Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou (Morocco) (C 444)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1987
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/444/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 52,333
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/444/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
September 2003: Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2003: World Heritage Centre mission; April 2006: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2007: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Partial abandonment of the property
- Gully erosion leading to rock falls
- Increased offences in old Ksar and degradation
- Delays in the establishment of a technical and administrative structure responsible for the property
- Uncontrolled tourism and visitor pressure
- Floods at the end of 2014
- Possible impact due to the opening of the bridge connecting the two banks of the Wadi el-Maleh on the property
- Lack of an updated Management Plan
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/444/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 5 February 2019, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/444/documents/ and reports the following progress:
- The new Management Plan 2018 – 2023 is currently being finalized and will be sent to the World Heritage Centre by the Ministry of Culture and Communication. It is the result of a participatory process and has five main objectives related to conservation, interpretation, communication and promotion, revitalization and capacity building;
- The issue of the creation of a special account for conservation is still under discussion among the stakeholders. Recently, it has been decided to convene a meeting at the national level in order to reach a decision about this matter;
- The pedestrian footbridge that had already been built is meant to connect the two banks of El-Malleh valley (old Ksar and the new village), with the purpose of encouraging the return of the inhabitants to old Ksar. The State Party reports that the bridge has already generated positive impacts, namely by contributing to the increase in the number of inhabitants in old Ksar, generating interest in project funding within the property, facilitating access, encouraging the installation of necessary infrastructure, the creation of income generating activities, the provision of weaving workshops for women, and the opening up of other villages on the right bank during overflow of Wadi El-Maleh;
- The project for the restoration of Ksar dwellings is within the framework of a partnership between the Ministry of Culture, the National Agency for the Development of Oasian and Argan Zones, and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Policy. The first phase of the project was carried out by the Centre de Restauration et de Réhabilitation du Patrimoine Architectural des Zones Atlasiques et Subatlasiques (CERKAS). The planning and execution of restoration works followed a process of damage assessment of the houses and identification of two areas requiring urgent interventions. Conservation interventions are based on implementing principles of vernacular earthen architecture, stakeholder participation, supervision of intervention and enhancing local capacities, and maintaining the site’s values and attributes. A safeguarding plan has also been prepared, in addition to a booklet with architectural specifications.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
Progress concerning the ongoing finalization of the Management Plan 2018-2023 is noted, and the intention to submit it to the World Heritage Centre is welcomed. The previous Management Plan 2006-2012 had a time period of 6 years and the present Management Plan 2018-2023 also has a duration of 6 years. Between these periods, the property underwent a period of 6 years without any Management Plan in place. In order to avoid this situation happening again, it is recommended that future Management Plans have a longer duration (e.g. 2018-2028) with Action Plans for the relevant mentioned.
The previously proposed special account has not been agreed upon yet. Nevertheless, no information was provided on assurances with regards to its ability to undertake the necessary conservation and management measures of the property with available resources.
The pedestrian footbridge has obviously many advantages, especially with regards to socio-economic aspects. However, the State Party has not provided information on whether a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) has been carried out to ensure that the structure does not affect the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide such HIA.
The 2018 report provides information on restoration works carried out, and, includes an extract from the safeguarding plan of 2015 and the related architectural specifications that have been prepared. These specifications primarily address interventions on existing buildings as well as new constructions, rehabilitation and reconstruction. The provision of technical information regarding conservation intervention is encouraged. However, it is of concern that restoration and reconstruction works are being carried out without informing the World Heritage Center. Also, the State Party has not commented or provided further detailed information on the next phases of restoration work. It is recommended that the Committee request such necessary information and documentation be transmitted to the World Heritage Center, prior to the commencement of works and in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for consideration by the Advisory Bodies.
The recommendation on adopting a Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach as an additional tool for the sustainable management of the property has not been commented upon. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to include the HUL approach in the elaboration of the Management Plan currently being finalized.
Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7B.51
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.84, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
- Notes that the Management Plan is under finalization by the State Party and encourages its submission together with a timetable for its implementation, ensuring that there is no gap between the operation of the previous plan and forthcoming one, as soon as possible to the World Heritage Centre for consideration by the Advisory Bodies;
- Also notes that the proposed special account for conservation has not been established yet, and also encourages the State Party to provide an update on its status once further information is available;
- Requests the State Party to provide a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) of the pedestrian footbridge, including a section on the potential impact of the bridge on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, for examination by the Advisory Bodies;
- Acknowledges that the first phase of restoration works has been carried out on the basis of assessments and studies, and also requests the State Party to transmit detailed information on intervention projects, and documentation on the planned additional phases to the World Heritage Centre, prior to the commencement of works and in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for consideration by the Advisory Bodies;
- Reiterates again its recommendation to the State Party to adopt an integrated approach focusing on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) as an additional tool for the sustainable management of the property;
- 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.