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World Heritage Convention

Decision 40 COM 7A.24
Old City of Sana’a (Yemen) (C 385)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.59, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Expresses its great concern at the recent damage caused to the cultural heritage of Yemen as a result of escalating armed conflict, and that the Old City of Sana’a has incurred irreversible destruction and severe damage due to the armed conflict, and continues to be vulnerable owing to the deteriorating security situation, the ongoing social change and continuing lack of organisational support and resources for both heritage management initiatives and physical conservation projects;
  4. Commends the State Party for its commitment and involvement in damage assessment, documentation and first-aid interventions, and for its continuous communication with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, and encourages all concerned stakeholders to unite for the preservation of cultural heritage in Sana’a;
  5. Notes that the State Party has started the preparation of the reconstruction project for the seven destroyed buildings in al-Qasimi neighbourhood on an exceptional basis linked to the need of providing shelter for the inhabitants of Sana’a;
  6. Urges the State Party to pursue its dialogue with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in all restoration and/or reconstruction processes to ensure the safety of the inhabitants and the respect of international conservation standards;
  7. Calls on the international community to provide financial support for the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Yemen’s Cultural heritage, adopted at the UNESCO Expert meeting in July 2015, including funding for capacity building and first-aid restoration and protection measures, and also calls on the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to continue providing the State Party with technical assistance and support where needed;
  8. Also urges all parties associated with the situation in Yemen to refrain from any action that would cause further damage to cultural heritage of Sana’a and the country and to fulfil their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, in particular the safeguarding of World Heritage properties and the sites included in the Tentative List;
  9. Reiterates its request that the State Party:
    1. Maintain a moratorium on new development or new construction, pending completion of the proposed Conservation Plan and, where appropriate, project-specific heritage impact assessments,
    2. Prior to proceeding with the proposed rehabilitation of the water and sewerage project, prepare a HIA, which includes assessment of impacts on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), in line with the relevant ICOMOS guidelines and submit a copy of the HIA to the World Heritage Centre prior to making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  10. Also requests the State Party, as soon as it is feasible and in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop a set of corrective measures and a timeframe for their implementation, as well as a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  11. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the property and identify measures needed to reverse the decay and ensure the conservation and protection of the property, as soon as the security situation allows;
  12. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  13. Decides to retain Old City of Sana'a (Yemen) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Code
40 COM 7A.24
Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2016 Old City of Sana'a
Report of the Decisions adopted during the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016)
Context of Decision