1.         Tyre (Lebanon) (C 299)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1984

Criteria  (iii)(vi)

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/299/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1986-2001)
Total amount approved: USD 29,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/299/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 19,173 (1997-2001) for the International Safeguarding Campaign; USD 362,391 (2015-2017) from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation through the Lebanese Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR); USD 320,673 from the Lebanese Government for capacity- building exercise

Previous monitoring missions

2004: Evaluation mission by the UNESCO Office in Beirut; September 2006: UNESCO mission following the 2006 summer conflict; February 2009: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; September 2012: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2017: visit of the property by the World Heritage Centre; October 2018: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/299/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 4 March 2021, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/299/documents. Information regarding several conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report, as follows:

In February 2020, the World Heritage Centre received information from a third party about a project proposal within the Cultural Heritage and Urban Development Project (CHUD) of Tyre programme, which proposes an 'upgrade' of the coastline adjacent to the archaeological area of the World Heritage component of the old city of Tyre. It is proposed to make the isolated land tip accessible to car traffic, create parking places, and replace the current thirty-year-old seasonally used restaurant bungalows with upgraded restaurant terraces built directly atop and in between the underwater archaeological remains. The World Heritage Centre requested clarification from the State Party in that regard.

The State Party reports that the country has been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing economic crisis.

In February 2021, an oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea reached the southern coast of Lebanon, impacting the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve. According to information received by the World Heritage Centre, the property was not directly impacted, however the underwater archaeological remains pertaining to the World Heritage property may have been affected, for which an assessment may be necessary.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the national economic crisis are severely affecting both the public and private sectors. It is noted that these external factors have slowed down many activities of the State Party.

It is further noted that agreement has been reached between relevant stakeholders on the management arrangements for the creation of communal car parking within the boundaries of the archaeological area. It is recommended that the Committee request details of this agreement to be submitted for review by the Advisory Bodies.

Although the authorities have taken some steps to implement the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee's decisions, many critical conservation and management issues have not been resolved and the previously identified factors affecting the property remain.

In particular, it is regrettable that no progress has been reported on the implementation of the recommendations of the 2018 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission. The mission identified shortcomings in the property’s management system, partly due to persistent insufficient human resources, resulting in a significant lack of maintenance. Management is also hampered by the inflexible operating rules of the international funding programme for the implementation of conservation measures within the Baalbek Tyre Archaeological Project (BTAP). The State Party has not provided any information as to how the impact of the many previous conservation measures on the archaeological remains is being monitored. In addition to adapted conservation practices for mosaics in situ, an evaluation of the effectiveness of previous conservation measures is required as an evidence base for future decision-making and guidance for ongoing skills training for new staff.

In particular, the approach to partial reconstructions/anastylosis of disassembled archaeological features needs to be urgently reconsidered, focusing on minimal interventions and protection, including the complete re-burial of the Apollo Shrine, in order to maintain the authenticity of the existing archaeological remains. This holistic "lesson's learned" aspect is required for the comprehensive conservation and presentation strategy for the entire property beyond single interventions suggested by the 2018 mission.

In light of the third-party information, it remains unclear how the State Party enforces legal mechanisms to protect certain sensitive archaeological areas and the property's wider setting.

The existing and unchanged Tyre Transport and Mobility Plan has been of particular concern to the Committee, as it lacks a comprehensive study of the entire urban road network and the highway project and its potential impact on the World Heritage property. It is recalled that a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) and the results from geophysical surveys and archaeological investigation are to be taken into account in the study.

It is further recalled that these clarifications are considered an essential part of the development of a Minor Boundary Modification as previously recommended by the Committee, and that, in addition to the establishment of the property boundaries, the adoption of a maritime protection zone has been a persistent request of the Committee for many years.

It is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to give the highest priority to the completion of the Management Plan Framework document, as it is the guiding document for addressing issues affecting the property, and to submit the revised document to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies.

It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to address its previous requests (Decisions 39 COM 7B.54, 41 COM 7B.83, 43 COM 7B.50), and implement the recommendations of the 2018 mission.

Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7B.132

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 37 COM 8B.45, 39 COM 7B.54, 41 COM 7B.83, and 43 COM 7B.50 adopted at its 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013), 39th (Bonn, 2015), 41st (Krakow, 2017) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively,
  3. Taking note of the establishment of a partial agreement between the primary stakeholders (DGA, Municipality of Tyre) for the creation of municipal parking within the Archaeological Zone, encourages the State Party to submit the details of this arrangement and design details to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  4. Urges the State Party to implement the decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee, in particular Decisions 39 COM 7B.54, 41 COM 7B.83 and 43 COM 7B.50, and in line with the reporting requirements under the World Heritage Convention;
  5. Requests the State Party to submit as a priority the revised Management Plan Framework to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies and to expedite completion and implementation of the Management Plan; and also urges the State Party to continue its efforts to provide sufficient resources to the property to ensure regular maintenance in the long term, including vegetation control, fire prevention and the safeguarding of the mosaics, based on successful practices established through the Baalbek and Tyre Archaeological Project;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to implement the 2018 Reactive Monitoring mission recommendations, with particular attention to the following:
    1. Establish a comprehensive management strategy for the property that covers all aspects of documentation, conservation and monitoring, summarizing the knowledge on techniques and procedures in a manual, with an updated Action Plan, as a core component of the future Management Plan for the property, including:
      1. Approaches to improving current maintenance practices concerning vegetation, drainage and sewage control through appropriate preventive measures,
      2. Principles of minimal interventions in the conservation of mosaics and structures as lessons learnt from the pilot projects,
      3. A monitoring protocol to be available for scientific conservation research and to enable evaluation of the efficacy of conservation measures,
      4. A comprehensive presentation strategy for the property to reflect the actual understanding of its values as reflected in the various architectonic technologies and funerary practices of past generations, as well as conservation challenges,
    2. Consider integrating the Management Plan with regional and urban development and traffic-mobility plans to manage the development pressures in the long term;
  7. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to revise the proposed boundary of the property, identify a buffer zone and develop regulations and procedures for the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property in accordance with Decision 37 COM 8B.45, and to submit a Minor Boundary Modification, in line with Paragraphs 107, 164 and Annex 11 of the Operational Guidelines, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Further reiterates its request to the State Party to establish a maritime protection zone around the seashores of Tyre;
  9. Reiterates furthermore its request to initiate an in-depth study of traffic and the urban road network, and to submit this study to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies, and reminds the State Party of its obligations to submit, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, details for proposed road and infrastructure projects at the property, including Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA) for the Coastal Highway and other planned major infrastructure projects, conducted in accordance with the ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage Properties;
  10. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, a progress report and 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.