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Gebel Barkal and the Sites of the Napatan Region

Sudan
Factors affecting the property in 2013*
  • Flooding
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Wind
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Deterioration as a result of exposure to difficult environmental conditions such as wind with sand and floods;
  • Urban encroachment;
  • Absence of a management plan with government commitment.
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2013
Requests approved: 2 (from 2004-2005)
Total amount approved : 68,900 USD
Missions to the property until 2013**

2004, 2006, 2007: World Heritage Centre missions; 2011: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

The State Party did not submit a state of conservation report as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011). There is therefore no information on whether the State Party has undertaken any action as follow-up to the outcomes of the 2011 reactive monitoring mission whose report provided information on three major topics:

a)  Deterioration of the property as a result of exposure to difficult environmental conditions

The mission recommended that an effective monitoring system be set up at all five individual components that make up this property, taking into account early and more recent photographic evidence to serve as a baseline comparison for future monitoring. It also recommended that no major conservation interventions be planned or implemented until such time as more accurate information on the deterioration could be obtained and appropriate actions identified through a more broad-based consensus with national and international expertise. It further recommended that studies on the carrying capacity of the sites be carried out to establish a maximum number of daily visitors.

The State Party was requested by the World Heritage Committee in 2011 to develop an ongoing monitoring system to ensure the continued stability of these structures, archaeological remains, and mural paintings, and to refrain from planning or implementing restoration projects prior to obtaining more accurate information on deterioration mechanisms from the monitoring process.

b)  Implementation of the management plan for the property

Considering the the lack of human and financial resources of the National Corporation of Antiquities and Museums (NCAM), the mission recommended a capacity building session for the staff of the NCAM and local stakeholders related to the implementation of the management plan. The State Party was requested by the World Heritage Committee, in 2011, to put the 2007 Management Plan in operation as soon as possible, by reinforcing the management structure and staff at the property, by providing this staff with an executive summary in Arabic and by developing a detailed, costed revised action plan with clear timelines and responsibilities for implementation. It was also urged to ensure that site staff and other stakeholders receive necessary capacity building in order to effectively implement the management plan.

c)  Urban encroachment and other development projects

The mission noted the pressure for tourism developments within the property and its potential buffer zone. A new hotel project was planned and preparation works were already carried out at the time of the mission, at a location within view of the World Heritage property. It also noted that the perimeters of the buffer zones had not yet been finalized and that there were no planning regulations for control within these buffer zones. The mission team considered it crucial that the buffer zones be finalized, and that they remain free of construction to ensure there is no adverse impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. The mission recommended, based on discussion with local authorities, that a letter be sent by the World Heritage Centre stressing the need to develop planning controls to ensure that the property and its surroundings remain clear of any new construction or development projects. Such letter was sent on 14 April 2011 but remained unanswered. Nevertheless, the State Party submitted an international assistance request early 2012 related to the monitoring system. The request was incomplete and has not been re-submitted since.

The mission furthermore discussed the negative impact of the road several dozen meters from the pyramid field of Gebel Barkal, negatively impacting upon the site’s associated values, including spiritual. The mission suggested that a new road be planned at the edge of the buffer zone.

The mission also examined potential impacts from a dam construction on the Nile river at the fourth cataract. It found that while no direct visual impacts would result for the World Heritage property, there was a need for ongoing monitoring of the sites, in particular to look for changes in temperature and humidity levels due to the changes in the water table. The mission also recommended that cumulative impacts of the dam project be examined for more long-term effects which might have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

The State Party was requested by the World Heritage Committee to finalize the limits of the buffer zones and their associated planning controls as soon as possible, to ensure that pressure from tourism, urban and infrastructure development do not have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The State Party was also requested to provide, in the framework of the Retrospective Inventory, detailed topographical maps of the five component parts of the property by 1 December 2011, and to submit a minor boundary modification by 1 February 2012 for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012. To date, none of these documents has been submitted.

The State Party sent a letter to the World Heritage Centre on 4 July 2012 by which it informed it of the launching of the Sudan-Qatar Archaeological Project (QSAP), an important project funded by Qatar for the promotion of archaeology in the Northern part of Sudan. The QSAP aims at funding archaeological missions to conduct surveys, protection, conservation and presentation of sites. It also foresees a conservation and promotion project for the pyramids of Meroe, Gebel Barkal, Nuri and Kurru. No technical details or specifications were provided on the proposed actions foreseen for the component parts of the property.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies wish to recommend to the World Heritage Committee to express its concern at the absence of report from the State Party on the state of conservation of the property, as well as on the implementation of the measures recommended by the 2011 reactive monitoring mission. They wish to recall the urgent need both to make the management plan operational and to develop a comprehensive monitoring system in order to better understand the long term conservation needs of the property. They also wish to underline the need for the State Party to deal with concerns related to tourism and urban development pressures, and in particular, large development projects, to ensure that they do not have a negative impact on the OUV of the property. Finally, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the QSAP is an opportunity for the State Party to reinforce the protection and conservation of the property. Notwithstanding, they reiterate the importance of clearly identifying rate and extent of decay mechanisms so that appropriate measures are implemented.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2013
37 COM 7B.56
Gebel Barkal and the Sites of the Napatan Region (Sudan) (C 1073)
The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.57 , adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.  Regrets that the State Party did not submit neither the report nor detailed topographical maps of the five component parts of the property, as requested;

4.  Expresses its concern about the absence of information on the state of conservation of the property and about the implementation of the recommendations of the 2011 mission;

5.  Urges the State Party to implement the actions requested in paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 of Decision 35 COM 7B.57 , adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011);

6.  Reiterates its request to the State Party to provide, in the framework of the Retrospective Inventory, detailed topographical maps of the five component parts of the property by 1 December 2013;

7.  Also reiterates its request to the State Party to finalize the limits of the buffer zones and their associated planning controls as soon as possible, to ensure that pressure from tourism, urban and infrastructure development do not have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and to submit a minor boundary modification by 1 February 2014 for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

8.  Encourages the State Party to benefit from the Sudan-Qatar Archaeological Project (QSAP) in order to address the above issues and requests it to keep the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies informed of any major conservation, restoration and development projects related to the property;

9.  Also 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.

Draft Decision:  37 COM 7B.56

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.57, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.  Regrets that the State Party did not submit neither the report nor detailed topographical maps of the five component parts of the property, as requested;

4.  Expresses its concern about the absence of information on the state of conservation of the property and about the implementation of the recommendations of the 2011 mission;

5.  Urges the State Party to implement the actions requested in paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 of Decision 35 COM 7B.57, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011);

6.  Reiterates its request to the State Party to provide, in the framework of the Retrospective Inventory, detailed topographical maps of the five component parts of the property by 1 December 2013;

7.  Also reiterates its request to the State Party to finalize the limits of the buffer zones and their associated planning controls as soon as possible, to ensure that pressure from tourism, urban and infrastructure development do not have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and to submit a minor boundary modification by 1 February 2014 for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

8.  Encourages the State Party to benefit from the Sudan-Qatar Archaeological Project (QSAP) in order to address the above issues and requests it to keep the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies informed of any major conservation, restoration and development projects related to the property;

9.  Also 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.

 

Report year: 2013
Sudan
Date of Inscription: 2003
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)
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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