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Wadi Rum Protected Area

Jordan
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Financial resources
  • Governance
  • Human resources
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Solid waste
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

As identified at the time of inscription of the property on the World Heritage List:

  • Lack of a database on cultural heritage
  • Lack of proper conservation and maintenance of the archaeological sites
  • Lack of traffic and visitor management plans
  • Potential encroachment from development in the village of Rum
  • Lack of trained staff and financial resources for the management of the property
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

The Committee has not yet requested the State Party to provide any state of conservation reports; however, at the time of inscription in 2011, it requested the State Party to invite a mission to the property to assess progress on the various recommendations related to management and conservation and to report back to the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014(Decision 35 COM 8B.15). A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN monitoring mission visited the property from 28 April to 1 May 2014; the full mission report and results are available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1377/.

The mission was provided with a draft revised management plan (2014-2018) that is currently under review for adoption during 2014. The Tourism Development and Visitors’ Management plan of the Wadi Rum Protected Area (WRPA), dated 14 March 2013, and the Cultural Heritage Management Plan of the WRPA, were both sent to the World Heritage Centre after the mission. The mission was informed that the site management is preparing a boundary modification for the buffer zone.

The mission noted that the World Heritage area is a complex desert ecosystem with continuous extraordinary interaction between people and their environment since prehistory. It considers that the overall state of conservation of the site remains satisfactory. It noted progress made in regard to the management of the property and assessed other issues and threats. It underscored that the development of a cultural heritage database, based on a complete and systematic survey, has not been carried out, therefore the state of conservation of rock art that comprises close to 25,000 petroglyphs, 20,000 inscriptions and 154 archaeological sites could not be assessed. Such a database is needed to identify fully the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and to serve as the basis for the development of a conservation programme and site monitoring. At the few locations visited, the mission did not find evidence of conservation measures being actively implemented at those sites; it noted that the Nabatean Temple near Rum Village was in fair conservation condition although not appropriately maintained. Deterioration from graffiti was identified as a concern.

Regarding the management of the property the mission noted the following:

  • Governance and staffing: lack of representation of the Department of Antiquities (DoA) at the site; lack of an Ecologist/Earth Science specialist;
  • Waste management: a Regional/Special Plan was prepared by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) which included improving waste management in the region, however liquid and solid waste are still a big concern particularly with rapid tourism increase;
  • Tourism management: about 250,000 visitors visit the site per year with 60% international and 40% local/national tourism but the carrying capacity of the site has not been assessed, which can lead to adverse impacts on the environment and on cultural heritage conservation. There is no proper interpretation, communication and promotion of the World Heritage property as a whole; the mission saw a number of illegal camps within the property (approximately 30 recognized camps and as many illegal camps);
  • Institutional coordination: the mission met with relevant stakeholders and noted a lack of coordination between departments as well as between regional and national institutions; a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU 2014-2016) had been prepared between the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities/DoA and the ASEZA and was ready for signature in May 2014;
  • Integrated monitoring programme: there is no integrated monitoring programme or monitoring tools currently in place;
  • Funding for the site, established and future partnerships for local communities: official funding from ASEZA had been reduced recently. Funding from entry fees go to the site management. In addition funding is available from a UNDP/Global Environment Fund (GEF) project and from USAID for the management plan;
  • Capacity building: while actions are taken to build the capacities of the natural heritage staff with the support of the IUCN Regional Office for West Asia in Amman (Jordan), the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSCN) in Jordan, and the UNESCO category 2 Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) in Bahrain, this is not the case for cultural heritage staff responsible for the property.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

The mission concluded that the property is not under serious threat and that the overall state of conservation of the site remains satisfactory. However, it determined that a number of recommendations made at the time of inscription have to be implemented as a matter of urgency, particularly the full identification of attributes of OUV. The adequate documentation for cultural heritage and establishment of an integrated cultural and natural database is essential for surveying and monitoring the condition of the property and to define and adopt a consistent conservation approach that will ensure long-term preservation and better inform interpretation.

Overall governance needs to be strengthened to mitigate potential threats due to its fragility and tourism and visitation pressures and to effectively implement the management plan. Recommended measures include the appointment of a cultural officer for the DoA for the property and providing adequate capacity building to address the needs of the property. It is also recommended that the MoU between the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities/DoA and ASEZA, which includes an effective governance model and provides all the necessary financial and technical support for its implementation in the provisions of the revised management plan, are enforced.

Measures need to be taken to better manage tourism at the property, particularly through the enforcement of legal provisions and regulations and through the review of the tourism management plan. The revision should be made to encompass the natural and cultural values of the property and be informed by environmental and cultural heritage impact assessment of the proposed actions for tourism. Specific actions to implement pending the review of the plan include the definition of a maximum number of camps within the buffer zone and the property and providing adequate interpretation and improved communication and promotion of the site as a World Heritage property. Existing legal provisions and regulations should be enforced in order to regulate tourism activities and the establishment and operation of camps within the property, and illegal camps should be urgently removed and degraded areas rehabilitated.

It is further recommended that sustainable funding mechanisms for the management of the property, including benefits for the local Bedouin communities, be established, potentially through the UNDP project.

Finally, should the State Party decide to submit a minor boundary modification by 1 February 2015, care should be taken to clearly identify the zoning around Rum Village and its approach road and to clearly substantiate the need to revise the inscribed boundaries. It should be noted that at the time of the evaluation of the property, IUCN had requested further information from the State Party regarding the exclusion of Rum village and its approach road from the nominated property. In its response, the State Party had noted that the boundary of the nominated area had been “re-adjusted to include the full size of the protected areas as defined in the Wadi Rum protected area by-law and without the exclusion of the land strip from the visitor centre to Rum village.” Therefore, the inscribed property includes Rum village and its approach road.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.56
Wadi Rum Protected Area (Jordan) (C/N 1377)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 35 COM 8B.15 adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),
  3. Notes the report of the 2014 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property and the progress made on the conservation and management recommendations;
  4. Urges the State Party to take urgent measures to ensure the removal of illegal tourist camps from the property, and to rehabilitate degraded areas;
  5. Also urges the State Party to establish an integrated cultural and natural heritage database to fully identify the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value, and to serve as the basis for conservation monitoring, and appropriate interpretation;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure that the updated management plan provides legal measures and policies, backed by the necessary staff and financial resources, to enable effective management of the property and its buffer zone, including the regulation of development activities, tourism infrastructure and facilities, and to integrate the strategy for visitor management including vehicle route control within the property;
  7. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure, in implementing the management plan, provisions for additional and appropriately trained staff within the management unit for the property focused on research, protection and presentation of the geological, geomorphological and cultural values of the property and engagement of national and international research institutions in the management system for the property;
  8. Also requests the State Party to fully implement the requests made by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session and the specific recommendations by the 2014 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN reactive monitoring mission;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2015, a 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 40th session in 2016.
Draft Decision:   38 COM 7B.56

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. RecallingDecision 35 COM 8B.15  adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),
  3. Notes the report of the 2014 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property and the progress made on the conservation and management recommendations;
  4. Urges the State Party to take urgent measures to ensure the removal of illegal tourist camps from the property, and to rehabilitate degraded areas;
  5. Also urges the State Party to establish an integrated cultural and natural heritage database to fully identify the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value, and to serve as the basis for conservation monitoring, and appropriate interpretation;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure that the updated management plan provides legal measures and policies, backed by the necessary staff and financial resources, to enable effective management of the property and its buffer zone, including the regulation of development activities, tourism infrastructure and facilities, and to integrate the strategy for visitor management including vehicle route control within the property;
  7. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure, in implementing the management plan, provisions for additional and appropriately trained staff within the management unit for the property focused on research, protection and presentation of the geological, geomorphological and cultural values of the property and engagement of national and international research institutions in the management system for the property;
  8. Also requests the State Party to fully implement the requests made by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session and the specific recommendations by the 2014 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCNreactive monitoring mission;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, a 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 40th session in 2016. 
Report year: 2014
Jordan
Date of Inscription: 2011
Category: Mixed
Criteria: (iii)(v)(vii)
Documents examined by the Committee
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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