Saturday, April 21, 2007

Exec. Board Session on the Old City of Jerusalem

As a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Jerusalem has always been of great symbolic importance. Among its 220 historic monuments, the Dome of the Rock stands out: built in the 7th century, it is decorated with beautiful geometric and floral motifs. It is recognized by all three religions as the site of Abraham's sacrifice. The Wailing Wall delimits the quarters of the different religious communities, while the Resurrection rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre houses Christ's tomb.

The Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls has been a World Heritage Site since 1981, and has been inscribed on the list of World Heritage sites in Danger since 1982. UNESCO'a Executive Board and General Conference have repeatedly requested the application of internationally recognized principles in protection of the sites, especially the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (the Hague, 1954), the 1956 New Delhi Recommendation on International Principles Applicable to Archaeological Excavations and the 1972 World Heritage Convention. In conformity with UNESCO's resolutions, financial aid for heritage restoration projects in Jerusalem has been requested from Member States. Favorable responses to these appeals have enabled UNESCO to finance the restoration and conservation of a number of monuments and religious and cultural properties in the city.

A UNESCO technical mission to the Old City of Jerusalem (27 February to 2 March 2007) has completed its technical assessment on the works conducted on the Mughrabi pathway leading to the Haram el-Sharif.

Koïchiro Matsuura sent this report and its conclusions to the Presidents of the Organization's Governing Bodies, the President of the World Heritage Committee, and the Permanent Delegates to UNESCO and convened an Information Meeting for UNESCO Member States on 19 March 2007, in the presence of the expert members of the mission.

The Executive Board of UNESCO, which met last week in Paris, discussed the situation in Jerusalem and the report of the technical mission.

Click on a title below to read key materials from the Board preparations:
Jerusalem and the Implementation of the General Conference Resolution (176 EX/20)

Latest Developments in the Situation of the World Heritage Site of the Old City of Jerusalem (176 EX/Special Plenary Meeting 1)

Report of the Technical Mission to the Old City of Jerusalem (176 EX/Special Plenary Meeting/INF.1)

Comments by the Director General on the Occasion of the Special Session (in French)


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