1.         Tyre (Lebanon) (C 299)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1984

Criteria  (iii)(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/299/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1986-2001)
Total amount approved: USD 29,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/299/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 19,173 (1997-2001) for the International Safeguarding Campaign 

Previous monitoring missions

2004: Evaluation mission by the UNESCO Office in Beirut; September 2006: UNESCO mission following the 2006 summer conflict; February 2009: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; September 2012: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/299/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

The State Party submitted a comprehensive state of conservation report on 18 February 2013. The report details the actions carried out in response to the recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee at its previous sessions. From 8 to 14 September 2012, a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was carried out. The mission report is available at the following Web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/37COM/documents/

a) Boundaries of the property and buffer zone

The State Party reports on the process implemented for the review of the boundaries of the property and the definition of the buffer zone, which was discussed at length during the 2012 reactive monitoring mission. The State Party also notes that progress has been made in the identification of measures to establish the proper legal protection for the property and its setting as a whole, upon approval of the revised boundaries. This will include the drafting of an Act (inscription decree), which will override the urban planning decree for the specified area, so as to state for all concerned parties that the establishment of the buffer zone is an unambiguous protection tool. Other actions consider include the establishment of a Marine Protection Zone (MPZ) which will be officially submitted to the Council of Ministers for review. The mission noted that it was essential that the proposal for the buffer zone takes into account the geophysical survey along the Highway route and the information from the Archaeological Map. It also urged the State Party to mainstream the protection of maritime areas, within the framework of a broad consultation process on the public and private level.

A request for minor boundary modification was submitted by the State Party on 1 February 2013 which will be examined by the World Heritage Committee under Item 8 of the Agenda (see Document WHC-13/37.COM/8B).

b) Conservation and management of the property

In this respect, the State Party reports that it has focused its efforts on the development and implementation of the Action Plan (2012-2014) which contains twelve main objectives to enhance the overall management and conservation of the property. The Action Plan includes the identification of a prioritised list of activities, in accordance to the objectives, which consider timeframe for implementation, follow-up actions, financing agency and budgets. The State Party reports on the current status of each planned action. Progress has been made on securing additional funding, on the increase of staff for the property, on the undertaking of scientific research, on promoting capacity building, on awareness raising and outreach, and on the actions to improve the conservation and maintenance measures. The need to leverage the standards of conservation practice has been also been underscored. As for maintenance, given the limited resources that exist to date, the General Directorate of Antiquities (DGA) has agreed with the Municipality of Tyre/Sour to carry out specific activities including regular site cleaning and weeding, garbage collection, maintenance of gates and fences, among others. Tenders have also been done for the interpretation strategy project, which is expected to require a 2 year period to be concluded.

In terms of actions for the enhancement of the urban setting, the report notes that the World Bank funded project “Cultural Heritage and Urban Development” (CHUD) aims at the revitalizing the historic core of the city, therefore interventions are limited to the immediate setting of the property. The mission noted that the lack of a comprehensive management plan continues to hinder the effectiveness of implemented actions, as a coherent conservation strategy is still missing that would address the integration of heritage areas within the modern urban fabric. The mission underscores that activities currently implemented through the Action Plan can be considered as preparatory measures for the drafting of the management plan. It also highlighted the interest expressed by the Municipality of Tyre to improve planning mechanisms through the development of a long term Strategic Plan for Tyre and the integration of environmental, cultural and social aspects into a long term planning and decision making process. As for the state of conservation of the property, the mission noted that infrastructure service facilities have been improved although much remains to be done in terms of the conservation of archaeological features and decorated surfaces and in the presentation of the property. It underscored that, within the context of the formulation of the management plan, a risk preparedness plan, a coherent presentation strategy and precise guidelines for conservation interventions and measures to systematise condition assessments and monitoring practices, both for the conservation of the practice and for the efficacy of interventions, need to be developed.

c) Coordination mechanisms and management system for the property

The report notes that lack of coordination among the different agencies that are currently implementing projects at the property has had an impact on the efficacy of the management of the property. Several meetings have been carried out between DGA and the CHUD Project Management Unit to identify a monitoring plan and consultation mechanisms to be implemented. The DGA is also developing a general framework and a standard process of communication and early consultations to be applied and respected by entities that have interventions planned in or around any of the five World Heritage sites in Lebanon. The State Party also reports that a proposal “Safeguard, Valorisation and Management Quality: Use of Management Models for Archaeological Sites and Urban Contexts (Archeomedsites)” has been developed for potential funding by the European Union, to improve governance processes for the protection of archaeological sites. The mission noted that insufficient staff at all units of the DGA and limited financial resources is the main reason for shortcomings in the current management system. It noted however that processes are currently in place to identify adequate means to address these issues. It underscored the pressing need to improve coordination between CHUD management and the DGA to effectively control activities at the implementation level.

d) Legislative framework and regulatory measures

The report highlights actions implemented to enforce the existing legislative and regulatory framework and communication with concerned stakeholders. The mission noted that although there is a legislative framework in place, large parts of the urbanised areas surrounding the archaeological sites lack regulations or government control.

e) Documentation and inventory

Actions have been continuously implemented to address the identified need to have updated and systematised information for the property, including underwater archaeological sites. The inventory shall assist not only monitoring of the state of conservation of the property but also provide baseline information for the interpretation and presentation of the property. The report also mentions the progress made on the completion of the Archaeological Map of Tyre and on the geophysical survey and test trenching to complete the risk map. The mission noted that the archaeological map of Tyre is being updated on a regular basis and that resources have been allocated to enhance documentation and inventories. It considers that information collected from private development projects should also be integrated into this documentation corpus.

f) New infrastructure developments


The State Party reports on the project proposals from the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) for development of a transportation network. It notes that, given the potential impact on the unexcavated archaeological sites, the need to carry out archaeological investigations is essential. The DGA shall take a proactive approach and will request CDR to undertake Heritage Impact Assessments so that informed decisions can be made in regard to potential rerouting or other needed actions before projects are tendered for implementation. The mission underscored that the moratorium on building on State owned properties, although not officially renewed, is still in place. However, it noted its concern on existing proposals that might impact the property, mainly the National South Highway and the Highway crossing at Tell el Maachouk. For the first case, no heritage impact assessment has been carried out that would take into account not only potential impacts on above ground remains but also considerations from derived traffic. A traffic study was recommended to this effect. As for the Highway crossing at Tell el Maachouk, the mission considers that technical information that includes indications of the existence of all archaeological remains, as well as elevations and sections is needed. The mission considers that until the status of the planned secondary city street network and roundabouts is clarified and the heritage impact assessment undertaken, the decision to implement this exit should be abandoned. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend that the Committee welcome the commitment of the State Party in the implementation of measures to address pressing concerns at the property, particularly the consistent implementation of the Action Plan (2012-2014). Although progress has been achieved to date, they consider that much remains to be done in regard to the conservation, protection and management of the property. The recommendations made by the 2012 reactive monitoring mission provide a clear course of action for the property in the short term. 

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.52

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.52 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Acknowledges the comprehensive information provided by the State Party on the implementation of actions to address pressing conservation and management concerns and urges it to continue with the systematic implementation of the 2012-2014 Action Plan;

4.  Takes note of the September 2012 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission and also urges that the State Party implement its recommendations, with particular attention to the following:

a)  Undertake a planning process for the development of a management plan for the property and include provisions for a conservation strategy, risk preparedness, presentation and interpretation as well as for regulatory measures,

b)  Ensure that the management structure becomes fully operational by securing adequate resources for all aspects of documentation, conservation and monitoring,

c)  Establish a maritime protection zone around the seashores of Tyre,

d)  Improve on-going maintenance practices for vegetation control and put in place measures for fire prevention and adequate drainage and sewage systems,

e)  Establish a recovery programme for detached mosaics and ensure their protection until a decision is made on their conservation and restoration,

f)   Monitor conservation interventions to assess their efficacy and use the monitor results to inform the development of the conservation strategy,

g)  Further develop and implement the framework for coordination of the Baalbek and Tyre Archaeological Project (BTAP) and enhance cooperation between the General Directorate of Antiquities (DGA), the “Cultural Heritage and Urban Development” (CHUD), the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to effectively monitor the design and implementation of the project;

5.  Requests the State Party to carry out a comprehensive traffic study that clarifies all projected street networks and roundabouts, including Heritage Impact Assessments for the South Highway and its crossing at Tel el Maachouk, and to submit this study to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;

6.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015 , 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 39th session in 2015.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 8B.45

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Documents WHC-13/37.COM/8B.Add and WHC-13/37.COM/INF.8B1.Add,

2.  Refers the proposed minor boundary modification and buffer zone for Tyre, Lebanon, back to the State Party in order to allow it to:

a)  Consider including in the property the underwater archaeology following the boundary of the Marine Archaeology Protection Area of the Marine Protection Zone (MPZ), in process of approval, as well as the tower remains located along Hamra Street, the reburied remains of the Byzantine basilica and of the aqueduct;

b)  Develop a comprehensive and updated archaeological map indicating the physical remains and the areas with archaeological potential, according to the results of the most recent investigations, and the designated protected zones, which could act as a reliable reference for any minor boundary modification;

c)  Consider the creation of a marine buffer zone on the basis of the marine Buffer Protection Zone (MB), the Coastal Protection Area (MC) and the Marine Environment Protection Area (ME) of the MPZ;

d)  Prepare a map for the District of Tyre to include adjacent municipalities, the territory of which has yielded archaeological findings or possesses archaeological potential, and depict existing remains and areas as well as enforced protection regimes according to the legal and planning provisions, as a basis for the elaboration of a buffer zone which is functionally related to the property and may therefore contribute to sustaining its Outstanding Universal Value and protecting its integrity;

e)  Provide detailed information on how the buffer zone would function in contributing to the protection and sustainment of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and how the relevant stakeholders are involved.