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Historic Town of Zabid

Yemen
Factors affecting the property in 2010*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Housing
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Serious degradation of the city’s heritage (many houses and the ancient souq are in an alarming deterioration state)

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Serious degradation of the city’s heritage (many houses and the ancient souq are in an alarming deterioration state)
  • Large percentage of the city's houses replaced by inappropriate concrete buildings
  • Large sections of the city’s open spaces have been privatized, either illegally or informally and more than 30% of these built-up
  • Lack of conservation measures and supportive developments
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Serious deterioration of the built heritage (a high percentage of the residential houses being replaced by concrete and multi-storey buildings)
  • The remaining  houses in the city are rapidly deteriorating, due to the prevailing low income of the inhabitants
  • Since the souq activities have been transferred outside the city, the ancient souq is almost empty and free from any type of activity and the shops are falling apart
  • The traditional economic role of the city has vanished
  • The city in general, is lacking any conservation and rehabilitation strategies
Corrective Measures for the property

In its Decision 31 COM 7A.19 (Christchurch, 2007), the World Heritage Committee defined the measures to be taken urgently to reverse the decline :

a) Adequate legal and institutional framework set up in one year:

(i) Re-issuance of Cabinet Decree No.425 - 2006;

(ii) Government provision to GOPHCY in Sana'a and Zabid of adequate budget to stabilize the degradation of the World Heritage property;

(iii) Completion of heritage protection laws;

(iv) Completion of the draft Conservation Plan, with translation into Arabic. Provision of short version for wide dissemination;

b) Physical degradation stopped immediately and reversed within two years:

(i) Stopping of poor new construction and further degradation of protected heritage assets,

(ii) Approval of contractors and individual specialists for carrying out emergency conservation works,

(iii)Appropriate house improvement design - bathrooms and kitchens, infrastructure and air conditioning,

(iv)Good designs for new houses within Zabid;

(v)Starting demolition of the concrete walls on the streets and other public spaces and replacing with brick walls,

(vi)Planned, costed and programmed schedule of medium and long-term actions,

(vii)Prescription rules and regulations to be followed by inhabitants and owners;

(viii) Adoption of Zabid Urban Development Plan.

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
As set out in Decision 31 COM 7A.19: “adequate legal and institutional framework set up in one year (2008); the physical degradation stopped immediately and reversed within two years (2009)”.
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2010

Total amount provided to the property: USD 10,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust; USD 4,000 from the France-UNESCO Co-operation Agreement.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2010
Requests approved: 8 (from 1994-2004)
Total amount approved : 159,167 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2010

At its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), the World Heritage Committee agreed to defer consideration of removing the property from the World Heritage List if specific and agreed measures were taken to reverse the severe decline in the conservation and economy of the city through a legal and institutional framework being set up in one year (2008) and the physical degradation stopped immediately and reversed within two years (2009). The State Party report for 2009 requested a further three years to demonstrate progress with reversing decline.

The State Party submitted a progress report on 8 March 2010 responding to the decision of the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009) and reported on overall progress with reversing decline, notably the conservation of houses, souq and streets and on associated economic and social development.

Overall the State Party maintains that progress continues to be made and it reiterates that since June 2007, and the launching of the SFD (Social Fund for Development)/GTZ (German Agency for Technical Cooperation) project, the momentum in Zabid has drastically changed thanks to the project’s efficient activities, a better coordination between the stakeholders, the continuous financial efforts of the Government and investment by the SFD. Furthermore, the office of General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities in Yemen (GOPHCY) in Zabid has been restructured and supported by new staff.(It now has some 33 staff members (professionals, engineers, architects, lawyer, craftsmen, etc.). The housing rehabilitation programme has reached more than 200 complete interventions spread all over the city and the souq rehabilitation and revitalisation project has succeeded in rehabilitating and revitalising over 320 shops in total. The business promotion and community development measures that were launched last year in parallel to the revitalization program of the old souq and the housing rehabilitation program are now said to be impacting on the situation in a very positive way.

The report of the State Party provides information on the progress in implementing the corrective measures, as follows:

a) Adequate legal and institutional framework:

 

i) Re-issuance of Cabinet Decree No.425 – 2006: This was issued in November 2007;

ii) Government provision to General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities in Yemen (GOPHCY): GOPHCY Zabid branch is now having a regular budget and the Minister of Culture is continuing to give an important additional annual allocation from the Fund for Cultural Development, while the GTZ/SFD project is pursuing its support to the GOPHCY office through budgets to finance staff overtimes, capacity building support and financial contributions for the removal of certain violations.

iii) Completion of heritage protection laws: This is said to have been delayed due to funding problems. However, the Government has agreed to create a Ministerial Committee to pursue the matter.

iv) Completion of the Conservation Plan The conservation plan is still being finalised. The State Party reports that a spatial strategy and a housing rehabilitation strategy, based on subsidies to the private households, are also being developed. A draft management plan has also been formulated which would be finalised in the second half of 2010 once the urban conservation plan has been adopted.

 

b) Physical degradation to be stopped immediately and reversed within two years (five years):

The control of building activities is much more effective and people are now almost systematically applying for building or rehabilitation permissions (thanks to the positive effect of the housing rehabilitation programme and to the improvement of the functioning of the GOPHCY office in Zabid).

 

i) Stopping of poor new construction and further degradation of protected heritage assets: The State Party reports that illegal constructions are no longer tolerated and measures are regularly taken to mitigate them. Even so, more efforts are still needed to convince mainly the court and the police departments to cooperate in the removal of violations. The State Party reports that GTZ and GOPHCY are discussing a strategy for handling the violations and/or mitigating them. The final approved regulations which are being prepared together with the Conservation Plan are due to be finalised at the end of June 2010.

ii) Approval of contractors and individual specialists for carrying out emergency conservation works, and appropriate house improvement design: The State Party reports that the Housing rehabilitation programme has trained teams of specialists restorers comprising architects, master builders and young professionals under the supervision of GOPHCY and Old Master builders have been hired by the GTZ/SFD project. This is a learning by doing process and has involved more than 350 interventions on properties randomly spread in the city.

iii) Good designs for new houses within Zabid: No information is provided.

iv) Starting demolition of the concrete walls on the streets and other public spaces and replacing with brick walls: No information is provided.

v) Planned, costed and programmed schedule of medium and long-term actions: The State Party states that is has started to develop baseline surveys and documentation of significant monuments and ruins.

vi) Prescription rules and regulations to be followed by inhabitants and owners: No information is provided.

vii) Adoption of Zabid Urban Development Plan: It is reported that a task force has been created under the leadership of the GTZ project, with staff from GOPHCY and GALSUP (planning authority), who will have to finalise an Urban Conservation Plan before end of April 2010, then send it to the stakeholders and authorities for discussion and approval.

 

In addition, within the framework of the Periodic Reporting exercise, the State Party has submitted a draft Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value.

Unfortunately, due to security constraints, the reactive monitoring mission requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session could not take place and therefore the Desired state of conservation has not been drafted,

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies acknowledge the momentum that has now been established to reverse the decline and degradation that faced Zabid, the increased resources now allocated to GOPHCY, and the progress with specialised contractors. The State Party report was helpful in setting out areas of progress and the substantial help of the GTZ/SFD project in linking heritage renewal to social and economic development, through capacity building and education.

Some progress has been made towards implementing the corrective measures and the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies urge the State Party to continue this progress by giving priority to the development of clear rules and regulations defining what is permitted and what constitutes a violation, by finalising and implementing the Conservation Plan, by approving and implementing the Urban Conservation Plan, by drafting and approving a Management Plan and by providing adequate resources to allow the Heritage Protection Bill to be finalised and approved. This would provide the much needed framework for the overall restoration, regeneration and building control programmes.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2010
34 COM 7A.21
Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) (C 611)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7A.19, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Notes the progress that has been made in generating political support and commitment to the conservation of Zabid and the increase in resources for the General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities in Yemen (GOPHCY), supplemented by the German Technical Assistance (GTZ), the Yemeni Government and the Social Fund for Development (SFD) socio-economic development project;

4. Notes however that more progress is needed to meet the corrective measures in terms of defining clear regulations for what is permitted and what constitutes a violation, finalizing and implementing the Conservation Plan, approving and implementing the Urban Conservation Plan, drafting and approving a Management Plan and providing adequate resources to allow the Heritage Protection Bill to be finalized, as well as defining a clearly budgeted strategy, and setting out rules for house owners and inhabitants;

5. Urges the State Party to continue to give the optimum support to the regeneration and conservation of Zabid in order to make progress with these measures;

6. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to assess progress on the 2007 action plan for the implementation of the corrective measures, to develop a proposal for the Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and revise the timeframe;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2011 a progress report on the above for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011;

8. Decides to retain the Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

34 COM 8C.2
Establishment of the World Heritage List in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-10/34.COM/7A, WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add and WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add.2),

2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 34 COM 7A.22)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 34 COM 7A.23)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 34 COM 7A.13)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 34 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 34 COM 7A.29)
  • Colombia, Los Katios National Park (Decision 34 COM 7A.14)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 34 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 34 COM 7A.3)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Virunga National Park (Decision 34 COM 7A.4)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 34 COM 7A.5)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Garamba National Park (Decision 34 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Salonga National Park (Decision 34 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 34 COM 7A.8)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 34 COM 7A.17)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 34 COM 7A.9)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 34 COM 7A.27)
  • India, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (Decision 34 COM 7A.12)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 34 COM 7A.18)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 34 COM 7A.19)
  • Islamic Republic of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Decision 34 COM 7A.24)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 34 COM 7A.20)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 34 COM 7A.10)
  • Pakistan, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Decision 34 COM 7A.25)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 34 COM 7A.30)
  • Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Decision 34 COM 7A.26)
  • Senegal, Niokolo Koba National Park (Decision 34 COM 7A.11)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 34 COM 7A.28)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 34 COM 7A.16)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 34 COM 7A.31)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 34 COM 7A.21)
34 COM 8E
Adoption of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/8E,

2. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex I of Documents WHC-10/34.COM/8E, WHC-10/34.COM/8E.Add and WHC-10/34.COM/8E.Add.2 for the following World Heritage properties: 

  • Algeria: Al Qal'a of Beni Hammad; M'Zab Valley; Djémila; Tipasa; Tassili n'Ajjer; Timgad; Kasbah of Algiers;
  • Austria: Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg; Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn; Hallstatt-Dachstein / Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape;
  • Bulgaria: Boyana Church; Madara Rider; Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak; Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo; Rila Monastery; Ancient City of Nessebar; Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari;
  • Côte d'Ivoire: Comoé National Park;
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: Okapi Wildlife Reserve;
  • Denmark: Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones and Church; Roskilde Cathedral;
  • Ethiopia: SimienNational Park;
  • Israel: Masada; Old City of Acre; White City of Tel-Aviv - the Modern Movement; Incense Route - Desert Cities in the Negev; Biblical Tels - Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba;
  • Jordan: Petra; Quseir Amra; Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa'a);
  • Lebanon: Anjar; Byblos; Baalbek; Tyre; Ouadi Qadisha (the Holy Valley) and the Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz-el-Rab);
  • Malawi: Lake Malawi National Park;
  • Mauritania: Banc d'Arguin National Park; Ancient Ksour of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata;
  • Morocco: Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou; Historic City of Meknes; Archaeological Site of Volubilis; Medina of Essaouira (formerly Mogador); Medina of Fez; Medina of Marrakesh; Medina of Tétouan (formerly known as Titawin); Portuguese City of Mazagan (El Jadida);
  • Niger: Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves; W National Park of Niger;
  • Oman: Bahla Fort;
  • Portugal: Laurisilva of Madeira;
  • Senegal: Island of Gorée; Niokolo-Koba National Park;
  • Seychelles: Aldabra Atoll; Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve;
  • South Africa: Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai, and Environs.
  • Spain: Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville ;
  • Sudan: Gebel Barkal and the Sites of the Napatan Region;
  • Syrian Arab Republic: Ancient City of Bosra; Ancient City of Aleppo; Crac des Chevaliers and Qal'at Salah El-Din; City of Damascus; Site of Palmyra;
  • Tunisia: Archaeological Site of Carthage; Amphitheatre of El Jem; Ichkeul National Park; Medina of Sousse; Kairouan; Medina of Tunis; Punic Town of Kerkuane and its Necropolis; Dougga / Thugga;
  • Uganda: Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi;
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Saltaire; Dorset and East Devon Coast; Derwent Valley Mills; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile City; Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape.
  • United Republic of Tanzania: Selous Game Reserve; Kilimanjaro National Park;
  • Yemen: Historic Town of Zabid;

3. Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed in priority;

4. Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

  • World Heritage properties in the Arab States;
  • World Heritage properties in Africa;
  • World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific;
  • World Heritage properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;
  • World Heritage properties in Europe and North America.
Draft Decision: 34 COM 7A.21

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7A.19, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Notes the progress that has been made in generating political support and commitment to the conservation of Zabid and the increase in resources for the General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities in Yemen (GOPHCY), supplemented by the German Technical Assistance (GTZ), the Yemeni Government and the Social Fund for Development (SFD) socio-economic development project;

4. Notes however that more progress is needed to meet the corrective measures in terms of defining clear regulations for what is permitted and what constitutes a violation, finalising and implementing the Conservation Plan, approving and implementing the Urban Conservation Plan, drafting and approving a Management Plan and providing adequate resources to allow the Heritage Protection Bill to be finalised, as well as defining a clear costed strategy, and setting out rules for house owners and inhabitants;

5. Urges the State Party to continue to give the optimum support to the regeneration and conservation of Zabid in order to make progress with these measures;

6. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to assess progress on the 2007 action plan for the implementation of the corrective measures, to develop a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and revise the timeframe;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2011 a progress report on the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011;

8. Decides to retain the Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) on the List of World Heritage in Danger 

Report year: 2010
Yemen
Date of Inscription: 1993
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2000-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 34COM (2010)
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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