1.         Samarra Archaeological City (Iraq) (C 276rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2007

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2007-present

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

State of conflict in the country that does not allow the responsible authorities to assure the protection and management of the property

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/276/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/276/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 100,000 from the Nordic World Heritage Fund for training and documentation aiming at the preparation of the Nomination File.

Total amount granted for all World Heritage Sites of Iraq:

Previous monitoring missions

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/276/

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/276/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 more than 200 m of enclosures of the northern site of Sur Ashnas have been damaged by explosions during combat in the City of Samarra, and that mortar shelling damaged the western side of the octagonal Qubbat al-Sulaybiyya, where a hole and cracks are visible.

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, after its liberation. 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 continuing lack of information about the state of conservation of the property remains of very grave concern.

It is recommended that the Committee request again the State Party to submit, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a copy of the Samarra Department of Antiquities’ documentation that was mentioned in the previous state of conservation report. It is further recommended that the Committee reiterate its recommendation that a full and comprehensive assessment be carried out in close collaboration with the UNESCO Office for Iraq, as soon as security conditions permit and before any remedial actions are undertaken. As previously recommended, any required emergency stabilization work should adhere to the principle of minimal intervention.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7A.20

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.35, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Expresses its very grave concern about the state of conservation of the property following 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 that the State Party submit a copy of the Samarra Department of Antiquities’ documentation of the damage done to the affected monuments, 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;
  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 Samarra Archaeological City (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: