UNESCO 2021: Draft Decision on Lamu Old Town

Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.6

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.45, and 43 COM 7B.107, adopted at its 42nd (Manama, 2018), and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively,
  3. Expresses its thanks to the State Party for organizing a Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in November/December 2019, considering the security concerns and requests that the State Party implement the recommendations of the mission;
  4. Underlines the utmost urgency of clarifying the boundaries of the property and putting in place an enlarged buffer zone to include all of Lamu Island, parts of Manda Island, and relevant mangroves belts in the area, as requested numerous times in the past, and also requests that an updated clearly delineated map of the property and its enlarged buffer zone be submitted to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for comment prior to formally submitting it to the World Heritage Committee as a minor boundary modification in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  5. Expresses its concern about the overall state of conservation of buildings within the property, and further requests the State Party to complete the survey of the building stock and strengthen enforcement of building controls to halt the deterioration and use of inappropriate materials;
  6. Regrets that a revised Management Plan which takes into account the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) project has not yet been completed and urges the State Party to complete it as soon as possible and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Recognizes that the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) has been included in the technical committee for the LAPSSET Master Plan, but also urges the State Party to ensure that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the NMK and the LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority is completed to ensure that the NMK has a role in decisions, that may affect heritage along the corridor, and in particular the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of relevant World Heritage properties, including Lamu Old Town;
  8. Takes note of the need for greater awareness of the potential threats of the LAPSSET project on the OUV of the property at both the political and civil society levels, and requests furthermore the State Party to:
    a) Send a High-Level governmental delegation, including representatives of the Ministry of Sport, Culture and Heritage and the National Museums of Kenya, to the property to assess the range of challenges and the urgency of finding solutions to ensure the safeguarding of the OUV of the property,
    b) Establish a Heritage Task Team made of relevant government agencies at the national and local levels with the support and involvement of civil society in order to develop appropriate responses to the many development issues that may affect the OUV of the property,
    c) Create a stakeholder and community forum for Lamu Island, which can also work closely with the LAPSSET project,
    d) Set up a core corporate social responsibility programme in collaboration with the LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority and the County Government to ensure that sufficient funds are available for conservation at the property and heritage related projects;
  9. Requests moreover the State Party to
    a) Complete, as soon as possible, the work on the revision of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the LAPSSET project, taking into account both individual and cumulative impacts that the project and all of its sub-projects may have on the OUV of the property, as well as on Lake Turkana World Heritage property, and that no further components of LAPSSET be implemented before the SEA is completed and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
    b) Provide to the World Heritage Centre, for each sub-project of LAPSSET (resort city, international airport, etc.), full information about the projects and their plans along with the necessary Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessments (EIAs/HIAs), for review by the Advisory Bodies before any irreversible decisions are taken about their implementation;
  10. Notes that the work on the Lamu Coal Plant is on hold, and requests as well that alternative solutions be proposed to meet the electricity needs of the region, and that any developments in this regard undergo thorough independent EIAs/HIAs to ensure that there are no negative impacts on the OUV of the property;
  11. Requests in addition the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in the first half of 2023 to review the progress made on the recommendations of the 2019 mission and the Decisions of the World Heritage Committee, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session in 2023;
  12. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, a progress report, and by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session in 2023.

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