Since the crack was detected in March 2009, three missions were undertaken by a UNESCO expert (April, June, and August 2009). These expert missions determined that the rock is in an extremely unstable condition and poses a very serious threat to visitor safety, as it is located in the Siq which is the only entrance path into the site. The UNESCO expert, together with a local expert, prepared the terms of reference for the different stages of works required and also conducted a first visual geological risk assessment of the Siq.
As follow up to the expert’s recommendations, the UNESCO Amman office assisted the Department of Antiquities in preparing an International Assistance Request for a geological risk assessment of the whole Siq. UNESCO Amman has undertaken several visits to the site, noting that the necessary anchorage work on the unstable rock has still not started despite the serious safety risk posed by the unstable rock.
Building of a conference centre and associated buildings in the Dara area
The State Party report notes that the Department of Antiquities has no information on this issue and notes that, previously, regulations were in place prohibiting any construction in that area. A conference centre and associated buildings exactly adjacent to the Park boundaries would not only severely encroach on the Park but would be located within an area that has been identified as a potential buffer zone for the property. Such situations are related to the fact that while at least two management plans have been drafted since 1994, a final plan has not yet been formally established nor legally endorsed.
Actions planned aimed at improving the quality of services provided to tourists
The Department of Antiquities notes that it was informed that the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority plans to carry out a series of actions targeting services and tourist facilities at the site. However, the Department of Antiquities has expressed concerns regarding the implementation of such activities and their potential impact on the site. To this end, it has submitted an International Assistance Request to the World Heritage Centre for an expert mission to Petra to carry out an impact assessment study and recommendations on the provision of electric cars for tourism purposes, the extension of an electric cable along the road leading from Um Sayhun village to the central basin, the installation of portable power capacity and an integrated tourist market in Petra.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are concerned by the state of conservation of the Siq and consider that the necessary remedial work should be carried out as soon as possible to ensure the safety of visitors as well as to limit any further damage. They are also concerned by the lack of progress in the establishment, legal endorsement and implementation of a management plan for the property despite the numerous studies and drafts elaborated. While the State Party has yet to submit to the World Heritage Centre the required boundary clarifications for the property requested since 2006 within the framework of the Retrospective Inventory, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies would recommend the establishment of a buffer zone which would protect the property from further developments. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are further concerned about the lack of a coordination mechanism between the various stakeholders, in particular the newly established Regional Authority and the Department of Antiquities, which might affect the overall conservation of the property..
34 COM 7B.56
The World Heritage Committee,
Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add,
State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List
WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 102