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Historic Town of Zabid

Yemen
Factors affecting the property in 2006*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Housing
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Other Threats:

    Serious deterioration of the city's heritage

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

Serious deterioration of the city's heritage. In particular, around 40% of the city's houses were replaced by concrete buildings, and many other houses and the ancient souq are in a deteriorating state. Large sections of the city’s open spaces have been privatized, either illegally or informally and more than 30 % of these built-up. 

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Serious deterioration of the built-up heritage (40% of the residential houses being replaced by compact cement and multi-storey buildings);
  • The remains of the houses in the city are rapidly deteriorating, due to the prevailing low income of the inhabitants;
  • Since the souq activities have been transferred outside the city, the souq is almost empty and free from any type of activity and the shops are falling apart;
  • The traditional economic role of the city has vanished;
  • The city in general, is lacking any conservation and rehabilitation strategies.

By reviewing all these elements, it was recognized that the situation of the city corresponds to the following criteria of danger as identified in the Operational Guidelines, paragraph 179: Ascertained danger: (ii), (iii) and (iv) and Potential danger: (ii) and (iii).

Therefore, the Committee decided to inscribe the Historic City of Zabid on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

(see Documents WHC-2000/CONF.203-5 and WHC-2000/CONF.204-21)

Corrective Measures for the property

As identified by previous reports and Committee Decisions:

a) Stopping the illegal constructions and clamping down on major building violations, mostly in public spaces, to re-design the original urban pattern;

b) Carrying out the inventory of the buildings of the historic town;

c) Completing the urban conservation plan, and the socio-economic revitalization action plan;

d) Ensuring the adoption and implementation of the urban regulations for the historic core.

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
To be discussed with the State Party, preferably within the next two years.
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2006

Total amount provided to the property: USD 7,200 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2006
Requests approved: 8 (from 1994-2004)
Total amount approved : 159,167 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

A Report on the State of Conservation of the Historic Town of Zabid, prepared by the General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities in Yemen (GOPHCY), was received by the World Heritage Centre in February 2006 and officially transmitted on 3 April 2006. The report provides an overview of progress made in meeting the recommendations made by the Committee during its review of the state of conservation of the historic city last year. The State Party report notes that “violations” of the historic fabric have diminished, and it documents progress made in achieving tangible results in a number of project areas, including installation of a furnace for traditional bricks, removal of 19 building violations, completion of a sewage treatment plan (not yet operational), restoration of the Bab El-Qurtub Gate, rescue and consolidation of the Al-Ashaer Mosque, and restoration of the Citadel.

The report also notes that a number of initiatives and projects await funding for completion, including the urban conservation plan, a socio-economic revitalization scheme (requested by the Committee at its 29th session), an improved street water drainage system necessary for operation of the sewage treatment plant, full restoration of both the Al-Ashaer Mosque and the historic souq, as well as a street lighting scheme.

The report also underlines the need of increasing international assistance made available to Zabid as a critical component of current conservation efforts and that the State Party will be requesting international assistance from the World Heritage Fund in a number of areas. Prior to any request, it is suggested that a reactive monitoring mission be undertaken to review progress and consider the scope and extent of work needed, as well as the impact of the deterioration process on the integrity and authenticity of the property, and discuss possible benchmarks for corrective measures.

While international assistance can be useful when directed to projects for which local resources may be inadequate, the dependence on such assistance can be counter-productive in terms of fostering the long term sustainability at the local level, necessary for effective conservation efforts. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2006
30 COM 7A.21
Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) (C 611)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7A.19, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Commends the State Party for the numerous efforts made to improve the state of conservation of the property, including efforts to reduce the numbers of violations of historic fabric occurring, to remove past violations and to support the production of traditional materials;

4. Notes with great concern that the main recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session, notably the completion of an urban conservation plan, and a socio-economic revitalization action plan, have not been implemented;

5. Regrets that the Committee's recommendation to integrate the urban regulations drafted for the historic core within the Urban Development Plan has not yet been addressed by the State Party;

6. Urges the State Party to:

a) Continue its efforts to monitor and prevent future violations, and to remove existing violations in the open spaces,

b) Complete the urban conservation plan to be integrated in the Urban Development Plan together with the urban regulations, and

c) Prepare the socio-economic revitalization action plan;

7. Recommends that the State Party invite a joint World Heritage Centre-ICOMOS mission to assess the state of conservation of the property and to agree on appropriate benchmarks;

8. Requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2007, a report on the progress made on the implementation of the above recommendations, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007;

9. Decides to retain the Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

30 COM 8C.2
Update of the World Heritage List in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-06/30.COM/7A and WHC-06/30.COM/7A.Add.Rev),

2. Maintains the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

   • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 30 COM 7A.22)

   • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, (Decision 30 COM 7A.23)

   • Azerbaijan, Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Decision 30 COM 7A.29

   • Benin, Royal Palaces of Abomey (Decision 30 COM 7A.16)

   • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.1)

   • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 30 COM 7A.31)

   • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.2)

   • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.3)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.8)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.6)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Virunga National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.7)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Garamba National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.4)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Salonga National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.5)

   • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 30 COM 7A.19)

   • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.9)

   • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.15)

   • India, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (Decision 30 COM 7A.13)

   • Islamic Republic of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Decision 30 COM 7A.25)

   • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 30 COM 7A.20)

   • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 30 COM 7A.34)

   • Nepal, Kathmandu Valley (Decision 30 COM 7A.26)

   • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 30 COM 7A.10)

   • Pakistan, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Decision 30 COM 7A.27)

   • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 30 COM 7A.32)

   • Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Decision 30 COM 7A.28)

   • United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 28 COM 7A.17)

   • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.14)

   • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 30 COM 7A.33)

   • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 30 COM 7A.21)

Draft Decision: 30 COM 7A.21

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7A.19, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Commends the State Party for the numerous efforts made to improve the state of conservation of the property, including efforts to reduce the numbers of violations of historic fabric occurring, to remove past violations, to support the production of traditional materials;

4. Notes with great concern that the main recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session - notably the completion of an urban conservation plan, and a socio-economic revitalization action plan - have not been implemented;

5. Regrets that the Committee’s recommendation to integrate the urban regulations drafted for the historic core within the Urban Development Plan has not yet been addressed by the State Party;

6. Urges the State Party to:

a) Continue its efforts to monitor and prevent future violations, and to remove existing violations in the open spaces,

b) Complete the urban conservation plan to be integrated in the Urban Development Plan together with the urban regulations, and

c) Prepare the socio-economic revitalization action plan;

7. Recommends that the State Party invite a joint World Heritage Centre-ICOMOS mission to assess the state of conservation of the property and to agree on appropriate benchmarks;

8. Requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2007, a report on the progress made on the implementation of the above recommendations, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007;

9. Decides to retain the Historic town of Zabid (Yemen) on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Report year: 2006
Yemen
Date of Inscription: 1993
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2000-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 30COM (2006)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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