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Kasbah of Algiers

Algeria
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
  • Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Land conversion
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Natural erosion
  • Lack of maintenance of dwelling places
  • Loss of traditional conservation techniques
  • Uncontrolled land use
  • Non-operational safeguarding plan
  • Lack of coordination of actions
  • Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system
  • Change in the land use plan
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019

Total amount provided to the property: USD 100,000 for an international experts meeting on the safeguarding of the Kasbah of Algiers (Japanese funds-in-trust)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 5 (from 1993-2002)
Total amount approved : 92,600 USD
Missions to the property until 2019**

September 2001: World Heritage Centre Reactive Monitoring mission; from November 2007 to November 2009: Six World Heritage Centre missions financed by the State Party for the Safeguarding Plan and the issue of the metro. June 2015: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

The State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property on 29 November 2018. A summary of this report is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/565/documents.  Progress on a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in these reports, as follows:  

  • The multisectoral commission, which regularly assesses the state of the Kasbah buildings in collaboration with the Communal People's Assembly, has added twenty-four deteriorated properties to the priority intervention programme called the "Plan of Attack";
  • Numerous restoration operations have been launched, involving immovable cultural properties under public and private ownership. In addition, a programme of study and restoration of the state of public space infrastructures has been initiated, as well as maintenance, development and embellishment operations, including the renovation of facades and the demolition of illegal extensions. Finally, a significant number of awareness-raising activities have been carried out;
  • Prior to the international meeting held from 20 to 23 January 2018, three preparatory roundtables were organized, addressing the legal aspects of the implementation of the Permanent Plan for the Protection, Safeguarding and Valorization of the Protected Area (PPSMVSS), the integrated conservation of the Kasbah and the participation of civil society. The international meeting emphasized the need to set up a coordinating entity between the different actors, to develop a strategic vision for the management, conservation and an integrated and sustainable development, and proposed the realization of pilot projects;
  • A number of activities have been undertaken to implement the recommendations of the meeting, including the creation of an additional committee for urban animation and regeneration to revitalize socio-economic activities. In addition, twinning projects are underway with some cities (eg. Havana) to encourage the development of programmes with which these cities have experience;
  • A cooperation agreement was signed between the Wilaya of Algiers and the Regional Council of Ile-de-France Region in March 2018, which will help to integrate the Kasbah in the broader context of development of the city of Algiers through some structuring projects;
  • The excavation and analysis of archaeological discoveries carried out by the National Archaeological Research Centre (CNRA)/National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) have experienced some delays, however the remaining eight preliminary reports are in progress. The museum space at the Place des Martyrs metro station was inaugurated.

On April 22, 2019, the media reported the collapse of a building located in the perimeter of the Place des Martyrs and the death of five inhabitants occupying the building illegally.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019

The report highlights the efforts made by the State Party to address the conservation of the property in an integrated and coordinated manner, but also the degradation of new buildings within the property, which remains a concern.

From 20 to 23 January 2018, an "International Experts Meeting on the Conservation and Revitalization of the Kasbah of Algiers, World Heritage Site" organized by the Ministry of Culture and in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre, brought together key players in the conservation of the Kasbah of Algiers, international experts, representatives of national institutions, independent Algerian experts, as well as associations and inhabitants of the Kasbah. Based on the presentation of international case studies (Barcelona, Bari, El Qods, Istanbul, Havana, Rio de Janeiro, Tunis and Turin) which focused on different processes of conservation and revitalization of historic urban centres, participants were able to provide elements of response to the major issues identified in the Kasbah of Algiers, namely issues of land tenure, the legal framework, conservation, urban integration, the involvement of residents and socio-economic revitalization.

The Minister of Culture and the Wali of Algiers, who chaired the meeting in the presence of the Ministers of Housing, Tourism and Environment, pledged to support the implementation of the meeting's recommendations, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1805/. The use of the remaining budgets of the international meeting project financed by the Japanese Funds in Trust enabled the implementation of one of the recommendations concerning the legal framework of protection of the Kasbah. A detailed legal study has clarified the case of joint-ownership properties, unclaimed properties and the state aid ceiling for the rehabilitation of unclassified private property to allow stakeholders to intervene with full knowledge and respect of the legal framework.

It is important to recognize the quality of the work undertaken so far by the various actors involved in the conservation of the Kasbah and the national capacities to carry out its safeguarding, but to insist on the need to improve the institutional set-up to allow the creation of a unique and representative PPSMVSS implementation structure with decision-making authority and autonomy of action, and the importance of adopting an integrated and participatory social and economic approach to its successful implementation, focusing on the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 2011.

In December 2018, the World Heritage Centre was informed of the signing of a partnership agreement between the Wilaya of Algiers and the Ateliers Jean Nouvel concerning the revitalization of the Kasbah, and was asked to clarify the status-related prerogatives of the property. It is recommended that the Committee remind the State Party of the need to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, any new project planned within the property accompanied by a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), with a specific section focusing on the potential impact of the project on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, prior to the implementation of works, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and keep it informed of any new developments of the property, particularly following the partnership agreements concluded by the Wilaya of Algiers.

The dramatic impact of the collapse of a building within the property recalls the urgency of implementing the recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session (Krakow, Poland, 2017) and adopting an integrated management and conservation of the property.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
43 COM 7B.40
Kasbah of Algiers (Algeria) (C 565)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.73, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Takes note of the activities implemented by the State Party to improve the management and state of conservation of the property, but expresses its deep concern about the advanced degradation of twenty-four new buildings within the property;
  4. Commends the State Party for the results of the preventive excavations carried out as part of the Place des Martyrs metro station project, aimed at reconciling the imperatives of urban development with the need to preserve the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and the museum activities that were presented;
  5. Encourages the State Party to seek mechanisms and opportunities to integrate the management plan into the city master plan to address the management and conservation of the property in an integrated and coordinated manner, and in line with the approach focused on the Recommendation concerning the Historic Urban Landscape (2011), in order to define a comprehensive framework to support the effective implementation of the Permanent Plan for the Protection, Safeguarding and Valorisation of the Safeguarded Sector (PPSMVSS) and the conduct of all other actions to improve the state of conservation of the property;
  6. Also takes note of the international experts meeting on the safeguarding of the Kasbah held in January 2018, and urges the State Party to implement all the recommendations adopted at this meeting, and in particular:
    1. Create a single structure that includes all relevant institutions and whose actions could be defined by a steering committee which centralizes information and has decision-making power and autonomy. This would enable multisectoral planning of urban development integrating heritage conservation issues, to ensure that all urban planning integrates the Kasbah throughout the city of Algiers. It would also ensure dialogue among planners, and study the impact of their projects on the OUV of the property before undertaking them,
    2. Encourage, promote and assist in the creation of projects that can maintain the OUV of the property while promoting economic and social development, in particular through the creation of jobs and businesses to enrich the traditional fabric in order to create expanding, diversified and inclusive aggregations,
    3. Ensure and improve the integration of academics, members of civil society, skilled workers and other actors deemed indispensable in safeguarding actions, with an important component devoted to training;
  7. Reminds the State Party of the need to inform the Committee, through the Secretariat, of its intention to undertake or authorize major restorations or new constructions that could alter the OUV of the property, before making decisions that could be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and to keep it informed of any new development planned on the property, accompanied by a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), in particular following the partnership agreements concluded by the Wilaya of Algiers;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above-mentioned points, as well as the final report on the preventive excavation operation, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session in 2021.
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7B.40

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.73, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Takes note of the activities implemented by the State Party to improve the management and state of conservation of the property, but expresses its deep concern about the advanced degradation of twenty-four new buildings within the property;
  4. Commends the State Party for the results of the preventive excavations carried out as part of the Place des Martyrs metro station project, aimed at reconciling the imperatives of urban development with the need to preserve the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and the museum activities that were presented;
  5. Encourages the State Party to seek mechanisms and opportunities to integrate the management plan into the city master plan to address the management and conservation of the property in an integrated and coordinated manner, and in line with the approach focused on the Recommendation concerning the Historic Urban Landscape (2011), in order to define a comprehensive framework to support the effective implementation of the Permanent Plan for the Protection, Safeguarding and Valorization of the Safeguarded Sector (PPSMVSS) and the conduct of all other actions to improve the state of conservation of the property;
  6. Also takes note of the international experts meeting on the safeguarding of the Kasbah held in January 2018, and urges the State Party to implement all the recommendations adopted at this meeting, and in particular:
    1. Create a single structure that includes all relevant institutions and whose actions could be defined by a steering committee which centralizes information and has decision-making power and autonomy. This would enable multisectoral planning of urban development integrating heritage conservation issues, to ensure that all urban planning integrates the Kasbah throughout the city of Algiers. It would also ensure dialogue among planners, and study the impact of their projects on the OUV of the property before undertaking them,
    2. Encourage, promote and assist in the creation of projects that can maintain the OUV of the property while promoting economic and social development, in particular through the creation of jobs and businesses to enrich the traditional fabric in order to create expanding, diversified and inclusive aggregations,
    3. Ensure and improve the integration of academics, members of civil society, skilled workers and other actors deemed indispensable in safeguarding actions, with an important component devoted to training;
  7. Reminds the State Party of the need to inform the Committee, through the Secretariat, of its intention to undertake or authorize major restorations or new constructions that could alter the OUV of the property, before making decisions that could be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and to keep it informed of any new development planned on the property, accompanied by a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), in particular following the partnership agreements concluded by the Wilaya of Algiers;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above-mentined points, as well as the final report on the preventive excavation operation, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session in 2021.
Report year: 2019
Algeria
Date of Inscription: 1992
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(v)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2018) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 43COM (2019)
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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