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M'Zab Valley

Factors affecting the property in 2001*
  • Housing
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Other Threats:

    Degradation of the overall natural environment

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2001
Requests approved: 1 (from 2001-2001)
Total amount approved : 25,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2001**

September 2001: UNESCO expert mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2001

Owing to the socio-economic changes which have intervened in past decades, as well as to the demographic growth caused by industrial development of the region, the Valley and the Ksour of M’Zab are currently exposed to very intense pressure from development. This has entailed the deterioration of the natural environment (palm orchards and profile of the surrounding hills) and alteration to the urban fabric. 

In the absence of any ground plans, houses have been constructed with materials and of dimensions often incompatible with the local traditions, in the palm orchards, and often in flood areas.

Furthermore, the recent construction of industrial buildings on the heights of the surrounding hills is an additional factor causing the degradation of the overall natural environment. Under the supervision of the Office for the Protection and Promotion of the M’Zab Valley, under the responsibility of the Ministry for Communication and Culture, the 1997-2002 restoration programmes are being implemented for the restoration of the traditional houses of the Ksour of Ghardaia, Melika, El Atteuf, Bounura and Beni Isguen.

Following the request of the Algerian authorities for an expert mission, a UNESCO mission visited Algeria in September 2001 to assist the authorities concerned in the preparation of international assistance requests for the identification of appropriate urbanism criteria for the implementation of an integrated policy for the safeguarding of the M’Zab Valley, as well as the establishment of a workshop on the island of houses, at Ghardaïa. Two international assistance requests will shortly be submitted by the Algerian authorities.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2001
Technical Co-operation approved by the Bureau

XVIII.3.1 CULTURAL United Republic of Tanzania

Preparation of a Management Plan for the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani Songo Mnara and the extension to Kilwa Masoko: The Bureau approved US$24,320 for this activity, subject to the approval by the Chairperson of a detailed budget breakdown.


Rehabilitation of the traditional hydraulic system in M'Zab Valley and the organization of a training workshop: The Bureau approved US$25,000 for this activity, subject to the State Party paying its arrears to the World Heritage Fund.


Rehabilitation and restoration of Bab Agnaou in the Medina of Marrakesh: The Bureau approved this request for US$22,984 requesting the computer equipment to be financed by the State Party.


Regional Conference on "Alternatives to Historical Reconstruction in UNESCO World Heritage Cities" (16- 18 May 2002): The Bureau approved US$28,000 for this activity, requesting the State Party to make all efforts in publishing the results of the Conference to complement the UNESCO World Heritage Cities Programme.

The Bureau may wish to adopt the following text :

“The Bureau requests the State Party to co-operate with the Centre in the elaboration of the Development and Safeguarding Plan for the M’Zab Valley. The implementation of international assistance, based on international experience and respecting the local artisan traditions, for in-situ training in techniques which would contribute towards the presentation of the heritage of the Valley should also been initiated”.

Report year: 2001
Date of Inscription: 1982
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(v)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 25COM (2001)

* : 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.