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Old City of Sana'a

Yemen
Factors affecting the property in 2013*
  • Housing
  • Land conversion
  • Management activities
  • Other Threats:

    Functional decay of the residential neighborhoods

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Modern constructions and uncontrolled expansion of commercial activities (issue resolved)
  • Lack of a Safeguarding Plan (issue resolved)
  • Fly-over bridge project (issue resolved)
  • Uncontrolled vertical and horizontal additions
  • Use of inappropriate building materials and techniques
  • Densification of the historic fabric through occupation of green areas
  • Functional decay of the residential neighborhoods. 
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2013

Total amount granted: 1988: USD 374,800, UNDP/UNESCO project in support of local staff training and fund-raising. 2004-2006: USD 60,000 for the Inventory of the historic city (Italian Funds-in-Trust)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2013
Requests approved: 5 (from 1990-2003)
Total amount approved : 72,167 USD
2003 Conservation plan for Old City of Sana'a (Approved)   20,000 USD
2000 The Gardens of the old city of Sana'a (Approved)   20,000 USD
1999 Exposition of the photographs of the architectures in ... (Approved)   167 USD
1998 Preservation of Al-Maidan steambath in Sana'a (Approved)   19,000 USD
1990 Mission to advise on restoration works on Sana'a Mosque (Approved)   13,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2013**

1998, 1999, 2003: World Heritage Centre monitoring missions; 2003 to 2005, and 2010: World Heritage Centre and experts missions

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

At the time of drafting the present document, the State Party has not yet submitted a state of conservation report as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session. Nor was a report submitted in 2012.

The prevailing difficult security situation meant that the reactive monitoring mission requested by the Committee at its 35th session still could not be undertaken.

There has thus been no official report of the prevailing condition at the property since the State Party reported in March 2011. In that report, it was stated that the conservation of the property had not improved over the previous ten years. The inappropriate use of modern materials and uncontrolled vertical development, which threatened the city’s skyline, were continuing as was the limited maintenance of old buildings and the gardens. The State Party reported that the lack of a functioning management system, a conservation plan, adequate resources and a functioning legal system meant that little progress could be made.

 

In the 2013 report submitted by the State Party on the property of Zabid, it was reported that a draft law of the Protection of Historic Sites, Monuments, Cities and their Urban and Cultural Heritage had been submitted to Parliament and is expected to be issued officially in 2013. On 6 January 2013, the Yemen Times reported that this bill was designed to preserve historic cities, to allow funds to be allocated for the preservation of historic sites, especially World Heritage properties such as Old Sana’a and Zabid, and to allow the General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities in Yemen to have full authority to take measures to care for such sites.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, while understanding the difficult situation that prevails in the country, underscore the urgent need for substantial actions to be undertaken to preserve the historic city from deteriorating to such an extent that it might be considered by the Committee to be endangered.

They recommend that the Committee welcome the draft Heritage Protection Bill being considered by Parliament as a very positive step forward.

 

They also reiterate the need for a reactive monitoring mission to visit the property as soon as the security situation allows, in order to ascertain the current conservation of the property.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2013
37 COM 7B.58
Old City of Sana’a (Yemen) (C 385)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.60 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Regrets that the State Party did not submit the report in time as requested;

4.  Expresses its concern at the apparent continuing vulnerabilityf the property as a result of the current difficult situation;

5.  Urgently calls upon the international community to support the State Party, in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in any way possible for priority conservation, management measures and capacity building programmes;

6.  Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the property and identify measures needed to reverse the decay and ensure the conservation and protection of the property, as soon as the security situation allows;

7.  Also requests the State Party to provide information to the World Heritage Centre on progress with the Heritage Protection Bill being currently considered by Parliament;

8.  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.

Draft Decision:         37 COM 7B.58

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.         Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.60, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.         Regrets that the State Party did not submit the report as requested;

4.         Expresses its concern at the apparent continuing vulnerability of the property as a result of the current difficult situation;

5.         Calls upon the international community to support the State Party, in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in any way possible for priority conservation, management measures and capacity building programmes;

6.         Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the property and identify measures needed to reverse the decay and ensure the conservation and protection of the property, as soon as the security situation allows;

7.         Also requests the State Party to provide information to the World Heritage Centre on progress with the Heritage Protection Bill being considered by Parliament;

8.         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.

 

Report year: 2013
Yemen
Date of Inscription: 1986
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)(v)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2015-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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