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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.88
Socotra Archipelago (Yemen) (N 1263)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 42 COM 7B.100 and 43 COM 7B.1, adopted at its 42nd (Manama, 2018) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the State Party’s ongoing commitment to strengthen management measures in collaboration with international partners in spite of significant capacity constraints due to ongoing insecurity in Yemen;
  4. Noting with concern the clashes in Socotra in May 2020, expresses its utmost concern about the continued impact of insecurity in mainland Yemen on the overall management capacity of the property;
  5. Acknowledges the continued efforts to manage Invasive Alien Species (IAS) but notes that the effectiveness of implemented management measures in relation to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property remains unclear and, also recalling the high level of endemism in the property and the potentially devastating impacts of IAS on its OUV, requests the State Party to further strengthen the capacity to enforce biosecurity measures;
  6. Taking note of the information provided by the State Party that no violation of uncontrolled developments has been recorded in sensitive areas and that authorities are engaging with developers in the buffer zone, however also notes with concern that development continues in the buffer zone in the absence of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) due to enforcement capacity constraints, and urges the State Party to:
    1. Halt any ongoing development in the property or buffer zone that may have a potential impact on the OUV of the property and refrain from allowing further development until the potential impact on the OUV has been assessed, in line with the IUCN World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and the assessments submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, prior to taking any decisions that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines,
    2. Provide a map of all new developments that have been constructed in the property and its buffer zone since inscription,
    3. Evaluate the impacts on OUV of existing infrastructure developments that have not undergone EIAs and submit the results to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, in order to consider an appropriate response to any such impacts,
    4. Ensure that appropriate environmental standards to regulate activities in the property and its buffer zone are incorporated into the updated Conservation Zoning Plan and that their enforcement is ensured;
  7. Reiterates its concern that insufficient information is provided to determine the current state of conservation of the property’s OUV;
  8. Reiterates its utmost concern about the multiple reported threats to the OUV of the property including uncontrolled development, unsustainable use of natural resources, climate change, plastic pollution, lack of sustainable funding and the absence of adequate biosecurity measures to avoid the introduction of IAS, and considers that all these factors represent a potential danger to the OUV of the property;
  9. Regrets that the invited joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property could not yet be undertaken due to the ongoing security situation in Yemen and logistical constraints, and reiterates its requests that the mission take place as soon as possible, to assess the current state of conservation of the property, in particular in relation to the above-mentioned threats, and to determine whether the property meets the conditions for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  10. Further recalling the State Party’s intention to hold a technical meeting following the mission focused on how to ensure the protection of the property’s OUV while also promoting appropriate sustainable development for the people of Socotra, also requests the World Heritage Centre, in collaboration with the Advisory Bodies, to facilitate a technical meeting with the Yemeni authorities, IUCN and relevant stakeholders to identify priorities for the protection and management of the OUV of the property.
  11. 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, with a view to considering, in case of the confirmation of potential or ascertained danger to its Outstanding Universal Value, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Code
44 COM 7B.88
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2021 Socotra Archipelago
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision