protection Council, Section for Cultural Heritage Protected Zones, and the Agency of Urban Heritage.

    Conservation work is guided by the Conservation Master Plan, produced by the Ministry of Culture, Monuments Protection and Sports of Georgia in collaboration with the Orthodox Church of Georgia. This plan covers conservation of the built structures as well as proposals to support the revival of monastic life that started in the 1990s and the needs of visitors. Adequate resources for long-term conservation programmes need to be sustained. A system of documentation for all conservation and restoration work and tri-dimensional measuring and monitoring of the overall stability of the various monastic buildings need to be put in place.

    A Memorandum on Collaboration on Cultural Heritage Issues between the Georgian Apostolic Autocephaly Orthodox Church and the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia has been agreed for all properties of the church. Day to day management of the property is entrusted to the monastic community who live in the property. Longer term interventions are implemented by the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia. Its local representative agency is the Kutaisi Historical Architectural Museum-Reserve who is also responsible for visitor reception.

    The Management Plan 2017-2021 reflects contributions of the Church, and relevant government bodies and community groups who were involved in the consultation process. It aims to set out a shared vision for the property. The Plan was developed in harmony with the Conservation Master Plan, with the Imereti Tourism development strategy, and with the 2014 management plan for the Imereti Protected Areas that includes the valley and canyon of the Tskaltsitela River in the buffer zone. It needs approval to become fully operational and enforceable by relevant authorities. A Management Committee for the property remains to be appointed and it is necessary for key roles and responsibilities to be established.

  5. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
    1. Ensuring adequate resources for long-term programmes of restoration for the fabric of the monastery and its mural paintings,
    2. Developing a clear system of documentation for any conservation and restoration work,
    3. Putting in place tri-dimensional measuring and monitoring to help gain a better understanding of the overall stability of the various buildings in the monastery;
    4. Approving and implementing the management structure for the property with clear responsibilities for the various agencies and organisations involved in its management,
    5. Setting up a Coordinating Committee for the property with representation from key stakeholders,
    6. Putting in place a mechanism that will allow the Management Plan, or part of it, to have status in planning processes,
    7. Registering as soon as possible the land rights in order to avoid land disputes,
    8. Submitting full details of proposals for covering excavated cellar areas next to the Academy, outlining the new visitor access arrangements and location of new domestic quarters for monks, including the archaeological profile of the chosen area, to the World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS at the earliest opportunity and before any commitments are made, in accordance with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines,
    9. Augmenting the monitoring indicators to reflect the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value;
  6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 December 2019 a report on the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.

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Code: 40 COM 8B.6

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/16/40.COM/8B.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/INF.8B2.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 8B.3 adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Inscribes Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park, Sudan, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (vii), (ix) and (x);
  4. Takes note of the following provisional Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:
Brief synthesis
The Sanganeb Marine National Park (SMNP) and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park, Sudan (DMNP) is located in the northern part of the Red Sea and lies within the Far Western Indo-Pacific biogeographic region. The property’s marine systems, fauna and flora are from an Indian Ocean origin, however, due to its semi-enclosed nature, it has developed unique and different ecosystems and species not found elsewhere. Thus the property is distinctive and unique because of its high number of species, diverse number of habitats, high endemism, and remoteness.
The property contains impressive natural phenomena, reef formations and areas of great natural beauty and is relatively undisturbed. The area serves as a standard to assess the health of the central Red Sea’s regional ecosystems. As an excellent example of a coral deep water offshore reef, Sanganeb provides an outstanding example for comparative studies with similar systems in other regions including the Indian and Pacific Oceans and a place to understand the interactions of biota and environment. Located within the Red Sea’s centre of biodiversity the remarkable clarity of the water makes it one of the best diving sites in the Red Sea and indeed the world.
The two components of the property are connected by a coastal stretch extending 125 km including mersas, inlets, fringing reefs and off-shore reef formations, and the whole serial site is geologically and ecologically connected via the open flows that facilitate the exchange of biotic and abiotic elements within the marine ecosystems of the Red Sea. It encompasses a large bay that contains islands, several small islets and some of the most northerly coral reefs in the world associated with species (including seagrass and mangroves) at the limits of their global range and evolutionary expansion, which are therefore important from a scientific and conservation perspective.
Sanganeb atoll is the only atoll-like feature in the Red Sea, and a submerged and overhanging predator dominated coral reef ecosystem. It consists of 13 different bio-physiographic reef zones, each providing typical coral reef assemblages, supporting a wealth of marine life and breathtaking underwater vistas, hosting at least 361 fish species with numerous endemic and rare species. Besides providing important nurseries and spawning grounds for key species, it also hosts resident populations of dolphins, sharks and marine turtles, which use the atoll as a resting, breeding and feeding area.
Dungonab Bay, including Mukkawar Island and other islands, contains an array of habitat types, such as extensive coral reef complexes, mangroves, seagrasses and intertidal and mudflat areas which all enable the survival (breeding, feeding and resting) of endangered dugong, sharks, manta rays, dolphins and migratory birds. The Bay exhibits overlying fossil reefs, sometimes up to 150m high, and contains fish and coral communities more usually separated by several hundred kilometers.
Criterion (vii): The property contains impressive natural phenomena, formations and areas of great natural beauty and is a relatively undisturbed area that serves as a standard to assess the health of the central Red Sea’s regional ecosystems. As an exemplary example of a coral deep water offshore reef, Sanganeb provides an outstanding opportunity for comparative studies with similar systems in other regions including the Indian and Pacific Oceans and a place to understand the interactions of biota and environment. Located within the Red Sea’s centre of biodiversity the remarkable clarity of the water makes it one of the best diving sites in the Red Sea and indeed the world.
Sanganeb is an isolated, atoll-shaped coral reef structure in the central Red Sea, 25 km off the shoreline of Sudan. Surrounded by 800 m deep water, the atoll-like coral reef systems are part of the northernmost coral reef systems in the world. Sanganeb is a largely pristine marine ecosystem providing some of the most impressive underwater vistas resulting from the very high diversity of physiographic zones and reefs characterized by an extraordinary structural complexity. Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island is situated 125 km north of Port Sudan and includes within its boundaries a highly diverse system of coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, beaches, intertidal areas, islands and islets. The clear visibility of the water, coral diversity, marine species and pristine habitats and colorful coral reef communities create a striking land- and seascape.
Criterion (ix): The property is located in an ecologically and globally outstanding region, the Red Sea, which is the world’s northernmost tropical sea, is the warmest and most saline of the world´s seas, and is a Global 200 priority biogeographic region. The serial site is also located in a priority marine province, the Gulf of Aden.
The property is part of a larger transition area between northern and southern Red Sea biogeographic zones and contains diverse and mostly undisturbed habitats which are outstanding examples of the northernmost tropical coral reef system on earth. The property and its surrounding area include reef systems (13 different bio-physiographic reef zones in Sanganeb Marine National Park (SMNP)), the only atoll-like feature in the Red Sea, lagoons, islets, sand flats, seagrass beds, and mangrove habitats and display a diversity of reefs, from living reefs to ancient fossil reefs. These habitats are home to populations of seabirds (20 species), marine mammals (11 species), fish (300 species), corals (260 species), sharks, manta rays and marine turtles, and the site provides important feeding grounds for what is perhaps the most northerly population of endangered Dugong. SMNP is an important larvae source area and hosts spawning sites for commercial fish species.
Criterion (x): Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Marine National Park (DMNP) supports a globally significant dugong population, given that the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf host the last remaining healthy populations of this species in the Indian Ocean. The whale and manta ray seasonal aggregations in DMNP are unique to the entire Western Indian Ocean Region and the marine park is internationally recognized as an Important Bird Area for both resident and migratory birds. DMNP is also unique as a home to species from different biogeographic origins: both northern and southern Red Sea species. SMNP lies in a regional hotspot for reef fish endemism. The property generally supports a higher than average subset of endemics found in the Red Sea, including the richest diversity of coral west of India and a number of coral species which are at the limits of their global range.
The property is an outstanding marine ecosystem that sustains an intact ecological setup and interacting biological processes, and is in need of long-term conservation support for its unique diversity and endemism. It covers both shallow habitats and reef formations and deep-sea areas that are ecologically interacting by natural exchange.
The property’s size is adequate to contain most of the attributes that convey Outstanding Universal Value and meets the requirements of integrity. It maintains a high level of intactness through long-term conservation of its biodiversity. The total area of the property is 199,524 ha (SMNP: 692 ha; DMNP 198,832 ha). The property is surrounded by a buffer zone with a total size of 401,136 ha which consists of a marine area of 321,983 ha and a terrestrial buffer zone of some 79,153 ha. Sanganeb atoll is relatively remote from land-based activities and the traditional artisanal fishing around it is under the control of the Fisheries Administration of Sudan. Dungonab Bay marine waters are protected by Wildlife Administration and Fisheries regulations. If these regulations are not promptly enforced, Dungonab Bay is likely to suffer negative impacts on the biota from the activities of the two villages at the coast, from major land use changes, salt exploitation, oyster farming, and potentially pearling. Species which are likely to be affected are coral and fish species, turtles, manta rays, sharks, dolphins, dugongs, and birds. The property has not shown any invasive or non-resident species as yet.
Protection and management requirements
The Government of Sudan has a legal commitment at both the National and State levels towards the protection and conservation of resources within its coastal waters through its comprehensive National Strategy. Several laws and regulations are in place and Sudan has signed regional and international protocols and conventions. Both SMNP (1990) and DMNP (2004) have been declared as marine protected areas by Presidential Decrees. Both are the responsibility of the Government of Sudan and various pieces of national legislation pertain to the property including the Federal Environmental Law (2001); State Environmental Law (2006); Wildlife Conservation and National Park Act, (1987); National Parks, Sanctuaries and Reserves Regulation, (1939); and the Game Protection and Federal Parks Act (1986). Other laws govern matters related to wildlife protection, fisheries, shipping and water quality. It is noteworthy to mention that the property has also been internationally recognised as a Ramsar site since 2003.
The management plan for Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island Marine National Park is already updated while the management plan for Sanganeb Marine National Park is currently in the process of being updated. However, an integrated Management framework for the property is under discussion at national level to complement the two individual management plans in the near future. Local communities’ participation and other stakeholders are consulted by the management authority during the updating of the two management plans. This community participation will be a corner stone for the development of the integrated management plan. The management authority acknowledges the importance to monitor the impacts of tourism on ecosystems and on local communities through the implementation of a Tourism Strategy.
5.  Commends the efforts made by the State Party to review the boundaries of the property, update the Sanganeb Marine National Park management plan and otherwise strengthen protection and management in order to bring forward the country’s first natural World Heritage property;
6.  Requests the State Party to:
a) complete the work to update the management plan for Dungonab Bay Marine National Park to complete the preparation of an integrated management framework for the whole property that guides coordinated inter-agency policy and management and promotes the effective involvement of different stakeholders including local communities by December 2017.
b) provide the World Heritage Centre with high quality resolution maps that clearly define the boundaries of the property and the buffer zone by 1 December 2017,
c) work with the support of IUCN to identify additional areas of potential Outstanding Universal Value that may be considered for future extension of the property,
d) continue to increase financial resources to support the operational aspects of effective management of the property and provide assurance to the World Heritage Committee on commitments to maintain ongoing sustainable financing;

7.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, a report on implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.

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