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Kasbah of Algiers

Algeria
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Land conversion
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Natural erosion
  • Lack of coordination of actions
  • Lack of maintenance of dwelling places
  • Land conversion: Change in the land use plan
  • Loss of traditional conservation techniques
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan: Non-operational safeguarding plan
  • Uncontrolled land use
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2021

Total amount provided to the property: USD 100,000 for an international experts meeting on the safeguarding of the Kasbah of Algiers (Japanese funds-in-trust)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 5 (from 1993-2002)
Total amount approved : 92,600 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

September 2001: World Heritage Centre expert mission; September 2002: World Heritage Centre mission for evaluating the State of Conservation. From October 2003 to November 2004: 3 World Heritage Centre missions in the framework of training and capacity building activities. From November 2007 to November 2009: Seven World Heritage Centre missions financed by the State Party for the Safeguarding Plan and the issue of the metro. May 2013: ICOMOS Advisory Mission for the development and beautification works in the city of Algiers. June 2015: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 14 December 2020, the State Party submitted a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/565/documents/. The progress made in terms of conservation is presented as follows:

  • Between 2019 and 2020, the State Party identified forty-three buildings in a critical state of deterioration. The cause of the deterioration is mainly due to a lack of maintenance by the private users;
  • Between April 2019 and June 2020, several housing units collapsed with, in some cases, tragic consequences for their inhabitants. To prevent any further collapse, a map of risks was established, and, an intervention protocol to safeguard the buildings and housing units and their surroundings, and to rehouse their inhabitants, was implemented. Furthermore, an appraisal operation was carried out between June and July 2020 to update the state of conservation of the immovable cultural properties;
  • As part of the implementation of the Permanent Plan for the Protection, Safeguarding and Valorisation of the Safeguarded Sector (PPSMVSS), many restoration works of public and private immovable cultural properties were launched. A programme of studies and restoration work has been undertaken, as well as maintenance, development and beautification operations. Finally, awareness-raising activities carried out by public authorities and civil society have been carried out;
  • It has been noted that since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has strongly impacted the progress of the planned works and the completion of several ongoing projects;
  • The State Party has reported on the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the "International Expert Meeting on the Conservation and Revitalization of the Kasbah of Algiers, World Heritage Site" (January 2018) organized by the Ministry of Culture and the World Heritage Centre, in particular with regard to establishing a single structure that includes all the institutions concerned, centralizing information and endowed with decision-making power and a high degree of autonomy. An Interministerial Council, under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s office, was held on 8 December 2020 and recommended the establishment of an operational management strategy for the property focusing on the rehabilitation and safeguarding programme, while involving civil society;
  • According to additional information received from the State Party, a final report is expected to be submitted in the coming months regarding the excavation and analysis of archaeological discoveries that are underway since 2013 and are being carried out by the National Archaeological Research Centre (CNRA)/National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP);
  • According to additional information received from the State Party, the Tripartite Agreement which was signed in December 2018 between the Wilaya of Algiers, the Ile-de-France region and Ateliers Jean-Nouvel regarding the revitalization of the Kasbah is no longer in force.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021
The report submitted by the State Party shows that it is making significant efforts to improve the state of conservation of the property. Nevertheless, the progressive degradation of buildings and housing units remains a concern. The lack of maintenance by the regular occupants, and the difficulties in identifying the private owners, are considered to be the main causes of this situation. The authorities' efforts to raise awareness among users and regular occupants on the maintenance and conservation of their housing is welcomed, and the State Party is encouraged to strengthen these ongoing efforts.

The collapse of several housing units between April 2019 and June 2020, in some cases with tragic consequences for their occupants, requires diligent risk management. The measures taken by the State Party to secure the buildings and their surroundings (risk mapping, intervention protocol, etc.) and the rehousing of 912 families are appreciated. However, the impact of these measures must be monitored and the danger of a gradual forced abandonment of the heart of the Kasbah by its original inhabitants has to be pointed out.

As underlined by the recommendations of the “International Expert Meeting on the Conservation and Revitalisation of the Kasbah of Algiers, World Heritage Site” organized by the Ministry of Culture and the World Heritage Centre from 20 to 23 January 2018, the need to improve the institutional management of the property, through a single structure comprising all the institutions concerned, centralizing information and endowed with decision-making power, is considered a sustainable solution for the rehabilitation of its urban ensemble and the revitalisation of its socio-economic fabric. Intersectoral governance is essential to put an end to the fragmentation of responsibilities and programmes that hinder the integrated safeguarding and rehabilitation of the property.

The first Interministerial Council dedicated to the property held on 8 December 2020 is welcomed. It is recommended that the strategy for the rehabilitation and safeguarding of the Kasbah, which was requested at this Council, be based on a socio-economic approach that integrates the 2011 Recommendation concerning the Historic Urban Landscape. The planned participation of civil society in this context is welcomed and is considered essential for the success of any safeguarding and conservation initiative. Furthermore, the State Party is invited to submit the draft strategy to the World Heritage Centre for evaluation as soon as it is prepared as part of the follow-up mechanism to the recommendations of the Meeting, in order to support, on a technical level, the Algerian authorities in their ongoing efforts.

Finally, the quality of the work of the different actors (public authorities and civil society) involved in the conservation and rehabilitation of the Kasbah should be recognized, despite the slowdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The development and beautification works of the historic centre, in particular those concerning the vaults of the Place des Martyrs and the Port of Algiers, which reconnect the Kasbah to the city and the sea, are also appreciated and contribute to the reintegration of the property into its urban landscape. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies remain at the disposal of the State Party for any future requests for a heritage impact assessment in this regard.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.123
Kasbah of Algiers (Algeria) (C 565)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.40, adopted at its 43rd sessions (Baku, 2019),
  3. Takes note of the efforts made by the State Party to improve the management and the state of conservation of the property, and commends it for the quality of the conservation and restoration work carried out which, in some cases, involved the participation of the civil society;
  4. Expresses its concern about the recent collapse of residential buildings and the progressive degradation of forty-three buildings in the property and urges the State Party to continue to take the necessary measures in this regard by adopting an inclusive approach and an integrated and coordinated management of the physical and socio-economic interventions to guarantee the safeguarding of the social and economic fabric without which the Kasbah would be “deprived” of its inhabitants and urban functions;
  5. Encourages in this regard the State Party to take into consideration the social and economic dimension of the safeguarding of the property by accompanying the restoration works of the buildings with measures aimed at encouraging the reopening of businesses and workshops or the creation of new activities;
  6. Invites the State Party to share with the World Heritage Centre as soon as it is drawn up, the final report regarding the results of the excavation and analysis of archaeological discoveries since 2013 as part of the Place des Martyrs metro station project, aimed at reconciling the imperatives of urban development with the need to preserve the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  7. Notes with satisfaction the efforts made by the State Party in the implementation of the recommendations of the international experts meeting on the safeguarding of the Kasbah organized in January 2018, and the implementation of an Interministerial Council under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s office, to coordinate a multisectoral planning of urban development integrating heritage conservation issues and socio-economic revitalisation to ensure that all urban planning includes the Kasbah within the city of Algiers as a whole;
  8. Also takes note that a rehabilitation and safeguarding strategy of the property was recommended at the first meeting of the Interministerial Council regarding the property and also invites the State Party to take into account an approach focused on the Recommencation concerning the Historic Urban Landscape (2011), in order to define a comprehensive framework to support the effective implementation of the Permanent Plan for the Protection, Safeguarding and Valorisation of the Safeguarded Sector (PPSMVSS) and the conduct of all other actions to improve the state of conservation of the property; and recommends the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies this strategy as soon as it has been established for examination;
  9. Reminds the State Party of the need to inform the World Heritage Centre of any new developments planned on the property and to carry out impact assessments on the property before undertaking or authorising major restorations or new constructions that could alter the OUV of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  10. 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.123

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.40, adopted at its 43rd sessions (Baku, 2019),
  3. Takes note of the efforts made by the State Party to improve the management and the state of conservation of the property, and commends it for the quality of the conservation and restoration work carried out which, in some cases, involved the participation of the civil society;
  4. Expresses its concern about the recent collapse of residential buildings and the progressive degradation of forty-three buildings in the property and urges the State Party to continue to take the necessary measures in this regard by adopting an inclusive approach and an integrated and coordinated management of the physical and socio-economic interventions to guarantee the safeguarding of the social and economic fabric without which the Kasbah would be “deprived” of its inhabitants and urban functions;
  5. Encourages in this regard the State Party to take into consideration the social and economic dimension of the safeguarding of the property by accompanying the restoration works of the buildings with measures aimed at encouraging the reopening of businesses and workshops or the creation of new activities;
  6. Invites the State Party to share with the World Heritage Centre as soon as it is drawn up, the final report regarding the results of the excavation and analysis of archaeological discoveries since 2013 as part of the Place des Martyrs metro station project, aimed at reconciling the imperatives of urban development with the need to preserve the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  7. Notes with satisfaction the efforts made by the State Party in the implementation of the recommendations of the international experts meeting on the safeguarding of the Kasbah organized in January 2018, and the implementation of an Interministerial Council under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s office, to coordinate a multisectoral planning of urban development integrating heritage conservation issues and socio-economic revitalisation to ensure that all urban planning includes the Kasbah within the city of Algiers as a whole;
  8. Also takes note that a rehabilitation and safeguarding strategy of the property was recommended at the first meeting of the Interministerial Council regarding the property and also invites the State Party to take into account an approach focused on the Recommencation concerning the Historic Urban Landscape (2011), in order to define a comprehensive framework to support the effective implementation of the Permanent Plan for the Protection, Safeguarding and Valorisation of the Safeguarded Sector (PPSMVSS) and the conduct of all other actions to improve the state of conservation of the property; and recommends the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies this strategy as soon as it has been established for examination;
  9. Reminds the State Party of the need to inform the World Heritage Centre of any new developments planned on the property and to carry out impact assessments on the property before undertaking or authorising major restorations or new constructions that could alter the OUV of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  10. 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
Algeria
Date of Inscription: 1992
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(v)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2020) .pdf
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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