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Archaeological Site of Cyrene

Libya
Factors affecting the property in 2017*
  • Crop production
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Governance
  • Housing
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Surface water pollution
  • War
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage (Inadequate protection leading to threat to rock-hewn monumental tombs, vandalism and the development of agricultural activities in the rural zone)
  • Governance
  • Housing (Urban encroachment and uncontrolled building construction leading to destruction of archaeological areas)
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities (Need for a presentation and interpretation system for visitors and the local population)
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Crop production
  • Management activities (Inappropriate earlier restoration work)
  • Management systems / management plan (Need to complete the Conservation and Management Plan in order to co-ordinate actions in the short- and medium-term; Need to provide a detailed map at the appropriate scale showing the boundaries of the property and buffer zone, as well as regulatory measures foreseen to ensure the protection of the property; Inadequate on-site security and control systems) 
  • Surface water pollution (Problem of discharge of sewage from the modern town into the Wadi Bel Ghadir)
  • Conflict situation prevailing in the country
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Conflict situation prevailing in the country
Corrective Measures for the property

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet identified

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2017
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2017**

January 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; August 2008: World Heritage Centre mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 12 February 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/documents/. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report, as follows:

  • Information is provided on the measures undertaken by the Department of Antiquities of Cyrene (DOAC) to mitigate the risks linked to the unstable situation in the area surrounding the property, and in the country in general, including an administrative restructuring and the involvement of local stakeholders (communities, authorities, police, universities, etc.), capacity building (tourist and archaeological protection police, young archaeologists, DOAC staff on the use of GIS), awareness raising (schools) and site cleaning activities, as well as restoration works, notably on mosaics;
  • Concerning the key issue of urban encroachment, an agreement between the City Council of Shahat and the DOAC foresees that illegal constructions will be removed. The report states that there is no record of illegal construction within or around the archaeological property since 2015;
  • The DOAC underlines the difficulties it faces in creating a map showing the precise boundaries of the property and buffer zone, and requests the World Heritage Centre to organize a follow-up workshop to the one held in Tunis in October 2015;
  • In terms of security, the CCTV cameras purchased to improve the protection of key areas at the site are not operational due to missing components;
  • The deterioration of inappropriate earlier restoration work and the lack of skilled staff to address this issue add to the financial difficulties faced by the DOAC;
  • The local authorities are trying to address the discharge of sewage, a major public health issue having a strong impact on the entire area in which the property is located;
  • The DOAC has started to fence a number of archaeological areas in the property to secure them and to stop animals from grazing there;
  • The DOAC considers that, in addition to its efforts and those of the local authorities and communities, the more effective and long-term conservation and management of the property will require stronger support from the international community.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2017

The information provided by the DOAC demonstrates its commitment to the conservation of the property despite the prevailing conflict situation in the country, and constitutes a substantial progress in the understanding of the situation at the property. At the same time, the report raises a number of questions.

The DOAC reports “no critical damage or serious threats” at the property, while underlining the fact that urban encroachment remains the major issue. It also states that, “Since 2015, there has been no new recording of buildings around or within the archaeological site”. In the UNOSAT Interim Activity Report of 20 December 2016, an analysis of satellite images taken between 9 and 12 November 2012 and others taken between 18 and 20 March 2016 shows 1,839 new constructions in Cyrene. However, the absence of a clear map showing the precise boundaries of the property and its buffer zone, and the impossibility, for the time being, of visiting the property, make it difficult to gauge whether these are in the property or its settings. In either case, they appear to have a considerable impact on the property.

The DOAC’s request for assistance to organize a workshop to define the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone should be given priority. It is essential to see precisely where the threats to the property are, and where the DOAC undertook the measures it presents in its report. The agreement between the City Council of Shahat and the DOAC that foresees the removal of illegal constructions is a positive step. Nevertheless, there is no indication whether this measure has already been applied.

Regarding the restoration works carried out at the property, notably in the Odeon area, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide a detailed report on these works, including technical explanations on why these interventions were necessary at this stage.

The actions that the DOAC has been able to undertake at the property over the past year, despite a prevailing unstable situation, are very important steps toward improving the situation in terms of management and conservation. The mobilization of heritage professionals as well as civil society are key achievements that the DOAC should use as bases for further actions. The important efforts made by the DOAC would be more effective and easier to assess by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies if they were implemented in the framework of the short- and medium-term measures identified during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage, held in Tunis in May 2016. The report is available at the following web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1496.

It remains essential that the joint mission requested by the Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015) be sent to the property as soon as the security conditions permit. In the meantime, it is important that DOAC pursue its efforts to keep the World Heritage Centre updated on the situation on the ground, as well as on the further implementation of the measures it has launched, while addressing, to the extent possible, the comments and requests of the Committee.

Other sources report that there is an increasing awareness at the level of the civil society and local authorities about the necessity to protect heritage in Libya, especially the sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. Such awareness needs to be harnessed to promote understanding of the decision of the Committee, at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), to inscribe the property, as well as the other four Libyan World Heritage properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger, as a means of raising awareness of its problems and mobilizing the support of the international community.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2017
41 COM 7A.37
Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Libya) (C 190)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7B.24 and 40 COM 7B.106, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Commends the State Party for the important efforts made to ensure the protection and conservation of the property, despite the prevailing unstable situation and difficult working conditions on the ground;
  4. Expresses its concern regarding the numerous difficulties faced by the Department of Antiquities of Cyrene (DOAC) in the protection of the property, especially from urban encroachment;
  5. Reiterates its call for an increased mobilization of the international community to provide more financial and technical support to Libya to implement the short- and medium-term measures identified during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage (Tunis, May 2016);
  6. Requests the World Heritage Centre to assist the State Party to organize as soon as possible a follow-up technical workshop to explore ways for the monitoring and management of the property and for the elaboration of a map indicating the precise boundaries of the property and of its buffer zone, as well as the locations of encrochments and interventions of the DOAC , and any additional information useful in the conservation of the property and its buffer zone;
  7. Also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre regularly informed of the evolution of the situation at the property and of any new measures undertaken to ensure the protection and conservation of the property, and to provide a detailed report on the restoration works carried out, including technical explanations justifying these interventions;
  8. Reiterates its request that the State Party invite the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS to carry out a mission to Libya as soon as the security conditions permit;
  9. Calls on all UNESCO Member States to support emergency safeguarding measures, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
  10. 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;
  11. Decides to retain Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Libya) 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.37

      The World Heritage Committee,

      1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
      2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7B.24 and 40 COM 7B.106, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
      3. Commends the State Party for the important efforts made to ensure the protection and conservation of the property, despite the prevailing unstable situation and difficult working conditions on the ground;
      4. Expresses its concern regarding the numerous difficulties faced by the Department of Antiquities of Cyrene (DOAC) in the protection of the property, especially from urban encroachment;
      5. Reiterates its call for an increased mobilization of the international community to provide more financial and technical support to Libya to implement the short- and medium-term measures identified during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage (Tunis, May 2016);
      6. Requests the World Heritage Centre to assist the State Party to organize as soon as possible a follow-up technical workshop to explore ways for the monitoring and management of the property and for the elaboration of a map indicating the precise boundaries of the property and of its buffer zone, as well as the locations of encrochments and interventions of the DOAC , and any additional information useful in the conservation of the property and its buffer zone;
      7. Also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre regularly informed of the evolution of the situation at the property and of any new measures undertaken to ensure the protection and conservation of the property, and to provide a detailed report on the restoration works carried out, including technical explanations justifying these interventions;
      8. Reiterates its request that the State Party invite the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS to carry out a mission to Libya as soon as the security conditions permit;
      9. Calls on all UNESCO Member States to support emergency safeguarding measures, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
      10. 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;
      11. Decides to retain Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Libya) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
      Report year: 2017
      Libya
      Date of Inscription: 1982
      Category: Cultural
      Criteria: (ii)(iii)(vi)
      Danger List (dates): 2016-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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