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Historic Town of Zabid

Yemen
Factors affecting the property in 2013*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Housing
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Serious degradation of the city’s heritage (many houses and the ancient souq are in an alarming deterioration state);
  • Large percentage of the city's houses replaced by inappropriate concrete buildings;
  • Large sections of the city’s open spaces have been privatized, either illegally or informally and more than 30% of these built-up;
  • Lack of conservation measures and supportive development
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Serious deterioration of the built heritage (a high percentage of the residential houses being replaced by concrete and multi-storey buildings);
  • The remaining  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 ancient 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.
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted 2011; See page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4357

Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted 2007; see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1282

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Adopted 2011; see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4357
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2013

Total amount granted: USD 14,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust and the France-UNESCO Co-operation Agreement.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2013
Requests approved: 8 (from 1994-2004)
Total amount approved : 159,167 USD
Missions to the property until 2013**

2002 and 2003: international expertise; December 2004: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; January 2009: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

The State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property on 2 February 2013. The report provides succinct information on the actions implemented to date and includes the Conservation Management Plan for Zabid/Tihama, prepared under the German International Assistance project in March 2012.

a)         Regulatory measures

The State Party reports that adoption of conservation and protection regulatory measures has continued. A draft Law of protection of historic sites, monuments, cities and their urban and cultural heritage has been submitted to the Parliament and is expected to be issued officially in 2013. In addition, high level meetings have been held to reactivate the conservation processes for Zabid and Sana’a. It notes that a Cabinet meeting was held in February 2013 to discuss conservation issues at Zabid leading to the issuing of several decrees. There is no additional information on the specific content of the issued decrees or on the mechanisms for their implementation. The Higher Ministerial Coordination Committee for Zabid has also continued meetings and identified the challenges being faced for the implementation and follow-up of corrective measures. Budgets have been allocated to support the operational costs of staff contracted to address issues pertaining to illegal construction and daily monitoring within the property.

b)         Conservation of the historic town

Two documents were submitted by the State Party: An Urban Conservation and Development Plan, prepared in 2011, distributed in Arabic and English, and a Conservation Management Plan completed in March 2012. The information and revisions provided by the local community were integrated into the final document. No indication has been given on the current status of its implementation. As regards the submission of maps indicating the boundaries of the property and proposed buffer zone, the State Party indicates that it has submitted the data to the National Commission for UNESCO in December 2012. However, this data was not received at the World Heritage Centre, nor is it annexed as announced to the Conservation Plan.

As for stopping new construction of poor quality and ensuring that no further degradation of protected heritage buildings occur, the State Party reports that limited progress has been achieved given the existing political situation. On 8 January 2013, the Cabinet adopted decree no. 9 regarding the protection of the Historic Town of Zabid, which will force action to ensure the removal of illegal construction. In regard to approval of contractors for carrying out emergency conservation works, the State Party reports that the General Organisation for the Protection of Historic Cities in Yemen (GOPHCY) has continued with the listing of qualified contractors and specialists and capacity building on conservation methods is foreseen prior to their approval for implementing works.

Draft guidelines for new construction and for restoration have been prepared by GOPHCY but they will need to be updated and approved. No timeframe for this action has been indicated.

The State Party also reports that the Zabid Urban development community forum was established with the support of GOPHCY and of the German International Cooperation (GIZ). The objectives of the forum shall contribute effectively to the conservation and protection of the property but it needs the support from involved authorities and organisations to ensure the sustained implementation of its recommendations. 

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2013

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that efforts have been made by the State Party in implementing the corrective measures for the property notwithstanding the prevailing political conditions. They recommend that the World Heritage Committee welcome the efforts made to ensure broad participation in conservation endeavours. They are of the view that support should be granted for the continuation of these processes. They note however that significant action and resources are still needed to ensure that all measures are comprehensively implemented within the adopted timeframe. In particular, they note the importance of approving and enforcing the Law of Protection of historic sites, monuments, cities and their urban and cultural heritage, which is a crucial measure to ensure sustained actions for the conservation and management of the property. They also underscore that adopting and enforcing other regulatory measures, and having the adequate number of staff, will be essential to adequately control building activities and implement the corrective measures for the property. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2013
37 COM 7A.28
Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) (C 611)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A,

2.   Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.24, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.   Acknowledges the efforts made by the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures and urges it to secure adequate resources and support to ensure their sustained and comprehensive implementation;

4.   Welcomes the development of the Conservation Plan and also urges the State Party to allocate the necessary resources for its implementation;

5.   Requests the State Party to finalize the approval process for regulatory measures for the property, in particular the adoption of the Law of Protection of historic sites, monuments, cities and their urban and cultural heritage, as well as new construction codes, and to ensure their appropriate enforcement;

6.   Also requests the State Party to submit a boundary clarification indicating precisely the boundaries of the property at the time of inscription no later than 1 December 2013 and a boundary modification request for a buffer zone, according to Annex 11 of the Operational Guidelines , no later than 1 February 2014 ;

7.   Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , 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 38th session in 2014;

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

37 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage 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-13/37.COM/7A, WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add and WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add.
  2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 37 COM 7A.29 )
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 37 COM 7A.30 )
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 37 COM 7A.16 )
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 37 COM 7A.37 )
  • Colombia, Los Katíos National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.17 )
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.2 )
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 37 COM 7A.3 )
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.4 )
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.5 )
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.6 )
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.7 )
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 37 COM 7A.8 )
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 37 COM 7A.23 )
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.10 )
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 37 COM 7A.32 )
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 37 COM 7A.33 )
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 37 COM 7A.18 )
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 37 COM 7A.14 )
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 37 COM 7A.24 )
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 37 COM 7A.25 )
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 37 COM 7A.26 )
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 37 COM 7A.11 )
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 37 COM 7A.19 )
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 37 COM 7A.20 )
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 37 COM 7A.12 )
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 37 COM 7A.27 )
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 37 COM 7A.36 )
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 37 COM 7A.38 )
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.13 )
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 37 COM 7A.34 )
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 37 COM 7A.21 )
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 37 COM 7A.22 )
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 37 COM 7A.35 )
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.15 )
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 37 COM 7A.39 )
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 37 COM 7A.28 )
Draft Decision:   37 COM 7A.28

The World Heritage Committee,

1.         Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A,

2.         Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.24, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.        Acknowledges the efforts made by the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures and urges it to secure adequate resources and support to ensure their sustained and comprehensive implementation;

4.         Welcomes the development of the Conservation Plan and also urges the State Party to allocate the necessary resources for its implementation;

5.         Requests the State Party to finalize the approval process for regulatory measures for the property, in particular the adoption of the Law of Protection of historic sites, monuments, cities and their urban and cultural heritage, as well as new construction codes, and to ensure their appropriate enforcement;

6.         Also requests the State Party to submit a boundary clarification indicating precisely the boundaries of the property at the time of inscription no later than 1 December 2013 and a boundary modification request for a buffer zone, according to Annex 11 of the Operational Guidelines, no later than 1 February 2014;

7.         Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, 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 38th session in 2014;

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

 

Report year: 2013
Yemen
Date of Inscription: 1993
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2000-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 37COM (2013)
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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