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Lamu Old Town

Kenya
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Housing
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Marine transport infrastructure
  • Solid waste
  • Other Threats:

    Deterioration of dwellings

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • No management and conservation plan;
  • Pressure from urban development;
  • Deterioration of dwellings;
  • Waste disposal problems;
  • Encroachment of the archaeological sites.
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2014

Total amount provided to the property: for a Heritage Impact Assessment in 2014: 85,000 USD: Netherlands Funds-in-Trust; for a workshop on Historic Urban Landscapes in 2011: 22,943 USD: Flanders Funds-in-Trust.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 3 (from 2000-2010)
Total amount approved : 31,776 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**

March 2004: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS monitoring mission; February 2005: World Heritage Centre advisory mission on water and sanitation assessments; May 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

The State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 1 February 2014, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1055/documents/.  Issues stemming from previous Committee decisions include the implementation of a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for the Lamu Port – South Sudan – Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Development Authority project and halting work on the project until the results of the HIA are finalized, the development of a new section of the management plan to deal with impacts of the project, and the submission of new maps showing the extent of the boundary and buffer zone for the property. 

  • LAPSSET Development Project Heritage Impact Assessment:  The HIA process, with technical and financial support from UNESCO and the Netherlands Funds-In-Trust, is still underway at the time of the writing of this report.  A first mission of the HIA team was undertaken in January 2014, which met with government officials, community members, and officials connected to the LAPSSET project. A second meeting with government stakeholders took place on 14 February 2014.  Although the final HIA was expected in March, it was not available at the time of writing of this report.  In the meantime, the State Party indicates that work has not yet been stopped on the port, as requested by the Committee.  They do note, however, that a local NGO, Save Lamu, has filed a petition at the High Court of Kenya to have the project halted until all impending issues are resolved. The High Court has since directed that the case be placed urgently before the Chief Justice.
  • Management Plan:  The State Party reports that work is underway to prepare a chapter on the LAPSSET project within the management plan for the property. There was no information provided, however, as to the content or key findings of this chapter. 
  • Property Boundary and Buffer Zone:  The State Party reports that it has submitted a proposed extension of the buffer zone to the Lamu County government and is awaiting approval from that body.  This approval has been delayed for administrative reasons.  Once approved by the State Party, maps documenting the property boundary and the extension to the buffer zone will be published by mid February 2014.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

There is some concern that the work on the LAPSSET development project has not been halted as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its previous session, in order to wait until the HIA has been carried out and its results discussed by the Committee.

The State Party has undertaken great efforts to carry out the HIA. There has been however some delay in the finalization of the HIA in order to ensure that all necessary information is taken into account, including adequate stakeholder consultations. This document is a crucial tool in understanding the heritage impacts of the massive LAPSSET development project. While waiting for the final results of the HIA, however, there remains concern about the size and scope of the project and its potential impacts on the very delicate cultural and natural ecosystems of the Lamu Archipelago and the property.  There is particular concern on the physical fabric of the inscribed area, its infrastructure, its cultural practices, and the livelihoods of its communities, which are all integral parts of the OUV of the property, as well as about the possible environmental impacts of the project, in particular in relation to the dredging of the port and the destruction of mangrove habitats, which may also have indirect negative impacts on the property.

The reports of lack of community involvement and input into the process should also be noted with concern.  The mission to carry out the HIA found that residents’ concerns about the project were, at least in part, due to the lack of information and involvement in the process.  For the LAPSSET development project to have as minimal an impact as possible on the property, it will be necessary for the people of Lamu, who are the embodiment of Swahili culture, to have as much input as possible in mitigation of the development pressures.  There will be a need for strong, proactive measures to protect the buildings, infrastructure, and cultural practices of the Lamu Old Town in the face of the rapid changes to the built and social environment that the project will bring.

Work is underway on additions to the management plan, which will take into account this development project, and would require that the additional chapter of the management plan be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as it is finalized. However, it cannot be finalized until the HIA report is completed and validated, and mitigation measures are decided upon.

With regards to the provision of maps of the boundary and buffer zone of the property, this request has been made to the State Party every year since 2010.  Progress has been reported, but the clarification of the property boundary would need to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible in accordance with the previous Committee decisions.  With regards to the extension of the buffer zone reported by the State Party, it s recommended that the Committee request that this extension be submitted as a minor boundary modification as soon as possible for its approval. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.49
Lamu Old Town (Kenya) (C 1055)
Decision: 38 COM 7B.49

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 34 COM 7B.46, 35 COM 7B.39, 36 COM 7B.43 and 37 COM 7B.40, adopted at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010), 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions respectively,
  3. Strongly regrets that the Lamu Port – South Sudan – Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Development Authority project was not halted, and reiterates its request to the State Party to halt all work on the LAPSSET development project until the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) report has been finalized and its results discussed by the World Heritage Committee;
  4. Takes note of the delay in the finalization of the HIA, and urges the State Party to complete the report and submit it to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  5. Also takes note of the progress made on the development of a new chapter of the management plan covering the LAPSSET development project, requests that it integrates the results of the HIA, and that the finalized version be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon it is completed;
  6. Also requests the State Party to encourage the involvement of the local community in the development and implementation of the planning and mitigation mechanisms that will be developed to offset the impacts of the LAPSSET project;
  7. Also reiterates its request made at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010), 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions that the State Party furnish maps clearly showing the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone, and further requests that any extensions to the buffer zone be submitted to the World Heritage Committee as a minor boundary modification as soon as they are completed and approved at the State Party level;
  8. Requests furthermore the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to the property to discuss the results of the HIA and their implementation with the State Party and local stakeholders, to examine the work already undertaken for the LAPSSET development project, and to examine the state of conservation of the property;
  9. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.
Draft Decision:  38 COM 7B.49

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decisions 34 COM 7B.46, 35 COM 7B.39, 36 COM 7B.43 and 37 COM 7B.40, adopted at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010), 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions repsectively,

3.  Strongly regrets that the Lamu Port – South Sudan – Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Development Authority project was not halted, and reiterates its request to the State Party to halt all work on the LAPSSET development project until the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) report has been finalized and its results discussed by the World Heritage Committee;

4.  Takes note of the delay in the finalization of the HIA, and urges the State Party to complete the report and submit it to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible for review by the Advisory Bodies;

5.  Also takes note of the progress made on the development of a new chapter of the management plan covering the LAPSSET development project, requests that it integrates the results of the HIA, and that the finalized version be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon it is completed;

6.  Also requests the State Party to encourage the involvement of the local community in the development and implementation of the planning and mitigation mechanisms that will be developed to offset the impacts of the LAPSSET project;

7.  Also reiterates its request made at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010), 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions that the State Party furnish maps clearly showing the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone, and further requests that any extensions to the buffer zone be submitted to the World Heritage Committee as a minor boundary modification as soon as they are completed and approved at the State Party level;

8.  Requests furthermore the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to the property to discuss the results of the HIA and their implementation with the State Party and local stakeholders, to examine the work already undertaken for the LAPSSET development project, and to examine the state of conservation of the property;

9.  Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

Report year: 2014
Kenya
Date of Inscription: 2001
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2014) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
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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