1.         Historic Cairo (Egypt) (C 89)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (i)(v)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/89/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1979-2014)
Total amount approved: USD 398,900
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/89/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: Special Account for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Egypt: USD 2,203,304 dollars for the project Urban Regeneration of Historic Cairo (URHC).  For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/663

 

Previous monitoring missions

August 2002, March 2005: ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions; April and December 2007: World Heritage Centre missions for the Cairo Financial Centre; October 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; 2009-2013: several World Heritage Centre missions for the URHC project; November 2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission; June 2019: 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/89/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 5 December 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/89/documents/, and which responds to the request of the Committee to provide details of measures to halt the rapid deterioration and demolition in the property, to give priority to the development of the Urban Regeneration Project for Historic Cairo (URHC) and to improve management, as follows:

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

The further progress made to address deterioration and legal demolition in the property through strengthening organisational structures and activating responsibilities of key organizations, in relation to building and demolition licenses, is welcomed, as is the activation by the Ministry of Antiquities of Decree no. 90 within the Historic City of Cairo that mandates authorities in relation to building transgressions.

No timeframe has been indicated concerning when regulations for implementing the Decree might be officially approved, which would have been helpful. It would also have been useful to have more details as to what precise actions have been accomplished in tackling the rapid deterioration of the urban fabric. It is therefore recommended that the World Heritage Committee request this further information. Progress is continuing with the development of the URHC – a major project to revitalize the property’s structures and activities. This project has now been divided into three stages. The 1st stage on data collection is complete, although precise details of what has been accomplished have not been provided. The 2nd stage will consider ways and means of providing an adequate legal framework, how the property might become a special planning unit, what the priorities are for various areas of the city, how standards might be defined for heritage conservation, and what sort of institutional framework is needed to encompass the vast range of administrative, urban, cultural, economic and social activities that are needed to make a difference in the historic city.

It is now envisaged that the 3rd stage will be the preparation of an Action Plan to guide the Sustainable Development Plan for Historic Cairo, rather than what was called a Master Plan in the previous state of conservation report. This stage appears to be the most critical, and therefore, further detailed information would be beneficial to understand the structures of the precise outcomes that are envisaged and whether the Sustainable Development Plan will be produced as part of the URHC. It is recommended that the 2nd and 3rd stages of the URHC should be carried out following the approach of the 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape. The intention to provide the World Heritage Centre with completed studies carried out within the framework of the URHC is welcomed.

In the report submitted in 2018, it was indicated that the Ministry of Antiquities, in discussion with the General Consultant of the URHC, was considering appointing a General Council for the management of the property, which would be legally constituted and have an independent budget. In this year’s report, no further details have been submitted on this General Council and instead, it is said that work to draft a proposal for an institutional framework to manage the property will be carried out as part of the 2nd stage of the URHC and presented to the Supreme Council for Planning and Urban Development for approval. This aspect is said to be one of the most important outputs of the 2nd stage. The timeframe for establishment of this administrative framework remains unclear and will only be known once the expected timeframe for the 2nd stage is set out. It is recommended that the Committee request additional information in this regard.

It is noted that several restoration and rehabilitation projects have been implemented, in addition to documentation, research, raising awareness, and other activities, through international cooperation and partnership projects.

The promotion of community participation is also being addressed. The arrangements for promotion and engagement of people in the development of the URHC through various type of mass media is to be commended.

The previously mentioned project to renovate the Al-Azhar Pedestrians’ crossing bridge, for which detailed information had been requested, has been temporarily suspended.

The joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission requested by the Committee was invited to take place in June 2019. This mission will present the opportunity for more information to be provided on how the URHC is progressing and its anticipated outcomes. The mission report, once finalized, will be made available at  https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/89/documents/).

Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7B.44

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.77, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Welcomes the further progress made, in conformity with its previous recommendations, in implementing measures and projects for mitigating the rapid deterioration of the property through strengthening organisational structures and activating responsibilities;
  4. Also welcomes the steps undertaken by the State Party to implement Decree No. 90 issued to control development within the boundaries of the property and requests the State Party to provide further information on the mechanisms and timeframes for implementation;
  5. Notes the progress made with the development of the Urban Regeneration Project for Historic Cairo (URHC), which has now been structured in three stages:
    1. 1st stage: Data collection (now completed),
    2. 2nd stage: Defining ways and means of providing an adequate legal framework, creating a special planning unit, defining priorities for various areas of the city, setting standards for heritage conservation, and developing institutional framework,
    3. 3rd stage: Preparation of an Action Plan to guide the Sustainable Development Plan for Historic Cairo;
  6. Further welcomes the State Party’s intention to provide the World Heritage Centre with all studies to be carried out within the framework of URHC project and recommends that the 2nd and 3rd stages of the UHRC be carried out following the approach of 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape;
  7. Also requests the State Party to provide more details and timeframes for the three stages of the URHC in terms of how the overall project is structured, the precise outcomes envisaged, in particular in relation to the institutional framework for managing the property and the proposed status of the Action Plan, and to submit details on whether the drafting of the Sustainable Development Plan is part of this project or not;
  8. Further requests the State Party to provide details as to how the data collected as part of the 1st stage is being used to establish benchmarks for monitoring change over time, in relation to mitigating deterioration, and the impact of new legislative and administrative systems;
  9. Welcomes furthermore the steps undertaken to promote community participation, and particularly commends the arrangements for promotion and engagement of people in the development of the URHC through various type of mass media, in line with the World Heritage Sustainable Development Policy;
  10. Takes note that a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission will visit the property in June 2019;
  11. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, 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 44th session in 2020.