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Old City of Sana'a

Yemen
Factors affecting the property in 2012*
  • Housing
  • Land conversion
  • Management activities
  • Other Threats:

    Functional decay of the residential neighborhoods

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Modern constructions and uncontrolled expansion of commercial activities (issue resolved)
  • Lack of a Safeguarding Plan (issue resolved)
  • Fly-over bridge project (issue resolved)
  • Uncontrolled vertical and horizontal additions
  • Use of inappropriate building materials and techniques
  • Densification of the historic fabric through occupation of green areas
  • Functional decay of the residential neighborhoods. 
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2012

Total amount provided to the property: 1988: USD 374,800, UNDP/UNESCO project in support of local staff training and fund-raising. 2004-2006: USD 60,000 for the Inventory of the historic city (Italian Funds-in-Trust)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2012
Requests approved: 5 (from 1990-2003)
Total amount approved : 72,167 USD
2003 Conservation plan for Old City of Sana'a (Approved)   20,000 USD
2000 The Gardens of the old city of Sana'a (Approved)   20,000 USD
1999 Exposition of the photographs of the architectures in ... (Approved)   167 USD
1998 Preservation of Al-Maidan steambath in Sana'a (Approved)   19,000 USD
1990 Mission to advise on restoration works on Sana'a Mosque (Approved)   13,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2012**

1998, 1999, 2003: World Heritage Centre monitoring missions; 2003 to 2005, and 2010: World Heritage Centre and experts missions.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

The State Party did not submit a state of conservation report as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session. In March 2011, the State Party had reported that since the World Heritage Committee’s 25th session (Helsinki, 2001), the state of conservation of the property had not significantly improved and that uncontrolled development of new constructions and vertical additions had continued to occur, impacting the skyline of the old city and generating structural instability due to the use of modern materials in the additions.

The State Party noted that these issues were related to the lack of a functioning management system, with adequate resources for implementation of conservation and protection measures and the lack of a finalised conservation plan. In addition, legal measures were still pending approval and capacity building was still needed for the adequate management and conservation of the property.

The reactive monitoring mission requested by the World Heritage Committee could not take place due to security restrictions. Therefore, no official information is presently available on the state of conservation of the property. Nevertheless, several reports in the press have highlighted the vulnerability of the urban fabric and the continuing number of houses falling into disrepair or being demolished. In February 2012, UNESCO addressed a letter to the Yemeni authorities urging them to ensure the protection of the cultural heritage of the country.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2012

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend that the Committee regret that the mission could not take place and insist that such a mission is highly needed. While understanding the difficult situation that prevails in the country, the Committee should also urge the State Party to take some substantial actions to preserve the historic city and to prepare an efficient and adequate management system, and should highlight the need for the international community to support the State Party in this endeavour. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2012
36 COM 7B.60
Old City of Sana’a (Yemen) (C 385)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.60, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Regrets that the State Party did not submit the report as requested;

4.   Expresses its concern at the increasing vulnerability of the property as a result of the current difficult situation as well as the potential threats to its integrity;

5.   Calls upon the international community to support the State Party, in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop priority conservation and management measures and capacity building programmes;

6.   Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the property and identify measures needed to reverse the decay and ensure the conservation and protection of the property;

7.   Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, 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 37th session in 2013. 

Draft Decision: 36 COM 7B.60

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.60, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3. Regrets that the State Party did not submit the report as requested;

4. Expresses its concern at the increasing vulnerability of the property as a result of the current difficult situation as well as the potential threats to its integrity;

5. Calls upon the international community to support the State Party, in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop priority conservation and management measures and capacity building programmes;

6. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the property and identify measures needed to reverse the decay and ensure the conservation and protection of the property;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, 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 37th session in 2013. 

Report year: 2012
Yemen
Date of Inscription: 1986
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)(v)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2015-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 36COM (2012)
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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