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Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis

Egypt
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Flooding
  • Housing
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Water (rain/water table)
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Raise of the underground water level
  • Risks of flooding (Valleys of Kings and Queens)
  • Absence of a comprehensive Management Plan
  • Major infrastructure and development projects taking place or scheduled
  • Uncontrolled urban development
  • Housing and agricultural encroachment on the West Bank of the Nile
  • Demolitions in the villages of Gurna on the West Bank of the Nile and transfer of the population
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2015

Total amount granted: USD 1,131,000from the Japanese Funds-in-Trust 2002-2004 and 2008 (wall paintings restoration in the tomb of Amenophis III).

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 1 (from 2001-2001)
Total amount approved : 7,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**

2001: ICOMOS mission; 2002: hydrology expert mission; July 2006 and May 2007: World Heritage Centre missions; April 2008: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; May 2009: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On the 29 January 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/87/documents/. The report only addresses some of the recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) namely:

  • The report provides some information on the restoration and conservation works carried out, consisting mainly of cleaning and maintenance works at Karnak Temple, Luxor and Medamoud Temple and Rams Road, as well as in the al-Qurna Archaeological area (Valley of the Kings).
  • A number of ongoing excavation works are listed in the report, as well as the studies and excavations carried out by foreign missions.
  • The State Party confirms that the factors affecting the property are encroachment and construction activities around the area of the property, general deterioration due to natural factors, such as bird droppings and vegetation. Medamoud Temple is reported to be affected by a ground water problem, lack of sanitation and lighting at the site. Further issues reported are exceeding constructions near Rams Road and general decay and neglect due to the lack of funds.
  • No information has been provided concerning the overall management plan, although the report mentions a restoration and maintenance plan, listing the restoration and maintenance activities foreseen at Ramses III, the project for development and restoration of King Ramses II at Luxor and Tod Temple. Restoration works are reported to be outsourced to the American Research Centre and the German Mission.
  • The State Party report lists a great number of development proposals relating to the improvement of the sites, upgrading of monuments, building of a visitor centre and a specialised museum near Rams Road. Further brief information includes the proposal for the removal of monuments from Medamoud Temple to Karnak Temple for the purpose of renovating the site. The report also mentions the organisation of a training programme to raise the capacities of archaeologists.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

While the report provides a list of information concerning the ongoing and planned restoration and maintenance works at the property, no further details have been provided. It is not clear to what extent the activities listed constitute essential stabilisation works. No details have been provided on infra-structural projects, as requested by the Committee. Recalling the Committee’s previous recommendations and decisions, as well as previous reports highlighting the vulnerabilities of the property stemming from the lack of an integrated management plan, there is concern about the current situation.

Considering the lack of information provided concerning progress made toward the development of an integrated management plan and the seeming lack of a comprehensive policy for the property, it is considered that this constitutes a threat to the integrity of the property.  In addition, while no further information is available concerning the encroachments and construction activities mentioned in the report and highlighted in previous state of conservation reports, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to provide detailed information on the planning and design of proposed and on-going projects, in particular those related to infrastructure development, for review prior to implementation.

Furthermore, due to the lack of detailed information and in view of the above mentioned concerns, it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to invite a Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to consider these and assist the State Party in elaborating the terms of reference for the development of an integrated management plan.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7B.49
Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis (Egypt) (C 87)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.48, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Noting the maintenance and restoration works carried out at the property, as well as proposed site development activities outlined in the state of conservation report,
  4. Expresses its concern about the factors affecting the property and the seeming lack of a comprehensive policy, which constitutes a threat to the integrity of the property;
  5. Urges the State Party to develop, as a matter of priority, an integrated management plan for the property and to reduce all interventions and development measures until such a plan has been developed and adopted;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to provide detailed information on the planning and design of proposed and on-going projects, in particular those related to infrastructure development, including Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to approval and implementation;
  7. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to consider the above, evaluate the state of conservation of the property and assist the State Party in elaborating the terms of reference for the development of an integrated management plan;
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 41st session in 2017.
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7B.49

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.48, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Noting the maintenance and restoration works carried out at the property, as well as proposed site development activities outlined in the state of conservation report,
  4. Expresses its concern about the factors affecting the property and the seeming lack of a comprehensive policy, which constitutes a threat to the integrity of the property;
  5. Urges the State Party to develop, as a matter of priority, an integrated management plan for the property and to reduce all interventions and development measures until such a plan has been developed and adopted;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to provide detailed information on the planning and design of proposed and on-going projects, in particular those related to infrastructure development, including Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to approval and implementation;
  7. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to consider the above, evaluate the state of conservation of the property and assist the State Party in elaborating the terms of reference for the development of an integrated management plan;
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 41st session in 2017.
Report year: 2015
Egypt
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(iii)(vi)
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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