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Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat)

Iraq
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Flooding
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Water infrastructure
  • Other Threats:

    Fragile mud brick structures

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Partial flooding and seepage due to a dam building project;
  • Fragile mud brick structures;
  • Absence of a comprehensive conservation and management plan.
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Nearby construction of a dam entailing partial flooding and seepage;
  • Armed conflict.
Corrective Measures for the property

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Not yet established
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2014

Total amount granted: USD 6,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 1 (from 2003-2003)
Total amount approved : 50,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**

November 2002: UNESCO mission for the Makhool Dam project; June 2011: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

On 29 January 2014, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1130/documents and provides information on the following:

  • Identification of factors that currently affect the conservation of the fabric, including natural elements and lack of sustained conservation and maintenance interventions: The State Party notes that a management and a conservation plan are still lacking although it is mentioned that a plan for comprehensive interventions will be put in place. No timeframe or foreseen process for its development is mentioned in the report.
  • Construction of a shelter at the Royal Cemetery: the report includes information about the construction of a protective shelter (40 by 31 m) that now covers the entire cemetery: The structure is composed of iron beams and covered by resistant glass plates. The State Party reports that three staircases will be fixed on the outside at the southern, eastern and western sides and that the structure will be painted a light yellow colour. It should be noted that the details for the construction of this shelter were not submitted for review in spite of the request made by the World Heritage Committee. The construction of the shelter and its results is illustrated in the report submitted by the State Party.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

The situation faced on the ground makes it difficult to address the range and extent of factors that influence the conservation of the fragile archaeological remains at Ashur. While the State Party is making efforts, conservation and management plans, with precise policies and clear provisions for interventions, have not been developed.

The lack of adequate tools to guide decision-making, in response to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, is illustrated by the construction of the protective shelter over the Royal Cemetery. It is regretted that, in spite of the request made by the World Heritage Committee, the details for this intervention were not submitted for review so that options could be explored jointly with the State Party for the protection of the remains. While a protective shelter might be an alternative for protection from environmental factors, the constructed structure has a significant negative impact on the visual qualities of the property and now constitutes a dominant and intrusive element in the archaeological area. 

In addition, the construction of a protective shelter may have irreversible effects on the remains themselves and does not ensure that decay factors will not continue to occur if it is not accompanied by a comprehensive drainage system. The impacts of this intervention on the conditions of integrity and authenticity of the property underscore the urgent need to define a clear conservation plan, based on the results of the 2011 monitoring mission, to identify needed interventions and an overarching conservation policy that seeks to safeguard the attributes of the property and sustain the conditions of authenticity and integrity. Given the impact of the constructed shelter on the attribute of the property, other options will need to be explored for addressing conservation factors at the sector and to reverse and/or mitigate the generated impacts.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7A.2
Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) (C 1130)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7A.24 adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Takes note of the efforts made by the State Party in addressing the conservation of the property;
  4. Regrets that the protective shelter was built at the Royal Cemetery in spite of the request made to submit details for the intervention for review prior to its construction, notes the physical and visual impacts of the shelter on the attributes of the property and requests the State Party to work with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in identifying options for the archaeological area and to reverse and/or mitigate the impacts generated by the intervention;
  5. Reiterates its request to submit, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines , details of all on-going or planned interventions at the site for review prior to implementation to ensure that no additional impacts are derived from them;
  6. Urges the State Party to submit a request for International Assistance to support the preparation of the conservation and management plans, to include the definition of an overarching conservation policy and to define a time schedule for conservation interventions;
  7. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, proposals for corrective measures and for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, together with a proposed timeframe, and to finalize the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;
  8. Also requests 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;
  9. Decides to retain Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
38 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (retained sites)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-14/38.COM/7A and WHC-14/38.COM/7A.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 38 COM 7A.14)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 38 COM 7A.15)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 38 COM 7A.31)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.34)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 38 COM 7A.21)
  • Colombia, Los Katíos National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.32)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.35)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.36)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.37)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.38)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.39)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.41)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 38 COM 7A.1)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.43)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 38 COM 7A.16)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 38 COM 7A.17)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.33)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 38 COM 7A.28)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 38 COM 7A.2)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 38 COM 7A.3)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 38 COM 7A.4)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 38 COM 7A.44)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 38 COM 7A.24)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 38 COM 7A.25)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 38 COM 7A.45)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 38 COM 7A.5)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 38 COM 7A.20)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 38 COM 7A.22)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.46)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 38 COM 7A.18)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 38 COM 7A.29)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 38 COM 7A.26)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 38 COM 7A.19)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.30)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 38 COM 7A.23)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 38 COM 7A.13)
Draft Decision:   38 COM 7A.2

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decision 37 COM 7A.24 adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),

3.  Takes note of the efforts made by the State Party in addressing the conservation of the property;

4.  Regrets that the protective shelter was built at the Royal Cemetery in spite of the request made to submit details for the intervention for review prior to its construction, notes the physical and visual impacts of the shelter on the attributes of the property and requests the State Party to work with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in identifying options for the archaeological area and to reverse and/or mitigate the impacts generated by the intervention;

5.  Reiterates its request to submit, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, details of all on-going or planned interventions at the site for review prior to implementation to ensure that no additional impacts are derived from them;

6.  Urges the State Party to submit a request for International Assistance to support the preparation of the conservation and management plans, to include the definition of an overarching conservation policy and to define a time schedule for conservation interventions;

7.  Also reiterates its request to the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, proposals for corrective measures and for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, together with a proposed timeframe, and to finalize the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;

8.  Also requests 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;

9.  Decides to retain Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 2014
Iraq
Date of Inscription: 2003
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2003-present
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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