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Erbil Citadel

Iraq
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Legal framework
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Slopes of the archaeological mound non stabilized

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of survey, documentation and mapping of surviving surface buried archaeological remains of all types
  • Slopes of the archaeological mound non stabilized
  • Location and/or architectural design of the Kurdistan National Museum not appropriate 
  • Existing legal framework needs to be improved
  • Insufficient involvement of former inhabitants and of Erbil’s civil society in the revitalization of the Citadel
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

Total amount granted in the framework of the Kurdistan Regional Government Funds-In-Trust:

  • The Revitalization of the Citadel of Erbil Phase I project: USD 1,510,444
  • The Revitalization of the Citadel of Erbil Phase II project: USD 12,837,347
  • Management of the Buffer Area of Erbil Citadel project: USD 338,208
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 21 November 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report. An executive summary of this report is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1437/documents/. The State Party addresses the progress made in implementing the recommendations adopted at the time of inscription of the property on the World Heritage List, noting that:

  • Progress is being made on implementing measures in line with the Management Plan, including the creation of a functional map-linked database of the citadel;
  • An operational visitor centre with interpretative facilities has been established and signage installed at focal points in the property. Educational programmes, including summer training opportunities, are offered to academic institutions and students are encouraged to participate as guides and conservation volunteers;
  • Plans for enhanced visitor routes have been completed by elaborating the pre-existing land use plan and identifying specific functions for specific locations. These plans include proposals for the adaptive re-use of buildings. Further details with which to engage donors are under development. Buildings in the Citadel are being allocated to partner organizations, resulting in partner-sponsored building rehabilitations;
  • All of the above has been achieved through a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization (HCECR) and the UNESCO Office for Iraq;
  • Interpretative material, including guidebooks in English, Arabic and Kurdish, is being developed and the HCECR regularly engages both local and international media to disseminate information on the progress made in revitalizing the Citadel;
  • The HCECR was active in addressing building conservation and reports conservation work and emergency interventions at 14 buildings, additional to which the 170 buildings with temporary roofing are constantly being monitored;
  • Surveying, documentation and mapping of buried archaeology continues through a collaboration with the Department of Classics and Italian Archaeological Mission in Iraqi Kurdistan of the Sapienza University of Rome, and has led to international conference presentations and a preliminary report;
  • The State Party continues active stakeholder engagement though local and international activities;
  • The State Party also reports that no further development projects require reporting, that the Kurdistan Museum Project remains halted, but that international consultants have been engaged to compile a review of the project and engage with the World Heritage Centre in light of the Committee decision on the project.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

Considering the very difficult conditions that continue to prevail in Iraq and the region, the commitment and resolve of the State Party to the conservation and management of the property under difficult conditions should be noted, as it was in 2016.  Added to this is the commendable engagement of the international community and local parties in various fields of action.

One such field is the continuing archaeological investigations in response to the recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee at the time of inscription in 2014. These actions are continuing to yield results, which are being disseminated internationally through conference presentations and academic articles, with more publications being planned at present. The information gained through this has reached a volume that needs to be transmitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies in order to finalize the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for the property, which is currently still provisional.

The HCECR is active in engaging investors to rehabilitate the tell-top settlement and stabilise structures, especially at the edge of the slope. It was already noted in 2016 that it would be prudent to ensure that the tell-top settlement is not redeveloped for the most part as a commercial and cultural precinct but instead retains as much as possible its current residents while other permanent residents are stimulated to settle here.

The State Party’s engagement of international consultants is noted, addressing the Committee’s request to reconsider the location, or substantially modify the design, of the proposed Kurdistan National Museum in order to harmonize it with the Citadel and its setting. It remains of high importance that the draft setting and design concepts for the proposed museum be submitted by the State Party, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before the project is approved or any tenders are awarded for its construction.

The State Party has not reported on the juridical review that the Committee requested in 2014. This was reported as being in progress in 2016. The Advisory Bodies are ready to engage the State Party as regards the recommendations of the juridical review.

The implementation of the UNESCO ‘Erbil Citadel Revitalization Project-Phase II’ was completed on 30 April 2017. This project contributed to reinforcing the capacities of the HCECR in documentation, conservation and sustainable management of the property and to revitalizing and the urban fabric by enhancing the visitor’s experience and restoring the Citadel's most vulnerable attributes.

The period under review has not brought any overt new threats to the OUV of the property, which is being conserved and developed by the State Party along the same trajectory as during the previous review period, despite the continued instability in the region. The State Party also reports that no major developments are planned at present that may affect the OUV of the property or its setting.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7B.53
Erbil Citadel (Iraq) (C 1437)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 8B.20 and 40 COM 7B.23, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions respectively,
  3. Notes the positive results of the ‘Erbil Citadel Revitalization Project’ implemented by UNESCO in the framework of the Kurdistan Regional Government Funds-In-Trust;
  4. Commends the State Party for continuing the actions undertaken in response to the World Heritage Committee’s recommendations at the time of the property’s inscription;
  5. Encourages the State Party to continue with the implementation of the measures and activities already undertaken and to continue its fruitful engagement with national and international partners, so as to ensure the adequate conservation and management of the property, and prevent and limit the threats to its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  6. Requests the State Party to:
    1. Submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, concept schemes for the location and design of new constructions within the property and its buffer zone, in particular the proposed Kurdistan National Museum, before commitment is given with regards to their approval or construction,
    2. Continue with the juridical review to strengthen the management of the property, its buffer zone and setting and thereby safeguarding its OUV,
    3. Submit to the World Heritage Centre the results of the archaeological investigations for review by the Advisory Bodies in order to finalize the provisional Statement of OUV;
  7. Also requests 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.53

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 8B.20 and 40 COM 7B.23, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions respectively,
  3. Notes the positive results of the ‘Erbil Citadel Revitalization Project’ implemented by UNESCO in the framework of the Kurdistan Regional Government Funds-In-Trust;
  4. Commends the State Party for continuing the actions undertaken in response to the World Heritage Committee’s recommendations at the time of the property’s inscription;
  5. Encourages the State Party to continue with the implementation of the measures and activities already undertaken and to continue its fruitful engagement with national and international partners, so as to ensure the adequate conservation and management of the property, and prevent and limit the threats to its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  6. Requests the State Party to:
    1. Submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, concept schemes for the location and design of new constructions within the property and its buffer zone, in particular the proposed Kurdistan National Museum, before commitment is given with regards to their approval or construction,
    2. Continue with the juridical review to strengthen the management of the property, its buffer zone and setting and thereby safeguarding its OUV,
    3. Submit to the World Heritage Centre the results of the archaeological investigations for review by the Advisory Bodies in order to finalize the provisional Statement of OUV;
  7. Also requests 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
Iraq
Date of Inscription: 2014
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)
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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