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Wadi Rum Protected Area (Jordan) (C/N 1377)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2011
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/1377/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1377/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Lack of a database on cultural heritage
- Lack of proper conservation and maintenance of the archaeological sites
- Lack of traffic and visitor management plans
- Potential encroachment from development in the village of Rum
- Lack of trained staff and financial resources for the management of the property
- Financial resources
- Human resources
- Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
- Management systems/ management plan
- Solid waste
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1377/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021
On 28 November 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, a summary of which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1377/documents/, providing the following information:
- Uncontrolled tourist camps and the rehabilitation of degraded areas remain the biggest challenge facing the property’s management. Nevertheless, efforts are being put in place to enforce legislative measures, engage different actors in the tourism management process and raise awareness of the threats. Achieving a sustainable model for tourism development at the site and its buffer zone remains a priority;
- A full revision of the buffer zone was undertaken and a new buffer zone endorsed by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) Board of Commissioners in early 2019. The associated new land use plan was translated into a set of legal regulations and transmitted with the report. The revised buffer zone will be submitted to the Committee through the procedure for Minor Boundary Modification;
- The revised Integrated Management Plan (IMP) was submitted in October 2019 and implementation to commence in 2020. Supported by a financial sustainability plan, the new IMP strengthens the legal framework and cooperation mechanisms between ASEZA and other stakeholders;
- Management, social, technical and financial constraints have impacted the development of a wastewater treatment plant. A pre-feasibility study was undertaken to explore options for liquid waste water management for the tourist camps, with a second phase planned to focus on sanitation for Rum village and third phase on Disi villages;
- A specialized management unit was established for Rum Village;
- Several collaborations with national and international institutions have been developed, focusing on management and conservation activities, updating of inventories, and capacity building. In addition, a technical advisor is carrying out a capacity and needs assessment of staff for a future training plan;
- The integration process of cultural heritage databases with natural heritage databases into one compatible Geographic Information System (GIS) is being continued. Upon completion, this database will contribute to the implementation of an integrated monitoring system under the IMP;
- Efforts are underway to update the status of the property as a national protected area, establish a national coordination mechanism for planning and management, and plans to nominate the property to the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas in 2020;
- With the help of a technical advisor, Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessments (EIA) and (HIA) will be conducted for tourism activities in 2020. The report will be shared with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies
The State Party has continued its efforts to address the Committee’s concerns and the recommendations made by the 2014 Reactive Monitoring mission, despite financial and technical challenges.
The development of the “General Provisions and Regulations of the Buffer Zone of Wadi Rum Protected Area”, the “Strategic Plan for Land Use Planning the Buffer Zone of Rum Protected area”, and the “Instructions for regulating camping, touristic activities and events within Wadi Rum Protected Area” are welcomed. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre once these documents have been published in the official gazette. In order to enforce the implementation of the adopted land-use plan and its regulations on the ground, capacity building, local community engagement and awareness-raising are to be further encouraged. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to pursue its efforts towards enforcing these legal instruments and to keep the World Heritage Centre informed.
While the efforts to address the issue of tourist camps and other camp-like installations within the property are noted, it is of concern that uncontrolled tourism continues to be the biggest challenge facing the property. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to urgently address this issue to rehabilitate any areas that may have been degraded, and to establish procedures and regulations that will ensure a permanent resolution of the issue.
The revision of the IMP is another important step towards improving the management of the property. However, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to revisit the IMP in accordance with the technical reviews provided by the Advisory Bodies, and to ensure that strategic objectives are supported by targeted and measurable actions, including those related to carrying capacity studies, zoning and regulations, and the inclusion of a comprehensive conservation strategy for the petroglyphs, inscriptions and archaeological sites, among others. It is also recommended that that the IMP provides further detail on the legal and institutional frameworks of Wadi Rum Protected Area (WRPA), as well as the mechanisms of coordination and communication with all key institutions, clarifying roles and mandates.
No substantial progress has been made in addressing the wastewater problem associated with Rum village and the tourism camps, despite the State Party having prioritized this in its previous report. While the development of a pre-feasibility study regarding the tourist camps is noted, no timeframe for the establishment of the wastewater treatment plant project has been provided. It is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to accelerate decisions on the most appropriate water treatment options, including the recommended pre-feasibility study required for the potential risks to the Disi Aquifer.
The reported collaboration initiatives with national and international institutions, such as pursuing the IUCN Green List standard, are welcomed as they are instrumental in implementing capacity building activities, data gathering and scientific research activities essential for more effective management of the property.
It is further recommended that the Committee continues to encourage the State Party to complete the integration process of cultural heritage databases with natural heritage databases into one compatible GIS which is specifically designed to support management processes including, for example, monitoring in coordination with the new IMP.
The State Party’s intention to implement the EIA and HIA for tourism activities in and around the property, in accordance with the recommendations of the 2014 mission, will be of utmost importance to contribute to the sustainable management of the property. It is recommended that the Committee urges again the State Party to expeditiously implement all recommendations of the 2014 mission, particularly with regards to carrying out these impact assessments as a matter of priority to ensure the long-term conservation of the property.
Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7B.74
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.67, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
- Welcomes the significant progress made with regards to the development of the buffer zone provisions and regulations, as well as a related land use plan and the proposal to submit these changes as a Minor Boundary Modification to the World Heritage Centre, and requests the State Party to pursue the implementation of the “General Provisions and Regulations of the Buffer Zone of Wadi Rum Protected Area”, and to inform the World Heritage Centre once this has been published in the official gazette;
- While noting the development of the “Instructions for regulating camping, touristic activities and events within Wadi Rum Protected Area”, also requests the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre once this document has been published in the official gazette;
- Expresses concern that uncontrolled tourism continues to present the biggest challenge facing the property, and reiterates its request to the State Party to urgently address the issue of tourist camps and other camp-like installations within the property, to rehabilitate any areas that may have been degraded, and to ensure strict enforcement of the above mentioned instructions;
- Also welcomes the confirmation that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) of tourism activities in and around the property will be carried out, and further requests the State Party to finalize this process as an important step towards ensuring sustainable tourism management in the property;
- Further welcomes the submission of the draft Integrated Management Plan (IMP), and requests furthermore the State Party to revisit the IMP in accordance with the technical reviews provided by the Advisory Bodies, identifying targeted actions to be implemented, including those to address issues related to carrying capacity studies, zoning and regulations, and the inclusion of a comprehensive conservation strategy, and to ensure that the IMP provides references to legal measures and policies, and is backed by the necessary trained staff and financial resources, to enable the effective management of the property and its buffer zone;
- Also expresses concern that no substantial progress has been made in addressing the wastewater problem of Rum Village and the tourism camps, as well as the Disi villages which pose a potential risk to the Disi Aquifer, and urges the State Party to accelerate the development of wastewater treatment facilities and provide a clear timeframe for their completion;
- Welcomes furthermore the State Party’s progress in pursuing collaboration with national and international institutions for achieving the highest standards in science- and evidence-based decision-making related to the management of the property;
- Continues to encourage the State Party to expeditiously complete the integration of the cultural heritage database with the natural heritage database into one compatible Geographic Information System (GIS) database, to support and facilitate the integrated monitoring and management of the cultural and natural attributes of the property, in line with the new IMP;
- Also urges once again the State Party to continue to actively pursue the implementation of all recommendations of the 2014 mission, particularly with regards to carrying out assessment of tourism activities through EIA and HIA processes in and around the property;
- 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.