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Lamu Old Town

Kenya
Factors affecting the property in 2003*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Housing
  • Legal framework
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2003
Requests approved: 1 (from 2000-2000)
Total amount approved : 15,924 USD
2000 Lamu: Preparation of a nomination file (Approved)   15,924 USD
Missions to the property until 2003**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003

The Centre received information from the National Museums of Kenya of the uncontrolled plans to construct houses and hotels on the island of Lamu likely to affect the authenticity and the integrity of the island. Following discussions held between the Centre and the Kenya Delegation to UNESCO, the Delegation indicated that they were aware of the situation and that they would send a letter to Kenyan authorities concerning the issue. As a follow up to these discussions, the Centre sent a letter dated 31 March addressed to the Delegation requesting further information concerning the site. The reply to this letter has yet to be received.

The Centre received a letter dated 17 March 2003 from the Senator of Indre-et-Loire, Mayor of Chinon, transmitting a file concerning Lamu sent to him for his examination concerning Lamu site. In addition to other documents the file contain a petition addressed to the Kenyan authorities which mention that:

·   Lamu’s environment and cultural heritage are endangered;

·  The waterfront is under threat: the old Custom House is being destroyed in spite of the Lamu Museum warnings and protestations through letters dated August 2002 from the Director of National Museums and the Lamu Museum curator in which the Museums authorities requested that the site be reviewed for protection for its historical and archaeological significance; and that;

·  Sand dunes are threatened by uncontrolled developments.

The petition further recommends that:

·  UNESCO should extend the World Heritage listing to include the whole of Lamu Island;

·  No further allotment of sand dunes should be allowed;

·  New houses should conform in scale and style to traditional buildings;

·   A permanent advisory committee should be set up to watch upon the island’s development, with representatives from National Museums, UNESCO, architects, and Lamu residents. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2003
27 COM 7B.31
Lamu Old Town (Kenya)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Commends the government of Kenya for its commitment to address the concerns over the physical developments on the Lamu Island and welcomes Kenya's availability to co-operate with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS for a mission to Lamu;

2. Requests the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, in cooperation with the State Party to undertake a mission to ascertain the state of conservation of Lamu;

3. Further requests the State Party to collaborate with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS in the development of a programme for the rehabilitation of Lamu and to identify needs for assistance from the World Heritage Fund and from other sources for the rehabilitation activities of the property;

4. Also requests a report following the World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission on the state of conservation of Lamu for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 28th session in 2004.

Draft Decision: 27 COM 7 (b) 31

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Commends the government of Kenya for its commitment to address the concerns over the physical developments on the Lamu Island and welcomes the Kenya’s availability to cooperate with UNESCO and ICOMOS for a mission to Lamu;

2.  Invites the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS to cooperate with the State Party with a view to undertaking a monitoring mission to ascertain the state of conservation of Lamu;

3.  Further invites the Centre and ICOMOS to identify needs for assistance from the World Heritage Fund and from other sources for the rehabilitation activities of the site;

4.  Requests a report on the state of conservation of Lamu and a programme for the rehabilitation of Lamu to be submitted to the 28th session of the Committee in 2004.

Report year: 2003
Kenya
Date of Inscription: 2001
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
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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