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Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur

Egypt
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Underground transport infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Growing number of visitors (issue resolved)
  • Uncontrolled development of the nearby village (issue resolved)
  • Deterioration of the monuments (issue resolved)
  • Tunnel construction project
  • Urban encroachment
  • Infrastructure and tourism developments
  • Development and Urban Infrastructure projects (including Ring Road project)
  • Absence of a single integrated Plan of Management for the property
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

Total amount provided to the property: USD 100,000 for the Sphinx of Giza, Special Account for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Egypt: USD 2,203,304 dollars for the development of the management plans for the World Heritage sites of Historic Cairo, Memphis and Luxor

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 4 (from 1991-2007)
Total amount approved : 81,450 USD
2007 Documentation Center for Saqqara (Not approved)  
1995 Experts missions to Pyramids Plateau (Approved)   13,450 USD
1993 Financial contribution for the Pyramides Plateau of Giza (Approved)   20,000 USD
1991 Three international experts (an economist, an ... (Approved)   30,000 USD
1991 Mission to take part in the first stage of the ... (Approved)   18,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, November 2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory missions; July 2015: ICOMOS Advisory mission; March 2017: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 1 February 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/documents. The report acknowledges the need to strengthen the protection and management of the property through a single enforceable Management Plan based on the Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (RSOUV) adopted by Decision 41 COM 8E, and notes that such a plan was submitted to the World Heritage Centre in 2017. Consistent with the findings of the 2017 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Technical Assistance mission and with Decision 41 COM 7B.78, the report notes the need for archaeological remote sensing survey and research of the area potentially impacted by the proposed Ring Road Tunnel to inform a technical archaeology report.  An ‘archaeological assessment’ report, which does not yet include remote sensing information was provided as an attachment to the State Party report.  Together with technical reports on traffic management and design details, the final archaeological assessment would feed into the design process and inform the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for the proposed Ring Road Tunnel, with all of these reports to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies.

The State Party report also provides a status update on foreign mission projects, new discoveries, current projects, and removal of encroachments at the five component sites which comprise the property, noting:

  • The Lighting and Security Project of the Giza Pyramids Area is due to commence in 2018;
  • The Scan Pyramids project has been progressing at Giza since 2015 and discovered a huge cavity inside the Pyramid of Khufu;
  • Work on the Giza Pyramids Plateau Development Project has recommenced, including construction of buildings for administration, tourist police, civil defence, and engineering management, as well as a visitor centre and parking and traffic facilities;
  • The Memphis Site and Community Development Project, involving visitor services, interpretation and community outreach, opened at Mit Mahine in September 2017 and work has commenced on an enclosure wall;
  • At Saqqara, the Step Pyramid and Southern Tomb Risk Mitigation and Restoration Project nears completion, the Saqqara Monuments Development Project opened in 2017, and the northern enclosure wall was completed;
  • The Scan Pyramids project commenced work on the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

The State Party has made significant archaeological discoveries at the property and is undertaking research at the Pyramid of Khufu. It has also nearly completed the Step Pyramid and Southern Tomb Risk Mitigation and Restoration Project at Saqqara. It is recommended that the Committee commend the State Party for the progress made in this regard.

The State Party has committed to engaging with the World Heritage Centre, the Advisory Bodies and the Committee over the possible development of an appropriate scheme for the Ring Road Tunnel across the Giza Plateau. The ‘archaeological assessment’ document provided does not yet include data from remote sensing activities, such as ground penetrating radar and magnetic survey, but does recommend that these processes should occur. Once a complete archaeological assessment, incorporating this information is available and, following review by the Advisory Bodies of this and other previously-submitted technical reports and engineering designs, the Ring Road Tunnel should then be subject to a comprehensive Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), prepared in accordance with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties, having particular reference to the RSOUV, which should also be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review.

Further to the findings of the 2017 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Technical Assistance mission, the State Party should provide additional information about actions being taken to address the legacy impact of the abandoned 1995 Ring Road scheme, including dumps of soil/rock and construction debris, large-scale illegal sand quarrying, and waste incineration, all of which impacts adversely on the setting of some of the key component sites of the property.

It is of concern that the re-commenced Giza Pyramids Plateau Development Project has progressed so rapidly, apparently without external technical review of heritage impacts or consideration of a buffer zone for the Giza component of the property. Moreover, the Lighting and Security Project of the Giza Pyramids Area due to commence in 2018 raises concerns of potential visual impact and impact on the integrity of the property. Moreover, the Memphis Site and Community Development Project is being built without information on its exact location, design and impact on the property. It is therefore recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to submit more comprehensive information on Giza Pyramids Plateau Development Project, including Light and Security, and the Memphis Site and Community Development Project, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

The State Party is yet to respond to some matters raised in previous Committee Decisions, including investigation of national legislation specific to World Heritage properties, and the definition of a buffer zone and submission of a request for Minor Boundary Modification, particularly for the Giza component of the property, to provide protection from increasing urban pressure in Cairo.

It is recommended that the State Party invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission in collaboration with key national and international stakeholders, to evaluate the property’s state of conservation, the ongoing and planned projects and how they may affect the property’s OUV.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7B.52
Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur (Egypt) (C 86)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.78, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Commends the State Party for the significant archaeological discoveries and related research at the Pyramid of Khufu and for the advancement of the Step Pyramid and Southern Tomb Risk Mitigation and Restoration Project at Saqqara, and requests it to submit detailed information thereon to the World Heritage Centre;
  4. Welcomes the ongoing engagement of the State Party with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in the development of proposals for a Cairo Ring Road tunnel across the Giza Plateau;
  5. Takes note of the submission by the State Party of an initial ‘archaeological assessment’ for the Cairo Ring Road Tunnel project and reiterates its request to the State Party to complete a comprehensive archaeological assessment, in the manner previously requested, incorporating results from remote sensing using ground penetrating radar, magnetic survey and other techniques, and to ensure that, following review by the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, the final comprehensive ‘archaeological assessment report’ and the previous technical reports on traffic management and design details, inform the preparation of the engineering designs for the Ring Road Tunnel project, which should be subject to a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), following the ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties; and also reiterate its request to the State Party to submit the detailed engineering designs and HIA to World Heritage Centre for review;
  6. Also takes note of the previous Committee Decision that work for the construction of the tunnel should only be progressed once all requested technical reports and subsequent HIAs have been positively reviewed by the Advisory Bodies and appropriate mitigation measures and procedures for monitoring have been agreed;
  7. Noting that the legacy from the abandoned planned Ring Road of 1995 impacts adversely on the landscape and that the abandoned road has facilitated dumping, waste incineration, and large-scale sand extraction, also requests the State Party to provide additional information about actions being taken to address this impact;
  8. Expresses concern over the information provided by the State Party on the Giza Pyramids Plateau Development Project, the Lighting and Security Project of the Giza Pyramids and the Memphis Site and Community Development Project and urges the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible and in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, a detailed document providing comprehensive information about the Giza Pyramids Plateau Development Project;
  9. Further requests the State Party to continue its efforts to strengthen the protection and management of the property by:
    1. Reinforcing the overall co-ordination and management of the World Heritage property, and reinforcing the conservation of the property by the Ministry of Antiquities,
    2. Investigating national legislation specific to World Heritage properties,
    3. Defining a buffer zone and submitting a Minor Boundary Modification request;
  10. Requests furthermore the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to evaluate the property’s state of conservation, the ongoing and planned projects and how they may affect the property’s Outstanding Universal Value;
  11. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 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 43rd session in 2019.
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7B.52

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.78, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Commends the State Party for the significant archaeological discoveries and related research at the Pyramid of Khufu and for the advancement of the Step Pyramid and Southern Tomb Risk Mitigation and Restoration Project at Saqqara, and requests it to submit detailed information thereon to the World Heritage Centre;
  4. Welcomes the ongoing engagement of the State Party with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in the development of proposals for a Cairo Ring Road tunnel across the Giza Plateau;
  5. Takes note of the submission by the State Party of an initial ‘archaeological assessment’ for the Cairo Ring Road Tunnel project and reiterates its request to the State Party to complete a comprehensive archaeological assessment, in the manner previously requested, incorporating results from remote sensing using ground penetrating radar, magnetic survey and other techniques, and to ensure that, following review by the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, the final comprehensive ‘archaeological assessment report’ and the previous technical reports on traffic management and design details, inform the preparation of the engineering designs for the Ring Road Tunnel project, which should be subject to a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), following the ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties; and also reiterate its request to the State Party to submit the detailed engineering designs and HIA to World Heritage Centre for review;
  6. Also takes note of the previous Committee Decision that work for the construction of the tunnel should only be progressed once all requested technical reports and subsequent HIAs have been positively reviewed by the Advisory Bodies and appropriate mitigation measures and procedures for monitoring have been agreed;
  7. Noting that the legacy from the abandoned planned Ring Road of 1995 impacts adversely on the landscape and that the abandoned road has facilitated dumping, waste incineration, and large-scale sand extraction, also requests the State Party to provide additional information about actions being taken to address this impact;
  8. Expresses concern over the information provided by the State Party on the Giza Pyramids Plateau Development Project, the Lighting and Security Project of the Giza Pyramids and the Memphis Site and Community Development Project and urges the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible and in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, a detailed document providing comprehensive information about the Giza Pyramids Plateau Development Project;
  9. Further requests the State Party to continue its efforts to strengthen the protection and management of the property by:
    1. Reinforcing the overall co-ordination and management of the World Heritage property, and reinforcing the conservation of the property by the Ministry of Antiquities,
    2. Investigating national legislation specific to World Heritage properties,
    3. Defining a buffer zone and submitting a Minor Boundary Modification request;
  10. Requests furthermore the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to evaluate the property’s state of conservation, the ongoing and planned projects and how they may affect the property’s Outstanding Universal Value;
  11. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 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 43rd session in 2019.
Report year: 2018
Egypt
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(iii)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2018) .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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