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Historic Town of Zabid

Yemen
Factors affecting the property in 2012*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Housing
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Serious degradation of the city’s heritage (many houses and the ancient souq are in an alarming deterioration state);

b) Large percentage of the city's houses replaced by inappropriate concrete buildings;

c) Large sections of the city’s open spaces have been privatized, either illegally or informally and more than 30% of these built-up;

d) Lack of conservation measures and supportive developments.

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Serious deterioration of the built heritage (a high percentage of the residential houses being replaced by concrete and multi-storey buildings)
  • The remaining  houses in the city are rapidly deteriorating, due to the prevailing low income of the inhabitants
  • Since the souq activities have been transferred outside the city, the ancient souq is almost empty and free from any type of activity and the shops are falling apart
  • The traditional economic role of the city has vanished
  • The city in general, is lacking any conservation and rehabilitation strategies
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2012

Total amount provided to the property: USD 10,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust; USD 4,000 from the France-UNESCO Co-operation Agreement.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2012
Requests approved: 8 (from 1994-2004)
Total amount approved : 159,167 USD
Missions to the property until 2012**

2002 and 2003: international expertise; December 2004: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; January 2009: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

The State Party submitted a succinct state of conservation report on 26 March 2012 in response to the decision made by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011).

It notes that given the political situation and security issues, limited activities were implemented since the last report submitted in 2011. As of January 2012, there is new leadership in the General Organisation for the Preservation of the Historic Cities of Yemen (GOPHCY) which has taken up again the implementation of conservation and management measures identified for the property.

In terms of the adopted corrective measures, the State Party indicates that an initiative has been currently prioritised to pass the Historic Cities Law, already passed at the cabinet, at the Parliament level. It is expected that this law will address many of the issues currently faced, including the allocation of financial resources, the mechanisms for engagement of diverse stakeholders, the regulations to prevent violations and the roles and responsibilities of different government institutions. Although it is mentioned that this passing should be done in a short period, no timeframe has been provided.

The report mentions that GOPHCY is working on finalising the conservation plan; no timeframe for completion was indicated. The State Party noted also that a meeting with the High Conservation Committee was carried out and that a Supreme Violations Removal Committee, to be headed by the Culture Minister and the Hodeidah Governor, has been formed to supervise the removal of violations that have occurred in different buildings at Zabid. It will meet on a quarterly basis to ensure close monitoring and evaluation. Government institutions have also made a commitment that no new construction will occur unless GOPHCY approves and supervises the work. Regarding the Housing Rehabilitation Programme, discussions have been held for the identification of training and capacity building needs so that a strategy is jointly defined with the German International Cooperation and the Social Fund for Development (GIZ/SFD). An area outside the buffer zone has also been identified to address the housing needs. The area is expected to initially cover 1400 units but its expansion is anticipated. In addition, the conservation plan will be distributed, in form of a booklet, to the local community as part of the awareness raising activities. The use of additional tools, including mass media, is foreseen as part of these actions. The Souq Rehabilitation Programme has continued and additional funding has been allocated to improve infrastructure at Zabid and at the new identified area outside the buffer zone. GOPHCY has also continued with the wood conservation laboratory programme to enhance technical capacities but also to generate potential job opportunities for youth. 

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2012

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the progress made by the State Party in the implementation of the identified corrective measures notwithstanding the situation in the country. They recommend that the Committee stresses the importance of the international community continuing to support the efforts of the State Party, particularly in regard to capacity building and the allocation of technical and financial resources to ensure that the adopted Desired state of conservation is met according to the agreed timeframe. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2012
36 COM 7A.24
Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) (C 611)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.    Recalling Decision 35 COM 7A.23, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.    Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party on the actions being taken to implement some of the corrective measures and urges the State Party to continue its work on all the corrective measures adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007);

4.    Calls upon the international community to support financially and technically the implementation by the State Party, in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, of priority conservation and management measures and capacity building endeavours;

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

6.    Also 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;

7.    Decides to retain the Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

36 COM 8C.2
Establishment of the World Heritage List in Danger (Maintained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-12/36.COM/7A and WHC-12/36.COM/7A.Add),

2.   Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

    • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 36 COM 7A.25)
    • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 36 COM 7A.26)
    • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 36 COM 7A.15)
    • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 36 COM 7A.1)
    • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 36 COM 7A.33)
    • Colombia, Los Katíos National Park (Decision 36 COM 7A.16)
    • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 36 COM 7A.2)
    • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 36 COM 7A.3)
    • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 36 COM 7A.4)
    • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 36 COM 7A.5)
    • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 36 COM 7A.6)
    • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 36 COM 7A.7)
    • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 36 COM 7A.8)
    • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 36 COM 7A.20)
    • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 36 COM 7A.9)
    • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 36 COM 7A.30)
    • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 36 COM 7A.31)
    • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 36 COM 7A.17)
    • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 36 COM 7A.13)
    • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 36 COM 7A.21)
    • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 36 COM 7A.22)
    • Islamic Republic of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Decision 36 COM 7A.27)
    • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 36 COM 7A.23.I)
    • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 36 COM 7A.10)
    • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 36 COM 7A.11)
    • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 36 COM 7A.34)
    • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 36 COM 7A.12)
    • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 36 COM 7A.32)
    • United Rep. of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 36 COM 7A.19)
    • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 36 COM 7A.18)
    • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 36 COM 7A.14)
    • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 36 COM 7A.35)
    • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 36 COM 7A.24)
Draft Decision: 36 COM 7A.24

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 35 COM 7A.23, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3. Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party on the actions being taken to implement some of the corrective measures and urges the State Party to continue its work on all the corrective measures adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007);

4. Calls upon the international community to support financially and technically the implementation by the State Party, in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, of priority conservation and management measures and capacity building endeavours;

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

6. Also 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;

7. Decides to retain the Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 2012
Yemen
Date of Inscription: 1993
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2000-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 36COM (2012)
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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