Wadi Rum Protected Area (Jordan) (C/N 1377)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2011
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/1377/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1377/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Lack of a database on cultural heritage
- Lack of proper conservation and maintenance of the archaeological sites
- Lack of traffic and visitor management plans
- Potential encroachment from development in the village of Rum
- Lack of trained staff and financial resources for the management of the property
- Financial resources
- Human resources
- Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
- Management systems/ management plan
- Solid waste
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1377/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018
On 5 December 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, a summary of which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1377/documents/. It presents the following information:
- The Department of Antiquities (DoA) is entrusted with overseeing all research, management and monitoring activities related to cultural heritage at the property, as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) in 2014;
- Several initiatives relating to data compilation and survey work are ongoing, all of which will contribute to the realization of an integrated GIS (Geographic Information System) database of the cultural and natural attributes of the property. This includes capacity building of local personnel and members of the local community to ensure sustainability of the monitoring system. A Biodiversity Information Management System integrating data on cultural and natural heritage was established with funding from the United Nations Development Programme;
- Out of 25 tourist camps, fifteen are currently active, seven of which are unlicensed. Actions taken by ASEZA to date include legal warnings by the local governor, lawsuits, awareness raising programmes with members of the local community, and the establishment of a committee to investigate the possibility of changing the licensing mechanism for tourist camps;
- Capacity building in Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessment (EIA and HIA) was planned for March 2018 in collaboration with the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage;
- Progress made in developing an interpretation programme for the property includes securing sufficient funds for restructuring the main visitor centre for Wadi Rum Protected Area, developing new road signage and interpretation materials targeting local communities, redesigning the visitors’ reception point, and creating training activities targeting staff, community organizations and tourism service providers;
- The development of a wastewater treatment plant in Rum Village is considered a priority; its construction has been postponed, however, because of a desire to expand the project to include the surrounding areas. Temporary measures have therefore been put in place, including regular transport and treatment of wastewater outside the property, and transfer of solid waste to treatment plants in Aqaba;
- The revision of the Integrated Management Plan (IMP) is expected to be finalized and submitted to the World Heritage Centre in 2018. A land use plan for the buffer zone is currently being developed and is scheduled to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre in 2018;
- Various national and international institutions and organizations are actively collaborating on the protection and management of the property. In addition, community engagement has been initiated through the establishment of Local Advisory Committees and capacity building.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies
The State Party’s efforts to address the Committee’s concerns and the recommendations made by the 2014 Reactive Monitoring mission, despite the financial and technical challenges, are noted.
Significant progress is noted in the implementation of the 2014 MoU between ASEZA and the DoA, as well as in the compilation of data on the property’s resources and in conducting field surveys.
Progress with regard to the development of an interpretation programme and initiating a capacity building programme on EIA and HIA is also welcomed. The State Party, however, has not reported any progress on the assessment of appropriate tourism activities in and around the property.
Although issues related to illegal tourist camps and site violations are being addressed through several means, they have not yet been resolved. While the State Party intends to consider the possibility of amending legislation to improve regulation concerning the establishment of camps in the property and its buffer zone, effective temporary measures need to be put in place and the rehabilitation of degraded areas undertaken.
The State Party has not commented on a possible timeframe for the completion of a wastewater treatment plant in Rum Village. The State Party’s intention to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of future plans is nevertheless noted.
While the State Party has mentioned the various management aspects that will be addressed in the revised IMP, it has not commented on whether it will include references to legal measures and policies as requested by the Committee. Measures need to be backed by the necessary staff and financial resources to ensure the effective management of the property and its buffer zone.
The intention of the State Party to request the World Heritage Centre’s feedback and approval of the land use plan for the buffer zone is welcomed. This will ensure optimum compliance with relevant guidelines and standards.
The State Party has demonstrated considerable engagement with national and international research institutions in the protection and management of the property, which is welcomed and should be further encouraged.
While the State Party mentions that assessing the state of conservation and monitoring of the property’s cultural features is being carried out, it has not commented on the establishment of a consistent conservation approach for all cultural sites within the property. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that the revised IMP includes a cultural heritage conservation strategy to enable the long-term sustainable conservation of the property.
Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.67
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.65, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
- Notes with appreciation progress made by the State Party in addressing the recommendations made by the 2014 Reactive Monitoring mission, despite facing financial and technical challenges;
- Requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed about plans for the development of a wastewater treatment plant, and on the development of a land use plan for the buffer zone;
- Encourages the State Party to continue pursuing collaboration with national and international institutions for achieving the highest standards in science- and evidence-based decision-making related to the management of the property;
- Urges once again the State Party to address the issue of tourist camps and other camp-like installations within the property, to rehabilitate any areas that may have been degraded, and to establish procedures and regulations that will ensure a permanent resolution of the issue;
- Notes that the State Party has initiated the integration of the cultural heritage database currently under development with the natural heritage database into one compatible GIS (Geographic Information System) database, to support and facilitate the integrated monitoring and management of the cultural and natural attributes of the property, and also encourages this work to be completed expeditiously;
- Reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure that the revised Integrated Management Plan (IMP) provides references to legal measures and policies, backed by the necessary staff and financial resources, to enable effective management of the property and its buffer zone, and also requests the State Party to include in the revised IMP a cultural heritage management strategy to enable a consistent conservation approach for all cultural sites within the property;
- Further requests the State Party to actively pursue the implementation of all recommendations of the 2014 mission, particularly with regards to carrying out assessment of tourism activities through Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) in and around the property;
- Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, 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 44th session in 2020.