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World Heritage Convention

Decision 45 COM 7B.12
Socotra Archipelago (Yemen) (N 1263)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 42 COM 7B.100, 43 COM 7B.1 and 44 COM 7B.88 adopted at its 42nd (Manama, 2018), 43rd (Baku, 2019) and extended 44th (Fuzhou/online) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the State Party’s on-going commitment to strengthen management measures in collaboration with international partners in spite of significant capacity constraints due to the challenging ongoing political instability and economic crisis in Yemen;
  4. Notes with concern that on-going political instability and the economic crisis continue to impact the capacity for effective management of the property, and calls on the international community to support the State Party in its efforts to ensure the effective protection and management of the property;
  5. Recalling the high level of endemism in the property and the potentially devastating impacts of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) on its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), also welcomes the on-going activities under the UNEP-GEF programme to establish port quarantine measures and prepare a participatory IAS control strategy, and requests the State Party, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to urgently finalise such IAS control strategy and implement biosecurity measures to ensure the threat is effectively managed;
  6. Takes note that developments are reported to be mostly limited to urban development zones, that development in the buffer zone is regulated by environmental standards, and that these standards are being incorporated in the review and update of the Conservation Zoning Plan (CZP), and also requests that the CZP is finalised as a matter of priority and submitted to the World Heritage Centre;
  7. Noting the report of impacts in some national parks or protected areas, further requests the State Party to provide further information regarding these impacts in relation to the OUV, and to clarify how the initiation or update of protected areas management plans to address all sensitive biodiversity areas and sustain local natural resource use, would relate to the update of the CZP and the overall integrated management of the property;
  8. Commends the State Party on the adoption of a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirement for all developments on Socotra, and urges the State Party and all stakeholders involved in development projects to ensure that it is implemented in line with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context, including to:
    1. Ensure that any planned development is subject to a rigorous assessment of potential impacts on the OUV of the property, prior to taking any decision that would be difficult to reverse, and to halt any ongoing development and not proceed with any new development that could negatively impact the OUV;
    2. Evaluate the potential impacts of existing infrastructure developments that have not undergone EIAs, in the context of the new regulations;
    3. Ensure that appropriate environmental standards to regulate activities in the property and its buffer zone are incorporated into the updated CZP and that their enforcement is ensured;
  9. Notes the positive actions that are being taken to address threats to the OUV of the property, however, reiterates its utmost concern about the potential impacts of those different threats, including uncontrolled development, unsustainable use of natural resources, climate change, plastic pollution, lack of sustainable funding and insufficient biosecurity measures to avoid the introduction of IAS, and considers that the cumulative effect of these factors could represent a potential danger to the OUV of the property;
  10. Notes with concern the potential impact of an oil spill in January 2023 from an oil tanker stranded at the Delisha Nature Sanctuary since November 2019 on the OUV of the property, particularly its marine environment, requests furthermore the State Party to provide further information on the impacts of the spill on the OUV, including to conduct an assessment of the impacts on the marine ecosystem, to conduct a risk assessment on the vessel to avoid further spills, and to report on any response measures undertaken, with the support of Emergency Assistance provided through the World Heritage Fund;
  11. Reiterates its request for the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to be undertaken 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;
  12. Finally 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, considering that the urgent conservation needs of this property require a broad mobilization to preserve its OUV, including the possible inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Code
45 COM 7B.12
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2023 Socotra Archipelago
Context of Decision