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Decision 39 COM 7A.28
Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Palestine) (C 1433)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.5, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Notes that considerable progress has been made with the conservation of the roof of the Church of the Nativity;
  4. Also notes with concern that no specific conservation strategy was set out to justify precise intervention on the roof timbers, based on analysis and review of all the evidence gathered from surveys and research, before work was undertaken, as envisaged in the corrective measures;
  5. Requests the State Party to prepare, retrospectively, documentation on each of the roof timbers, that shows the recent interventions in relation to evidence of age and materials, in order to understand the authenticity of what is now in place, and the chronology of the roof elements;
  6. Also requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory bodies, a comprehensive conservation plan for the murals, the facades and the Narthex should any works be foreseen thereon ;
  7. Adopts the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and corrective measures, as follow:
    1. Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger:

      Completed conservation and repair of the roof structure of the Church of the Holy Nativity

    2. Corrective measures:
      1. Complete a full investigative survey of the historic timbers and lead work of the roof, identifying the age and historical significance of the various component parts.
      2. Develop a Conservation Plan that synthesis the conclusions of the detailed investigative survey into a clear statement of the significances of the various elements of the roof within a comprehensive conservation philosophy for the roof restoration project.
      3. Prepare a detailed project specification for the roof repairs that allow a full understanding of which elements of the roof will be maintained, which repaired and which replaced.
      4. Undertake the roof repair project, including stabilising the vaults of the Narthex, and document its interventions.
    3. Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures:

    [to be submitted]

  8. Calls upon the international community to support the State Party in the implementation in the above-mentioned corrective measures;
  9. Urges the State Party to continue pursuing the implementation of the corrective measures and to submit a timetable for their full implementation by 1 February 2016 for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  10. Welcomes the introduction of Regulatory Bylaws for the Historic Centre of Bethlehem and their proposed development for the wider setting;
  11. Further notes the aim to free the Pilgrimage Route from traffic through diversions, car parks and possibly a tunnel under Manger Square, and also urges the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, concept proposals of the tunnel at the earliest opportunity, and before plans are finalised or approved;
  12. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  13. Decides to retain the Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Palestine) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Documents
WHC-15/39.COM/19
Decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015)
Context of Decision
WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add
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