1.         Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa'a) (Jordan) (C 1093)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2004

Criteria  (i)(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/1093/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2007-2009)
Total amount approved: USD 34,750
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1093/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 6,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust

Previous monitoring missions

March-April 2005: ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; November 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ ICOMOS mission; March 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; July 2008: World Heritage Centre expert mission for the stylite tower.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Unstable structures and lack of security;

b) Lack of comprehensive conservation plan;

c) Lack of management structure and plan;

d) Important tourism development project with new constructions.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1093/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

At its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008), the World Heritage Committee congratulated the State Party for the conservation measures undertaken since the reactive monitoring mission of November 2006, and noted the steps being taken by the State Party to address the threat of loss of Outstanding Universal Value, and sustaining the property’s authenticity and integrity; the World Heritage Committee considered that there was no need to include the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The World Heritage Committee further requested the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre a detailed documentation of all initiatives mentioned in its 2008 state of conservation report, and supplementary information on the new management structure and staffing, the completion and initial operations of the visitor’s centre, the definitive organization of the pathway system, progress in development of the conservation plan and in the elaboration of a management plan. It also encouraged the State Party to: develop a financial system with a minimum annual operations budget, prepare a possible revision of the boundaries of the property and buffer zone, and also develop a timeframe for the implementation of short and long term corrective measures (conservation, maintenance and monitoring plans for ongoing consolidation and security works), as well as a needed archaeological research policy.

 

The State Party submitted the state of conservation report by letter dated 31 March 2009. Concerning management, the report only details numbers of new staff appointed, and mentions installation of a new electronic security system. A state of conservation summary includes information on new fencing for the entire site, new works carried out on the St. Stephane complex including its shelter, new organization and completion of the pathway system, (including extension of a road from the visitor’s centre to the St. Stephane complex, and beyond to the stylite tower), completion of the visitor’s centre (now partly in use for tourist police but not yet offering visitor’s services), and acquisition of parcels of land to strengthen the integrity of the property.

The State Party report does not mention the alarming state of conservation of the Stylite tower that led to its request for International Assistance, granted in February 2009. This technical assistance aims at undertaking all the necessary studies for the elaboration of a restoration project for the tower, including the urgent dismantling of the cella on the top of the structure and the consolidation of the scaffolding.

However, the State Party report notes that a solid financial system that would permit the functioning of the Visitor’s Centre, provide for a permanent operations budget for the property and permit for implementation of short and long term corrective measures, is not yet in place.

It is also important to note that the State Party’s report does not provide the new information concerning progress in developing either the conservation plan or the management plan for the property, as requested by the World Heritage Committee. The State Party has also not provided the technical report documenting all initiatives described in its 2008 report, nor does the State Party report note progress in preparing a revision of the boundaries of the property and the buffer zone.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are concerned however that most of the progress described in the State Party report concerns expenditure made under the European Commission project, and that the needed efforts from the State Party to develop and implement urgently the management plan (including a comprehensive conservation plan and an archaeological research policy) and fully supportive financial system requested by the World Heritage Committee have not progressed.

The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS are also concerned with the State Party report references to building and completing roads on site, given the strong objections raised by the World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission of March 2008 to roads running from the site entrance to the church complex, and the earlier decision of the State Party to abandon road–building within the sensitive archaeological site, following the 2006 mission.

 

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 33 COM 7B.56

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.59, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes with appreciation the State Party's continuing efforts to improve the state of conservation of the property;

4. Expresses its concern that the road building described in the State Party's report may have been carried out in spite of the objections raised by the World Heritage Centre-ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission of March 2008, and requests the State Party to provide detailed information including maps and photographs to the World Heritage Centre on the completed road system;

5. Reiterates its request to the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre a technical document including detailed documentation for all initiatives described in its state of conservation reports for 2008 and 2009;

6. Also requests the State Party to provide a progress report on the technical studies serving as a basis for the restoration project of the Stylite tower;

7. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to report on the progress in developing the management plan (including a comprehensive conservation plan and an archaeological research policy) for the site, as requested by the World Heritage Committee, and to urgently develop a financial system which will support annual operations, a possible revision of the boundaries of the inscribed property and its buffer zone, and timeframe for the implementation of short and long term corrective measures already identified;

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