1.         Qal’at al-Bahrain – Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun (Bahrain) (C 1192ter)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2005

Criteria  (ii)(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/1192/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2002-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 26,500
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1192/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

January-February 2006: World Heritage Centre mission; June 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; July 2012: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1192/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 7 March 2017, the State Party submitted a report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1192/documents/, and addresses the Committee’s requests at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015). The report provides the following information:

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

The State Party is pursuing its efforts to ensure the protection and conservation of the property. However, it appears from the report that the optimal implementation of the CCMP (2013-2018) depends on the improvement of the budgetary conditions, the approval of the revision of the Heritage Law (Legislative Decree No. 11 of 1995. The Committee may wish to urge the State Party to fully implement the CCMP and to include within it the proposals developed by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) for a vision document, new zoning codes, and requirements for HIAs.

The adoption of the tunnel, as the only feasible option for the road connectivity development for Nurana Island, is a positive step towards the preservation of the attributes of the property. However, it is important that the updated HIA should accurately and comprehensively identify the impacts of the proposed tunnel on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, as a basis for sound decision-making, and so that appropriate mitigative actions can be implemented. Therefore, the revised HIA should conform with the ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage Properties.

The decision of BACA to use the HUL approach to conduct the series of studies which led to the proposal it submitted to the national decision-making bodies “to consider cultural heritage as the added value and opportunity to enhance future development projects” is welcome. This approach is in line with sustainable urban development, as reflected in the UNESCO Global Report on Culture and Sustainable Urban Development, presented by the Organization at Habitat III Conference in 2016.

The urban study carried out by the Directorate of Urban Planning at national level in order to come up with a strategy “overseeing all the components and contributors of urban life” could be a good starting point towards a wider reflection on the stakes related to the urban development of the areas surrounding the property. This reflection would integrate all the issues raised in the State Party’s report and would come up with long term and large-scale proposed actions in which the sustainable preservation of the property’s OUV, with all the attributes which convey it, would be fully taken into consideration.

A meeting on this subject, involving all concerned stakeholders and national institutions as well as the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, could help conducting this reflection and supporting the efforts of the State Party in the conservation and management of the property.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.75

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B.Add.2,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.48, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Notes the progress achieved by the State Party in the implementation of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (2008-2013);
  4. Also notes with satisfaction that the tunnel has been adopted as the only feasible option for the road connectivity development for Nurana Island;
  5. Further notes that the revision of the Heritage Law is still under revision and invites the State Party to consider this revision as a priority, particularly to enable the signature of memoranda of understanding with the owners of lands located within the area designated for the extension of the property, in order to improve its management and conservation;
  6. Urges the State Party to implement fully the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan and to include within it the proposals developed by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) for a vision document, new zoning codes, and requirements for Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs);
  7. Encourages the State Party to pursue the use of the approach carried by the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape as well as the urban study carried out by the Directorate of Urban Planning at national level in order to conduct a wider reflection on the stakes related to the urban development of the areas surrounding the property;
  8. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as they are available:
    1. The results of the updated HIA carried out by the developer of the the road connectivity development for Nurana Island, in line with the ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage Properties,
    2. The results of the consultation based on the proposal elaborated by BACA aiming at reinforcing the protection of the property’s attributes, including a vision document for the integrated management of the property and its buffer zone, a new zoning code, specific requirements at the parcel level and a call for HIA for big scale projects around the property;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the results of the first review of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan as soon as it has taken place;
  10. Further 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.