1.         Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) (C 1130)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2003

Criteria  (iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2003-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Corrective measures identified

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet established

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1130/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2003-2003)
Total amount approved: USD 50,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1130/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

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

Previous monitoring missions

November 2002: UNESCO mission for the Makhool Dam project; June 2011: 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/1130/

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 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 Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

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.

Decision Adopted: 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.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 8C.2

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: