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World Heritage Convention

Decision 45 COM 7A.29
Samarra Archaeological City (Iraq) (C 276 rev)

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add.2,
  2. Recalling Decisions 44 COM 7A.8 and 44 COM 7A.9 adopted at its extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online 2021),
  3. Taking into account Decision 45 COM 7A.30 on the World Heritage properties of Iraq,
  4. Notes the information provided by the State Party and its efforts in alleviating threats to the property, but reiterates its concern about the lack of comprehensive and detailed information on the property’s state of conservation;
  5. Expresses its deep concern regarding the condition of the property, recent damage and its deteriorated state, arising from the impact of encroachment, urban sprawl and bulldozing activities, in addition to natural deterioration and weathering;
  6. Urges the State Party to submit a comprehensive report on the damage incurred at the property, along with photographic documentation of all affected monuments, including a detailed report on the bulldozed areas and encroachments, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Reiterates its request to the State Party that interventions be addressed within the framework of the overall assessment of damage and risks, and a comprehensive Conservation Plan be prepared in full consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, and in the meantime, emergency stabilization and conservation work should adhere to the principle of minimal intervention and only be undertaken in critical cases where there is threat of further accelerated damage and collapse, and requests the State Party to proceed in accordance with the technical reviews undertaken for works being carried out in the Great Mosque, the Caliphal Palace, Al Hir, and the Bab al-Amma, the proposed reconstruction project for the Great Mosque, and the possible construction of two primary schools within the buffer zone of the property;
  8. Also requests the State Party to continue to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for evaluation by the Advisory Bodies, detailed information on all future works that may have an impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including Heritage Impact Assessments prepared in accordance with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context for any major projects, and to do so before making any decisions that will be difficult to reverse, and to refrain from undertaking the restoration or reconstruction of monuments prior to conducting detailed analyses and studies and to receiving outcomes from ensuing evaluation by the Advisory Bodies;
  9. Takes note of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission that visited the property in June 2023, and urges the State Party to implement its recommendations and to pursue the development of a comprehensive conservation plan, the identification of corrective measures and the elaboration of a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSCOR);
  10. Reiterates its appeal to all State Parties to cooperate in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage coming from Iraq as per the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2199 of February 2015, 2253 of December 2015 and 2347 of March 2017;
  11. Calls again on States Parties to support emergency safeguarding measures including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
  12. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2024, 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 46th session;
  13. Decides to retain Samarra Archaeological City (Iraq) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Context of Decision