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Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site

Kenya
Factors affecting the property in 2023*
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Need to expanding the property boundary at the south-eastern end of the property
  • Lack of exact demarcation of the extended buffer zone
  • Lack of an indicator-based monitoring system
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2023

N/A

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2023
Requests approved: 3 (from 2010-2023)
Total amount approved : 67,190 USD
Missions to the property until 2023**

N/A

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2023

On 23 March 2023, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1450/documents/, and provides the following information:

  • The State Party is continuing to work on land acquisition to acquire land in order to extend the buffer zone on the western side of the property;
  • A digitization project for World Heritage properties in Kenya has commenced;
  • All projects undertaken at the property have been subjected to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) and archaeological surveys, although there has been little development activity in 2020-2021 due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • A workshop with the community was held in 2022 to identify community priorities and uses;
  • The property has been incorporated into a national tourism campaign, causing increased recognition and visitor numbers.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2023

The progress made in relation to the extension of the buffer zone on its western side is welcomed as part of the Committee’s larger set of recommendations concerning the property boundary and buffer zone. The State Party advises that land owners have agreed to sell an area of 3 acres to the National Museums of Kenya to extend the buffer zone on its western side. It is important to again recall that the ICOMOS Evaluation of the nomination stated that property ownership was not a pre-requisite for extending the property, and that inclusion of areas outside of State ownership could also meet the recommendation of the World Heritage Committee. Decision 42 COM 8B.14 noted that processes for land acquisitions to extend the property boundary on the south-eastern end near the entrance to Koketch were planned for completion in 2020, but there is no update from the State Party about whether this has been completed. The State Party should be encouraged to submit a minor boundary modification once the recommended extensions to the property boundary and buffer zone are completed.

The State Party mentions that one additional archaeological survey has been undertaken, with the information accessioned by the National Museums of Kenya. However, there is no information provided about the recommendation regarding the documentation of the associated oral traditions of the property. Digitisation projects for World Heritage properties in Kenya include a 360 degrees virtual tour of the property which is oriented at visitors is to be commended. In addition, the State Party has initiated a national tourism campaign to increase visitation.

The State Party advises that the monitoring indicators are those that were outlined in the Management Plan. The Committee had recommended that these be provided to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, but this has not yet occurred. The increased tourism promotion and visitation underscores the necessity of having an effective monitoring system in place.

The information about the community workshop is noted, and the reported desire for community involvement in the maintenance of the property is welcomed, as is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) established between the National Museums of Kenya and the county government of Migori for management activities.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2023
45 COM 7B.127
Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site (Kenya) (C 1450rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 42 COM 8B.14 and 44 COM 7B.7 adopted at its 42nd (Manama, 2018) and extended 44th (Fuzhou/online, 2021) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the information provided by the State Party concerning the progress made to extend the buffer zone on the western side of the property boundary, encourages the State Party to ensure that the rights of land owners are respected in the processes of land acquisition, and requests the State Party to continue implementing the recommended extensions to the property boundary at its south-eastern end near the entrance to Koketch, and the extension and demarcation of the buffer zone, and to submit a proposal for minor boundary modification once these are in place;
  4. Notes the completion of an archaeological survey and encourages the State Party to continue documenting the cultural values of the property, including oral traditions;
  5. Also notes that the property is important for local artists and musicians and commends the reported activities’ efforts to digitalise the property with a 360 degrees virtual tour and ensure continued community engagement, including involvement in its maintenance and in management decision-making;
  6. Further encourages the State Party to continue to implement the monitoring system for the property, including indicators associated with visitor management issues, and invites it to provide details about the selection of indicators and reporting methodology to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Requests the State Party to continue to ensure that all planned projects or works, including infrastructure to support tourism, are subject to Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) in conformity with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage context, and that information on any planned projects that could have an impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is forwarded to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. 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.
Draft Decision: 45 COM 7B.127

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 42 COM 8B.14 and 44 COM 7B.7, adopted at its 42nd (Manama, 2018) and extended 44th (Fuzhou/online, 2021) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the information provided by the State Party concerning the progress made to extend the buffer zone on the western side of the property boundary, encourages the State Party to ensure that the rights of communities are respected in the processes of land acquisition, and requests the State Party to continue implementing the recommended extensions to the property boundary at its south-eastern end near the entrance to Koketch, and the extension and demarcation of the buffer zone, and to submit a proposal for minor boundary modification once these are in place;
  4. Notes the completion of an archaeological survey and encourages the State Party to continue documenting the cultural values of the property, including oral traditions;
  5. Also notes that the property is important for local artists and musicians and commends the reported activities’ efforts to digitalise the property with a 360 degrees virtual tour and ensure continued community engagement, including involvement in its maintenance and in management decision-making;
  6. Further encourages the State Party to continue to implement the monitoring system for the property, including indicators associated with visitor management issues, and invites it to provide details about the selection of indicators and reporting methodology to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Requests the State Party to continue to ensure that all planned projects or works, including infrastructure to support tourism, are subject to Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) in conformity with the new Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessment in a World Heritage context, and that information on any planned projects that could have an impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is forwarded to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. 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.
Report year: 2023
Kenya
Date of Inscription: 2018
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)(v)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2023) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 45COM (2023)
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.