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Decision 44 COM 7A.24
General Decision on the World Heritage properties of the Syrian Arab Republic

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.37, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Deplores the continued conflict situation prevailing in some parts of the country, the loss of human life and the degradation of humanitarian conditions;
  4. Taking note of the reports provided by the State Party regarding the state of conservation of the six Syrian World Heritage properties and the sites included on the national Tentative List, commends the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) and all heritage professionals and local communities in Syria who are working on monitoring and protecting cultural heritage, for their sustained efforts amidst extremely difficult conditions, but expresses its utmost concern about the damage incurred and the threats facing these properties and cultural heritage in general;
  5. Urges again all parties associated with the situation in Syria to refrain from any action that would cause further damage to the country’s cultural heritage, and to fulfil their obligations under international law, in particular the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347 of March 2017, by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, including preventing any damage that may result from targeting World Heritage properties, sites included in the national Tentative List and other cultural heritage sites;
  6. Also urges the State Party and the international community to include recovery actions of cultural heritage properties within the overall humanitarian, security and peace building response, and support recovery plans that promote community participation, sustainability and inclusion;
  7. Further urges the State Party to safeguard damaged properties through minimal first aid interventions to prevent theft, further collapse and natural degradation, and to refrain from undertaking conservation and restoration work until the situation allows for the development of comprehensive conservation strategies and actions that respond to international standards, in full consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Takes note with satisfaction of the works initiated by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for the elaboration of a set of corrective measures and the Desired state of conservation for the removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) of some of the Syrian properties;
  9. Reiterates its appeal to all States Parties to cooperate in fighting against the illicit trafficking of cultural property coming from Syria as per the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2199 of February 2015, and, in engaging in the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflict as per the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347 of March 2017, and reiterates its suggestion to the State Party to consider ratifying the Second Protocol (1999) of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict;
  10. Requests the State Party to pursue the systematic documentation of all damage incurred at World Heritage properties, whenever conditions allow, to implement all possible risk mitigation measures;
  11. Reminds the State Party about the need to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for examination by the Advisory Bodies, information on any future plans for major restoration or new construction projects, including infrastructure development projects, that may affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of World Heritage properties, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse;
  12. Reiterates its call upon the international community to further support the safeguarding of Syrian cultural heritage through earmarked funds or through contributions to the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
  13. Also reiterates its call upon the international and national cultural heritage professionals to unite for the safeguarding of Syria’s cultural heritage, and to pursue their ongoing initiatives in coordination with UNESCO;
  14. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, an updated report on the state of conservation of the properties and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session.
Documents
WHC/21/44.COM/18
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision
WHC-21/44.COM/7A.Add
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