VII.40 Petra (Jordan)
The Secretariat recalled that during its eighteenth session, the Committee was informed of the different threats (hotel constructions near the site, insufficient waste water evacuation systems, uncontrolled urban development, proliferation of shops) menacing the preservation of the integrity of the site.
It informed the Committee that by letter of 13 March, the Permanent Delegation of Jordan had sent the Centre a proposal for an extension of the site under the name Petra Natural and Archaeological Park, which was subsequently withdrawn pending completion of the proposal. Furthermore, by letter of 18 March, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities had informed the Centre of a certain number of measures undertaken to improve the protection of the site: limiting the daily intake of visitors and horses, improvement of sanitary arrangements, regrouping of street stalls, recruitment of a refuse team, creation of a centre for stone conservation and a team to study rock erosion, the improvement of some sites through descriptive panels and trails, establishment of a special bureau to follow up these different projects.
On 14 September the Director of the UNESCO Office in Amman was informed by the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism, that the Jordanian authorities were also fully aware of the problems caused by the construction of new hotels and that the deliverance of building permits had been halted. The Minister had emphasized the importance of establishing zoning regulations and guidelines for constructions at Wadi Musa which would be prepared with assistance from The World Bank.
If several of the short-term recommendations contained in the Management Plan had already been implemented, the long-term recommendations will be the subject of further studies. A Regional Planning Council for the Petra Region was established, chaired by the Minister of Antiquities and Tourism. It is responsible for all action in the region, including that for Petra. A Technical Committee was established to draw up the zoning regulations, as the first step towards the creation of an independent authority for the site.
The Committee thanked the Jordanian authorities and in particular the Minister of Antiquities and Tourism, for all their efforts and the measures undertaken to ensure the long-term preservation of Petra. It gave them its full approval to proceed as quickly as possible with the establishment of zoning regulations and construction guidelines in order to avoid the proliferation of hotels and buildings, as well as the setting up of an independent local protection and management body endowed with the necessary authority. It invited them to continue to devote their efforts towards the active implementation of the Petra Management Plan prepared with the help of UNESCO experts, and to the extension of this World Heritage site, with the necessary means for ensuring its preservation. It invited the national authorities to keep the Committee informed by April next, through its Secretariat, of progress accomplished.