1.         Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah (Saudi Arabia) (C 1361)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2014

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(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/1361/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1361/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1361/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2023

On 16 November 2022, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1361/documents/. 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 Antiquities, Museums and Urban Heritage Law was passed by Royal Decree in June 2021, and, the State Party has continued to make significant progress at various levels to ensure the adequate conservation and management of the property, which is commendable.

Work on the GIS database has continued, comprising buildings and features situated within the property and its buffer zone. A detailed assessment has been carried out for 651 heritage buildings and a number of conservation projects have been completed.

Following the Committee’s request, Al Balad Regeneration and Development Plan (Masterplan), conservation strategy, design guidelines, a heritage conservation manual, emergency plan and procedures, as well as other significant documents and information have been submitted. The State Party report recognises that the scale of the task of conserving and regenerating Al Balad (which includes both the property and a wider city area) is a long and complex process. It is recommended that the Committee request ongoing advice from the State Party on the experience of using the expanded management system in coordinating and utilising the wide range of guidance documents in what is a very complex conservation project, and of any problems or modifications arising.

The Masterplan comprises strategies to regenerate the area comprising the property, its buffer zone, and the larger environmental setting, with the surrounding waterfront area and the wider city to respond to infrastructure challenges. The scope of this Masterplan tackles three levels of regeneration at the scale of the property and the wider setting. The sharing of continuing information, as sought by the Committee, on the development and implementation of tools for management and regeneration of Al Balad underpinned by a HUL approach is welcomed. Future updates on the implementation of the HUL principles through specific management tools would also be welcomed.

A conservation strategy has been developed which supports legal and administrative issues, as well as operational and technical ones. The former covers the strategic framework of the Masterplan, regulates different types of interventions at the property’s public realm, non-heritage buildings and heritage buildings (through guidelines and manuals), while also regulating the procedure for building classification and permitting. The aspect of the strategy concerned with operational and technical issues focuses on identifying and assessing the state of conservation of heritage buildings, implementation of emergency consolidation, documentation, training and communication.

In addition, a security strategy has been developed on the basis of identified threats, and a risk management plan is being developed. The documents provided are limited to security in relation to human actions and disruptions, and first-response emergency planning. Noting that the property is particularly at risk from flooding and fire, and is located in a region prone to earthquakes and related tsunamis, though at a lower risk, yet no risk analysis or planning has been indicated. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee request broader risk management planning in relation to such issues as fire prevention, suppression and recovery, flood risk assessment and preparation, and earthquake and tsunami preparedness and recovery planning.

With regard to HIA processes, a framework for carrying out a systematic HIA was put in place to guide any development at the property and has been included as part of the ‘Design Guidelines for Heritage Buildings’. The State Party mentions that no development shall be carried out without a full HIA screening, and that for development outside the property, a screening will determine whether a full HIA is required on a case-by-case basis. Nevertheless, it is important to recall Paragraph 118bis of the Operational Guidelines, which stresses that HIAs are a prerequisite for development projects and activities that are planned for implementation within or around a World Heritage property, including its wider setting. Such HIAs should be conducted in line with the new Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessment in a World Heritage Context.

Hence, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate the importance of integrating the HIA process in the implementation of the Masterplan for developments within the boundaries of the property, its buffer zone or the wider setting, and submit HIA studies to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before the implementation of any major irreversible interventions, which could impact the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

Decision Adopted: 45 COM 7B.148

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7B.136 adopted at its 44th extended session (Fuzhou/online, 2021),
  3. Welcomes the efforts undertaken by the State Party to strengthen its legislation to ensure better management and conservation of the property, including through the adoption of Antiquities, Museums and Urban Heritage Law by Royal Decree (655);
  4. Commends the State Party for the significant progress made with regard to the development of the Jeddah Historic District Geographic Information System (GIS), as well as the detailed assessments and conservation projects that have been executed, and encourages the State Party to continue with this work to ensure the protection and conservation of the property;
  5. Acknowledges with satisfaction the State Party’ submission of the complete version of the Regeneration and Development Plan (Masterplan), along with technical information on conservation and restoration projects, the conservation strategy, design guidelines and heritage conservation manual, and the emergency plan and procedures, and also commends the efforts made in developing the various plans, guidelines and procedures to ensure the adequate protection, conservation and management of the property;
  6. Notes that the State Party recognises that the scale of the task of conserving and regenerating Al Balad (which includes both the property and a wider city area) involves a long and complex process, and therefore requests the State Party to provide ongoing advice on the experience in coordinating and utilising the wide range of guidance documents in the expanded management system, and of any modifications required;
  7. Reiterates its request that the State Party submits to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, a complete version of the risk management and prevention plan for the property, noting that the current documents only address security and first-response aspects; such a plan should assess risks, address minimisation strategies, and develop responses to such issues as fire prevention, suppression and recovery, flood risk assessment and preparation, as well as earthquake and tsunami preparedness and recovery planning;
  8. Acknowledges again the State Party’s efforts in the implementation of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach to the management and urban regeneration of the property and also welcomes the sharing of the new planning tool with the World Heritage Centre;
  9. Recalls the importance of integrating the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) process in the implementation of the Masterplan for developments within the property, its buffer zone or the wider setting, in line with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context, and reminds the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre about any major development that may impact the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, before any irreversible decisions are made, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  10. Also 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.