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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.13
Historic Cairo (Egypt) (C 89)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.44 adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Welcomes the clarification on the scope of Decree No. 90 and the modality of its implementation in relation to the setting of protected buildings, but notes that it does not preclude demolition of unprotected buildings but rather controls their renovation or replacement;
  4. Also welcomes the issuance of decree number 1097 on 14 of March 2021, which orders a pause in permits for demolition in the property, and the submission of a map of the boundaries of the property, but requests that the map be submitted formally in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  5. Also notes that the proposed administrative structure that emerged from the second stage of the Urban Regeneration of Historic Cairo Project (URHC) will be overseen by a Higher Ministerial Steering Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, and is currently being submitted to the Supreme Committee for approval;
  6. Further welcomes the confirmation that the third stage of the URHC is being implemented to produce a Sustainable Development Plan that will include initiatives compatible with the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach, such as the development of local crafts and markets as an axis for development, measures to strengthen the structures of local communities, and revitalisation of local culture;
  7. Notes with concern that the 2019 Reactive Monitoring mission and the 2021 Advisory mission considered that degradation of the urban fabric has increased and in places appears to have accelerated; that the overall historic urban fabric is suffering more than individual protected monuments; and that neglect and lack of maintenance is leading to deterioration beyond affordable rehabilitation, or in places the total collapse of some structures;
  8. Further notes that this situation has been exacerbated by the continuing approval of demolition permits for protected/registered buildings that could be considered unstable, and the continuing lack of protection of unregistered structures, and that the accumulated demolition of buildings is beginning to have a highly adverse impact on the urban fabric;
  9. Expresses concern about the recently reported construction of a road, which has led to the demolition of many tombs and mausolea in the Southern and Northern cemeteries, known as the ‘City of the Dead’, and which could have a major impact on the historic urban fabric of these parts of the property and channel more traffic into the city;
  10. Requests the State Party to submit as a matter of urgency technical information on the new road construction project going through the City of the Dead, and any other major project at the property, or in its buffer zone, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  11. Appreciates the work undertaken by State Party over the past five years at a strategic level, but notes furthermore that this has not been matched by actions on the ground to halt the current degradation or to rehabilitate traditional structures as well as protected monuments;
  12. Considers that the property has currently reached a critical point where the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) are being damaged cumulatively by a combination of physical and environmental degradation, functional decay, demolition and major infrastructure development, to such a degree that they are under threat and could rapidly reach an irreversible situation if urgent actions are not undertaken;
  13. Also requests the State Party to finalize the Management, Master and Conservation Plans as a matter of urgency, and to:
    1. Ensure that these plans are aligned with the emerging Sustainable Development Plan,
    2. Approve and put in place a management structure that brings together all the key stakeholders and the necessary disciplines,
    3. Ensure that the plans are based on a clear definition and firm understanding of the attributes of OUV, and on clear boundaries,
    4. Establish one map for the boundaries and buffer zone of the property, and complete the Retrospective Statement of OUV (RSOUV),
    5. Submit the requested plans, map of boundaries and RSOUV to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  14. Urges the State Party to implement the 2019 and 2021 missions’ recommendations, as well as immediate and preventive measures, with particular attention to halting the demolition of all structures, both protected and unprotected within the property; amend Law 119 that permits demolition of protected structures by owners for reasons of safety against collapse, and refrain from pursuing any development project, further street widening or construction to improve vehicular traffic, until the Master, Conservation and Management Plans have been approved and are being implemented;
  15. Expresses its appreciation to the Government of France, for the support provided to the State Party towards the conservation and management of the property;
  16. Takes note that major conservation projects are being developed, and also urges the State Party to explore how these projects can contribute toward sustainable development of the urban fabric, rather than just to the repair of monuments;
  17. Further 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 property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session.
Decision Code
44 COM 7B.13
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2021 Historic Cairo
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision