1.         Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) (C 1130)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2003

Criteria  (iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2003-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Corrective measures identified

Not yet identified

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1130/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2003-2003)
Total amount approved: USD 50,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1130/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 6,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust

Previous monitoring missions

November 2002: UNESCO mission for the Makhool Dam project; June 2011: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Partial flooding and seepage due to a dam building project;

b) Fragile mud brick structures;

c) Absence of a comprehensive conservation and Management Plan. 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1130/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

The State Party did not submit the state of conservation report which was requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011). From 5 to 9 June 2011, a reactive monitoring mission was carried out. The preliminary results of the mission were orally presented at the 35th session but not included in the previous state of conservation report for the property. The mission report is available online at the following web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/35COM/documents/  

The mission assessed the current state of conservation of the property and highlighted the most significant threats that currently exist. It noted that the construction of the Makhool Dam, which is presently delayed but not cancelled, would constitute a significant risk to the property given the expected flooding along the site. The mission reported that a feasibility study has been carried out and that the final design of the dam and the environmental impact assessment were in the process of being developed. None of these documents have been submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review.

The mission also highlighted that a general strategy for conservation interventions has yet to be developed; given the risk of flooding and to mitigate the erosive action of the Tigris River at some sectors, it is urgent that a risk Management Plan be developed, including provisions for remedial and preventive measures before the integrity of the site is severely compromised. It was reported that technical studies for the construction of a retaining wall have been prepared and that works were expected to begin by June 2011. This project was also not submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review and the current status in terms of implementation is unknown.

The mission also underscored that in general the property presents a poor state of conservation, with significant erosion of earthen architecture remains due to weathering and lack of site drainage. It noted additionally that documentation, conservation, maintenance and monitoring works are not systematically implemented due to the lack of skilled staff, particularly with expertise on earthen architecture conservation, on site and the existence of limited resources. The Management Plan has yet to be developed.

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

The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies note that although efforts have been made by the State Party in regard to the conservation and protection of the property, many significant threats remain unaddressed. They recommend that the Committee express its concern that the construction of the Makhool Dam is still expected to be continued and reiterate that the anticipated impacts, coupled with the poor state of conservation of many of the remains, would severely compromise the conditions of integrity of the property and might cause irreversible damages to the attributes that sustain its Outstanding Universal Value.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7A.21

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 35 COM 7A.20, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3. Regrets that the State Party did not submit the report on the state of conservation of the property as requested;

4. Takes note of the results of the reactive monitoring mission of June 2011, encourages the State Party to implement its recommendations and urges it to prioritize the implementation of the following actions:

a)  Develop baseline documentation to carry out a comprehensive condition assessment of the property, including architectural drawings and topographical maps that have yet to be completed,

b)  Undertake identified priority conservation actions to improve the conservation conditions of the built fabric,

c)  Undertake a planning process for the formulation of the Management Plan for the property, including a comprehensive conservation plan, a risk Management Plan and provisions for maintenance and monitoring,

d)  Implement capacity building activities for earthen architecture conservation and site management;

5. Requests the State Party to submit, as per Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, detailed and updated technical information on the proposed interventions foreseen for the property, in particular the retaining wall to mitigate the erosion from the Tigris River and the project for the Makhool Dam and its environmental impact assessment;

6. Also notes the limited capacities that currently exist for the implementation of the above, and invites the State Party to submit an International Assistance request for the development of a conservation and Management Plan for the property and for the implementation of priority conservation measures;

7. Calls upon the international community to financially and technically support the implementation of the above measures, in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is sustained;

8.  Reiterates its request to the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, altogether with a proposed timeframe, and to finalise the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013;

9.  Also requests the State Party, in the framework of the Retrospective Inventory process, to submit a boundary clarification, no later than 1 December 2012;

10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, 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 37th session in 2013;

11. Decides to retain Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.