1.         Stone Town of Zanzibar (United Republic of Tanzania) (C 173rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(vi)

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/173/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 15,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/173/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: 24,000 USD for the inventory of the public spaces in Zanzibar (Netherlands Funds-in-Trust).

Previous monitoring missions

May 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission; January 2011: ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; September/October 2013: ICOMOS Advisory Mission; October/November 2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/173/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 1 February 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report for the property, which addressed the requests of the Committee.  A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission visited the property from 29 October to 3 November 2014. Both reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/173/documents/.

In its report, the State Party reiterates that it does not believe it has taken any actions to contravene the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) and agreed upon matrix, stating that they remain under the four storey height limit (3 + ground floor) and only exceed it through an allowed penthouse.  In addition, it believes that the new wing of the hotel does not go higher (in absolute height) than the Grade 1 Mambo Msiige building next door taking into account the pitched roofs that would have historically been on Mambo Msiige.  For this reason, it has not halted construction works, as requested by the Committee.  Nevertheless, the State Party acknowledges that the new building has encroached on public beach and states it will take steps to remediate this situation.  It further acknowledges that it currently has a lack of adequate resources and effective management, not as serious however as indicated by previous missions, and will take necessary steps to strengthen management. 

The mission noted the extensive dialogue among the State Party, the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre over a number of years, including discussions leading to an agreed-upon matrix to be used as a guideline for intervention at the Mambo Msiige building site.  Unfortunately, the mission confirmed that the new building, as constructed, was indeed six storeys in height (two storeys higher than the agreed limit), and significantly encroached on both the public beach and adjacent protected open space, and was being finished with inappropriate materials.  Many interior finishings, both at Mambo Msiige and the new building, were considered by the mission to be inconsistent with traditional Swahili construction and the importance of Mambo Msiige as a Grade 1 building.

The mission also found that development pressures had increased unabated, and their management remains a serious challenge. Lack of communication and dialogue between the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority (STCDA), as heritage manager, and other government agencies in Zanzibar, such as the Zanzibar Municipality and Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA), has led to a number of projects being planned that could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including  the proposed Darajani Corridor Project, the proposed Yacht Club Project, the Edible Oils Project, the Malindi Fish Landing Project, and the commercial lease of Tippu Tip House. 

Concerns were also expressed about the state of conservation of the building stock, the use of inappropriate materials in restoration and renovation, and the fact that the open space network in the Stone Town is under considerable threat. 

The mission noted that the Urban Development Control Authority, which brings together many government stakeholders under the auspices of the STDCA, as well as the Heritage Board and Stakeholders Forum, all of which are essential to ensuring the effective and sustainable management of the property, were not operational at the time of the mission. 

The mission also noted that the 2008 Heritage Management Plan and the 2010 Stone Town Conservation and Development Act were not being implemented, nor was the agreed upon Traffic Plan, pointing to an overall continued lack of development control and effective management.  

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The ongoing work on the Mambo Msiige project has had a highly negative impact on the OUV of the property.  In addition to significantly altering the building fabric of a Grade 1 building in the town, it has also introduced a large, non-conforming construction next door.  The new building is six storeys, which is higher than allowed, according to the management plan and building regulations, set out by the State Party for the property. Furthermore, the building has seriously encroached on both the public beach and the protected open space, as well as introduced non-conforming materials to its facade (for example, imitation wood siding panels) and its interiors (for example, marble flooring in Mambo Msiige).  While it is not considered feasible anymore to reduce the height of the new building, it is still essential that the damage be mitigated where possible.  The 2014 mission points out a number of steps that could be taken, such as relocating the pool, reconfiguring the open space and relocating generators that currently take up a big part of it, and replacing some of the most non-conforming materials, etc. It should be noted, however, that according to published sources, the hotel has now opened for business, making it more difficult to carry out the necessary mitigation measures. 

The Mambo Msiige project is symptomatic of a large scale break-down in the management of the property, in part due to the non-implementation of the 2008 Management Plan and the 2010 Stone Town Conservation and Development Act. Without effective communication and management, the many development projects currently in preparation have a strong potential to have an adverse impact on the property, through the creation of major changes to the built environment.  The proposed Development Control Authority, the Heritage Board and the Stakeholders Forum all have the potential to improve the situation somewhat, but at the time of the mission, none had actually been set up and put into function.  The management of the STDCA must be strengthened and in constant contact with other government agencies that solicit and approve development projects. It must also be able to have significant input into development decisions that have a potential to affect the OUV. 

In addition, there is some concern about the physical condition of the building stock and the general lack of adherence to conservation guidelines in restorations and renovations by private owners. 

On its own, the completion of the Mambo Msiige project would constitute an ascertained danger and as such, would be enough to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.  Considering the number of the other proposed development projects and their potential impacts, coupled with the lack of an adequate and effective management, and the general deteriorated state of the buildings in the Stone Town, it is therefore recommended that the Committee consider inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.45

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7B.45, 36 COM 7B. 49, and 38 COM 7B.55, adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) and 38th (Doha, 2014) sessions respectively,
  3. Deeply regrets that the State Party did not halt work on the Mambo Msiige project as requested in the abovementioned decisions, and allowed the developer to complete the project without taking into account the recommendations of the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) and the jointly agreed upon matrix and guidelines for a revised design;
  4. Considers that the newly completed six storey hotel (two stories above the agreed matrix and guidelines and encroaching onto the public beach and protected open space) has a significant adverse impact on the urban form and silhouette of the property and a substantial adverse impact on its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and notes that the State Party, itself, recognizes in its 2015 state of conservation report, the negative impacts of the encroachment;
  5. Urges the State Party to work with the current property management to undertake all feasible mitigation measures, as outlined in the 2014 mission report, to lessen the negative impacts of the hotel on the OUV of the property, and to provide a proposal for this work, including a timeline for implementation for submission to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  6. Also notes that the State Party recognizes the lack of effective management procedures, as evidenced by the fact that the 2008 Heritage Management Plan and the 2010 Stone Town Conservation and Development Act have not yet been implemented, and requests the State Party to begin their implementation as soon as possible;
  7. Further notes that the State Party has taken steps to improve governance of the property through the setting up of a Development Control Authority, the Heritage Board and the Stakeholders Forum, and also requests the State Party to act with urgency to establish these organizations and ensure their effective implementation with appropriate guidance from the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Further requests the State Party not to undertake any development projects until they have been reviewed according to the Management Plan, in collaboration with the proposed new management structures above-mentioned and guided by HIAs, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to engage with urgency in the implementation of the approved Traffic Plan;
  10. Calls upon the international community to provide assistance to the State Party to improve the management capacity and systems for the property;
  11. Invites the State Party to request International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund to strengthen the management and conservation of the property;
  12. Also regrets that the State Party has not complied with all the requests expressed by the Committee in Decision 38 COM 7B.55, in particular related to the lack of significant progress in implementing the conservation plan and in reversing the decay in most of the building stock, in spite of the recommendations of the Committee over several sessions since 2007, leading to the poor overall state of conservation of the property;
  13. Also considers that the serious conservation condition of the property and the lack of effective management and adequate governance has led to inappropriate development such as the completion of the Mambo Msiige project;
  14. Requests moreover the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop a set of corrective measures, a timeframe for their implementation, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  15. Requests in addition the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in 2015 to develop corrective measures and a timeframe for their implementation to be presented to the World Heritage Committee at the next session in 2016 with a view to considering, in the case of confirmation of the ascertained or potential danger to Outstanding Universal Value, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  16. Finally 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 implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.

Decision Adopted: 39 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/8E.Rev,
  2. Congratulates the States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties located within their territories;
  3. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-15/39.COM/8E.Rev, for the following World Heritage properties:
AFRICA ARAB STATES

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

4. Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed in priority by the Advisory Bodies;

5. Takes note that the World Heritage Centre, further to Decision 38 COM 8E, continues to harmonize all sub-headings in the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value and updates names and sizes or buffer zones, as appropriate, following relevant Decisions of the Committee concerning changes of names and Minor Boundary Modifications;

6. Requests the States Parties to provide support to the World Heritage Centre for translation of the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value into English or French respectively, and further requests the World Heritage Centre to upload the two language versions on its web site.