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Ouadi Qadisha (the Holy Valley) and the Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab)

Lebanon
Factors affecting the property in 2017*
  • Financial resources
  • Housing
  • Human resources
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Land conversion
  • Legal framework
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Absence of legislative framework and comprehensive management plan
  • Absence of coordination mechanisms
  • Illegal constructions and urban encroachments
  • Degradation of the mural paintings and buildings
  • Uncontrolled tourist development and absence of visitor management
  • Lack of resources for the management structure
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2017

Total amount granted: 500,000 USD from the Italian funds-in-Trust for the rehabilitation and valorization of the Qadisha Valley

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2017
Requests approved: 4 (from 1993-2004)
Total amount approved : 65,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2017**

June 2003: World Heritage Centre Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2012: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 1 December 2016, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/850/documents/. This report only contains an analytical summary covering the recommendations of the Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015):

  • Paved road project in the valley of Our Lady of Qannoubin: the project was submitted to the ‘Development and Reconstruction Council’ to ensure the necessary funds for its execution. The damaged water canalization was restored but the final covering is not yet defined; nevertheless, a harmonization of the material for the pavement and that of the road is foreseen;
  • Management – updating of the 1998 Management Plan: an Action Plan, prepared in close cooperation between the General Directorate of Antiquities (DGA) and the UNESCO Regional Office in Beirut, was approved on 15 December 2015. The Management Committee of the Valley appointed an architect specialized in the restoration of historical monuments to direct the Executive Unit. Collaboration between the DGA and the Management Committee of the Valley has led to an improved application of the regulations;
  • Local communities: in the framework of the Action Plan, socio-economic development projects have been proposed by the municipalities of the region, and will be implemented according to the priorities and funding possibilities.

The State Party adds that a mission to identify land ownership in the village of Qannoubin is being carried out and that the development project for a public garden has been implemented around the Saint George Church at Bcharré.

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

As the presented report was very brief, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit a detailed report on the management and conservation measures, the work envisaged and implemented, as well as the socio-economic development projects proposed to the local communities.

The Action Plan, transmitted to the World Heritage Centre by the UNESCO Regional Office in Beirut, is presented as a simplified version of a management plan, and proposes an organizational structure to be implemented with available resources, contrary to the 1998 Management Plan. The Action Plan is a fairly comprehensive document comprising three parts:

1)       Improvement of site management: 

  • Structure and actions of the Coordination Unit,
  • Inventory of tangible heritage: data base, geographic information system(GIS), format for the inventory card,
  • Visitor management: roads, trails, accessibility,
  • Access to the Valley: necessary staff and training,
  • Accepted activities in the Valley,
  • Disaster preparedness and follow-up;

2)       Conservation of tangible heritage:

  • Archaeological remains and preventive conservation measures,
  • Conservation and enhancement of built heritage,
  • Conservation and restoration of rural heritage;

3)       Identification of pilot projects and budget estimates.

Furthermore, a project of 500,000 euros entitled “Rehabilitation and Enhancement of the Valley of Qadisha”, financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation for a duration of two years, was approved at the beginning of 2017. It will be implemented by the UNESCO Regional Office in Beirut in collaboration with the DGA, the Federations of Municipalities, the Maronite Patriarchate and the Lebanese Mariamite and Maronite Orders. It will support the implementation of the Action Plan and improve mobility within the Valley through the rehabilitation of pedestrian trails, strengthening the capacities of local experts in conservation and restoration, and ensuring the conservation and restoration of a certain number of historic and religious structures.

It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure the urgent implementation of the Action Plan for the World Heritage property, and to transmit to the World Heritage Centre, for examination by ICOMOS, detailed information on all the development work foreseen and this before their implementation.

In the activities foreseen, the dimension of sustainable development for tourism would require strengthening, in particular to better integrate the components generating income for the local communities as well as the organization of waste management. The clarification of the boundaries of the property and the buffer zones is also recommended, as requested in response to the retrospective inventory and as recalled by the Reactive Monitoring mission of 2012.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2017
41 COM 7B.82
Ouadi Qadisha (the Holy Valley) and the Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab) (Lebanon) (C 850)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.55, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Welcomes the Action Plan approved by the concerned parties and urges the State Party to implement it as soon as possible;
  4. Notes that a project financed by the Italian Agency Development Cooperation foresees support in the implementation of the Action Plan, notably through the rehabilitation of pedestrian trails, training activities and conservation and by the restoration of a certain number of historic and religious structures;
  5. Requests the State Party to transmit to the World Heritage Centre more information on the socio-economic development projects proposed to the local communities and to ensure that these projects present no negative impact on the integrity of the property;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre a clarification of the boundaries of the property and the buffer zones in response to the retrospective inventory and as recommended by the Reactive Monitoring mission of 2012;
  7. Reminds the State Party the need to inform the World Heritage Centre, in due course, of any major development project that might threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, before any irreversible decision is taken, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. 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.
Draft Decision: 41 COM 7B.82

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.55, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Welcomes the Action Plan approved by the concerned parties and urges the State Party to implement it as soon as possible;
  4. Notes that a project financed by the Italian Agency Development Cooperation foresees support in the implementation of the Action Plan, notably through the rehabilitation of pedestrian trails, training activities and conservation and by the restoration of a certain number of historic and religious structures;
  5. Requests the State Party to transmit to the World Heritage Centre more information on the socio-economic development projects proposed to the local communities and to ensure that these projects present no negative impact on the integrity of the property;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre a clarification of the boundaries of the property and the buffer zones in response to the retrospective inventory and as recommended by the Reactive Monitoring mission of 2012;
  7. Reminds the State Party the need to inform the World Heritage Centre, in due course, of any major development project that might threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, before any irreversible decision is taken, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. 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.
Report year: 2017
Lebanon
Date of Inscription: 1998
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
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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