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Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam

Afghanistan
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Civil unrest
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Illegal activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Inclination of the Minaret

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Civil unrest (Political instability)
  • River erosion (Inclination of the Minaret)
  • Management systems/ management plan (Lack of management plan)
  • Illegal activities (Illicit excavations and looting)
  • Erosion and siltation/deposition
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Lack of legal protection
  • Lack of an effective monuments protection agency
  • Lack of adequate protection and conservation personnel
  • Lack of a comprehensive Management Plan
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

In progress

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2021

Total amount granted: USD 844,901 (2003-2012) from the UNESCO/Italy Funds-in-Trust; USD 124,300 (2003-2012) from the UNESCO/Switzerland Funds-in-Trust; USD 16,800 (2017) from the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund; USD 1,921,888 from the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH) for a UNESCO project on the safeguarding of Jam.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 3 (from 2002-2021)
Total amount approved : 98,750 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

Several annual UNESCO expert missions took place between 2002 and 2006 in order to implement the operational projects for the property. After a period of three years of inactivity from 2007 to 2009 due to the security situation, UNESCO dispatched two missions in cooperation with an Afghan local NGO in 2010 and 2014 to resume on-site operations; September 2017: mission within the framework of the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 30 January 2020, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/document/171732 and provides information on the implementation of the corrective measures and other elements as follows:

  • At the end of May 2019, after heavy flooding in the area around the minaret, a mission was carried out by a joint group of national experts with the purpose of assessing the status of the property and its surroundings. The mission reported that parts of the retaining wall on the bank of Jam Rud river had been washed away and the riverbeds of the Jam Rud and Hari Rud rivers were filled with sediment. The mission noted the need for emergency cleaning and reconstruction of the damaged parts of the retaining wall;
  • Following the flooding, the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) took emergency action and allocated USD 109,000 dollars to the cleaning of sediment from the riverbeds and reconstruction of damaged parts of the retaining walls. This work was to be implemented before April/May 2020;
  • Due to the floods of May 2019, the on-site guest house and office was severely damaged. The MoIC has allocated some of its budget to the reconstruction of the site office for 2020;
  • An overall action plan for the emergency conservation of the Jam Minaret is foreseen to be elaborated by MoIC in 2020, and several meetings were organized with relevant government stakeholders and the UNESCO Office in Kabul. This includes the extension of gabion walls on the south bank of the Hari Rud river, tree planting upstream of the minaret in order to mitigate the impact of possible future flooding, and the implementation of a system to monitor the height and flow of the Hari Rud and Jam Rud rivers. A joint mission of the UNESCO Office and the MoIC to the property is also planned in the course of the year;
  • The footbridge over the Hari Rud remains to be realized. The State Party indicates that its construction currently depends on the 2020 budget allocation, in addition to the safety and security situation on site;
  • The MoIC and the Ministry of Interior Affairs deployed a team of police officers to monitor and safeguard the property to address the illicit trafficking of any movable cultural property.

In July 2019, the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH) has approved the UNESCO project “Safeguarding the Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam, Afghanistan” for USD 1.92 million. The project aims to reinforce capacities for the protection and management of Jam, with a contribution to the implementation of corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee. In particular, the project will help to establish a detailed conservation plan for the property.

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

The May 2019 flooding damaged a retaining wall built in 2014 on the bank of the Jam Rud river and filled the riverbeds of the Jam Rud and Hari Rud rivers with sediment. The Committee may note with satisfaction the emergency action undertaken by the MoIC, including a financial allocation for sediment removal and the reconstruction of the damaged parts of the retaining wall.

While the State Party’s quick reaction to the natural disaster is a positive development, it is regrettable that no further conservation work or corrective measures, as specified by the 2017 Conservation Action Plan (CAP) and previous Committee decisions have been carried out to date. The CAP should serve as the basis for the revision of the timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures adopted by the Committee in Decision 31 COM 7A.20 (Christchurch, 2007). Central elements of the CAP, including the installation of a monitoring device at the minaret, the emergency stabilization of the wooden staircases, the construction of a footbridge over the Hari Rud, and the rehabilitation of the guesthouse, are still pending and risk becoming increasingly challenging to implement.

Although it is of concern that an action plan for emergency conservation work, established on the basis of the documentation work carried out in September 2017, was delayed to 2020, the efforts of the State Party to establish the overall action plan, in cooperation with relevant government organizations and the UNESCO Office in Kabul, should be acknowledged.

Regarding the State Party’s progress on the corrective measures, it is recommended that the Committee note the continued deployment by the State Party of security personnel on site in order to prevent illicit trafficking of movable heritage.

It is also recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to clearly delineate the boundaries of the minaret, the other three components of the property, and the encompassing buffer zone, as a critical step towards developing an effective conservation strategy. The delineation should take into consideration the topographic map produced in 2012, which was designed to facilitate the submission of a proposal for a Minor Boundary Modification, in conformity with the CAP and in accordance with Paragraphs 163-164 of the Operational Guidelines.

The efforts of the MoIC to elaborate an overall action plan for the emergency conservation work of Jam Minaret, including a joint mission by a group of Afghan officials and UNESCO experts, should be acknowledged.

While the financial assistance from ALIPH is welcomed, the effective implementation of the operational projects may encounter difficulties due to the continued concerns relating to security and natural disaster risks. Nevertheless, the State Party may be advised to seek additional resources from the international community, including International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund and/or other extra-budgetary resources, in order to finalize the overall action plan, delineate boundaries, and carry out capacity-building activities, pending the improvement of the local situation. Therefore, existing and new international partners are invited to provide funding and technical support to the State Party in progressing towards the fulfilment of the corrective measures and further capacity building at the property.

It would therefore 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.29
Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Afghanistan) (C 211 rev)
Decision: 44 COM 7A.29

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.42 adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Welcomes the efforts made by the State Party to address the critical situation caused by the floods of May 2019, the deployment of security forces and the planning of future actions;
  4. Notes with serious concern however the continued lack of sustainable financial resources and the alarming security situation, which, combined with natural disasters, brought another layer of difficulties in implementing conservation work based upon the 2017 Conservation Action Plan (CAP) and the corrective measures adopted by the Committee;
  5. Urges the State Party to seek the necessary means to implement the following:
    1. Installation of a monitoring instrument on the Minaret of Jam to measure its inclination,
    2. Emergency stabilization work for the wooden staircases, in order to prevent further destabilization of the minaret’s structure,
    3. Construction of a footbridge over the Hari Rud and the reconstruction of the site office at the property, in order to improve access to the property and site security;
    4. Ensure the completion of the emergency cleaning of sediment from the riverbeds and the reconstruction of the damaged retaining wall, as well as the implementation of preventive measures such as the extension of gabion walls, tree planting, and monitoring of the height and flow of the Hari Rud and Jam Rud rivers;
  6. Also notes with concern that action for emergency stabilization work for the wooden staircases of the property, established on the basis of the documentation work of September 2017, was delayed to 2020, but acknowledges the efforts of the State Party to establish the overall action plan, in cooperation with relevant government organizations and the UNESCO Office in Kabul;
  7. Regrets that the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone still remain to be precisely defined, and reiterates its request to the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, a proposal for a Minor Boundary Modification, taking into consideration the topographical map produced in 2012 to facilitate the delineation of these boundaries, in conformity with the CAP and in accordance with Paragraphs 163-164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. Notes with satisfaction that the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH) has made available USD 1.92 million to support the implementation of the CAP, which is part of the strategy to implement the corrective measures adopted in Decision 31 COM 7A.20 (Christchurch, 2007) for the property;
  9. Requests the State Party to sustainably allocate the necessary financial and human resources for the safeguarding of the property through its national budget and, to this end, strongly encourages the State Party to seek external funding, such as International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund and other extra-budgetary resources, to address conservation issues at the property, including the boundary modification, the establishment of the overall action plan of CAP as well as capacity building;
  10. Reiterates its call to the international community to provide technical and financial support for the safeguarding of the property, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  11. Also 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;
  12. Decides to retain the Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Afghanistan) 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 7A29

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.42 adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Welcomes the efforts made by the State Party to address the critical situation caused by the floods of May 2019, the deployment of security forces and the planning of future actions;
  4. Notes with serious concern however the continued lack of sustainable financial resources and the alarming security situation, which, combined with natural disasters, brought another layer of difficulties in implementing conservation work based upon the 2017 Conservation Action Plan (CAP) and the corrective measures adopted by the Committee;
  5. Urges the State Party to seek the necessary means to implement the following:
    1. Installation of a monitoring instrument on the Minaret of Jam to measure its inclination,
    2. Emergency stabilization work for the wooden staircases, in order to prevent further destabilization of the minaret’s structure,
    3. Construction of a footbridge over the Hari Rud and the reconstruction of the site office at the property, in order to improve access to the property and site security;
    4. Ensure the completion of the emergency cleaning of sediment from the riverbeds and the reconstruction of the damaged retaining wall, as well as the implementation of preventive measures such as the extension of gabion walls, tree planting, and monitoring of the height and flow of the Hari Rud and Jam Rud rivers;
  6. Also notes with concern that action for emergency stabilization work for the wooden staircases of the property, established on the basis of the documentation work of September 2017, was delayed to 2020, but acknowledges the efforts of the State Party to establish the overall action plan, in cooperation with relevant government organizations and the UNESCO Office in Kabul;
  7. Regrets that the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone still remain to be precisely defined, and reiterates its request to the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, a proposal for a Minor Boundary Modification, taking into consideration the topographical map produced in 2012 to facilitate the delineation of these boundaries, in conformity with the CAP and in accordance with Paragraphs 163-164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. Notes with satisfaction that the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH) has made available USD 1.92 million to support the implementation of the CAP, which is part of the strategy to implement the corrective measures adopted in Decision 31 COM 7A.20 (Christchurch, 2007) for the property;
  9. Requests the State Party to sustainably allocate the necessary financial and human resources for the safeguarding of the property through its national budget and, to this end, strongly encourages the State Party to seek external funding, such as International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund and other extra-budgetary resources, to address conservation issues at the property, including the boundary modification, the establishment of the overall action plan of CAP as well as capacity building;
  10. Reiterates its call to the international community to provide technical and financial support for the safeguarding of the property, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  11. Also 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;
  12. Decides to retain the “Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam” (Afghanistan) on the list of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2021
Afghanistan
Date of Inscription: 2002
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2002-present
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2020) .pdf
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.


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