1.         Archaeological Site of Volubilis (Morocco) (C 836bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1997

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(iv)(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/836/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 7,500
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/836/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount allocated to the property: USD 3,700 for an expert technical mission.

Previous monitoring missions

2003: World Heritage Centre mission; April 2005: expert mission; February 2007: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Pressures linked to development and the need to preserve the landscape;

b) Implementation of a large-scale construction project at the entrance to the property;

c) Lack of a management plan. 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/836/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

Since 2005, large-scale development projects undertaken on the property of Volubilis are cause for concern. These new, large-scale constructions have a serious visual impact on the surrounding landscape. The State Party was urgently requested to review the project and consider its modification. To this end, the Ministry of Culture, contracting authority for the development work, created an expert committee responsible for the implementation of the recommendations of the World Heritage Centre experts and the decision taken by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006).

As requested by the Committee in paragraph 7 of its Decision 30 COM 7B.55, the State Party transmitted a report on the state of conservation of the property to the World Heritage Centre in January 2007. It gives a detailed description of the Development Plan for Volubilis, containing the modifications made according to the recommendations of the Committee in paragraph 4 of its Decision 30 COM 7B.55. Thus, the idea to build a theatre on the property has been abandonned; there will be no built construction, and the choice of a lightweight, temporary structure for the duration of the events was adopted. The area reserved for the interpretation centre has been reduced: 420 square metres instead of 520. In its “lower part” (covered area, but open to the outside), the interpretation centre will house the stelae and statues. In its “upper part”, there will be an area for the promotion of regional heritage, an area for the presentation of Volubillis, a large aerial photo of the property and a temporary exhibition area. An important attention is given to the use of natural materials for the project (wood and stone).

The updated management plan of the property, requested by the Committee in its Decision 30 COM 7B.55, paragraph 5, is under preparation. Its main points are presented in the above-mentioned report. A drafting committee, comprsing representatives of all the departments concerned, supported by multidisciplinary experts, has been created for this purpose. The management plan will take into consideration the national laws in force and will conform to the charters and international conventions dealing with the conservation and management of cultural heritage. However, in view of the evolution of the different specifications, this will require periodical updating and reevaluation. A request for international assistance could be submitted by the State Party for the provision of expertise for the preparation of this plan. The reactive monitoring mission sent to the property in February 2007 noted the property management ensured by a conservator, an assistant conservator and archaeologists, amongst whom were teachers from the National Institute of Archaeological Sciences and Heritage. Staff responsible for guarding and property surveillance, as well as staff in charge of ticketing and guide services are present at the property. However, there is still an urgent need for a management plan for the property.

The Ministry of Culture, in the State Party’s report of January 2007, proposed that the buffer zone, requested by the Committee in its Decisions 29 COM 7B.100 and 30 COM 7B.55, correspond to the extremely vast zone of protection, defined by the Dahir of 19 Novembre 1920. 

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


Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.66

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.       Recalling  Decisions 29 COM 7B.100 and 30 COM 7B.55, adopted at its 29th session (Durban,2005) and 30th sessions (Vilnius, 2006) respectively,

3.       Notes with satisfaction that the State Party has taken into account the recommendations of the Committee in order to maintain the visual integrity of the property, notably by modifying the development project on the periphery of the property;

4.       Urges the State Party, in accordance with paragraph 5 of Decision 30 COM 7B.55, to prepare a management plan for the property, including a programme for the management of new installations, and to transmit it to the World Heritage Centre;

5.       Requests the State Party, in accordance with Decisions 29 COM 7B.100 and 30 COM 7B.55, to define the boundaries of the area of the proposed buffer zone and to officially provide a map of this zone to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2008 for approval by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008.

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 8B.57

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-07/31.COM/8B.Add and WHC-07/31.COM/INF.8B1.Add,

2. Refers a decision on the proposed buffer zone for the Archaeological Site of Volubilis, Morocco, back to the State Party to allow it to provide more details on the area of the zone and the protective policies in place.