1.         Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Libya) (C 190)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1982

Criteria  (ii)(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/190/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

January 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; August 2008: World Heritage Centre mission. 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/

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 28 March 2013. In this report, the State Party confirms that the property was not directly affected by the 2011 conflict but that indirect damage due to vandalism was noted, notably at the Jason Magnus Palace, where the mosaic of the four seasons was vandalized and two emblems depicting the seasons were stolen. Since the end of the conflict, manmade degradation of the site has increased, in particular vandalism, graffiti on monuments and erosion from uncontrolled circulation and access. The lack of control and maintenance during the conflict due to a reduction in the number of staff, which was already limited, has favoured these phenomena. Furthermore, urban encroachment has increased due to the extension of the neighbouring city of Shahat and random construction within the site remains uncontrolled, all of which threatens the integrity of the property.

a)  Capacity-building

Since the end of the conflict, the Department of Antiquities has benefited from the support of UNESCO which has launched two emergency projects in 2012. The first one, funded by the Government of Italy, is the Programme for the Protection and promotion of Cultural Heritage in Libya and foresees Cyrene as the pilot site for Cyrenaica, to implement technical training courses on documentation, conservation, presentation and interpretation, awareness raising campaign to sensitize communities vis-à-vis urban encroachment and uncontrolled building construction, use of land and environmental/natural landscapes issues. This project which should start in the coming months will also enforce security at the property and provide training for guards. The second project Emergency intervention to secure museums and sites in Libya, funded by Libya itself, aims at addressing the damages which affected the mosaic of Jason Magnus Palace while also reinforcing the security measures. The staff of Controller Office of Cyrene also benefited from training activities in the fields of documentation and information management and has been significantly reinforced since January 2013. It is also foreseen to sign a cooperation agreement with the Department of Archaeology of the University of Bayda to jointly work on the protection of the property and to explore means for long term capacity building. The State Party announces that awareness raising actions targeting visitors will be undertaken in order to prevent vandalism.

b)  Management and Conservation Plan

The participatory drafting of the management plan of the property has commenced, in coordination with UNESCO and with the support of the World Bank.

In terms of conservation of the property, the Department of Antiquities is planning to organize in 2013 two preliminary technical assessment missions in collaboration with UNESCO. Their objective is to evaluate the level of damage at the site and identify appropriate resources (human, technical and material) to elaborate a training programme in various fields and develop a comprehensive conservation plan, which would include a substantial component addressing the issues of inappropriate past restoration.

c)  Boundaries of the property

The State Party’s report indicates that mapping of the site by the staff of Shahat Controller Office is in progress so as “to map the extension of the site and to identify the boundaries, with the view to define a more defensible site boundary and buffer zone in light of the rampant construction occurring within the core site as it had previously been defined”. This objective may need further clarification by the State Party so that the process is undertaken in accordance with the Operational Guidelines. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the efforts made by the State Party, since the end of the conflict, to improve the protection and conservation of the property, in close collaboration with UNESCO. This includes the progress made in the reinforcement of the Controller Office of Cyrene in terms of staff and technical means to accomplish its mission, as well as in the implementation of other recommendations of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission of January 2007. They however wish to recall the need for a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, with specific attention to the key attributes which convey its Outstanding Universal Value. Finally, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies wish to recall that all the current or planned actions undertaken by the State Party should be conducted within the framework of a comprehensive conservation and management plan, with a clear identification of the property’s boundaries and its buffer zone, to be finalized as soon as possible and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.53

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.54 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Commends the State Party for the progress made in the reinforcement of the protection and conservation of the property as well as the implementation of other measures recommended by the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission of January 2007;

4.  Thanks all the donors and partners which have technically and financially supported the State Party in its efforts towards the reinforcement of the protection of the property and the improvement of its state of conservation and invites them to continue to support these actions;

5.  Requests the State Party to finalize, as soon as possible, the conservation and management plan of the property and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;

6.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, within the framework of the Retrospective Inventory, a map clearly showing the boundaries of the property as well as regulatory measures foreseen to ensure the protection of the property;

7.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015 , a state of conservation report of the property, with a specific attention to the key attributes which carry its Outstanding Universal Value, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.