28 COM 15A.30
The World Heritage Committee,
Noting the information on the state of conservation provided by the State Party,
Urges the State Party to finalize the legislative procedure for Draft Legislation n° 3807 and to inform the Committee of the appropriate measures taken to relocate the squatters;
Invites the State Party, once again, to consider requesting International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund to identify appropriate remedial measures;
Requests the State Party to submit a progress report on the measures being applied to reduce the impact of the rising water levels in the aquifer of the property by 1 February 2005, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session in 2005;
Decides to retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
31. Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (proposed by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) (C 148)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List: 1981
Year of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger: 1982
Criteria: C (ii) (iii) (vi)
Previous International Assistance:
Previous Bureau/Committee Deliberations:
The present report on the state of conservation of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls was prepared on the basis of information collected by the Centre1. The scope of this report is an assessment of the state of conservation of the World Heritage property of the Old City of Jerusalem in line with the guidelines for properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. This issue is also examined by the Executive Board and the General Conference of UNESCO on the basis of the General Conference Resolution 32 C/39, which referred to “the relevant United Nations resolutions and decisions, in particular the relevant Security Council resolutions on the legal status of Jerusalem”, and to "31 C/Resolution 31, as well as to the provisions of the four Geneva Conventions (1949), The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) and the related Protocol and to the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972), the inscription of the Old City of Jerusalem on the World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger and the recommendations, resolutions and decisions of UNESCO on the protection of the cultural heritage".
The boundaries of the World Heritage property coincide with the Walls of Suleyman the Magnificent, as no buffer zone was identified at the time of inscription on the World Heritage List.
In 1982, following the recommendations by ICOMOS, the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls was inscribed by the World Heritage Committee on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The justifications given by the Committee for the Danger listing (Cf. Doc. CLT-82/CH/CONF.015/8), with reference to the Operational Guidelines in force at the time, were the following: "...the situation of the property corresponds to the criteria mentioned in the ICOMOS note and, in particular, to criteria (e) (significant loss of historical authenticity) and (f) (important loss of cultural significance) as far as "ascertained danger" is concerned, and to criteria (a) (modification of juridical status of the property diminishing the degree of its protection), (b) (lack of conservation policy) and (d) (threatening effect of town planning) as far as "potential danger" is concerned."
The above criteria have been considered as being still valid following the assessment by the UNESCO Mission to Jerusalem on the state of conservation of the Old City of Jerusalem ands its Walls led from 28 February to 5 March 2004. The following factors have been reported by the mission:
Alteration to the urban historic fabric changing the traditional skyline of the Old City: alterations are also affecting the internal structure of vernacular buildings and, in some cases, historic monuments in the Old City;
Alteration to the visual integrity of the roofscape within the Old City: the gradual new building development of the areas surrounding the Walls of the Old City negatively and irreversibly affected its traditional view;
Lack of maintenance and inappropriate approach in the conservation of historic monuments: with some exceptions, the state of conservation of most of the historic monuments, in particular in the area covered by the Islamic historic monuments, within the Old City is generally poor, due to lack of maintenance and resources. Some sites, moreover, are left in a state of neglect and used as garbage dump. In many cases, the conservation approach does not apply international principles of the relevant ICOMOS Charters;
Limitations to free access of labourers and supply of materials for conservation to the site: limited access, especially to Islamic historic monuments, is affecting the implementation of conservation activities;
Traffic: increasing vehicular traffic within the Old City is a matter of concern. Traffic causes pollution and vibrations that can affect the state of conservation of the built historic fabric, and the occupation of public spaces generates a negative visual impact;
Non-compliance with international standards in the field of archaeological research: archaeological research should take place in conformity with international principles and standards;
Natural factors: the region of Jerusalem lies on an active seismic zone. There is no specific risk preparedness policy to protect the Old City and notably its main historic monuments. Water and fluctuations in temperature are also a cause of concern, as they affect the state of conservation of the limestone building materials.
Draft Decision: 28 COM 15A.31
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Takes note with satisfaction of the continuing efforts of the Director-General in pursuing a comprehensive initiative for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem in line with General Conference Resolution 32 C/Res.39 (October 2003);
2. Expresses its concern for the threats to the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem, including the progressive alteration of its historic urban fabric and visual integrity, the lack of maintenance and inappropriate conservation approaches to some of its historic monuments, the difficulties posed by the present situation notably with regard to the free access of labourers to the site and supply of conservation materials;
3. Strongly encourages the responsible parties to facilitate to the maximum possible extent the normal progress of rehabilitation and conservation works within the Old City, by allowing the access of labourers and conservation materials as required;
4. Strongly encourages the authorities to establish, in close consultation and co-operation with all the concerned stakeholders, appropriate regulations, sensitive to the historic character of the City, for all rehabilitation and conservation activities within the Old City and to ensure their enforcement;
5. Further encourages the concerned parties to take into account, when undertaking conservation activities, the principles and recommendations of the relevant international Charters, particularly with regard to the need to preserve the authenticity and integrity of the site;
6. Requests all responsible authorities to ensure that international principles be applied with regard to interventions to the subsurface deposits in the Old City;
7. Decides to retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.