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Tyre (Lebanon) in Danger?

Author elsslots
#1 | Posted: 27 Sep 2009 06:47 | Edited by: elsslots 
The text on my website states: The site has been on the World Heritage List in Danger and still suffers from threats to its conservation (due to construction and regional fighting).

Now I'm wondering if this is true at all. I cannot find a WHC decision to place this site in danger, although there have been many discussions about its state of preservation.

Anyone more info on this subject?

Author Solivagant
#2 | Posted: 29 Sep 2009 17:21 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I don't think Tyre has ever been on the "List of World Heritage in Danger". It has however been the subject of 2 official UNESCO "Heritage Alerts" with a similar objective.
1987 By itself
2006 As the main site within the "Middle East" but also with Anjar, Baalbek, Qadisha, Byblos and Acre
As far as I can discover from the UNESCO Web site and Googling in general this approach only seems to have been used on the 2 occasions cited above - i.e not for any other WHS

Tyre has also been a beneficiary of another mechanism used by UNESCO to safeguard/preserve sites viz The "International Safeguarding Campaign" tml
This link identifies 10 sites which have been the subject of such a campaign up to 2007 plus another more general campaign from 2006 for "Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage" which covers "all aspects of Afghan cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, including museums, monuments, archaeological sites, music, art, traditional crafts etc." including the 2 WHS of Bamiyan and Jam. It is stated that such campaigns "often served as a springboard for the nomination of sites on the World Heritage List." But, in fact, of the 12 sites mentioned, only 4 (Nubian Monuments, Venice, Moenjodaro and Hue) were inscribed after the campaign had started. (Els - These sites could make another Connection. 26 "campaigns" are mentioned but it would appear that some sites must have benefited from multiple campaigns. I have been unable to find any other WHS which have done so beyond those mentioned in the link can anyone else?)

So we have 3 differently titled approaches for mobilizing action to preserve sites
a. "World Heritage in Danger"
b. "Heritage Alerts"
c. "International Safeguarding Campaign"

What are the pros and cons of each approach and, in particular, why should the latter 2 get used instead of the former? Certainly, and particularly recently, the "World Heritage List in Danger" route has become something of a stick with which UNESCO, in "bullying mode", beats sites with! But it wasn't always thus and there are examples of States Parties asking for one of their sites to be so listed. To quote UNESCO "Some countries apply for the inscription of a site to focus international attention on its problems and to obtain expert assistance in solving them. Others however, wish to avoid an inscription, which they perceive as a dishonour."

For some reason Tyre has had 2 "Alerts" and a "Campaign" but, surprisingly, NO "In Danger" listing! I wonder why. Any ideas? That is, after all, the mechanism for mobilising action which was originally identified in the 1972 World Heritage Convention :- "The Committee shall establish, keep up to date and publish, whenever circumstances shall so require, under the title of "List of World Heritage in Danger", a list of the property appearing in the World Heritage List for the conservation of which major operations are necessary and for which assistance has been requested under this Convention.". Note the final phrase requested by whom the States Party? That appears to have been the original intention. It would appear therefore that inclusion on such a list was never intended to have the negative connotations which have subsequently become attached to it. Another section of the Convention states "Before refusing a request for inclusion ....(on the World Heritage in Danger Llist), the Committee shall consult the State Party in whose territory the cultural or natural property in question is situated" i.e the whole emphasis of the Convention appears to have been that States would want to get their sites on the in danger list in order to obtain assistance in preserving them how differently things turned out! The first Heritage Alert for Tyre wasn't even just concerned with "war related" damage but with the impact of new buildings and roads. As the M'bow announcement makes clear, it was the Lebanese government which asked for the "Alert" so why wouldn't it ask for the site to be placed on the "Danger List"?

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 Tyre (Lebanon) in Danger?

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