1.         Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) (C 1130)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2003

Criteria  (iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2003-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Corrective measures identified

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet established

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1130/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2003-2003)
Total amount approved: USD 50,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1130/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

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

Previous monitoring missions

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

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1130/

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:

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 Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

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.

Decision Adopted: 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.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 8C.2

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: