Tipasa (Algeria) (C 193)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1982
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/193/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 75,900
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/193/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount granted: USD 9,564 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust
Previous monitoring missions
2002: World Heritage Centre and experts missions; March 2006: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2017: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Natural degradation caused by littoral erosion, marine salt and vegetation covering part of the inscribed sectors
- Deterioration of the remains due to vandalism, theft and uncontrolled visitation causing accumulation of rubbish
- Urbanisation on the outskirts of the property where, in the absence of a defined buffer zone, illegal construction provokes land disputes
- Lack of capacities for site conservation, unsuitable restoration techniques, and poor conservation conditions for the archaeological remains
- Proposed port development
- Management activities
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/193/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017
On 1 December 2016, in response to Decision 39 COM 7B.47 (Bonn, 2015), the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, an analytical summary of which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/193/documents/ and which contains the following information:
- Conservation of the property: a programme of regular maintenance and weeding of the site as well as security missions have been undertaken by the State Party. A permanent control of the state of conservation of the property is established, including documentation of the site, control of the archaeological structures around the property and the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania, and objects exhibited at the museum or kept in reserve. In addition, a signage study and a demarcation operation of the Mausoleum of Mauretania were carried out;
- Promotion of the archaeological site: Promotion and awareness-raising activities for the general public, especially young people, through cultural programmes have been carried out. In order to prevent natural risks that threaten the property, programmes of cooperation and exchanges with the universities for documentation and 3D scanning of the archaeological site have been set up. However, no additional information on this subject is mentioned;
- Plan for the Protection and Development of Tipasa Archaeological Sites (PPMVSA): Protection and enhancement actions were carried out in consultation with the various directorates of the Wilaya concerned. These actions include a regular review by the Directorate of Culture of applications for building and extension permits in order to guarantee the visual integrity of the archaeological site, the installation of a lighting system for the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania, reopened to the public, and the recuperation of a reception area at the Mausoleum. Nevertheless, all the projects registered under the PPMVSA are affected by budgetary restrictions. The report also raises the issue of rainwater, evacuated by natural runoff passing through archaeological remains, and describes the measures taken to reduce its effects;
- Reinforcement of the Tipasa cliff: Work is underway in accordance with the study carried out as part of the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) of the project for the enhancement of the Tipasa Port, transmitted to the World Heritage Centre in March 2016.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
Note should be taken of the regular monitoring of the state of conservation of the property and its development as well as its promotion to the general public by the State Party.
The submission by the State Party of a first version of the HIA of the port development project, including a description of the current state of the site and its condition after the project was completed, is welcomed.
In April 2017, a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission was able to address the issue of the content of this HIA. The mission recommended the resumption of this study on the basis of the ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage Properties. Concerning the work of protection of the cliff against the waves that was in progress during the mission, the latter recommended reconsidering the design of the project component, which foresees the construction of an embankment wall composed of geo-synthetic inclusions at the foot of the cliff In order to seek a more technically- and landscape-friendly solution, and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for consideration by the Advisory Bodies. Concerning the pressure related to the development of the city of Tipasa, the mission was informed by the Ministry of Culture that a guidance note was sent to all local persons concerned whether directly involved in the management of World Heritage sites or implicated in the installation of development projects likely to affect the OUV of these sites. Thus, any project likely to have an impact, including visual impact on a given property, must be approved by the Ministry of Culture
The problem of natural rainwater run-off in the East and West parks and its stagnation, as in the case of the amphitheatre, is likely to accentuate the deterioration of the archaeological structures and should be given special attention by the State Party. The mission recommends conducting archaeological surveys to identify the old water drainage systems and explore the possibility of making them operational as a first step in addressing this problem.
The project to enhance the port and the protected area, a model of which was presented to the mission, requires technological improvements and a revision of the landscape project, particularly regarding the choice of materials in order to ensure its integration within the property. The mission found that the jetty built in front of the port between 2006 and 2009 for climatic reasons constitutes a real visual rupture with the sea as viewed from the port. This jetty should be integrated into the enhancement project and also adapted so as to mitigate its visual impact and integrate it into the landscape. Moreover, the mission recommended the extension of the buffer zone to the maritime area to prevent future interventions likely to have an impact on the visual integrity of the property and its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).
In order to address the issues related to the conservation and management of the property identified during the mission, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to undertake the organization of an expert meeting, in order to examine experiences of other World Heritage sites where problems similar to those of Tipasa have been addressed and satisfactory solutions envisaged.
It is also recommended that the Committee request the State Party to finalize the updated Management Plan, the structure of which was made available to the advisory mission, to forward it to the World Heritage Centre for consideration, and to continue the implementation of the PPVMSA.
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.74
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B.Add,
- Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.47, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
- Takes note of the progress made by the State Party in the regular monitoring of the state of conservation of the property and its promotion to the general public, and the transmission to the World Heritage Centre of the first version of the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) of the project for the enhancement of the port of Tipasa;
- Encourages the State Party to pursue the implementation of the Plan for the Protection and Development of Tipasa Archaeological Sites (PPVMSA) and the guidelines for monitoring the urban development around the property, including the impact on the visual integrity of the property;
- Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit the updated Management Plan, when finalized, to the World Heritage Centre for examination by ICOMOS;
- Expresses its concern about the possible negative effect of rainwater runoff and its stagnation on the archaeological structures, and urges the State Party to consider the solution proposed by the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission of April 2017 concerning the conduct of archaeological surveys to identify and operationalize the old rainwater drainage systems;
- Requests the State Party to take into account the recommendations of the 2017 advisory mission and in particular:
- Continue the HIA of the port enhancement project on the basis of the Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage Properties drawn up by ICOMOS in 2011, and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies,
- Suspend the placing at the foot of the cliff of an embankment wall composed of geo-synthetic inclusions pending further reflection in order to find a more suitable solution from a technical and landscape point of view, and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies,
- Integrate the landscaping of the jetty built between 2006 and 2009 with the port enhancement project in order to mitigate the jetty’s visual impact and integrate it into the landscape,
- Consider extending the buffer zone to maritime space to prevent future interventions likely to have an impact on the visual integrity of the property and its Outstanding Universal Value,
- Organize an expert meeting to examine experiences at other World Heritage sites where issues similar to those of Tipasa have been addressed and satisfactory solutions envisaged;
- Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 43rd session in 2019.