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Abu Mena

Egypt
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Rise in the water table
  • Impact on structures due to earth trembling and other forms of damage likely to result from the use of heavy earth-moving equipment (works completed)
  • Lack of conservation plan, defining short-, medium-, and long-term objectives and establishing technical parameters (materials, techniques, etc.)
  • Need for a management plan, to include research, presentation and interpretation, the role of stakeholders (e.g. the Mar Mena community), staffing, sponsorship, visitor facilities, access, etc.
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • A land-reclamation programme and irrigation scheme with no appropriate drainage mechanism for the agricultural development of the region has caused a dramatic rise in the water table
  • The destruction of numerous cisterns, disseminated around the property, has entailed the collapse of several overlying structures. Huge underground cavities have opened in the north-western region of the property
  • A large, banked road has been built to enable movement within the property
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1279

Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1279

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Identified, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1279
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 1 (from 2001-2014)
Total amount approved : 7,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**

2002: Expert mission; 2005, 2009 and 2012: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On the 30 January 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report; a summary of which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/90/documents. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report as follows:

  • A working group of conservators has been established to prepare the detailed condition surveys;
  • The project has been scoped for the maintenance and operation of the groundwater problem and the impacts from other sources of humidity;
  • A Board of Trustees of key stakeholders has been formed to hold discussion on the removal of inadequate new constructions;
  • A strategic framework and action plan has been developed;
  • The boundary of the buffer zone has been defined and is awaiting approval from the government prior to submitting it to the World Heritage Centre.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

The State Party has responded to several requests by the World Heritage Committee’s Decision 38 COM 7A.1 and has supplied information about the protection of the property. The State Party’s report provided an outline on the strategic framework and action plan which includes:

  • The formation of the Board of Trustees from relevant ministries and key stakeholders (completed);
  • The establishment of a conservation team to commence the conservation of the archaeological remains;
  • The establishment of an archaeological team to undertake the condition surveys;
  • The development of a program for short and long term conservation works;
  • The establishment of an engineering team to undertake documentation and monitoring of the property’s building materials, foundations and groundwater;
  • The completion of the soil stabilization, piling, and the rehabilitation of the roads leading to the site.

This broad outline does not provide comprehensive details how the plan is going to be achieved and when works are going to commence. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit detailed information and plans to the World Heritage Centre before the commencement of works.

It is to be noted that the Conservation Plan foreseen in the project implemented by the World Heritage Centre and funded by the “Fonds Culturel Arts et Ouvrages” (FCAO), and not yet started, shall be revised to avoid overlapping with the activities undertaken by the State Party.

The State Party did not provide information on:

  • The progress of the groundwater project and monitoring;
  • The development of the Management Plan, in consultation with concerned stakeholders, that would address the threats in a comprehensive and integrated manner, and would include research, presentation and interpretation, the role of stakeholders, staffing, sponsorship, visitor facilities, access, etc.;
  • Impact on structures due to earth trembling and other forms of damage likely to result from the use of heavy earth-moving equipment;
  • Details of all ongoing or planned restoration interventions at the property, particularly those at the Great Basilica and the reburial strategy including the inappropriate anastylosis reported by the State Party in 2014, and the remedial actions announced for its removal and “replacement”;
  • The preparation of a conservation plan, defining short-, medium-, and long-term objectives and establishing technical parameters (materials, techniques, etc.).

Though the State Party has made some progress in considering and addressing the concerns of the World Heritage Committee, urgent measures are still required to be implemented to ensure the ongoing protection and conservation of the property. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to implement all the relevant measures mentioned in the previous mission reports and Committee decisions.

Given the above, it is considered that the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) has not yet been fully met and that, although the State Party has made commendable efforts, the corrective measures have yet to be fully implemented.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7A.24
Abu Mena (Egypt) (C 90)
The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.1, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Commends the State Party for its efforts in the implementation of measures at the property and encourages it to sustain these efforts to protect and conserve the property and its buffer zone;
  4. Urges the State Party to continue with the implementation of the corrective measures, with particular attention to the following:
    1. Undertake detailed condition surveys to identify priority interventions to ensure stabilization of archaeological remains,
    2. Continue to monitor the groundwater and to implement the groundwater project,
    3. Develop a conservation plan defining short, medium and long term objectives and technical parameters,
    4. The Board of Trustees to commence discussions with the communities to develop a programme for the removal of inadequate new constructions and the creation of facilities to allow for religious uses in areas outside the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone;
  5. Requests the State Party to develop the management plan, to establish a clear policy framework, identify strategies and actions (with precise timeframes, costs and responsibilities for implementation) on the main issues for the property such as research, presentation and interpretation, the role of stakeholders, staffing, sponsorship, visitor facilities, access. The Plan should be submitted as soon as possible to the World Heritage Centre for review;
  6. Also requests the State Party to submit as soon as possible the modifications to the property and buffer zone boundaries, in accordance with Paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines, for examination by the World Heritage Committee;
  7. Further requests the State Party to submit, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, details of all on-going or planned restoration interventions at the property, particularly those at the Great Basilica and the reburial strategy, for review prior to implementation including Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs);
  8. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, 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 40th session in 2016;
  9. Decides to retain Abu Mena (Egypt) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
39 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of the World Heritage in Danger

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-15/39.COM/7A and WHC-15/39.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 39 COM 7A.38)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 39 COM 7A.39)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 39 COM 7A.18)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosi (Decision 39 COM 7A.44)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 39 COM 7A.45)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.3)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.4)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.5)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.8)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 39 COM 7A.24)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.10)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 39 COM 7A.40)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 39 COM 7A.41)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.20)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 39 COM 7A.15)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 39 COM 7A.25)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 39 COM 7A.26)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 39 COM 7A.27)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 39 COM 7A.11)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 39 COM 7A.21)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 39 COM 7A.22)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 39 COM 7A.12)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 39 COM 7A.28)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 39 COM 7A.29)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 39 COM 7A.46)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 39 COM 7A.47)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.13)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 39 COM 7A.42)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 39 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 39 COM 7A.30)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 39 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 39 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 39 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 39 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 39 COM 7A.35)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 39 COM 7A.23)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 39 COM 7A.43)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.14)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.17)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 39 COM 7A.48)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 39 COM 7A.37)
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7A.24

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.1, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Commends the State Party for its efforts in the implementation of measures at the property and encourages it to sustain these efforts to protect and conserve the property and its buffer zone;
  4. Urges the State Party to continue with the implementation of the corrective measures, with particular attention to the following:
    1. Undertake detailed condition surveys to identify priority interventions to ensure stabilization of archaeological remains,
    2. Continue to monitor the groundwater and to implement the groundwater project,
    3. Develop a conservation plan defining short, medium and long term objectives and technical parameters,
    4. The Board of Trustees to commence discussions with the communities to develop a programme for the removal of inadequate new constructions and the creation of facilities to allow for religious uses in areas outside the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone;
  5. Requests the State Party to develop the management plan, to establish a clear policy framework, identify strategies and actions (with precise timeframes, costs and responsibilities for implementation) on the main issues for the property such as research, presentation and interpretation, the role of stakeholders, staffing, sponsorship, visitor facilities, access. The Plan should be submitted as soon as possible to the World Heritage Centre for review;
  6. Also requests the State Party to submit as soon as possible the modifications to the property and buffer zone boundaries, in accordance with Paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines, for examination by the World Heritage Committee;
  7. Further requests the State Party to submit, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, details of all on-going or planned restoration interventions at the property, particularly those at the Great Basilica and the reburial strategy, for review prior to implementation including Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs);
  8. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, 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 40th session in 2016;
  9. Decides to retain Abu Mena (Egypt) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2015
Egypt
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)
Danger List (dates): 2001-present
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 39COM (2015)
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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