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Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara

United Republic of Tanzania
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Illegal activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Deterioration of the architectural heritage fabric

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of approved boundaries for the property and buffer zones linked to the land-use plans and appropriate protection
  • Deterioration of the architectural heritage fabric
  • Sea wave erosion
  • Theft of stone from ruins for use as building material
  • Lack of functioning local consultative committee
  • Lack of implementation of the conservation and management plans
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Deterioration and decay leading to the collapse of the historical and archaeological structures for which the property was inscribed 

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

Total amount granted: USD 201,390 from the Norwegian Funds-in-Trust for UNESCO rehabilitation project

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 5 (from 1983-2015)
Total amount approved : 72,240 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

February 2004: ICOMOS mission; June 2008, March 2009, and December 2013: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 1 December 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/144/documents/, and reports on the following:

  • The State Party acknowledges the importance of carrying out work towards the eventual modification of the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone as requested in Committee Decision 40 COM 7B.20. Towards this end, it submitted an International Assistance request in October 2017 to support the necessary work.  A request for a minor boundary modification will be submitted following the completion of this work and the finalization of the land use plan for the entire property. The State Party has also completed a Conservation Management Plan for the Kilwa Kivinje Historic Town with the aim of proposing an extension of the property to include Kilwa Kivinje;
  • In 2016, the State Party completed an Integrated Management Plan (2016 – 2019) (IMP) for the property, which integrates the main recommendations of the 2013 Reactive Monitoring mission and is currently being implemented. The plan was attached to the report;
  • Conservation work is ongoing at the Gereza Fort. The project to strengthen the seawall was completed in 2015, and in May 2018, the State Party reported the completion of the work undertaken to strengthen the base of the Oman Tower using stones and lime mortar, in order to protect it against sea erosion;
  • The State Party is planning to continue work when funds become available on strengthening the ability of monuments to withstand the forces of sea erosion through the construction of sea walls, utilizing rock armour, gabions and concrete. It further reports plans to improve visitor facilities through the expansion of the existing Kilwa Kisiwani jetty, the construction of a jetty at Songo Mnara, an improvement of visitor routes through expansion and paving of visitor routes from Kilwa Kisiwani to Husuni Kubwa and the Great Well, and through the construction of other visitor facilities and amenities as foreseen in the IMP.

On 19 January 2018, the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party, in accordance with Paragraph 174 of the Operational Guidelines, regarding the submission of photographs showing new constructions located in the immediate vicinity of the Great Mosque of Kilwa Kisiwani. To date, the State Party has not responded.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

The completion of the IMP and the beginning of its implementation are welcomed. The plan deals primarily with visitor management including interpretation, security, tour guides, cleanliness, and the need for better visitor facilities.  It also examines the administrative/management structure for the site, socio-economic issues, land use planning, and the involvement of stakeholders.  The condition of the monuments also remains a key area of concern, as do the need for a disaster risk management strategy and a sustainable plan for funding activities at the property including public-private partnerships. 

The IMP calls for a number of important steps such as the creation of a participatory management system, improved visitor management, the development of a maintenance plan, and the consolidation and conservation of all monuments by 2019.  The State Party does not however report on progress of any of these activities. It should be noted that the four-year timeframe for the IMP (to end in 2019) seems very short, and may not give the State Party sufficient time to complete all of the proposed activities. Future planning exercises should consider a longer window of implementation, which includes milestones for evaluation and necessary change during the planning period. Monitoring is foreseen in the plan, but is not in harmony with the plan’s overall timeframe. 

It would also be useful, as per the recommendations of the 2013 mission, that a separate more detailed Sustainable Tourism Development Plan be created taking into account carrying capacity and other conservation factors in addition to improving visitor experience, given the potential increase in tourism. It is noted that the overall Land Use plan for the property has not been completed yet, which should also be considered as a priority activity. 

Work on the establishment of the boundaries and buffer zone for the property needs to be carried out with urgency along with the accompanying regulatory measures.  The International Assistance request was returned to the State Party for revision. As the revised request was incomplete, it was not examined by the panel in April 2018.  It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to find other sources of financing for the work, or to resubmit the request, taking into account the comments of the panel so that it may be considered for the 2019 cycle.  It should be noted that any boundary modification to add Kilwa Kivinje to the property, as recommended by previous missions to the property, would most likely be considered a significant boundary modification, which would involve the submission of a complete nomination dossier.

Concerning the ongoing consolidation work at Gereza Fort and other monuments, it would be useful for the State Party to submit plans for future work to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before work is undertaken. This is also true for the strengthening of all the sea barriers.  It is also considered positive that the State Party has sent a conservator from the property to ICCROM’s International Course on Stone Conservation to improve conservation skills at the property.  An update on the progress on the consolidation and restoration work on the 30% of the monuments that have not been addressed in this manner, is also recommended.  

Noting the plans to upgrade and build new visitor facilities and routes; improve, expand, and build new jetties, and improve other aspects of visitor management, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit any plans for these projects to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before the plans are finalized.

Finally, the State Party should be advised to respond immediately to the letter sent by the World Heritage Centre on 19 January 2018 in order to provide more information regarding the new constructions within the property.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7B.50
Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (United Republic of Tanzania) (C 144)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.20, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Welcomes the completion of the Integrated Management Plan (2016–2019) and the beginning of its implementation, bearing in mind that the State Party might wish to consider a longer implementation timeframe for future planning exercises;
  4. Requests the State Party to finalize work on the overall Land Use plan for the property and develop a separate, more detailed Sustainable Tourism Development Plan taking into account carrying capacity and other conservation factors in addition to improving visitor experience, for submission to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  5. Also requests the State Party to continue with the implementation of the recommendations of the 2013 mission;
  6. Encourages the State Party to continue work on the establishment of the boundaries and buffer zone of the property as well as accompanying regulatory framework, and if necessary, to submit a new International Assistance request as part of the 2019 cycle;
  7. Also encourages the State Party to continue with work both on the conservation of monuments at the site and the work on strengthening the sea barriers with the aim of slowing erosion, and further requests that plans for this work, along with an update of work already carried out, be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Notes the intention to build new visitor facilities and jetties and improve existing tourism infrastructure, and requests furthermore that any plans be submitted to the World Heritage Centre before plans are finalized and implementation begins, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Requests moreover 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.
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7B.50

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.20, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Welcomes the completion of the Integrated Management Plan (2016–2019) and the beginning of its implementation, bearing in mind that the State Party might wish to consider a longer implementation timeframe for future planning exercises;
  4. Requests the State Party to finalize work on the overall Land Use plan for the property and develop a separate, more detailed Sustainable Tourism Development Plan taking into account carrying capacity and other conservation factors in addition to improving visitor experience, for submission to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  5. Also requests the State Party to continue with the implementation of the recommendations of the 2013 mission;
  6. Encourages the State Party to continue work on the establishment of the boundaries and buffer zone of the property as well as accompanying regulatory framework, and if necessary, to submit a new International Assistance request as part of the 2019 cycle;
  7. Also encourages the State Party to continue with work both on the conservation of monuments at the site and the work on strengthening the sea barriers with the aim of slowing erosion, and further requests that plans for this work, along with an update of work already carried out, be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Notes the intention to build new visitor facilities and jetties and improve existing tourism infrastructure, and requests furthermore that any plans be submitted to the World Heritage Centre before plans are finalized and implementation begins, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Requests moreover 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.
Report year: 2018
United Republic of Tanzania
Date of Inscription: 1981
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)
Danger List (dates): 2004-2014
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2017) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 42COM (2018)
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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