1.         Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Libya) (C 184)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1982

Criteria  (iii)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2016-present

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

Conflict situation prevailing in the country

Corrective measures identified

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet identified

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/184/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/184/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

European Project "Protection of Cultural Heritage and Diversity in Complex Emergencies for Peace and Stability" USD 25,000

Previous monitoring missions

March 2003: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2007: 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/184/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 30 January 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/184/documents/. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report, as follows:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The information provided by the State Party demonstrates its commitment for the conservation of the Archaeological Site of Sabratha despite the prevailing conflict in the country and the lack of funds.

The efforts made to elaborate the maps, including the boundaries and the buffer zone, are recognized as an indispensable step forward for the protection and management of the property. The ongoing close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS in this regard is highly appreciated. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to continue the close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, and submit a Boundary Clarification followed by a Minor Boundary Modification, in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines for review by the Advisory Bodies.

The damages incurred at the property due to the armed conflict, in conjunction with the difficulties to improve the situation and undertake appropriate protection and conservation measures, are of great concern. The property needs a comprehensive strategy for its management and conservation in order to better address the effects of the armed conflict, vandalism, urban encroachment, weathering (humidity, salt, sea water), and vegetation growth, among others. It is therefore recommended that the Committee call for the support of the international community for the conservation and protection of the property.

Concerning the urban encroachment issue raised in the previous state of conservation report, which referenced satellite images taken in 2012 and 2016 showing 620 new constructions in Sabratha, the State Party contends that there are in fact 2 new constructions within the proposed boundaries of the property and 31 within the buffer zone. This discrepancy should be addressed in the context of the State Party’s current efforts to elaborate a map of the property’s boundaries and buffer zone. It is therefore recommended that finalizing this map be given priority by the State Party.

It is also recommended that the important efforts made by the State Party for the elaboration of a strategy for the protection of Libyan World Heritage properties build on the short- and medium-term measures identified during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage, held in Tunis in May 2016. The report is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1496.

Other sources report that there is an increasing awareness at the level of the civil society and the local authorities about the necessity to protect cultural heritage in Libya, including the properties inscribed on the World Heritage List. The meeting of the five-member Union of Libyan World Heritage Municipalities (Sabratha, March 2018) called for government measures to protect Libyan properties and stressed the need for coordination and coherence between the relevant authorities in this matter.

It remains essential that the joint mission requested by the Committee at its 40th and 41st sessions (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016; Krakow, 2017) be sent to the property as soon as the security conditions permit. In the meantime, it is important that the State Party pursue its efforts to keep the World Heritage Centre updated on the situation on the ground, as well as on the further implementation of the measures it has launched, while addressing, to the extent possible, the comments and requests made by the Committee.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7A.24

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 41 COM 7A.39 and 41 COM 8C.2 adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Commends the State Party for the important efforts made to elaborate the strategy to protect Libyan World Heritage properties, despite the prevailing unstable situation and difficult working conditions on the ground;
  4. Expresses great concern over the damages incurred at the property due to the armed conflict, in particular to the theatre, urban encroachment, vandalism and weathering, in conjunction with the technical and financial difficulties to undertake appropriate protection and conservation measures;
  5. Notes with appreciation the activities undertaken by the State Party to address the conservation threats in the property despite the numerous difficulties faced;
  6. Also commends the State Party for the important advances in the definition of the buffer zone of the property, and encourages it to pursue the finalization of the boundary clarification and the minor boundary modification in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre regularly informed of the evolution of the situation at the property and of any new measures undertaken to ensure its protection and conservation, and to continue to provide detailed information on the works carried out, including technical explanations justifying the interventions;
  8. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, as soon as the security conditions permit;
  9. Calls for an increased mobilization of the international community to provide more financial and technical support to the State Party, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund, to implement the short- and medium-term measures identified during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage (Tunis, May 2016);
  10. 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 the Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Libya) 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:

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 8D

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/8D,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 8D, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Acknowledges the excellent work accomplished by States Parties in the clarification of the boundaries of their World Heritage properties and commends them for their efforts to improve the credibility of the World Heritage List;
  4. Recalls that the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are not able to examine proposals for minor or significant modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties whenever the delimitations of such properties as inscribed remain unclear;
  5. Takes note of the clarifications of property boundaries and areas provided by the States Parties as presented in the Annex of Document WHC/18/42.COM/8D:

    ARAB STATES

    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha
    • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès
    • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus

    EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA

    • Netherlands, Defence Line of Amsterdam
    • Spain, Ibiza, Biodiversity and Culture

    LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

    • Haiti, National History Park – Citadel, Sans Souci, Ramiers
    • Mexico, Pre-Hispanic Town of Uxmal;
  6. Requests the States Parties which have not yet answered the questions raised in the framework of the Retrospective Inventory to provide all clarifications and documentation as soon as possible, and by 1 December 2018 at the latest, for their subsequent examination, if the technical requirements are met, by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019.