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Historic Town of Zabid

Yemen
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Housing
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Serious degradation of the city’s heritage (many houses and the ancient souq are in an alarming deterioration state)
  • Large percentage of the city's houses replaced by inappropriate concrete buildings
  • Large sections of the city’s open spaces have been privatized, either illegally or informally and more than 30% of these built-up
  • Lack of conservation measures and supportive development

 

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Serious deterioration of the built heritage (a high percentage of the residential houses being replaced by concrete and multi-storey buildings);
  • The remaining  houses in the city are rapidly deteriorating, due to the prevailing low income of the inhabitants;
  • Since the souq activities have been transferred outside the city, the ancient souq is almost empty and free from any type of activity and the shops are falling apart;
  • The traditional economic role of the city has vanished;
  • The city in general, is lacking any conservation and rehabilitation strategies.
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/4357

Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted; see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1282

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1282

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2015

Total amount granted: USD 14,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust and the France-UNESCO Co-operation Agreement.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 9 (from 1994-2014)
Total amount approved : 188,997 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**

2002 and 2003: international expertise; December 2004: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; January 2009: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 31 January 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, a summary of which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/611/documents/.

The State Party reports that Yemen continues to suffer significant political and socio-economic disturbances, which affect the heritage preservation and development.

However, the State Party reports that, despite scarce available resources, the Ministry of Culture has endeavoured to exercise its responsibilities for the protection of cultural heritage, particularly places located within the boundaries of the property, in response to Decision 38 COM 7A.13 of the World Heritage Committee (Doha, 2014).

The Ministry of Culture, represented by the General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities in Yemen (GOPHCY) in collaboration with the German Agency for International Corporation (GIZ), has prepared a draft “National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020”, (Republic of Yemen, Ministry of Culture, GOPHCY).

During 2015, it is proposed that an Action Plan be developed in line with the strategic objectives of the Strategy. The Strategy is also seen as a key document for attracting much needed resources.

Other conservation activities have been undertaken, including:

  • continuing implementation of the infrastructure projects such as road stone pavement construction, and traditional building maintenance;
  • installation and maintenance of services;
  • restoration works at two historic mosques in Zabid;
  • establishment of a fund for rehabilitation of five private traditional buildings; and
  • progress with the restoration of two historic schools.

The State Party further reports that meetings have occurred with the community and that GIZ has also contributed to cooperative meetings with the Zabid urban development forum to elaborate plans for greater community awareness.

The State Party acknowledges the continued support received from GIZ and the ongoing pilot project funded by the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH), the  Category 2 Centre established in Bahrain. It has also called on the wider international community to offer further support for preventing deterioration and facilitating sustainable development.

The State Party reports that it submitted two years ago clarification on the boundaries of the property at the time of inscription, but has not finalized the buffer zone or submitted a minor boundary modification request.

The State Party acknowledges that limited progress has been made towards the Desired state of conservation for removal from of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), but expresses continuing commitment including proposed involvement of the Higher Ministerial Coordination Committee for Zabid.

The State Party has not yet started implementing the International Assistance Request on “Community participation programme for better conservation process” (IA2014-2664) because of the current situation but intends to initiate it as soon as possible with local resources.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

The preparation of the draft: “National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020” is welcome, as are its specific preservation provisions and strategic objectives, which include:

  • Improving the legal and legislative environment,
  • Improving the institutional setup,
  • Capacity building of human resources,
  • Activating the conservation and protection processes to apply the requirements of the World Heritage Convention,
  • Assuring and diversifying the funding resources,
  • Raising awareness and the community participation,
  • Encouraging the economic activities and developing traditional handicrafts products,
  • Developing the joint work with the concerned institutions and authorities.

The strategic objectives of this national strategy align with elements of the ‘Urgent Action Plan’ and DSOCR previously adopted by the World Heritage Committee for Zabid. During 2015, there will be an action plan derived from the strategic objectives of the National Strategy. Once the Action plan has been compiled, the Strategy will be adopted in 2016. However, without both political support and substantial allocation of public-sector resources, implementation of these objectives is likely to prove difficult.

In the report submitted in 2014, the State Party reported that Bylaw regulations to support the Law of Protection of historic sites, monuments, cities and their urban and cultural heritage that was adopted in 2013 would be prepared but these have not been submitted and there appears to have been no substantive implementation of these statutes.

The political and security situation in Yemen continues to provide an extremely challenging context for heritage preservation and it is to be commended that notwithstanding these great difficulties some progress has been made with small scale conservation initiatives and with discussion on how to foster greater engagement of the local communities. 

There remains an urgent need to ensure that this incremental progress continues in order to reverse decline in the city and to ensure that the valuable work undertaken so far is not reversed. It would be desirable for a further Reactive Monitoring mission to visit the property and consider progress with the corrective measures as soon as the situation allows.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7A.37
Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) (C 611)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.13, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Commends the State Party for the preparation of the draft “National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020” and the proposal for a complementary Action Plan to be developed during 2015;
  4. Also commends the State Party for the efforts that have occurred in relation to physical preservation and community engagement in Zabid, notwithstanding the difficult security situation;
  5. Welcomes the continuing support of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the support of the World Heritage Category 2 Centre (ARC-WH) in Bahrain;
  6. Noting the urgent need for further resources to support regeneration and conservation projects, encourages the State Party to continue its work in promoting the need for international support;
  7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre details of clearer boundaries of the property and the buffer zone and other technical requirements as requested and to submit a minor boundary modification proposal by 1 February 2016 for review by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  8. Requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to advise on the proposal for a complementary Action Plan for the “National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020” to be developed during 2015;
  9. Also requests 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 revised implementation plan and programme, for the Urgent Action Plan’ and for the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  10. Decides to retain the Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) 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.37

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.13, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Commends the State Party for the preparation of the draft “National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020” and the proposal for a complementary Action Plan to be developed during 2015;
  4. Also commends the State Party for the efforts that have occurred in relation to physical preservation and community engagement in Zabid, notwithstanding the difficult security situation;
  5. Welcomes the continuing support of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the support of the World Heritage Category 2 Centre (ARC-WH) in Bahrain;
  6. Noting the urgent need for further resources to support regeneration and conservation projects, encourages the State Party to continue its work in promoting the need for international support;
  7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre details of clearer boundaries of the property and the buffer zone and other technical requirements as requested and to submit a minor boundary modification proposal by 1 February 2016 for review by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  8. Requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to advise on the proposal for a complementary Action Plan for the “National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020” to be developed during 2015;
  9. Also requests 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 revised implementation plan and programme, for the Urgent Action Plan’ and for the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  10. Decides to retain the Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2015
Yemen
Date of Inscription: 1993
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2000-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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