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Historic Town of Zabid

Yemen
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Financial resources
  • Housing
  • Human resources
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Serious degradation of the city’s heritage (many houses and the ancient souq are in an alarming state of deterioration)
  • Large percentage of the city's houses replaced by inappropriate concrete buildings
  • Large sections of the city’s open spaces have been privatized, either illegally or informally and more than 30% of these built-up
  • Reduction in support and resources arising from political and socio-economic disturbances
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Serious deterioration of the built heritage (a high percentage of the residential houses being replaced by concrete and multi-storey buildings);
  • The remaining  houses in the city are rapidly deteriorating, due to the prevailing low income of the inhabitants;
  • Since the souq activities have been transferred outside the city, the ancient souq is almost empty and free from any type of activity and the shops are falling apart;
  • The traditional economic role of the city has vanished;
  • The city in general, is lacking any conservation and rehabilitation strategies;
  • Threats arising from the armed conflict in Yemen.
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4357

Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted; see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1282

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Identified; see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4357

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

Total amount granted: USD 14,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust and the France-UNESCO Co-operation Agreement

Total amount granted to Yemeni cultural properties: USD 194,836 from the European Union for damage assessments, capacity development and emergency stabilization of damaged buildings and protection of archaeological sites

Total amount of USD 35,000 from UNESCO Regular Programme for the Sustainable Management of Tangible Heritage in the GCC and Yemen

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 9 (from 1994-2014)
Total amount approved : 188,997 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

2002 and 2003: international expertise; December 2004: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; January 2009: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

Local sources provided a report on the property’s state of conservation, which contains the following information:

  • The property remains threatened by armed conflict, adverse economic conditions and lack of resources for conservation. Even provision of basic needs for inhabitants has become challenging. A particular emerging issue is that high prices and lack of traditional building materials result in the use of unsuitable building materials. The majority of the traditional buildings in the Old Town of Zabid need urgent interventions for maintenance, restoration and rehabilitation;
  • Despite such challenges, some projects aimed at raising awareness among youth groups, women and traditional builders, as well as activities such as collecting garbage and building remnants have been undertaken. Other current projects and initiatives include paving the southern gate area of the old city, improvements to shop facades and passage roofs in the souk, and a heritage and environmental awareness program for the local community;
  • The report underlines the urgent need for technical and financial support to implement urgent preventive measures that would protect and conserve the property and address the current deterioration.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

The security situation in Yemen, in combination with a lack of organisational support and resources, continues to obstruct both effective heritage management and physical conservation works within the property. However, the efforts of technical actors and local communities, in damage assessment, documentation, first-aid interventions and awareness raising are commendable.

Recent information in the media reported an escalation of the conflict near Hodeida region, where Zabid is located. It is recommended that the Committee urge all parties involved in the conflict to refrain from any further action that would cause damage to the cultural heritage of Yemen and the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and to fulfil their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage.  

Support from the international community remains essential for technical and financial resources, and capacity building to conduct adequate preventive and restoration measures at the property. Owing to the security situation, there has been no progress with the preparation of a management plan, nor with finalising the draft National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020, nor with the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Yemen’s Cultural Heritage, adopted at the UNESCO expert meeting in July 2015. Prospects for practical and/or financial assistance within Yemen are necessarily constrained until the security situation improves. However, it would be appropriate for the international community to continue to express its support and where possible to offer technical assistance.

It remains necessary for a Reactive Monitoring mission to visit the property in order to advise on short-term repair works and to assist with the identification of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and associated corrective measures, as soon as the security situation allows.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7A.37
Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) (C 611)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.51, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017);
  3. Expresses its continuing concern at the recent damage caused to the cultural heritage of the Historic Town of Zabid as a result of ongoing armed conflict, and that the property continues to be threatened by the current security situation, ongoing social change and continuing lack of organisational support and resources for both heritage management and physical conservation;
  4. Commends the local actors and the communities of Zabid for efforts to protect and conserve the property despite the very difficult conditions;
  5. Reiterates the need for a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to advise on short-term repair and conservation works, and to contribute to the development of a set of corrective measures and a timeframe for their implementation, as well as the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), as soon as the security situation in Yemen has improved;
  6. Urges all parties involved in the conflict to refrain from any further action that would cause damage to the cultural heritage of Yemen and the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and to fulfil their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, in particular the safeguarding of properties on the World Heritage List and those included in the Tentative List of Yemen, and encourages all concerned stakeholders to unite for the preservation of cultural heritage in Yemen;
  7. Reiterates its previous calls for the international community to provide technical and financial support, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund, for the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Yemen’s Cultural Heritage, adopted at the UNESCO expert meeting in July 2015, including funding for capacity building and first-aid restoration and protection measures, and calls on the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to continue providing technical assistance and support;
  8. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit details of the buffer zone and other technical requirements for a minor boundary modification proposal as soon as the conditions allow it, for adoption by the World Heritage Committee;
  9. 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;
  10. Decides to retain the Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) 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.37

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.51, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017);
  3. Expresses its continuing concern at the recent damage caused to the cultural heritage of the Historic Town of Zabid as a result of ongoing armed conflict, and that the property continues to be threatened by the current security situation, ongoing social change and continuing lack of organisational support and resources for both heritage management and physical conservation;
  4. Commends the local actors and the communities of Zabid for efforts to protect and conserve the property despite the very difficult conditions;
  5. Reiterates the need for a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to advise on short-term repair and conservation works, and to contribute to the development of a set of corrective measures and a timeframe for their implementation, as well as the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), as soon as the security situation in Yemen has improved;
  6. Urges all parties involved in the conflict to refrain from any further action that would cause damage to the cultural heritage of Yemen and the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and to fulfil their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, in particular the safeguarding of properties on the World Heritage List and those included in the Tentative List of Yemen, and encourages all concerned stakeholders to unite for the preservation of cultural heritage in Yemen;
  7. Reiterates its previous calls for the international community to provide technical and financial support, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund, for the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Yemen’s Cultural Heritage, adopted at the UNESCO expert meeting in July 2015, including funding for capacity building and first-aid restoration and protection measures, and calls on the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to continue providing technical assistance and support;
  8. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit details of the buffer zone and other technical requirements for a minor boundary modification proposal as soon as the conditions allow it, for adoption by the World Heritage Committee;
  9. 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;
  10. Decides to retain Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2018
Yemen
Date of Inscription: 1993
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2000-present
Documents examined by the Committee
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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