Stone Town of Zanzibar (United Republic of Tanzania) (C 173rev)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2000
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/173/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 15,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/173/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount provided to the property: 2009: USD 24,000 for the inventory of the public spaces in Zanzibar; 2011: USD 14,000 for capacity-building in managing digital inventory; 2013: 49,935 USD for participatory mapping of HUL (Netherlands Funds-in-Trust). 2010-2013; USD 400,000 for Zanzibar and two other African sites under the World Heritage Cities Programme (Flemish Funds-in-Trust)
Previous monitoring missions
May 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; January 2011: ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; September/October 2013: ICOMOS Advisory mission; October/November 2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2016: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; October 2017: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Management system/management plan
- Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
- Development and environmental pressures, particularly in relation with Malindi port project (issue resolved)
- Natural disasters and lack of risk-preparedness
- Visitors/tourist pressures
- Housing pressure
- Lack of human and financial resources
- Lack of legal framework
- Commercial development (large shopping mall) particularly in relation to the Darajani Corridor project
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/173/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018
On 1 December 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which responded to the previous Committee Decision. A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission was invited to visit the property in October 2017 to consider the proposed Darajani Corridor Business Centre, restoration of the Chawl building, Beit-el-Ajaib (House of Wonders), the Majestic Cinema, the Bwawani Hotel complex, and the Palace Museum. Both reports are available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/173/documents/.
In response to the mission report, the State Party submitted a commentary in February 2018, containing:
- Progress in addressing ‘Specific Recommendations for Procedures to Adequately Control Development and Promote Conservation’ developed by the 2016 Reactive Monitoring mission; some progress regarding the mitigation measures at the Mambo Msiige;
- An analysis of the building stock shows that between 1990 and 2017, 39 buildings out of a total of 2,000 in Stone Town collapsed or were demolished, 55% through lack of maintenance and 26% through intentional destruction;
- Classification undertaken by the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority (STCDA) in collaboration with the Zanzibar Housing Corporation (ZHC) of 300 urban buildings owned by ZHC in order to prioritize their conservation; out of 300 buildings, 27 are in poor/dilapidated condition and need immediate attention;
- The Mizingani Sea Wall project has been completed; progress is being made in addressing the restoration of a number of Grade I buildings, including Palace Museum and Chawl Building; the Tippu Tip House and the Caravanserai. Regarding, Beit el Ajaib (House of Wonders), the State Party is following UNESCO’s recommendations, and the rehabilitation project funded by the Sultanate of Oman is under preparation;
- The Development Control Unit (DCU) is operational. It has had its financial resources augmented, and is staffed with experts. The STCDA has been strengthened with more staff and training. A skills training restoration programme has been executed (funded by the European Union). A Conservation Management Plan is under development and will be implemented by 2019;
- Preliminary work has begun to relocate the container port outside Stone Town to Mpiga Duri.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
Although the management of the property has been strengthened through the establishment of the Development Control Unit (DCU) with its supporting legal framework, the Advisory mission reported that the management system is not functioning adequately and that the Heritage Board is not operational. Ways of managing the large number of “players” involved in the management and conservation of the Stone Town have not been successfully addressed in the 17 years since the property was inscribed.
The Advisory mission came to a similar conclusion regarding the state of conservation of the property. Although the mission commended the Department of Urban and Rural Planning (DoURP) Ng’ambo Local Area Plan and Green Belt proposals, and the restoration of the Chawl Building, and supported the proposed Hifadhi Zanzibar Majestic Theatre, it noted that minimum mitigation measures for the Mambo Msiige project, identified by the 2016 mission as non-negotiable minimum, have not all been implemented, while the Tippu Tip House is highly vulnerable and the Palace Museum in danger of partial collapse unless urgent measures are taken. It should be noted that the State Party has followed the ICOMOS recommendations regarding Beit el Ajaib (House of Wonders) and that the World Heritage Centre should be kept informed of all developments regarding the rehabilitation project.
These few important individual buildings are the tip of the iceberg; the overall state of conservation of the general building stock remains equally vulnerable. The categorization of some 300 buildings owned by the ZHC is a welcome start, but an overall detailed inventory of the building stock that could allow monitoring of the distinctive urban fabric that characterizes the Stone Town and strategic conservation approaches are still lacking.
Also of concern to the Advisory mission was the lack of effective control of development proposals. The mission advised that the Bwawani project (for hotel, conference centre and yacht harbour), which involves land reclamation of the Funguni Creek Lagoon, and high-rise buildings, be halted in view of the highly negative and irreversible potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). Further, it recommended that the Darajani Business Centre project be halted and a new project developed in line with the principles of the DoURP Ng’ambo Local Area Plan and Green Belt proposals, and that no decision should be made on projects for the Malindi Container Terminal and Tippu Tip House that also have potentially impacts on the OUV without consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies. With regard to the now-completed Mizingani Sea Wall project, the final plans requested by the Committee in 2010, 2011 and again in 2016 have not been submitted for review. Moreover, many recommendations of the two previous missions remain unaddressed.
The overall weaknesses highlighted by the Advisory mission reflect the concerns expressed by the Committee in 2016 when it urged the State Party to define and implement corrective measures. It is recommended that the Committee express concern that the weaknesses identified then still persist.
In order to address these strategic weaknesses and the diverse and complex issues facing the property, there is a need for extraordinary measures to be taken supported at a high level in order to ameliorate a situation that is putting the property at risk. The mission recommended a high-level cross-cutting Task Team be established for a defined period that would have the authority to act and address all outstanding Committee decisions and mission recommendations for implementation. It is recommended that the Committee support this proposal in the light of the fact that the condition of the property could, as in 2015, warrant consideration for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, under paragraphs 178 and 179 of the Operational Guidelines.
Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.51
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7B.45, 36 COM 7B.49, 38 COM 7B.55, 39 COM 7B.45 and 40 COM 7B.21, adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 36th (Saint Petersburg, 2012), 38th (Doha, 2014), 39th (Bonn, 2015) and its 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions respectively,
- Welcomes with satisfaction the development of the Department of Urban and Rural Planning (DoURP) Ng’ambo Local Area Plan and Green Belt proposals, the successful restoration of the Chawl Building, and supports the proposed development of the Hifadhi Zanzibar Majestic Theatre;
- Notes that the State Party has followed the ICOMOS recommendations regarding Beit el Ajaib (House of Wonders) and requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of all developments regarding the rehabilitation project;
- Notes with concern that minimum mitigation measures for the Mambo Msiige project, identified by the 2016 mission as non-negotiable minimum, have not all been implemented, while the Tippu Tip House and the Palace Museum remain vulnerable unless urgent measures are taken;
- Notes with great concern that the Advisory mission of October 2017 considered that none of the factors affecting the property, as listed in the state of conservation reports since 2014, has been addressed successfully and nearly all comments and recommendations made in the 2014 and 2016 mission reports still remain valid today, and moreover that the current Management System, including the 2010 Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority (STCDA) Act, is not being implemented fully, with resultant negative consequences for the property and its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
- Also notes with satisfaction that the overall state of conservation of the general building stock remains vulnerable and that an overall detailed inventory of the building stock is still lacking whilst welcoming the categorization of some 300 buildings owned by the Zanzibar Housing Corporation (ZHC) and the restoration skills training undertaken;
- Expresses its concern that major development projects have not been notified to the World Heritage Centre and reiterates its request to the State Party to submit details for the Malindi Container Port and Tippu Tip House projects before any implementation is undertaken, development rights granted or fundraising started, in the light of their high potential impact on the OUV of the property, and submit for review the World Monument Fund Report for the Palace Museum Restoration;
- Also requests the State Party to:
- Halt as a matter of urgency the extensive Bwawani Hotel Redevelopment Plan (including proposals for the sea front, Funguni Lagoon and Blue Mosque), in view of its highly negative and irreversible potential impact on OUV,
- Clarify the current status of rights to development granted on the entire area and submit this, also as a matter of urgency, to the World Heritage Centre,
- Protect the remains of the Bwawani Hotel, and its sea front and the Funguni Lagoon as public open spaces,
- Further develop appropriate plans for the Bwawani Hotel complex for submission to the World Heritage Centre for review,
- Halt the current Darajani Bazaar project as it will have an adverse effect on the OUV of the property, and to develop a new project, based on the principles contained in the DoURP Ng’ambo Local Area Plan and the Green Belt proposals;
- Also expresses its concern at the failure to provide project proposals and final details for the Mizingani Sea Wall project as requested in 2010, 2011 and 2016;
- Further expresses its concern that the overall weaknesses highlighted by the 2017 Advisory mission reflect the previous concerns of the Committee and could warrant consideration for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, under paragraphs 178 and 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
- Urges the State Party to take the following actions to address these problems and, in light of their complexity and diversity and the range of stakeholders and actors involved, recommends that a cross-cutting Task Team be set up as recommended by the 2017 mission for a defined period of minimum five years with the mandate to:
- Address the ‘Procedures to Adequately Control Development and Promote Conservation’,
- Implement the outstanding recommendations of the 2014 and 2016 missions,
- Guide the development of the new integrated Conservation Management Plan (CMP) and its coordination into all spatial local and regional plans,
and invites the State Party to submit the terms of reference of the CMP for review;
- Further requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in 2019 to assess the overall state of conservation of the property and in particular, progress with the formation of a Task Team;
- Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, a 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; with a view to maintaining the OUV of the property.