1.         Ouadi Qadisha (the Holy Valley) and the Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab) (Lebanon) (C 850)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1998

Criteria  (iii)(iv)

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/850/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1993-2004)
Total amount approved: USD 65,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/850/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: 500,000 USD from the Italian funds-in-Trust for the rehabilitation and valorization of the Qadisha Valley

Previous monitoring missions

June 2003: World Heritage Centre Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2012: 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/850/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 23 January 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/850/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

It is noted that a Management Committee has been established for the World Heritage property. Nevertheless, information has not been provided with regards to a permanent site management team and related resources for the adequate management of the property, including its continuing maintenance and conservation to ensure its long-term sustainability.

The ongoing revision of boundaries of the property and its buffer zone is well noted, and the intention of their submission once finalized in response to the retrospective inventory is welcomed. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to continue this process in 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 project for the “Rehabilitation and Valorization of Ouadi Qadisha” falls within the framework of the Action Plan for the development of cultural assets of the Qadisha Valley and is envisaged to have positive impacts concerning sustainable tourism. Its components comprise the rehabilitation of trails, and hence the improvement of mobility within the valley, in addition to the conservation of structures, and the provision of training and workshops in the conservation of cultural assets.

The project implemented within the framework of the agreement with FAO also has a socio-economic contribution, in addition to the conservation and restoration components. The local residents showed interest in restoring their land, and there might be opportunities for replication of project activities. A prohibition on the use of machinery in this World Heritage property appears to pose a challenge due to the increase in time and effort needed to carry out activities manually, which, accordingly, leads to higher costs. Nevertheless, the rehabilitation and valorization project has shown that it improves livelihoods while also ensuring the conservation of traditional terraces and helping to promote responsible tourism.

It is noted that a number of activities have either been implemented or are underway within the framework of the agreed upon Action Plan and previous Committee decisions. Nevertheless, the State Party has not commented on the long-term implementation of the Action Plan in a holistic manner. Additionally, the dimension of creating sustainable development by integrating components of income generation for local communities has not been clearly addressed. It is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to ensure the urgent implementation of the Action Plan for the World Heritage property. It is also recommended that the State Party transmit to the World Heritage Centre, for examination by the Advisory Bodies, detailed information on future development work before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

The World Heritage Centre received information from the UNESCO Office in Beirut regarding a new road being constructed in Hadshit Village without the approval of the Ministry of Culture/Directorate General of Antiquities. As per the information received, the road starts from Hadshit Cemeteries and goes into the Valley. On 4 April, the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party recalling Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, On 10 April, the State Party replied confirming the halting of the construction works of the road. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre for evaluation by the Advisory Bodies detailed information and a Heritage Impact assessment (HIA) on the project.

It is further recommended that the Committee request additional information on the management and coordination mechanisms in place to ensure the property’s long-term conservation and maintenance, as well as on the integration of a sustainable development dimension in future actions.

Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7B.49

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.82, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Welcomes the formal establishment of a Management Committee and requests further information on the structure and team entrusted with the day-to-day management of the property;
  4. Notes that a revision of the property and buffer zone boundaries is underway and also requests the State Party to pursue its finalization in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, and to submit it as a Minor Boundary Modification, in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  5. Also notes that the project for the “Rehabilitation and Valorization of Ouadi Qadisha” is due to start during 2019, and that a project was implemented for the “restoration of traditional agriculture stone terraces for improvement of the cultural landscape values and rural livelihoods through sustainable value chains of local plant species”, with a socio-economic dimension;
  6. Urges the State Party to ensure the implementation of the Action Plan for the World Heritage property in a holistic manner, ensuring the integration of sustainable development components, and to inform the World Heritage Centre on the progress;
  7. Reminds the State Party about the need to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for evaluation by the Advisory Bodies, detailed information of the project and its HIA, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. Further 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, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session in 2021.