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Kasbah of Algiers

Algeria
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Land conversion
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Underground transport infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Natural erosion
  • Lack of maintenance of dwelling places
  • Loss of traditional conservation techniques
  • Uncontrolled land use
  • Non-operational safeguarding plan
  • Lack of coordination of activities 
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 5 (from 1993-2002)
Total amount approved : 92,600 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**

September 2001: World Heritage Centre Reactive Monitoring mission; from November 2007 to November 2009: Six World Heritage Centre missions financed by the State Party for the Safeguarding Plan and the issue of the metro.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 29 January 2015, a report on the state of conservation of the property and an impact study of the metro project for Algiers was submitted by the State Party. A summary of this report is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/565/documents.  Furthermore, an ICOMOS Advisory mission visited the property in April-May 2013. Progress achieved is contained in these reports, as follows:

  • In the framework of the implementation of the Permanent Plan for the Safeguarding and Valorization (PPSMVSS) of the Kasbah of Algiers, published in 2012, an action plan was developed during the second quarter of 2014 by the Ministry of Culture, in co-ordination with the Wilaya and the presidents of the Local Communal Assemblies (APC) of the three competent communes in the territories of the safeguarded sector, based on a participatory process, to accommodate legal, procedural and customary constraints in the technical domain.
  • The issue of the relocation of populations is fundamental in the implementation of the PPSMVSS, the major difficulty being to intervene in occupied buildings and the resulting reduction in the density of the population of the Kasbah. The 2013 ICOMOS Advisory mission report underlines the need for a general mobilization, more intense consultations with the “stable” population and the establishment of incentives for private owners for the rehabilitation of their properties. It also highlights the need of a better consideration of the human and social dimension of rehabilitation, as well as the need to resolve the problem of the empty lots that, due to the incline of the land, play an important structural role as regards the urban fabric, and should be filled in to halt the danger of the collapse of surrounding buildings.
  • The impact study of the Algiers Metro Project on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Kasbah of Algiers confirms that the development of the Place des Martyrs station has overall taken into consideration the recommendations and earlier decisions of the World Heritage Committee and the 2013 Advisory mission. The Place des Martyrs will remain an open area with, as only development, the access areas to the metro station. The memorial project foreseen on the square has been cancelled. The results of the archaeological excavations, which should be completed in 2015, will result in a scientific and technological programme and the establishment of a museum which will also house this station, and will be presented to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies prior to any commitment relating to their implementation.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

The State Party report raises two important issues: the first concerns the interaction and the co-ordination between the numerous interventions carried out in parallel at the property. Other than co-ordination difficulties, the issue of concordance of timely actions is questioned. Some are still at the operational phase, whereas others are still being studied. This renders the evaluation of real progress accomplished by the PPSMVSS very difficult.  The second difficulty concerns the absence of information on interaction of the Kasbah as an urban entity with its immediate environment.

The State Party has accomplished important efforts in the improvement of the state of conservation of the property despite multiple constraints. The inherent complexity of the conservation of an inhabited property is increased by the technical difficulties (incline of the land, several empty plots in the urban fabric, fragility and insalubrity of numerous buildings, etc.) and its urban context. The present approach for the management of the property appears to be limited to the perimeter of the property (105 ha) as safeguarded sector, inscribed as World Heritage.  However, the implementation of the PPSMVSS would be strengthened if it operated in a holistic approach for the conservation of this urban heritage, as foreseen by the UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscape (2011). This approach would strengthen co-ordination between the concerned institutions and bring together all the components of the project under the same auspices, integrating the Kasbah in a wider urban context with all the dimensions (historical, geographical, topographical, environmental, technical, architectural, socio-cultural, economical, etc.) that interact within and beyond the property. A new Advisory mission, at the invitation of the State Party, could prove useful to develop this approach.

The action plan carried out by the Ministry of Culture appears to have been developed so as to take into account all these considerations and is based largely on the strengthening of co-operation between the key actors in the implementation of the PPSMVSS. It would be very useful for the World Heritage Centre to receive more details on the results obtained since the launching of this plan.

The situation at the Place des Martyrs is now clearer, thanks to the renouncement of any project concerning this highly symbolic open area. The impact, mainly visual, of the access points to the metro station may be considered acceptable if their structure and material used remain as discrete as possible. It is essential that the results of the archaeological excavations are retained and analyzed before the finalization of the museum project within the metro station.

In the light of the above, it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee suggest to the State Party to choose an integrated approach, based on the historic urban landscape in the framework of the implementation of the PPSMVSS. It is also recommended that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with a progress report on the implementation of the PPSMVSS and the use of this approach if adopted, as well as the results of the archaeological excavations carried out at the Place des Martyrs in the framework of the establishment of the metro station.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7B.46
Kasbah of Algiers (Algeria) (C 565)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.46 adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Congratulates the State Party for the important efforts aiming to improve the state of conservation of the property;
  4. Notes however, the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the Permanent Plan for the Safeguarding and Valorization of the property (PPSMVSS), especially due to the co-ordination of problems between the principal actors and intervention projects, but also due to an approach essentially oriented on the safeguarded sector;
  5. Encourages the State Party to consider the use of an integrated approach based on the historic urban landscape for the implementation of the PPSMVSS, to respond to the problems raised in Item 4 of the present decision, and if need be, to invite an Advisory mission, financed by the State Party, to develop the use of this approach;
  6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2015, a full report on the result of the analyses of the archaeological excavations carried out at the Place des Martyrs in the framework of the construction of the metro station as well as the underground museum that will be housed within the station;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016, an updated report, including an analytical one-page summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above-mentioned points, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7B.46

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.46 adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Congratulates the State Party for the important efforts aiming to improve the state of conservation of the property;
  4. Notes however, the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the Permanent Plan for the Safeguarding and Valorization of the property (PPSMVSS), especially due to the co-ordination of problems between the principal actors and intervention projects, but also due to an approach essentially oriented on the safeguarded sector;
  5. Encourages the State Party to consider the use of an integrated approach based on the historic urban landscape for the implementation of the PPSMVSS, to respond to the problems raised in Item 4 of the present decision, and if need be, to invite an Advisory mission, financed by the State Party, to develop the use of this approach;
  6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2015, a full report on the result of the analyses of the archaeological excavations carried out at the Place des Martyrs in the framework of the construction of the metro station as well as the underground museum that will be housed within the station;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016, an updated report, including an analytical one-page summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above-mentioned points, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
Report year: 2015
Algeria
Date of Inscription: 1992
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(v)
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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