1.         Abu Mena (Egypt) (C 90)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2001-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1279

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1279

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1279 but outdated and needs to be revised

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/90/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2001-2023)
Total amount approved: USD 63,504
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/90/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

2002: Expert mission; 2005, 2009 and 2012: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions; 2018: UNESCO and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/90/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2023

On 1 February 2022, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, an executive summary of which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/90/documents/. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions, in the recommendations of the 2012 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission and the 2018 joint UNESCO/Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Advisory mission, as well as towards achieving the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), is presented in the report, as follows:

Finally, the State Party states that it would welcome a Reactive Monitoring mission to Abu Mena to review the progress towards the DSOCR in preparation for removing the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

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

Progress is being made in response to previous Committee Decisions, towards the DSOCR and in the implementation of the corrective measures set.

The minor boundary modification has been reviewed by ICOMOS and will be examined by the World Heritage Committee under Item 8 of the agenda (Document WHC/23/45.COM/8B).

ICOMOS has provided advice and comments on the Management Plan in the form of a Technical Review. The early sections describing values and attributes and the management system are useful, particularly in light of Abu Mena being an early inscription without a detailed nomination file (inscribed in 1979). Feedback has been provided on how later sections of the draft might be revised to ensure that its implementation supports objectives for the property’s conservation.

The Management Plan does not include a Conservation Plan, which is necessary given the serious state of conservation at the property. It is noted that conservation work is already being carried out to address the most urgent issues, although some of this seems to be only temporary in nature, e.g., metal props supporting collapsing walls. It is not clear what permanent measures and long-term maintenance are planned. The State Party has submitted a request for International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund, in order to support the implementation of a training programme in the preparation of a conservation plan for the site. This will be an important step in developing conservation strategies for the property as well as short- medium- and long-term actions. The Management Plan does not contain the expected information on visitor management or sustainable development, and it is unclear if plans currently exist or if they need to be developed.

Following a pilot phase, the GLRP continues to show progress and monitoring has been set in place. Geotechnical studies were carried out to manage the risk of the Abu Mena tomb cracking during the dewatering process. The State Party has decided to take slower but less invasive measures to avoid this, which is commended.

With regard to the DSOCR, the Committee adopted in 2007 corrective measures that included the following: a) consolidate structures; b) lower water table, establish a monitoring system and prepare a Conservation Plan; c) prepare and implement a Management Plan. While all measures are being addressed, they are not yet all completed and, therefore, the future conservation of the property is not yet guaranteed. For this reason, it is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

In addition, the timeframe for the corrective measures was originally scheduled for completion by 2010 and a revised timeframe has not yet been agreed. The State Party predicts that it will have completed all actions necessary for reaching the DSOCR by June 2023, although the request to revise the Management Plan means that it may not be ready for full implementation by then. It is therefore proposed that the new timeframe for the corrective measures is by end of 2024.

Finally, regarding the State Party’s indication that it would welcome a Reactive Monitoring mission with a view to removing the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that such a Reactive Monitoring mission may be organized once a draft Conservation Plan has been prepared and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review. and the State Party considers that the corrective measures have all been implemented.

Decision Adopted: 45 COM 14

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/14,
  2. Decides to approve the following International Assistance requests:
    1. “Conservation and management of Sudanese style mosques in northern Côte d’Ivoire” (Côte d’Ivoire) for an amount of US$ 85,058 under the Conservation and Management-Culture budget, replacing the “per diem” amounts of US$ 8,000 and US$ 5,000 (corresponding to the defrayment for the participants in the workshops) by the fixed amounts of US$ 1,800 and US$ 1,125 respectively,
    2. “Preparation of a Conservation Management Plan for the Asante Traditional Buildings of Ghana” (Ghana) for an amount of US$ 43,678 under the Conservation and Management-Culture budget, the US$ 1,700 foreseen for the DSA for the international experts being reallocated to cover the DSA of an additional seven cultural officers, under whose jurisdiction the Ashanti Traditional Buildings are located, and three conservators in the Upper West and Central regional offices of Ghana Museums and Monuments Board,
    3. “Training program about the preparation of site conservation plan” (Egypt) for an amount of US$ 56,504 under the Conservation and Management-Culture budget; the status of the national experts will be clarified prior to the establishment of the contract, since the World Heritage Fund cannot cover salaries of a government’s employees,
    4. “Condition assessment of shipwrecks within the Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site” (Marshall Islands) for an amount of US$ 70,000 under the Conservation and Management-Culture budget (i.e. without the amounts dedicated to diving equipment (US$ 3,000) and marine park fees (US$ 1,800)),
    5. “Conservation of Ancient Siva Devale No 01 within the World Heritage site of Polonnaruwa Ancient City” (Sri Lanka) for an amount of US$ 47,500 under the Conservation and Management assistance-Nature budget as authorized by Paragraph 240 of the Operational Guidelines,
    6. “Raising awareness of the population of the Park to the seismic threats to the Department of the North and the installation of a system of conservation, maintenance of the monuments and a compilation of technical specifications for earthquake-resistant reinforcement of the vernacular architecture of the PNH CSSR” (Haiti) for an amount of US$ 33,325 under the Conservation and Management-Culture budget; at the time of the implementation of the activity, the use of International Assistance funds should focus primarily on the attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value, in close consultation between the State Party, the Secretariat (World Heritage Centre and the UNESCO Office in Port-au-Prince) and the Advisory Bodies;
  3. Having noted the lack of funding under Preparatory Assistance and the amount left under the “Conservation and Management Assistance” category, authorizes the transfer of US$ 119,500 from the Conservation and Management Assistance budget to the Preparatory Assistance budget;
  4. Welcomes the review of the International Assistance 2016-2021 focusing on Conservation and Management Assistance and Emergency Assistance and takes note of the outcomes and the benefits that International Assistance has brought to Africa, LDCs and to local communities, and the role it has played in furthering sustainable development in the context of World Heritage properties; and invites States Parties benefitting from International Assistance to submit full reports on the interventions and outcomes;
  5. Encourages States Parties considering preparation of International Assistance requests to contact the World Heritage Centre for advice either on the topic and/or on the technicalities of their International Assistance requests well ahead the annual deadline of 31 October.

Decision Adopted: 45 COM 7A.26

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7A.5 adopted at its extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online, 2021),
  3. Welcomes the efforts undertaken towards improving the state of conservation of the property, and urges the State Party to continue its work on the corrective measures adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007);
  4. Notes the invitation from the State Party for a World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property;
  5. Requests that the Management Plan be revised in light of the ICOMOS Technical Review, with particular attention given to ensuring that conservation planning is completed, as well as developing plans for visitor management and sustainable development;
  6. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2024, 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;
  7. Decides to retain Abu Mena (Egypt) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 45 COM 8B.57

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/23/45.COM/8B and WHC/23/45.COM/INF.8B1,
  2. Refers the examination of the minor modification to the boundary and to the buffer zone of Abu Mena, Egypt, back to the State Party in order to allow it to:
    1. Clarify the protection regime that will apply to the enlarged property which is not included within the designated archaeological site,
    2. Establish an appropriate protective designation for the areas added to the property, in order to ensure that it is covered in its entirety by explicit legal protection designations,
    3. Establish an ad-hoc management body for the property,
    4. Consider enlarging the buffer zone or, at least, establish mechanisms that guarantee the effective management of the immediate and wider settings of Abu Mena in a way that is supportive of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value and the maintenance of the rural character of the property’s surroundings.

Decision Adopted: 45 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/23/45.COM/7A, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add.3, WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add.4),
  2. Having examined the recommendations of the Advisory Bodies, decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
3.    Recalls that the following properties were inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 18th extraordinary session (UNESCO, 2023):

Decision Adopted: 45 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/8E,
  2. Commends the States Parties for the work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties located within their territories;
  3. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in Annex of Document WHC/23/45.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:

ARAB STATES

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA

4.    Notes that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger will be reviewed in priority by the Advisory Bodies;

5.    Requests the World Heritage Centre to upload the two language versions of the above-mentioned retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value on its website.