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Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou

Morocco
Factors affecting the property in 2005*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Near total abandonment of the site

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Near total abandon of the property;
  • Increased offences in the old ksar and its degradation;
  • Uncontrolled tourism and visitor pressure;
  • Lack of a Management, Conservation and Presentation Plan for the property;
  • Gully erosion with the development of nearly 28 ravines (from 100 to 200 metres);
  • Rock falls due to erosion laying bare the slope of the property and encouraging the displacement of large blocks of stone. 
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2005
Requests approved: 2 (from 2001-2005)
Total amount approved : 22,500 USD
Missions to the property until 2005**

Reactive monitoring mission 11-12 September 2003; World Heritage Centre mission 29-30 November 2003; mission to observe the state of conservation of the property carried out by the UNESCO Office in Rabat, 8-11 March 2005.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

Referring to the decision of the 28th session of the Committee (Suzhou, 2004), the State Party sent to the World Heritage Centre in January 2005, a progress report on the implementation of the measures for the conservation of the Ksar, stating in particular that the property was inscribed on the National Cultural Heritage List by the Ministry of Culture (Decree N° 20104 of 10 April 2004). 

The State Party explained that a task force composed of representatives of the Centre d’études et de recherché pour les Kasbah de l’Atlas du Sud (Centre for Studies and Research for the Kasbah of the Southern Atlas), the Delegation of the Ministry of Culture, the Division of Town Planning (Ouarzazate Province), the Delegations for Culture and Housing and the local authorities (Aït Zineb rural community), ensured the control of vandalism, and ordered the demolition of constructions that threaten the integrity of the property (in a previous report, dated January 2004, the creation of this task force had already been announced).  In 2004 this task force carried out several monitoring missions (the most recent on 26 November 2004).  However, no reports of these missions have been transmitted to the World Heritage Centre. 

A Programme entitled “Agenda 21” for the period 2005-2006 has been created, with UNDP technical and financial support.  The State Party stressed that this project will constitute an essential step in the programme for the conservation and rehabilitation of the Ksar. 

The establishment of a Management Committee in charge of monitoring the elaboration and implementation of the Management Plan, as well as the execution of actions for the conservation and presentation of the property, foreseen in the “Pact for the Safeguard of the Ksar” (adopted following the local workshops held in November 2003), has yet to be confirmed. 

Following the request of the State Party, the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee approved, on 18 February 2005, a request for international assistance for the elaboration of a Management Plan for the property.  The need to coordinate this assistance with the creation of the Management Committee for the property that has legal authority, with adequate resources and financial means to ensure the preparation of the Management Plan and its application, was already recommended by the World Heritage Committee at its previous sessions. 

The most recent mission to the property in March 2005 by representatives of the UNESCO Rabat Office observed that no visible action had been undertaken and the state of conversation of the property remained unchanged.  The report also stressed that access to the property is hazardous, as visitors must walk on sand bags between which water from the oued flows; a serious accident could easily occur, whilst the simple placing of supports would ensure secure conditions.  It should be recalled that one of UNESCO’s missions to the property recommended action to be taken to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants and ensure the security of the area.  A project for the construction of a bridge was prepared and submitted to the national authorities. 

In spite of the efforts of the State Party, the state of conservation of the Ksar remains unchanged over several years and fully fulfils the conditions foreseen in the texts for the application of the 1972 Convention for the inscription of a property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in respect of the proven dangers (serious deterioration of the materials; serious deterioration of urban or rural space, or the natural environment; significant loss of historic authenticity), as well as with regard to potential danger (lack of a conservation policy). 

Since the 24th extraordinary session of the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee, held in 2000, the State Party was called upon to request the inscription of the Ksar Aït Ben Haddou on the List of World Heritage in Danger.  Today this inscription has become necessary and urgent in order to enable the immediate mobilisation of all parties concerned with the safeguard of this property before its degradation becomes irreversible. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2005
29 COM 7B.43
Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou (Morocco)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15B.46, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Commends the State Party of Morocco for the inscription of the property on the List of National Heritage and for having put into place institutional consultation and coordination mechanisms;

4. Regrets that, despite the State Party's efforts, the state of conservation of the property has remained unchanged for the past years and further requests that the establishment, requested by the World Heritage Committee several times, of a management structure with legal authority, adequate technical capacity, resources and financial means to ensure the immediate preparation of the management plan for the property and its application, has not yet been completed ;

5. Expresses its deep concern in the face of a situation incompatible with the maintenance of the outstanding universal value of the property, that had justified its inscription on the World Heritage List in 1987 ;

6. Urges the State Party to put into place, by 1 February 2006, the management structure requested in paragraph 4 above, and to report on the implementation of this requirement to the World Heritage Centre ;

7. Requests the State Party to invite a joint mission World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS to assess the state of conservation of the property, including its outstanding universal value;

8. Decides to consider the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger or its possible delisting if the above mentioned measures are not implemented by 1 February 2006.

Draft Decision:29 COM 7B.43

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,

2.  Recalling Decision 28 COM 15B.46, adopted at its 28th session  (Suzhou, 2004),

3.  Commends the State Party for the inscription of the property on the List of National Heritage and for having put into place institutionnal consultation and coordination mechanisms ;

4.  Regrets that, despite the State Party’s efforts, the state of conservation of the property has remained unchanged for the past years and that the establishment, requested by the Committee several times, of a management structure with legal authority, adequate financial resources and means to ensure the immediate preparation of the Management Plan for the property and its application, has not yet been completed ;

5.  Expresses its deep concern in the face of the situation that is incompatible with the maintenance of outstanding universal value of the property, that had justified its inscription on the World Heritage List in 1987 ;

6.  Urges the state Party to put into place, by 1 February 2006, the management structure requested in paragraph 4 above, and to report to the World Heritage Centre ;

Option 1

7.  Decides to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Option 2

 7.  Decides to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger on 1 February 2006 if the above mentioned measures are not implemented. 

Report year: 2005
Morocco
Date of Inscription: 1987
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)(v)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 29COM (2005)
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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