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Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou

Morocco
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Flooding
  • Governance
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Society's valuing of heritage
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Society’s valuing of heritage: Partial abandonment of the property
  • Erosion and siltation/deposition: Gully erosion leading to rock falls
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage: Increased offences in old Ksar and degradation (issue resolved)
  • Governance: Delays in the establishment of a technical and administrative structure responsible for the property (issue resolved)
  • Impacts of tourism/visitor/recreation: Uncontrolled tourism and visitor pressure (issue resolved)
  • Flooding: Floods at the end of 2014
  • Ground transport infrastructure: Possible impact due to the opening of the bridge connecting the two banks of the Wadi el-Maleh on the property (issue resolved)
  • Management systems/ management plan: Lack of an updated Management Plan
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 3 (from 2001-2007)
Total amount approved : 52,333 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

From August 2000 to August 2003: 3 missions in the framework of the Safeguarding and Rehabilitation project; September 2003: Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2003: World Heritage Centre mission; October 2005: WHC mission; April 2006: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2007: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 23 December 2020, the State Party submitted an intermediate progress report and on 19 March 2021 an updated report on the state of conservation of the property; both reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/444/documents and provide the following information:

  • The 2020-2030 management plan was finalized in November 2020 and submitted to the World Heritage Centre;
  • The idea put forward in 2008, of creating a special account for conservation, was abandoned in particular due to the diversity of ownership status and land tenure within the property. However, recent local government legislation allowing for the development of local strategies for the protection of heritage resources provides solutions that will be considered in the implementation of the management plan;
  • The 2014 floods led to the partial disintegration of the property. Restoration, consolidation and reconstruction works of the passageways and several dwellings have been completed;
  • Concerning the requested Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) of the footbridge, it is recalled that the project received a positive evaluation from ICOMOS before its construction in 2011; its design was considered discrete and adequate. It should be noted that the objectives behind its construction have been met;
  • The studies regarding the additional phases of the restoration project for dwellings have been planned and an intervention plan is being drawn up, which will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for examination by the Advisory Bodies. While the project has been slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities have maintained ongoing conservation activities, including preventive measures;
  • The Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach was integrated into the management plan, and notably a series of workshops requiring technical and financial support from the World Heritage Centre will be organised in 2021 to better understand the concept;
  • The property has been regularly monitored by the World Heritage Centre since 2006 due to the worrying state of deterioration. Today, thanks to the combined efforts of stakeholders aware of its conservation, and a positive dynamic of public awareness and problem solving, supported by the implementation of a new management plan elaborated in a participatory manner within a logic of sustainable development, the property as a whole is in a good state of conservation again.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

As recommended, the submitted management plan covers a ten-year period, proposing a vision for the sustainable development and conservation of the property until 2030, and integrates a HUL approach. The World Heritage Centre is available to support the State Party in the organization of training workshops on the HUL approach for site managers.

The ICOMOS evaluation of the 2020-2030 management plan, dated March 2021, underlines that it is the result of a participatory process between the different stakeholders defined around five objectives (conservation, revitalisation, cultural action, communication and promotion, training), and that it constitutes a good basis for work. Nevertheless, it also points out that the plan would benefit from integrating certain elements, notably an assessment of the physical condition of the property, a clarification of the specific management system between the stakeholders and decision-making process, as well as the policies followed for the management and conservation of the property, and finally, detailed action plans with priority timetables and references to the specific persons in charge of activities, and to the budgets and resources associated with each activity and/or project.

The issue of financial resources is all the more crucial after the idea of creating a special conservation account was abandoned due to the difficulties related to the diversity of ownership status and land tenure within the property, as it is not yet clear whether the policy of territorial decentralisation allowing for the development of local strategies for the protection of heritage resources, the renewed interest of investors and other planned activities provide adequate alternative financing solutions for the conservation of the property.

It is noted that in 2009, the footbridge received a positive evaluation from ICOMOS prior to its construction, provided by the State Party in its report, and that the objectives related to its construction are achieved, namely an increase in the number of resident inhabitants within the property, easy access for tourists and for the installation of basic infrastructure for the community, the creation of income-generating activities for the populations and the opening up of the surrounding villages in case the Wadi El Maleh overflows.

It is also noted that the documents concerning the additional phases of the project for the restoration of the dwellings are being finalised, and will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre prior to the works, in accordance with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for examination by the Advisory Bodies.

It is recommended to acknowledge the important work that has been carried out since 2006 to improve the conservation of the property and mitigate the factors affecting its Outstanding Universal Value, including the establishment of tools to ensure its proper management. It would nevertheless be appropriate to request the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, and the progress made in that regard.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.133
Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou (Morocco) (C 444)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.51, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Notes that the submitted 2020-2030 management plan meets the requests previously expressed by the Committee by covering a longer period than initially foreseen and by integrating the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach as an additional tool for the sustainable management of the property, and provides a good basis for further work, and encourages the State Party to request the World Heritage Centre to provide technical support for the planned workshops in order to train and build the capacity of the participants in the management of the site with tools and guidance for the implementation of the HUL approach;
  4. Also notes that the idea to create a special account for conservation has been abandoned due to the difficulties related to the diversity of ownership status and land tenure within the property;
  5. Further notes that the footbridge received a positive evaluation from ICOMOS prior to its construction, and that the objectives of its construction are met, namely an increase in the number of residents living within the property, ease of access for tourists and for the installation of basic infrastructure for the community, the creation of income-generating activities for the population, and the opening up of the surrounding villages in the event the Wadi el-Maleh overflows;
  6. Finally notes that the documents concerning the additional phases of the restoration project of the dwellings are being finalised, and requests the State Party to submit them to the World Heritage Centre prior to the start of the works, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for examination by the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Also encourages the State Party to complete the 2020-2030 management plan to:
    1. Integrate an assessment of the physical condition of the property,
    2. Clarify the specific management system between the stakeholders and decision making process,
    3. Highlight the policies used for the management and conservation of the property,
    4. Detail the action plans, assess the priorities of the timetable, refer to those responsible for each activity and to the budgets and resources associated with each activity and/or project, and notably specify whether the policy of territorial decentralisation allowing the development of local strategies for the protection of heritage resources and the renewed interest of investors and other planned activities provide adequate alternative financing solutions for the conservation of the property;
  8. Recognizing the significant efforts made since 2006 to improve the conservation of the property and mitigate the factors affecting its Outstanding Universal Value, in particular the implementation of tools to ensure its proper management, nevertheless also 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.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.133

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.51, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Notes that the submitted 2020-2030 management plan meets the requests previously expressed by the Committee by covering a longer period than initially foreseen and by integrating the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach as an additional tool for the sustainable management of the property, and provides a good basis for further work, and encourages the State Party to request the World Heritage Centre to provide technical support for the planned workshops in order to train and build the capacity of the participants in the management of the site with tools and guidance for the implementation of the HUL approach;
  4. Also notes that the idea to create a special account for conservation has been abandoned due to the difficulties related to the diversity of ownership status and land tenure within the property;
  5. Further notes that the footbridge received a positive evaluation from ICOMOS prior to its construction, and that the objectives of its construction are met, namely an increase in the number of residents living within the property, ease of access for tourists and for the installation of basic infrastructure for the community, the creation of income-generating activities for the population, and the opening up of the surrounding villages in the event the Wadi el-Maleh overflows;
  6. Finally notes that the documents concerning the additional phases of the restoration project of the dwellings are being finalised, and requests the State Party to submit them to the World Heritage Centre prior to the start of the works, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for examination by the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Also encourages the State Party to complete the 2020-2030 management plan to:
    1. Integrate an assessment of the physical condition of the property,
    2. Clarify the specific management system between the stakeholders and decision making process,
    3. Highlight the policies used for the management and conservation of the property,
    4. Detail the action plans, assess the priorities of the timetable, refer to those responsible for each activity and to the budgets and resources associated with each activity and/or project, and notably specify whether the policy of territorial decentralisation allowing the development of local strategies for the protection of heritage resources and the renewed interest of investors and other planned activities provide adequate alternative financing solutions for the conservation of the property;
  8. Recognizing the significant efforts made since 2006 to improve the conservation of the property and mitigate the factors affecting its Outstanding Universal Value, in particular the implementation of tools to ensure its proper management, nevertheless also 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.
Report year: 2021
Morocco
Date of Inscription: 1987
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)(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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