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Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat)

Iraq
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Flooding
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • War
  • Water infrastructure
  • Other Threats:

    Fragile mud brick structures

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Flooding
  • Management activities
  • Managements systems/management plan
  • Water infrastructure
  • Partial flooding and seepage due to a dam building project
  • Fragile mud brick structures
  • Absence of a comprehensive conservation and management plan
  • Destruction and damage due to the armed conflict
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Nearby construction of a dam entailing partial flooding and seepage
  • Armed conflict
Corrective Measures for the property

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Not yet established
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

Total amount granted (for all World Heritage properties of Iraq):

  • USD 6,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust
  • USD 1.5 million by the Government of Japan (for cultural heritage, including World Heritage)
  • USD 154,000 by the Government of Norway (for cultural heritage, including World Heritage)
  • EUR 300,000 by the Government of Italy (for cultural heritage, including World Heritage)
  • USD 35,000 by the Government of the Netherlands (for cultural heritage, including World Heritage)
  • USD 100, 000 Heritage Emergency Fund - support for Iraqi World Heritage properties
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 1 (from 2003-2003)
Total amount approved : 50,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

November 2002: UNESCO mission for the Makhool Dam project; June 2011: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 1 February 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1130/documents. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report, as follows:

  • The State Party notes that this report does not represent the full state of conservation report that had previously been requested for Ashur and other World Heritage properties that have been subjected to military operations and/or occupation by extremist armed groups;
  • Despite being liberated from occupation in mid-December 2016, no significant restoration or conservation work has been undertaken at Ashur, nor have any missions been sent to undertake a full assessment and report on the damage incurred, further to the Rapid Assessment mission carried out by the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH) and UNESCO on 3 February 2017 ;
  • Little has happened to convert the various international initiatives and commitments into tangible results on the ground;
  • World Heritage properties in Iraq continue to suffer from problems related to protection, management and land use, as well as lack of funding or foreign investment and inadequate social awareness about World Heritage.

On 30 March 2018, the State Party briefly reported that explosions had damaged the Tabira gate’s stacks, where large cracks are visible, and severely damaged the Summer Palace and the northern section of the property along the Tigris River. The latter, which was extensively excavated by a German archaeological mission, has also been looted.

The State Party feels that the current security situation is stable, thus allowing conservation, restoration and reconstruction work to be initiated on the ground. It highlights the need for technical missions to conduct a central assessment of the damage incurred at World Heritage properties, as was done with the technical mission to Palmyra in April 2016. It recommends engagement with UNESCO, the international community, universities and scientific institutions to fulfil the international commitments that have been made, and to address long-term shortcomings in the areas of management and protection. It also recommends convening an international conference on Iraqi heritage, to be followed by donor countries. It further recommends enforcing prohibitions on illicit trafficking of cultural property from Iraq.

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

The lack of detailed information about the state of conservation of the property (for the fourth consecutive year) continues to be of very grave concern. As has been recommended in previous decisions by the Committee, it is essential that a full and detailed assessment of the damages incurred be carried out as soon as security conditions permit and prior to any action on the ground, with the responsible authorities working in close collaboration with the UNESCO Office for Iraq. It is also recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to submit, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a full report of the post-liberation rapid emergency assessment of the property, undertaken by the SBAH in February 2017.

There has evidently been no improvement on the ground since the last state of conservation report. Priority actions and needed resources that were proposed by the International Coordination Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Liberated Areas of Iraq, organized by UNESCO and the Iraqi Government in February 2017 (see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1632/), have not been advanced to the degree and pace then envisioned. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to revisit the national and international initiatives for the safeguarding and restoration of cultural heritage in the liberated areas of Iraq, with the objective of finding ways forward to start implementing the priority actions and securing the needed resources as urgently as possible.

As previously recommended by the Committee, any protection and emergency stabilization work should be undertaken only in cases where collapse or further damage is imminent, according to the principle of minimal intervention. Architectural, sculptural and relief elements found at the property, and resulting from conflict-related damages such as intentional destructions, should be retrieved and gathered in a safe location, and the boundaries of the property protected from illegal excavations and looting, as outlined in the 2017 International Coordination Conference. It is recommended once again that, when security conditions permit, a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission be sent to assist in assessing the damage, preparatory to a comprehensive conservation plan being developed.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7A.18
Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) (C 1130)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.33, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Expresses its very grave concern about the state of conservation of the property following the armed conflict and intentional destructive acts;
  4. Notes with concern the continuing lack of information on the state of conservation of the property, and requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed about the situation on the ground;
  5. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit a report on the rapid emergency assessment of the property undertaken in 2017, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  6. Encourages the State Party to continue to pursue efforts to ensure the protection of the property, despite the difficult prevailing situation, and in particular to take steps toward the urgent implementation of the priority actions outlined at the International Coordination Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Liberated Areas of Iraq (UNESCO, February 2017), with the support of UNESCO and the international community;
  7. Urges all parties associated with the situation in Iraq to refrain from any action that would cause further damage to cultural and natural heritage of the country and to fulfil their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage;
  8. Reiterates its appeal to all Member States of UNESCO to cooperate in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage coming from Iraq as per the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2199 of February 2015, 2253 of December 2015 and 2347 of March 2017;
  9. Calls again on all Member States of UNESCO to support emergency safeguarding measures, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
  10. 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;
  11. Decides to retain Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
42 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/18/42.COM/7A, WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add and WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 42 COM 7A.1)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 42 COM 7A.2)
  • Austria, Historic Centre of Vienna (Decision 42 COM 7A.5)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 42 COM 7A.8)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.45)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 42 COM 7A.9)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.46)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.47)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.48)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.49)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.50)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.51)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 42 COM 7A.17)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.44)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 42 COM 7A.40)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 42 COM 7A.18)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 42 COM 7A.19)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 42 COM 7A.20)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 42 COM 7A.21)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 42 COM 7A.22)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 42 COM 7A.23)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 42 COM 7A.24)
  • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 42 COM 7A.25)
  • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 42 COM 7A.26)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 42 COM 7A.53)
  • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 42 COM 7A.13)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 42 COM 7A.14)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 42 COM 7A.15)
  • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 42 COM 7A.3)
  • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 42 COM 7A.54)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 42 COM 7A.27)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 42 COM 7A.29)
  • Palestine, Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Decision 42 COM 7A.28)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 42 COM 7A.10)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 42 COM 7A.11)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.55)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 42 COM 7A.6)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 42 COM 7A.41)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 42 COM 7A.30)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 42 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 42 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 42 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 42 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 42 COM 7A.35)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 42 COM 7A.16)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 42 COM 7A.7)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.56)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.42)
  • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 42 COM 7A.4)
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 42 COM 7A.12)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 42 COM 7A.37)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 42 COM 7A.38)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 42 COM 7A.39)
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7A.18

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.33, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Expresses its very grave concern about the state of conservation of the property following the armed conflict and intentional destructive acts;
  4. Notes with concern the continuing lack of information on the state of conservation of the property, and requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed about the situation on the ground;
  5. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit a report on the rapid emergency assessment of the property undertaken in 2017, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  6. Encourages the State Party to continue to pursue efforts to ensure the protection of the property, despite the difficult prevailing situation, and in particular to take steps toward the urgent implementation of the priority actions outlined at the International Coordination Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Liberated Areas of Iraq (UNESCO, February 2017), with the support of UNESCO and the international community;
  7. Urges all parties associated with the situation in Iraq to refrain from any action that would cause further damage to cultural and natural heritage of the country and to fulfil their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage;
  8. Reiterates its appeal to all Member States of UNESCO to cooperate in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage coming from Iraq as per the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2199 of February 2015, 2253 of December 2015 and 2347 of March 2017;
  9. Calls again on all Member States of UNESCO to support emergency safeguarding measures, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
  10. 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;
  11. Decides to retain Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2018
Iraq
Date of Inscription: 2003
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2003-present
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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