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Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara

United Republic of Tanzania
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Housing
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Deterioration of the architectural heritage fabric

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of approved boundaries for the property and buffer zones linked to the land-use plans and appropriate protection
  • Deterioration of the architectural heritage fabric
  • Sea wave erosion
  • Theft of stone from ruins for use as building material
  • Lack of functioning local consultative committee
  • Lack of implementation of the conservation and management plans
  • Impacts of tourism/visitor/recreation (lack of tourism development plan)
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Deterioration and decay leading to the collapse of the historical and archaeological structures for which the property was inscribed 

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 201,390 from the Norwegian Funds-in-Trust for UNESCO rehabilitation project

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 7 (from 1983-2021)
Total amount approved : 131,632 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

February 2004: ICOMOS mission; June 2008, March 2009, and December 2013: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 6 December 2020, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/144/documents/ and responds to previous Committee Decisions as follows:

  • The State Party acknowledges the Committee’s recommendation to consider a longer implementation timeframe for the revised Integrated Management Plan (IMP) (2016-2019);
  • The revised IMP will include both a detailed Land Use Plan and a Tourism Development Plan as well as a new regulatory framework for dealing with matters related to the establishment of the boundaries and buffer zone. These documents will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre in 2021;
  • The State Party has entrusted the stewardship of the property to the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) in accordance with the Antiquity Act Cap 333 (revised edition 2002);
  • The conservation work to construct the protective sea wall (riprap wall) and to strengthen the lower base of the north-eastern tower of the Gereza Fort (referred to as the Portuguese Tower or Fort) has been completed. The State Party intends to undertake similar work on the western side of the Gereza Fort, along the Malindi Seafront, at Husuni Kubwa and at Makutani. It also plans to improve tourist facilities and amenities by constructing a jetty and recreation centres at Songo Mnara and Kilwa Kisiwani and by improving the existing jetty and other visitor facilities in Kilwa Kisiwani as foreseen in the IMP.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

In response to the significant threats the property faces related to the deterioration of the architectural fabric, sea wave erosion, weak management system and lack of management plan, the Committee decided to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2004 in order to mobilise both, technical and financial support from local and international donors. This decision led to a marked improvement in the management and state of conservation of the property. As a result of substantial progress, it was removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2014 (Decision 38 COM 7A.27). With the support of UNESCO International Assistance approved in 2015, important conservation works were undertaken to strengthen the coastal sea wall to the west of Malindi mosque and the attached cemetery down to the Gereza Fort in Kilwa Kisiwani to protect these structures from destructive tidal wave action. In 2016, the IMP was approved. Its implementation plan contains 18 targets to support effective management of the property, enhance its governance, and steer activities related to income generation for poor families. The plan also proposed to establish a participatory management system to engage communities and stakeholders, to improve visitor management, to develop a maintenance plan and to consolidate all monuments by 2019.

Although the IMP covered the essential issues and challenges the property is facing, the implementation timeframe of 4 years (2016-2019) was too short to implement all the recommendations proposed by the 2013 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission, and to put into practice all targets and activities developed within the implementation plan. The State Party has taken note of this challenge and is considering proposing a longer implementation timeframe for the revised IMP, but has provided no new timeframes.

For the revision of the IMP, it is therefore important for the State Party not only to consider a broader discussion and engagement with local communities, stakeholders, and partners, but also to address the following aspects:

  • Create an overview of all outstanding Committee requests expressed in past Decisions and develop a work-plan to address these issues, including repeated Committee requests going back to 2007 (Decision 31 COM 7A.15), in relation to the preparation of the Land Use Plan for the property, the formulation of the Sustainable Tourism Development Plan, and clarification of boundaries;
  • Finalize the 18 targets of the IMP, notably the elaboration of the mechanism related to the governance of the property so as to engage communities and stakeholders in the implementation of the revised IMP;
  • Develop further projects for conservation works, notably the completion of conservation work at Gereza Fort, Malindi Sea Front, Husuni Kubwa and Makutani;
  • Consider how the boundaries might be extended to cover Sanje ya Kati island and Kilwa Kivinje, and how an appropriate buffer zone for the property might be defined;
  • For large conservation projects and any projects to improve tourist facilities and enhance tourism development in Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara, these should be submitted in outline for review with appropriate and detailed documentation on archaeological and Heritage and Environmental Impact Assessments before any commitment is made.

Finally, for the sustainable development of the property, the State Party should also ensure that these interventions be related to each other to create a synergy that supports and promotes the efforts to safeguard the OUV of the property.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.11
Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (United Republic of Tanzania) (C 144)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.50, adopted at the 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Commends the State Party on the continuing effort to implement conservation works and formulate the management system since 2014, following the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  4. Welcomes the State Party’s decision to review the Integrated Management Plan (IMP) (2016-2019) and to consider a longer period for the implementation timeframe, and requests the State Party to provide an updated work-plan for the review of the IMP, its submission to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, and its implementation;
  5. Also requests the State Party to consider addressing and integrating the following aspects in the process of reviewing the IMP, namely:
    1. An overview of all other outstanding Committee requests expressed in its past Decisions on this property and a work plan to address these issues,
    2. Unimplemented targets and activities of the current IMP, notably the effort to enhance the governance of the property so as to better engage communities, stakeholders and partners in implementation processes,
    3. Proposals for further conservation works at the Gereza Fort, Malindi Seafront, Husuni Kubwa, and Makutani,
    4. How the boundaries might be extended to cover Sanje ya Kati Island and Kilwa Kivinje, and how an appropriate buffer zone for the property might be defined;
  6. Noting the intention of the State Party to enhance tourism development in Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara, further requests that these projects be submitted for review together with appropriate and detailed archaeological documentation and Heritage Impact Assessments before the projects are authorized or before any decision is made that would be difficult to reverse;
  7. Encourages the State Party to inform the Committee through the World Heritage Centre of any major conservation or development project which may affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 46th session.
    Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.11

    The World Heritage Committee,

    1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
    2. RecallingDecision 42 COM 7B.50, adopted at the 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
    3. Commendsthe State Party on the continuing effort to implement conservation works and formulate the management system since 2014, following the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
    4. Welcomes the State Party’s decision to review the Integrated Management Plan (IMP) (2016-2019) and to consider a longer period for the implementation timeframe, and requests the State Party to provide an updated work-plan for the review of the IMP, its submission to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, and its implementation;
    5. Also requeststhe State Party to consider addressing and integrating the following aspects in the process of reviewing the IMP, namely:
      1. An overview of all other outstanding Committee requests expressed in its past Decisions on this property and a work plan to address these issues,
      2. Unimplemented targets and activities of the current IMP, notably the effort to enhance the governance of the property so as to better engage communities, stakeholders and partners in implementation processes,
      3. Proposals for further conservation works at the Gereza Fort, Malindi Seafront, Husuni Kubwa, and Makutani,
      4. How the boundaries might be extended to cover Sanje ya Kati Island and Kilwa Kivinje, and how an appropriate buffer zone for the property might be defined;
    6. Noting the intention of the State Party to enhance tourism development in Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara, further requests that these projects be submitted for review together with appropriate and detailed archaeological documentation and Heritage Impact Assessments before the projects are authorized or before any decision is made that would be difficult to reverse;
    7. Encourages the State Party to inform the Committee through the World Heritage Centre of any major conservation or development project which may affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
    8. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 46th session in 2023.
    Report year: 2021
    United Republic of Tanzania
    Date of Inscription: 1981
    Category: Cultural
    Criteria: (iii)
    Danger List (dates): 2004-2014
    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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