Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Historic Town of Zabid

Yemen
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Financial resources
  • Housing
  • Human resources
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Land conversion
  • Financial resources
  • Human resources
  • Management system / management plan
  • Serious degradation of the city’s heritage (many houses and the ancient souq are in an alarming state of deterioration)
  • Large percentage of the city's houses replaced by inappropriate concrete buildings
  • Large sections of the city’s open spaces have been privatized, either illegally or informally and more than 30% of these are built-up
  • Reduction in support and resources arising from political and socio-economic disturbances
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Serious deterioration of the built heritage (a high percentage of the residential houses being replaced by concrete and multi-storey buildings)
  • The remaining houses in the city are rapidly deteriorating, due to the prevailing low income of the inhabitants
  • Since the souq activities have been transferred outside the city, the ancient souq is almost empty and free from any type of activity and the shops are falling apart
  • The traditional economic role of the city has vanished
  • The city in general, is lacking any conservation and rehabilitation strategies
  • Threats arising from the armed conflict in Yemen
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2021

Total amount granted: USD 14,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust and the France-UNESCO Co-operation Agreement

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

2018-2021: USD 12,074,096 from the European Union for the project: Cash for Work: Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemen (Sana’a, Shibam, Zabid and Aden)

2019-2020: USD 40,200 from the Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF) for post flood emergency interventions on two historic houses of outstanding importance in Zabid World Heritage site.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 9 (from 1994-2014)
Total amount approved : 188,997 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

2002 and 2003: international expertise; December 2004: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; January 2009: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 1 February 2020, a report on the state of conservation of the property was provided by local technical actors, presenting the following information:

  • The armed conflict in Yemen continues to threaten the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  • Implementation of a number of activities aiming at the conservation and protection of the property has continued, including those addressing construction violations by suspending licenses and removing illegal buildings;
  • Some conservation projects were implemented in cooperation with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Social Fund for Development (SFD) and the local authorities. These projects include paving, improvement of rainwater drainage, and restoration of a number buildings;
  • Cooperation has continued with the UNESCO Doha Office for the implementation of the first phase of projects under the European Union funded project ‘Cash for Work: Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemen’. Within the framework of the project, an assessment of damage to historical buildings and infrastructure has been initiated and is currently underway ;
  • A workshop focused on periodic reporting was carried out at the Centre for Architectural Training and Studies (CATS).

While there is support provided by the European Union through the UNESCO Doha Office, as well as that of GIZ, there is the need for additional technical and financial support that would contribute to capacity building and conservation efforts. There is also a need to expedite the joint world Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property as soon as the situation improves.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The security situation in Yemen, in combination with a lack of maintenance of the fragile structures are the main problems for the property. This is aggravated by the lack of organizational support and limited resources compared to the needs, which continue to limit the effective heritage management and physical conservation works within the property. However, the efforts of local and international actors, including the UNESCO Doha Office and GIZ, are commendable. The implementation of the European Union funded project ‘Cash for Work: Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemen’ which began in 2019 through the UNESCO Doha Office, is seeking to promote livelihood opportunities for youth through urban regeneration, including the restoration of particular buildings in the World Heritage properties of the Old City of Sana’a, Old Walled City of Shibam and the Historic Town of Zabid that have been damaged during the ongoing conflict or by the lack of maintenance and extreme weather situations. Thanks to the Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF) for post flood emergency interventions in 2019, consolidation and rehabilitation works in two outstanding historic houses have been finalised within the property.

All construction activities should ensure compliance with building regulations, respecting original materials and building techniques. This is important to ensure maintaining the OUV of the property, including its authenticity and integrity. It is desirable that future training further develops local expertise in technical fields that contribute to preserving historical monuments within the property, and in Yemen generally. Urgent financial assistance is still required to support physical, economic and social recovery, which have been further aggravated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The World Heritage Centre and the UNESCO Doha Office have been coordinating efforts to support the State Party in the definition of boundary clarification and a minor boundary modification for the property in line with paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines. The definition of boundaries is an important step towards ensuring the protection of the property. It is therefore crucial that these efforts are pursued, contributing to the submission of the respective proposals for review by the Advisory Bodies.

It remains necessary for a Reactive Monitoring mission to visit the property as soon as the security situation allows, in order to advise on short-term repair works and to assist in the identification of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), and associated corrective measures and timeframe. For some years, there has been no reported progress in finalizing the draft National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020, nor in the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Yemen’s Cultural Heritage, adopted at the UNESCO expert meeting in July 2015.

However, thanks to the EU-funded Cash for Work project, an evidence-informed priority rehabilitation plan was prepared in 2019 and endorsed, which led to the launch of emergency interventions and the mobilization of additional resources from the Heritage Emergency Fund.

In March 2021, the World Heritage Centre received information about the recommended removal of shops in the vicinity of Al-Ashair Mosque, which is part of the World Heritage property. The urban fabric and layout of the Historic Town of Zabid are an integral part of its Outstanding Universal Value, which could be impacted by such interventions. It is recommended that the Committee recalls the obligation to submit information on major projects to the World Heritage Centre, in compliance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for the evaluation of the Advisory Bodies.

The Historic Town of Zabid remains subject to ascertained and potential danger and it would be appropriate for the property to remain on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7A.25
Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) (C 611)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.38, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Expresses its continuing concern that the Historic Town of Zabid has incurred irreversible destruction and continues to be vulnerable, owing to the current security situation, ongoing social change and continuing limited support and resources for both heritage management and physical conservation;
  4. Commends the efforts of the local actors, as well as international agencies, on initiatives undertaken to protect the attributes which contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and to restore individual buildings;
  5. Requests the State Party to consult with UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies, to prioritise urgent maintenance and stabilization actions, to restore damaged buildings, based on surveys and documentation, using traditional construction techniques and materials, and to ensure that construction permits are in compliance with building regulations to avoid incremental impact on OUV;
  6. Welcomes the finalization of the first phase of the ‘Cash for Work: Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemen’ project, and encourages the continued collaboration with the UNESCO Doha Office in its implementation;
  7. Recalls the obligation to submit information on major projects to the World Heritage Centre, in compliance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for the evaluation of the Advisory Bodies, and also requests information regarding the reported planned removal of shops in the vicinity of Al-Ashair Mosque;
  8. Further requests the State Party to report on progress with the National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020, and the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Yemen’s Cultural Heritage, adopted at the UNESCO expert meeting in July 2015;
  9. Also encourages the State Party to elaborate proposals for a boundary clarification and a minor boundary modification in close coordination with UNESCO Doha Office, and in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to be submitted in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  10. Reiterates the need for a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to advise on repair and conservation works, and to contribute to determining the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), and the development of a set of corrective measures and a timeframe for their implementation, as soon as the security situation in Yemen allows;
  11. Continues to urge all parties involved in the conflict to refrain from any further action that would cause damage to the cultural heritage of Yemen and the OUV of the property, and to fulfil their obligations under international law, in particular the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, especially sites on the World Heritage List and those included in the Tentative List of Yemen, and appeals to all States Parties to cooperate in the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflict as per the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347;
  12. Further encourages the State Party to consider ratifying the Second Protocol (1999) of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict;
  13. Reiterates its previous calls 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;
  14. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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;
  15. Decides to retain Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
44 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/21/44.COM/7A, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 44 COM 7A.28)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 44 COM 7A.29)
  • Austria, Historic Centre of Vienna (Decision 44 COM 7A.32)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 44 COM 7A.35)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.39)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.41)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.42)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.43)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.45)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 44 COM 7A.5)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.55)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 44 COM 7A.52)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 44 COM 7A.6)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 44 COM 7A.7)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 44 COM 7A.8)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 44 COM 7A.10)
  • Kenya, Lake Turkana National Parks (Decision 44 COM 7A.47)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 44 COM 7A.11)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 44 COM 7A.12)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 44 COM 7A.13)
  • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 44 COM 7A.14)
  • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 44 COM 7A.15)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 44 COM 7A.48)
  • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 44 COM 7A.1)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 44 COM 7A.2)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 44 COM 7A.3)
  • Mexico, Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California (Decision 44 COM 7B.56)
  • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 44 COM 7A.30)
  • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 44 COM 7A.49)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 44 COM 7A.17)
  • Palestine, Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Decision 44 COM 7A.16)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 44 COM 7A.36)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 44 COM 7A.37)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.50)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 44 COM 7A.33)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 44 COM 7A.53)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 44 COM 7A.18)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 44 COM 7A.19)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 44 COM 7A.20)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 44 COM 7A.21)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 44 COM 7A.22)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 44 COM 7A.23)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 44 COM 7A.4)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.51)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.54)
  • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 44 COM 7A.31)
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 44 COM 7A.38)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 44 COM 7A.25)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 44 COM 7A.26)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 44 COM 7A.27).
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7A.25

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.38, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Expresses its continuing concern that the Historic Town of Zabid has incurred irreversible destruction and continues to be vulnerable, owing to the current security situation, ongoing social change and continuing limited support and resources for both heritage management and physical conservation;
  4. Commends the efforts of the local actors, as well as international agencies, on initiatives undertaken to protect the attributes which contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and to restore individual buildings;
  5. Requests the State Party to consult with UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies, to prioritise urgent maintenance and stabilization actions, to restore damaged buildings, based on surveys and documentation, using traditional construction techniques and materials, and to ensure that construction permits are in compliance with building regulations to avoid incremental impact on OUV;
  6. Welcomes the finalization of the first phase of the ‘Cash for Work: Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemen’ project, and encourages the continued collaboration with the UNESCO Doha Office in its implementation;
  7. Recalls the obligation to submit information on major projects to the World Heritage Centre, in compliance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for the evaluation of the Advisory Bodies, and also requests information regarding the reported planned removal of shops in the vicinity of Al-Ashair Mosque;
  8. Further requests the State Party to report on progress with the National Strategy for the Preservation of the Historic Cities, Sites and Monuments 2016 – 2020, and the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Yemen’s Cultural Heritage, adopted at the UNESCO expert meeting in July 2015;
  9. Also encourages the State Party to elaborate proposals for a boundary clarification and a minor boundary modification in close coordination with UNESCO Doha Office, and in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to be submitted in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  10. Reiterates the need for a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to advise on repair and conservation works, and to contribute to determining the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), and the development of a set of corrective measures and a timeframe for their implementation, as soon as the security situation in Yemen allows;
  11. Continues to urge all parties involved in the conflict to refrain from any further action that would cause damage to the cultural heritage of Yemen and the OUV of the property, and to fulfil their obligations under international law, in particular the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, especially sites on the World Heritage List and those included in the Tentative List of Yemen, and appeals to all States Parties to cooperate in the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflict as per the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347;
  12. Further encourages the State Party to consider ratifying the Second Protocol (1999) of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict;
  13. Reiterates its previous calls 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;
  14. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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 2022;
  15. Decides to retain Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2021
Yemen
Date of Inscription: 1993
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2000-present
Documents examined by the Committee
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
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.


top