1.         Stone Town of Zanzibar (United Republic of Tanzania) (C 173rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/173/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 15,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/173/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Development pressures;

b) Environmental pressures;

c) Natural disasters and lack of risk-preparedness;

d) Visitors/ tourist pressures;

e) Lack of resources;

f) Lack of legal framework. 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/173/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

The World Heritage Centre received information in November 2006 on the proposed European Commission-funded project amounting to USD 31million to rehabilitate the Malindi Stone Town Port part of the Zanzibar Island, World Heritage site. In the course of the rehabilitation initiative, the World Heritage Centre was informed that the project included plans to “fill the voids between the piers of the port after cutting them off completely with dredged material from the port area”. The e-mail report pointed out the danger that the proposed port rehabilitation would result in a raised water level throughout the sea front with the likelihood of endangering the property through hydrodynamic impacts such as overtopping and water splash, and would alter the entire sea front of the property. The report further informs the World Heritage Centre of the existing national regulations that state that “any feature that has been in place for the last 50 years should be preserved, and when necessary, replaced rather than removed”. The same report states that a full environmental and cultural impact assessment concerning this major project has not been undertaken.

The World Heritage Centre together with the UNESCO Office in Dar-es-Salaam requested the State Party in an e-mail dated 14 November 2006 to ascertain whether the above information received from Stone Town was correct. In an e-mail dated 27 November 2006 addressed to the World Heritage Centre, the Stone Town Authority, while confirming the proposed EU project for the Stone Town Port Rehabilitation Project, informed the Centre that they had expressed concern to the EU during several meetings, stating that the project “would compromise the cultural values for which Stone Town was inscribed in the World Heritage List” and had proposed to restore the Port as it is.

The World Heritage Centre received an e-mail dated 4 January 2007 from a consultant “appointed by the European Commission delegation” in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to “detail the environmental investigations to prepare the rehabilitation project of the port in Stone Town” Zanzibar. In the e-mail, the European Commission (EC) appointee promised the World Heritage Centre to further detail the rehabilitation plans, but this has not been received at the time of preparing this report. In a reply to the EC representative dated 15 January 2007, the World Heritage Centre expressed the following: an interest to work with the EC in order to establish the Terms of Reference for an independent environmental and cultural impact assessment of the project for the rehabilitation of the Malindi Port Project in Stone Town, on the World Heritage property, (a similar request emphasising the importance of involving the World Heritage Centre was made to the EC by the Stone Town Authority); the Environmental Impact Assessment should not be used to justify the implementation of the project regardless of its consequences, but as a tool to determine whether the project should go forward or not, and/or depending on the level of the potential impact how these can be avoided; and that the World Heritage Centre was ready to co-operate with the EC and its consultant on these issues in the interest of the property. The World Heritage Centre has yet to receive a reply to this e-mail letter from the EC representative.

The World Heritage Centre received a report entitled “Zanzibar Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (ZSGRP)” that was launched on 15 March 2007. The ZSGRP document forms part of the strategies to implement the long-term development plan, the Vision 2020. The focus is on ensuring the attainment of sustainable growth that will reduce both the income and non-income poverty to the majority of Zanzibaris. The strategy is in line with the international goals, commitments, and targets, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Among the operational targets highlighted in its goals are the promotion and preservation of Stone Town Cultural Heritage sites and tourist attraction areas, and improving attractions of other historical sites. The report recognises that efficient exploitation of natural and cultural heritage has not yet been achieved, partly due to inadequate resources such as human capacity and equipment, and partly due to a weak promotional strategy. In order to achieve the operational targets, the State Party proposes to put efforts into developing and implementing policies and institute an enabling legal framework for the restoration and exploitation of the Stone Town and other heritage sites, and to promote ecotourism through cultural activities and historical sites. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM


Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.49

The World Heritage Committee,

1.       Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B,

2.       Notes with concern the potential impact of the proposed European Commission-funded port development project on the state of conservation of the property and requests the World Heritage Centre to contact once again the European Commission at Commissioners level on this issue;

3.       Calls on the State Party to provide details of the proposed Malindi Stone Town Port development project and its rationale, and to co-operate with ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre to organise an independent environmental and cultural impact assessment study prior to any consideration or approval of the proposed project;

4.       Calls on the Director-General of UNESCO to discuss with the World Bank, European Commission and other relevant bodies that projects in World Heritage sites should be developed in consultation with the World Heritage Centre.

5.       Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property and factors affecting its Outstanding Universal Value, and progress made in implementing the impact assessment of the port project;

6.       Requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre a progress report on the implementation of the above recommendations by 1 February 2008 for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008.