1.         Old City of Sana'a (Yemen) (C 385)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1986

Criteria  (iv)(v)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2015-present

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

Damages and threats related to the armed conflict in Yemen

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/385/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1990-2014)
Total amount approved: USD 101,997
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/385/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: 1988: USD 374,800, UNDP/UNESCO project in support of local staff training and fund-raising. 2004-2006: USD 60,000 for the Inventory of the historic city (Italian Funds-in-Trust); USD 12,000 for technical assistance in support of the reconstruction of the al-Qasimi neighborhood (Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH)

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

Previous monitoring missions

1998, 1999, 2003: World Heritage Centre monitoring missions; 2003 to 2005 and 2010: World Heritage Centre and experts missions

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/385/

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:

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

The armed conflict in Yemen continues to severely affect and further threaten the OUV of the property.

GOPHCY’s involvement in damage assessment, documentation, first-aid interventions, preparatory training and communication with the World Heritage Centre, UNESCO Office in Doha and the Advisory Bodies is highly appreciated. However, the exchanges of information and consultation on the state of conservation of the property and first-aid measures need to be backed-up with resources that allow implementation of physical conservation actions.

The situation within the property for both residents and historic buildings remains dire. The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS have supported reconstruction plans to sustain shelter for the inhabitants, and provided detailed technical restoration and reconstruction guidelines that reconcile the provision of housing and basic shelter and services needs for the inhabitants, with the necessity of restoring damaged buildings based on surveys and documentation, and using traditional construction techniques and materials as much as possible. Indeed, unregulated new constructions and inadequate restorations will incrementally affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to consult the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in order to ensure that restoration and reconstruction works at the property abide by basic technical requirements.

Support from the international community remains essential for capacity building to conduct adequate preventive and conservation measures at the property, in relation to the armed conflict, within the framework of the July 2015 Emergency Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Yemen’s Cultural Heritage. Financial support is necessarily constrained until the security situation improves, emergency interventions for the reconstruction of destroyed houses still require immediate financial and technical support, to sustain people’s livelihoods and ensure that these interventions include due consideration of the property’s OUV.

Owing to the security conditions prevailing in the country, it remains challenging for the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to provide further support to the State Party on first-aid measures and restoration/reconstruction of damaged structures, nor is it currently possible to arrange a joint Reactive Monitoring mission, despite the State Party’s repeated invitations.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7A.38

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.52, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Expresses its continuing concern at the damage caused to the cultural heritage of Yemen as a result of armed conflict, and that the Old City of Sana’a has incurred irreversible destruction, and continues to be vulnerable, owing to 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 technical actors and other parties involved in damage assessment, documentation and emergency interventions at the property, and requests that they restore damaged buildings based on surveys and documentation, and using traditional construction techniques and materials, as much as possible, to avoid incrementally affecting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  5. Notes the actions taken to address unauthorized construction of new buildings within the property without prior consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies and reiterates its previous request that the State Party submit to the World Heritage Centre, for examination by the Advisory Bodies, further information on these new buildings and on new projects prior to initiating any construction works;
  6. 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;
  7. 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;
  8. Reiterates its previous call to 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 also calls on the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to continue providing technical assistance and support where needed;
  9. 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;
  10. Decides to retain the Old City of Sana'a (Yemen) 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: