1.         Wadi Rum Protected Area (Jordan) (C/N 1377)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2011

Criteria  (iii)(v)(vii)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1377/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1377/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1377/

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:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies

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.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.56

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.