Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Abu Mena

Egypt
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Water (rain/water table)
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Rise of 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.
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
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
Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1279
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 1 (from 2001-2014)
Total amount approved : 7,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 29 January 2016, the State Party of Egypt submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/90/documents/, providing the following information:

  • The groundwater project at the property has stopped owing to problems with the pumping equipment. However, there has been a public bid invited for maintaining and lowering groundwater and it is expected that works will commence in 2016;
  • Other protective programmes, fencing of the archaeological area, site excavations, and conservation works have ceased because of the lack of financial resources;
  • There have been no significant initiatives directed at reversing damage to the property; significant deterioration has occurred to the historic buildings in the baptistery, pilgrims court and the north bathroom;
  • The Alexandria Governorate created a permanent committee for the Antiquities in Alexandria which is responsible for the property and will participate in conserving the property in cooperation with the Ministry of Antiquities and the Abu Mina Monastery. This committee has identified urgent, secondary and long-term solutions for the archaeological site, including short-term monitoring, analysis and management of groundwater, long-term changes to prevent the groundwater problem and the development of a master plan for the property;
  • Encroachments by local communities have been removed from the site and the buffer zone;
  • The Ministry of Antiquities is endeavouring to shift the focus away from individual monuments and buildings towards a comprehensive approach for the conservation of all the elements that contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. It is intended that a complete management system will be in place in 2017, following stakeholder consultation and integrated site documentation;
  • The Ministry of Antiquities and the Abu Mena Monastery administration have co- operatively prepared a proposal project for restoration and rehabilitation of the property;
  • Digital mapping has been updated following the re-drawing of the property boundaries and preparation has commenced for site documentation using 3D Laser scanning in cooperation with the Egyptian National Authority for Remote Sensing and space sciences;
  • A visitor centre project is in preparation, in cooperation with the Monastery administration and Alexandria Governorate.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The report from the State Party indicates that despite the establishment of the permanent Committee for the Antiquities in Alexandria, and efforts by the Ministry of Antiquities, there has been no significant implementation of the corrective measures and actions to safeguard and conserve the OUV of the property due to the lack of financial resources.

The State Party has not provided information or updated the status of a number of matters previously raised by the World Heritage Committee, including:

  • The process for development of the Management Plan, in consultation with concerned stakeholders, that would address the threats in a comprehensive and integrated manner, including research, presentation and interpretation, the role of stakeholders, staffing, sponsorship, visitor facilities, and access; the State Party announces that it is only due to start in 2017;
  • The preparation of a conservation plan, defining short, medium, and long-term objectives and establishing technical parameters (materials, techniques, etc.), which includes a condition surveys to identify priority interventions to ensure stabilization of archaeological remains and the elaboration of a project proposal thereon;
  • Discussions with local 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;
  • Impact on structures caused by 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. The State Party has not yet submitted a revised version of the draft retrospective Statement of OUV following the comments by ICOMOS transmitted in October 2014 by the World Heritage Centre.

The digital map of the property and its buffer zone submitted by the State Party has not been done in conformity with Annex 11 of the Operational Guidelines. The proposed shift in focus from monuments and significant buildings to a more-holistic approach that takes into consideration all the attributes of the property, which contribute to the preservation of its OUV is welcomed. However, in accordance with the corrective measures adopted by the Committee, this approach needs to be presented in the comprehensive Conservation and Management Plans.

The State Party report shows that the issue of the rising water table in the property has not yet been addressed. The saturation of the lower archaeological layers by water from the surrounding reclamation/irrigation project was the main reason the property was put in the Danger List in 2001 and tackling it remains a key corrective measure. The initial response was de-watering by means of pumps. The 2012 Reactive Monitoring mission acknowledged that the methodology of electrical pumping was unsustainable in the long term and proposed that the underlying causes needed to be addressed through a project to modify the irrigation methodology to one using a “drip” method.

It remains extremely urgent to undertake analysis of ways to address the underlying causes of the rising water table, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Irrigation. In the framework of the overall Conservation Plan, adequate expertise should be identified and recruited to carry out studies to elaborate a project to tackle the cause of the rising water table, and to define the appropriate mitigation measures for the archaeological remains once the water table has been lowered and stabilized.

Although the newly-established permanent committee has identified urgent, secondary and long-term solutions for the archaeological site, and the Ministry of Antiquities with the Abu Mena Monastery administration prepared a proposal project for restoration and rehabilitation, it is crucial to first complete all necessary analyses and studies, prior to engaging in any physical works. 

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 been met and the required corrective measures have yet to be implemented.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7A.9
Abu Mena (Egypt) (C 90)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examinedDocument WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. RecallingDecisions 38 COM 7A.1 and 39 COM 7A.24, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014) and 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions respectively,
  3. Notes that encroachments by local communities have been removed from the property and buffer zone;
  4. Expresses its great concern regarding the state of conservation of the property and the implementation level of the recommended corrective measures;
  5. Takes note that the State Party will start the elaboration of a comprehensive and integrated Management Plan for the property in 2017;
  6. Urges the State Party to resume the implementation of the corrective measures, to protect and conserve the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, with particular attention to the following issues:
    1. Prepare a conservation plan for the property, which includes a condition survey and the identification of priority interventions to ensure stabilization of archaeological remains,
    2. Initiate consultations with stakeholders including local 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;
  7. Also urgesthe State Party, and in particular its Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Irrigation, to undertake an analysis of ways to address the underlying causes of the rising water table and elaborate a project to address those causes as well as mitigation measures for the archaeological remains once the water table has been lowered and stabilized;
  8. Requests the World Heritage Centre to assist the State Party in providing adequate expertise thereon, and suggests that the State Party might consider inviting a technical Advisory mission to the property, to be paid for by the State Party, to provide advice on appropriate irrigation and water management technologies;
  9. Also requeststhe State Party to submit a revised modification of the boundaries of both the property and buffer zone, in accordance with Paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines, for examination by the World Heritage Committee;
  10. Further requeststhe 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, the reburial strategy, and visitor centre project, as well as initiatives arising from the project for restoration and rehabilitation of the property prepared by the Ministry of Antiquities and the Abu Mena Monastery administration, for review prior to implementation, such details to include Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA);
  11. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report 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;
  12. Decides to retain Abu Mena (Egypt) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
40 COM 8C.2
Update of the list of World Heritage in Danger (retained sites)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/16/40.COM/7A, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 40 COM 7A.26)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 40 COM 7A.27)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 40 COM 7A.32)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 40 COM 7A.1)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.34)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 40 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.35)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.36)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.37)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.38)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.39)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.41)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 40 COM 7A.9)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.43)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 40 COM 7A.28)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.33)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.48)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 40 COM 7A.10)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.11)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 40 COM 7A.12)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 40 COM 7A.13)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 40 COM 7A.44)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 40 COM 7A.6)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 40 COM 7A.7)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 40 COM 7A.45)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 40 COM 7A.14)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 40 COM 7A.15)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 40 COM 7A.3)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 40 COM 7A.4)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.46)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 40 COM 7A. 30)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 40 COM 7A.49)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 40 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 40 COM 7A.17)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 40 COM 7A.18)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 40 COM 7A.19)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 40 COM 7A.20)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 40 COM 7A.21)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 40 COM 7A.8)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 40 COM 7A.31)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.47)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.50)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 40 COM 7A.5)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 40 COM 7A.23)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 40 COM 7A.24)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 40 COM 7A.25).
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7A.9

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examinedDocument WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. RecallingDecisions 38 COM 7A.1 and 39 COM 7A.24, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014) and 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions respectively,
  3. Notes that encroachments by local communities have been removed from the property and buffer zone;
  4. Expresses its great concern regarding the state of conservation of the property and the implementation level of the recommended corrective measures;
  5. Takes note that the State Party will start the elaboration of a comprehensive and integrated Management Plan for the property in 2017;
  6. Urges the State Party to resume the implementation of the corrective measures, to protect and conserve the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, with particular attention to the following issues:
    1. Prepare a conservation plan for the property, which includes a condition survey and the identification of priority interventions to ensure stabilization of archaeological remains,
    2. Initiate consultations with stakeholders including local 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;
  7. Also urgesthe State Party, and in particular its Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Irrigation, to undertake an analysis of ways to address the underlying causes of the rising water table and elaborate a project to address those causes as well as mitigation measures for the archaeological remains once the water table has been lowered and stabilized;
  8. Requests the World Heritage Centre to assist the State Party in providing adequate expertise thereon, and suggests that the State Party might consider inviting a technical Advisory mission to the property, to be paid for by the State Party, to provide advice on appropriate irrigation and water management technologies;
  9. Also requeststhe State Party to submit a revised modification of the boundaries of both the property and buffer zone, in accordance with Paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines, for examination by the World Heritage Committee;
  10. Further requeststhe 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, the reburial strategy, and visitor centre project, as well as initiatives arising from the project for restoration and rehabilitation of the property prepared by the Ministry of Antiquities and the Abu Mena Monastery administration, for review prior to implementation, such details to include Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA);
  11. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report 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;
  12. Decides to retain Abu Mena (Egypt) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2016
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 (2016) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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.


top