1.         Petra (Jordan) (C 326)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1985

Criteria  (i)(iii)(iv)

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/326/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1987-2010)
Total amount approved: USD 167,079
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/326/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

September 2000: ICOMOS mission; March 2004: UNESCO mission; 2009: UNESCO technical expert missions; December 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/326/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

The State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property on 2 February 2011. A joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was carried out on 4-10 December 2010. The mission report is available online at https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/35COM

a) Stabilization of unstable rock in the Siq

The State Party reports that work has continued for the stabilization of a portion of the Siq through a conservation project that includes consolidation, stabilization and anchoring measures. The topographic map and the monitoring of activity of the crack and its vicinity have been concluded. As reported in 2010, preventive measures were also implemented which included the sealing of the crack to prevent further water seepage, the installation of a temporary support wall and tests to match geological, physical and chemical properties of the unstable rock. The anchors have been installed in April 2011 and grouting materials filled in to avoid any gaps. Within the framework of the International Assistance, a rapid risk assessment of the entire Siq will be carried out, and extra-budgetary funds will allow a full assessment of the stability of the Siq including a set of monitoring and mitigation methods. Additional extra-budgetary funds are expected to undertake the risk mapping of the entire property.

The mission verified the implementation of the works but noted that considerable cracks, which can potentially lead to significant detachments, as well as collapses of rock, can be seen throughout the site. It considers that a full risk analysis and mapping is needed of the entire Siq to provide definite solutions to cracks and unstable rocks and prevent potential collapses that might threaten visitor safety and the built environment.

b) State of conservation of the property

The reactive monitoring mission assessed the current state of the property. It reported that lack of maintenance is evident throughout the site and that a large part of conservation works currently implemented are of low quality and are insufficient to ensure the acceptable condition of the monuments and to mitigate decay factors that are affecting both the structures and the surfaces. The mission considers that a holistic conservation plan is urgently needed, with adequate human and financial resources for its implementation. This should also include a risk management plan to mitigate the impacts of vulnerabilities at the property, including earthquakes, flash floods, and fires, among others.

As for presentation and interpretation, the mission noted that this is insufficient and in mostly poor condition and does not reflect the significance of the site. It considers that visitor management and public use is not adequately addressed. Carrying capacity has been exceeded and no regulations have been defined to manage the increasing numbers of visitors. There is congestion at several parts of the property and impacts have been produced on the historic fabric as movement throughout the site is uncontrolled and surveillance is insufficient. The use of animals to facilitate visitation is not controlled enough. The overall situation reflects the lack of a comprehensive plan for public use, which should be a priority objective. Previous initiatives in this respect, such as the Interpretative Plan for Petra Archaeological Plan (2000), should be updated and resources secured to ensure effective implementation.

c) Infrastructure development at the property and the Dara area

The State Party reports that impact assessments of the Dara project were carried out in 1999 and the Department of Antiquities has expressed its concerns about its potential impact. No further information is provided on how the proposal will be revised to address the situation or on the request to include the area as part of the buffer zone of the property.

The mission reports that commercial points and construction of facilities for visitors, such as toilets, have continued to increase without any control or regulations. It noted that restaurants and kiosks have a strong impact on the archaeological landscape, along with the impact caused by diesel generators. As for electricity, although there is a need to improve the existing situation, the existing proposals have not been comprehensively assessed and the required environmental and heritage impact assessments are not foreseen prior to implementation. A similar situation exists in regard to water supply and waste management, where no integral planning has been carried out.

The mission also noted that expected economic growth in the area is likely to increase negative levels of urban development, which, if left unregulated, will erode the qualities of the landscape and therefore impact the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that the precise boundaries of the property and the establishment of a buffer zone, with adequate regulations, remain to be defined in spite of the requests made by the World Heritage Committee.

In December 2010, the World Heritage Centre expressed its concern, based on the preliminary results from the reactive monitoring mission, about the impact of new constructions, in particular the construction of concrete toilets, on the integrity and environment of the property. In January 2011, the State Party responded that construction of facilities would be halted and that constructed elements would only be temporary. However, additional information, including photographic documentation, was received pointing out that constructions were in fact being continued in spite of assurances previously made. Additionally, it was mentioned that a solar power plant was foreseen and that the use of the Turkmaniye exit road was being considered for tourism purposes. As for the latter, information on the proposal has been requested since May 2010 for its evaluation and has not been submitted to date.

d) Management Plan and management arrangements

The State Party reports that a Master Plan, which would incorporate all documents prepared to date, is being prepared and expected to be finalised in late spring 2011. As for the management system, it reports that the creation of an Advisory Committee and of a Technical Committee, with representation from both the authorities and relevant stakeholders, has been proposed and is pending approval by the Government. The Committees would be responsible for conservation, development and management planning and decision-making at the property. No indication is provided on the expected date for approval and on the roles and operation of said Committees. The State Party also reports that 10% of the entrance fees have been allocated to implement conservation actions in the property.

The mission reports that no clear decision-making structures exist for the property. There are several involved agencies with overlapping functions and mandates and roles have not been clearly identified. Lack of communication and coordination among all involved stakeholders, including the local communities, continues to exist which hinders the implementation of holistic strategies for the property. The mission also noted that human, financial and material resources are insufficient and lack the capacities to implement a sustained plan of action for maintenance, conservation, monitoring and protection. As for the Management Plan, the mission reports that in spite of the existence of several documents, no formal plan has been established or legally endorsed so far. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the information about the current state of the property, in particular the conditions of the heritage assets and the continued unregulated developments both at the property and the adjacent areas. They consider that long-standing issues, such as the development and implementation of a comprehensive management plan and the definition of a buffer zone, have remained unresolved, in spite of the requests made by the World Heritage Committee. They wish to highlight that if these issues are not addressed, the attributes that sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property could be considered to be under potential or ascertained threat, in which case the World Heritage Committee might consider the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.49

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.56, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party on the implementation of its recommendations and urges it to finalise the process to establish functioning management arrangements with adequate resources for operation;

4. Expresses its deep concern about the state of conservation of the property and the continued need for implementation of holistic strategies to address pressing conservation, maintenance and protection issues;

5. Notes the results of the December 2010 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission, endorses its recommendations and requests the State Party to:

a) logistically support and collaborate with UNESCO Amman in the continuation of their comprehensive risk management plan for the property, based on updated surveys to identify emergency measures and action plans for monitoring and interventions to mitigate potential threats,

b) develop and implement an integrated conservation plan, based on recommendations of existing management and operational plans, updated condition recording surveys, and identify required conservation, maintenance and protection measures to ensure the conservation of heritage assets and define conservation guidelines and principles to guide future interventions at the property,

c) minimize archaeological excavations until current conservation and maintenance needs are fully addressed and develop regulations for archaeological research at the property,

d) conduct necessary assessments to formally identify and adopt a buffer zone for the site that ensures conformity with the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

6. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013.