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Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa'a)

Jordan
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Unstable structures and lack of security

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of Management systems / plan / structure
  • Unstable structures and lack of security
  • Lack of comprehensive conservation plan
  • Important tourism development project with new constructions
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

Total amount granted: USD 6,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 2 (from 2007-2009)
Total amount approved : 34,750 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

March-April 2005: ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ ICOMOS mission; March 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; July 2008: World Heritage Centre expert mission for the Stylite tower

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 16 March 2018, the State Party submitted a Management Plan for Um er-Rasas, including a section on the state of conservation of the property, based on a rapid assessment carried out in 2015. On 4 April 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1093/documents/, which responds to the requests made by the Committee at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017), and provides information on the following:

  • A Management Plan has been adopted and is beginning to be implemented. Information is provided regarding areas where progress is already being made:
    • Regulations for archaeological projects in Jordan were approved in 2016, including those at Um er-Rasas;
    • Research carried out by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (United Kingdom) has provided information on the irrigation system around the property;
    • A master planning project for the Castrum, led by the Istituto per le Tecnologie Applicate ai Beni Culturali (Italy), is being completed and will provide systematic mapping of the property, with immediate use for its interpretation and a signage system;
    • A project is underway for the conservation of the Twin Churches, including mosaic reburial and training for site staff, thanks to a collaboration with the European Centre for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments (Greece);
    • Monitoring and analysis continue at the property in order to inform future strategies;
    • The Ministry of Tourism and the Department of Antiquities (DOA) have begun values-based enhancement initiatives to improve visitor experience, such as signage, site interpretation, trails, etc.;
    • The DOA has carried out an assessment of the water drainage system across the property, in particular at the St Stephen Complex, and precise actions have been identified to be carried out in order to resolve problems found.
  • Regarding the Committee’s request to receive proposed conservation measures for the Stylite Tower, the State Party reports that the revised project is not yet complete and that only monitoring and preventive conservation actions are currently taking place;
  • The section on ‘state of conservation’ included within the Management Plan provides a broad overview, containing useful observations on the priority actions to be taken forward and notes that in recent years, concerns have been focused on the conservation conditions of the Stylite Tower and the Castrum, although much of the rest of the property also requires urgent attention.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

ICOMOS assessed the Management Plan submitted by the State Party through a technical review in April 2018. It is reassuring to see a good planning document containing nuanced analysis of the management system and conservation conditions at Um er-Rasas. It aims at providing better coordination between the government bodies involved and to improve site management as it is implemented. It is hoped that the actions proposed are all taken forward. Indeed, the State Party has reported that the implementation of the Plan has already begun.

The information contained in the Management Plan is much more detailed regarding the property’s conservation than the short state of conservation report submitted in April 2018, and shows that much conservation work needs to be carried out with some urgency, although it also notes that annual work programmes for conservation are foreseen, which should already be planned or will be launched in the near future.

Of particular significance in this context are the proposed conservation measures at the Stylite Tower, for which the Committee has been requesting further details since 2009. Although it is noted that monitoring and preventive conservation actions are ongoing, given the importance of the Tower for the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), it is of concern that the revised project is not yet ready. The Management Plan states that both the Castrum fortifications and the Stylite Tower are in a ‘precarious state of conservation’ and that the Tower’s upper chamber is in danger of collapse. In addition, it notes that, while most attention is given to the Tower and St Stephen’s Complex in terms of maintenance and preventive conservation, this is at the expense of other areas in the property, which are also suffering.

It would therefore appear urgent that conservation interventions take place as soon as possible to avoid the risk of losing some key attributes of the property. Emergency consolidation works should take place immediately, in parallel to the longer-term conservation planning that is taking place in the context of the ongoing management planning process.

It is also noted that the Management Plan describes an evolving situation regarding the property’s boundaries and its buffer zone, which have changed since inscription and may be subject to further changes due to a land acquisition campaign by the State Party. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to clarify this situation and to submit a minor boundary modification at its 44th session in 2020 for its approval.

Finally, the World Heritage Committee requested that the Management Plan include a comprehensive conservation plan, an archaeological research policy, and a Public Use Plan. This has not been fully addressed and each of these complex areas merits full treatment in a dedicated report. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide these additional plans.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7B.55
Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa’a) (Jordan) (C 1093)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.81, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Commends the State Party for the submission of the Management Plan for the property; and invites it to submit the requested complementary documentation: a comprehensive conservation plan and archaeological research policy, and a Public Use Plan;
  4. Expresses concern over the lack of completion of urgent conservation work across the property, with particular attention given to the Stylite Tower and the Castrum Fortification and urges the State Party to undertake all needed temporary and reversible consolidation interventions of the fragile attributes in the property and submit the final conservation projects to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, and encourages the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission to support the finalization of such projects if deemed necessary;
  5. Requests the State Party to update the definition of the property’s boundaries and its buffer zone; and to submit it as a formal Minor Boundary Modification, in accordance with Paragraphs 163 and 164 of the Operational Guidelines, to the World Heritage Centre for evaluation by the Advisory Bodies and adoption by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020;
  6. Also 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.55

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.81, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Commends the State Party for the submission of the Management Plan for the property; and invites it to submit the requested complementary documentation: a comprehensive conservation plan and archaeological research policy, and a Public Use Plan;
  4. Expresses concern over the lack of completion of urgent conservation work across the property, with particular attention given to the Stylite Tower and the Castrum Fortification and urges the State Party to undertake all needed temporary and reversible consolidation interventions of the fragile attributes in the property and submit the final conservation projects to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, and encourages the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission to support the finalization of such projects if deemed necessary;
  5. Requests the State Party to update the definition of the property’s boundaries and its buffer zone; and to submit it as a formal Minor Boundary Modification, in accordance with Paragraphs 163 and 164 of the Operational Guidelines, to the World Heritage Centre for evaluation by the Advisory Bodies and adoption by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020;
  6. Also 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
Jordan
Date of Inscription: 2004
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(iv)(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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