1.         Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur (Egypt) (C 86)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (i)(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/86/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1991-2007)
Total amount approved: USD 81,450
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 100,000 for the Sphinx of Giza; Special Account for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Egypt; USD 310,381 for ‘Memphis and Thebes Sites Management Support’; USD 45,871 from the Netherlands Funds in Trust for strengthening national capacities for the implementation of World Heritage impact assessments; EUR 150,000 from the Government of France for Enhancing Capacities for the Protection of World Heritage Properties in Egypt (2020).

Previous monitoring missions

1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001: missions concerning the conservation of the site and the Cairo Ring Road project. November 2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission; July 2015: ICOMOS Advisory mission; March 2017: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission; January-February 2021: UNESCO Advisory mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2023

A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission visited the property in February 2022 (mission report available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/documents/). Subsequently, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 20 December 2022, a summary of which is available at the above-mentioned web address. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report, as follows:

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

The State Party continues to progress with significant projects and initiatives, in compliance with the requirements and processes of the World Heritage Convention and Operational Guidelines. It is welcome that HIAs must be prepared for all projects at the property and that there is a ban on new construction projects. The cumulative map will contribute to adequate management of attributes which support the OUV of the property. Progress towards the proposed IMP is positive and the draft IMP should be submitted for review to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, prior to being finalised, adopted, and implemented.

The property received a UNESCO Advisory mission in 2021, followed by a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission in 2022. The recommendations from these missions support the conservation and management of the property. The State Party has indicated how each of the mission recommendations is being addressed. The 2022 mission evaluated the recently constructed Touristic Path and Middle Ring Road, which were constructed without referral to the World Heritage Centre and contrary to requests made in previous Committee decisions. The mission concluded that it is of primary importance to prevent any urban development along or in the vicinity of these roads in order to avoid threats to the OUV of the property and noted that comprehensive details of archaeological surveys and impact assessments are yet to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, as previously requested.

Considerable progress has been made in terms of archaeological fieldwork and conservation interventions, as well as in improving access and connectivity at the property through the installation of tracks, pathways, and rail links. The programme for providing additional new visitor facilities has also continued. Valuable contributions have been made to capacity building in training through cooperation with the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS the UNESCO Cairo Office, and ARC-WH.

Notification concerning the ‘High-Speed Rail Green Line’ project was submitted in October 2022, and the related full HIA was submitted in November 2022, after construction had already commenced. The contribution of this project to sustainable development objectives is acknowledged, and the alignment has been assessed as appropriate through an ICOMOS technical review, nevertheless, it is necessary for the HIA to be augmented to allow the potential impacts of the Green Line to be fully understood and assessed so that adverse impacts can be appropriately mitigated. ICOMOS has provided specific recommendations to the State Party in this regard. Had it been advised of this project, the 2022 mission would have presented an opportunity to discuss the project in some detail along with some considerations for mitigation measures.

The brief report on the Pyramids Security Project provided by the State Party does not include a detailed document providing comprehensive information about the proposed Pyramids Security Project as previously requested by the Committee in Decision 44 COM 7B.127. Strengthening of the protection of the property, having regard to its retrospective Statement of OUV, remains a priority and it is welcome that the State Party has invited the support of the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies through a proposed Advisory mission.

Decision Adopted: 45 COM 7B.137

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7B.127 adopted at its extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online, 2021),
  3. Commends the State Party on the further progress made in relation to compliance with the requirements and processes of the World Heritage Convention and the Operational Guidelines, including its decision to require Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) to be prepared for all projects at the property, the cumulative map of property attributes, the ban on new construction projects, and the instigation of an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) for the property, and requests that the draft IMP be submitted for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, prior to being finalised adopted and implemented;
  4. Notes the findings and recommendations of the 2022 Reactive Monitoring mission, and welcomes the advice from the State Party that the recommendations of this mission and the 2021 Advisory mission are being comprehensively implemented;
  5. Also welcomes the considerable progress that has been made in archaeological and conservation work, improving access and connectivity at the property, including the network of tracks, pathways and rail tracks which provide access to landmarks, as well as the provision of new visitor facilities, and the programme of training and capacity building;
  6. Also notes that the Touristic Path and Middle Ring Road, which were constructed without referral to the World Heritage Centre and contrary to previous Committee decisions, have been subject to detailed studies, HIA, mitigative measures and review by the 2022 mission, which concluded that urban development should be prevented along or in the vicinity of the Touristic Path and the Middle Ring Road segments passing through the property in order to avoid threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and, in accordance with the mission report findings, also requests that comprehensive details of the archaeological surveys and impact assessments undertaken in advance of the road works be submitted to the World Heritage Centre;
  7. Regrets that information about the High-Speed Rail Green line project and an HIA were not submitted to the World Heritage Centre in advance of commencement of construction, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, but further notes that the technical review by ICOMOS concluded that the chosen alignment appears to be the best option to achieve the east-west connection through the property, but that additional information and clarifications are required and the HIA requires amendment and augmentation with further mitigation measures to reduce the impact of the development and its operations on the OUV of the property, and therefore further requests the State Party to submit an amended HIA for this project, completed in accordance with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context, to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Reiterates its previous request to the State Party to submit in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, a detailed document providing comprehensive information on the Pyramids Security Project to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible;
  9. Also reiterates its previous request to the State Party to further strengthen the protection and management of the property, with particular regard to its retrospective Statement of OUV, and by defining a buffer zone and submitting a minor boundary modification request, in line with Paragraphs 163-164 of the Operational Guidelines, and further notes that an Advisory mission has been invited to enable consultation with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS in accordance with the previous decisions of the Committee;
  10. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 47th session.