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Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat)

Iraq
Factors affecting the property in 2017*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Flooding
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • War
  • Water infrastructure
  • Other Threats:

    Fragile mud brick structures

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Flooding
  • Management activities
  • Managements systems/management plan
  • Water infrastructure
  • Partial flooding and seepage due to a dam building project
  • Fragile mud brick structures
  • Absence of a comprehensive conservation and management plan
  • Destruction and damage due to the armed conflict
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Nearby construction of a dam entailing partial flooding and seepage
  • Armed conflict
Corrective Measures for the property

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Not yet established
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2017

Total amount granted (for all World Heritage properties of Iraq):

  • USD 6,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust
  • USD 1.5 million by the Government of Japan (for cultural heritage, including World Heritage)
  • USD 154,000 by the Government of Norway (for cultural heritage, including World Heritage)
  • EUR 300,000 by the Government of Italy (for cultural heritage, including World Heritage)
  • USD 35,000 by the Government of the Netherlands (for cultural heritage, including World Heritage)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2017
Requests approved: 1 (from 2003-2003)
Total amount approved : 50,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2017**

November 2002: UNESCO mission for the Makhool Dam project; June 2011: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 31 January 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1130/documents. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report, as follows:

  • The property was fully liberated in mid-December 2016 after two years of occupation by extremist armed groups. Soon after, the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH) undertook a rapid preliminary assessment of the damage incurred. It has begun cleaning the property and preparing for emergency and preventive work;
  • The State Party has determined that an immediate intervention is required to prevent numerous components from falling, particularly at Tabira Gate. It envisions a quick conservation campaign with the assistance of the international community, once the fragile security situation has been stabilized;
  • The Royal Cemetery has extensive damage due to rainwater, the protective roof over the cemetery having been damaged;
  • Before any work on the property is commenced, the State Party requests the World Heritage Committee to send a team of experts to assess the damage in order to prepare a conservation plan to guide future work.

The State Party recalls the obligation, under international agreements, of all warring parties to protect cultural property in times of armed conflict. It further recommends international action for an immediate and rapid campaign of initial conservation for sites that have been liberated; to send high level missions to assess the damage at World Heritage properties; to encourage universities and scientific institutions to begin the work of conservation; and to initiate long-term strategic planning for historic sites in the fields of protection and management.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2017

On 3 February 2017, UNESCO undertook a rapid on-site assessment of the property and confirmed the reported damages, highlighting the urgent need to install a shelter over the royal tombs. The site visit reported that the property was not fenced, but was guarded to prevent looting. On 23 and 24 February 2017, UNESCO and the Iraqi Government organized an International Coordination Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Liberated Areas of Iraq. The Conference gathered the international scientific community to assess with the Iraqi authorities the situation in these areas and to outline priorities in terms of needed actions and resources. The Conference laid the groundwork for emergency, medium- and long-term action plans; one of its outcomes was also to establish a joint UNESCO-Iraq Steering Committee to coordinate national and international initiatives for the safeguarding and restoration of cultural heritage in the liberated areas of Iraq.

The recent rapid emergency assessment of the property represents an encouraging and laudable action on the part of the SBAH, and it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit a full copy of this preliminary assessment for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies. Nevertheless, the lack of detailed information about the state of conservation of the property (for the third consecutive year) continues to be a very grave concern. It is essential, as soon as security conditions permit, that the responsible authorities, in close collaboration with the UNESCO Office in Iraq, carry out a full and detailed assessment of the damages incurred, prior to any action on the ground. Protection and emergency stabilization work should be undertaken only in cases where collapse or further damage is imminent, according to the principle of minimal intervention. Architectural, sculptural and relief elements found at the property and resulting from conflict-related damages such as intentional destructions, should be retrieved and gathered in a safe location, as outlined in the February 2017 International Coordination Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Liberated Areas of Iraq . It is recommended that, once security conditions permit, a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission be sent to assist in assessing the damage, preparatory to a comprehensive conservation plan being prepared.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2017
41 COM 7A.33
Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) (C 1130)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.10, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Commends the State Party for undertaking a rapid emergency assessment of the property, and requests it to submit a copy of this assessment for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  4. Expresses its great concern about the state of conservation of the property following intentional destructive acts, and about the continuing lack of detailed information on the state of conservation of the property, and also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed about the situation on the ground;
  5. Encourages the State Party to continue to pursue efforts to ensure the protection of the property, despite the difficult prevailing situation, and in particular to start implementing urgently the priority actions outlined at the International Coordination Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Liberated Areas of Iraq (UNESCO, February 2017), with the support of UNESCO and the international community;
  6. Urges all parties associated with the situation in Iraq to refrain from any action that would cause further damage to cultural and natural heritage of the country and to fulfil their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage;
  7. Launches an appeal to all Member States of UNESCO to cooperate in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage coming from Iraq as per the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2199 of February 2015, 2253 of December 2015 and 2347 of March 2017;
  8. Calls on all UNESCO Member States to support emergency safeguarding measures, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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 42nd session in 2018;
  10. Decides to retain Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
41 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/17/41.COM/7A, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add and WHC/17/41.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 41 COM 7A.54)
    • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 41 COM 7A.55)
    • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 41 COM 7A.2)
    • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 41 COM 7A.23)
    • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.4)
    • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 41 COM 7A.24)
    • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.6)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.7)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.8)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.9)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.10)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.11)
    • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 41 COM 7A.32)
    • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.3)
    • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.18)
    • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 41 COM 7A.33)
    • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.34)
    • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 41 COM 7A.35)
    • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 41 COM 7A.36)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 41 COM 7A.37)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 41 COM 7A.38)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 41 COM 7A.39)
    • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 41 COM 7A.40)
    • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 41 COM 7A.41)
    • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 41 COM 7A.14)
    • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 41 COM 7A.28)
    • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 41 COM 7A.29)
    • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 41 COM 7A.30)
    • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 41 COM 7A.56)
    • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 41 COM 7A.15)
    • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 41 COM 7A.42)
    • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 41 COM 7A.43)
    • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 41 COM 7A.25)
    • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 41 COM 7A.26)
    • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.16)
    • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 41 COM 7A.21)
    • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 41 COM 7A.19)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 41 COM 7A.44)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 41 COM 7A.45)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 41 COM 7A.46)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 41 COM 7A.47)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 41 COM 7A.48)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 41 COM 7A.49)
    • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 41 COM 7A.31)
    • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 41 COM 7A.22)
    • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.17)
    • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.1)
    • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 41 COM 7A.57)
    • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 41 COM 7A.27)
    • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 41 COM 7A.51)
    • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 41 COM 7A.52)
    • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 41 COM 7A.53)
      Draft Decision: 41 COM 7A.33

      The World Heritage Committee,

      1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
      2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.10, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
      3. Commends the State Party for undertaking a rapid emergency assessment of the property, and requests it to submit a copy of this assessment for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
      4. Expresses its great concern about the state of conservation of the property following intentional destructive acts, and about the continuing lack of detailed information on the state of conservation of the property, and also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed about the situation on the ground;
      5. Encourages the State Party to continue to pursue efforts to ensure the protection of the property, despite the difficult prevailing situation, and in particular to start implementing urgently the priority actions outlined at the International Coordination Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Liberated Areas of Iraq (UNESCO, February 2017), with the support of UNESCO and the international community;
      6. Urges all parties associated with the situation in Iraq to refrain from any action that would cause further damage to cultural and natural heritage of the country and to fulfil their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage;
      7. Launches an appeal to all Member States of UNESCO to cooperate in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage coming from Iraq as per the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2199 of February 2015, 2253 of December 2015 and 2347 of March 2017;
      8. Calls on all UNESCO Member States to support emergency safeguarding measures, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
      9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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 42nd session in 2018;
      10. Decides to retain Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
      Report year: 2017
      Iraq
      Date of Inscription: 2003
      Category: Cultural
      Criteria: (iii)(iv)
      Danger List (dates): 2003-present
      Documents examined by the Committee
      SOC Report by the State Party
      Report (2017) .pdf
      arrow_circle_right 41COM (2017)
      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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