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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Dubai Creek’s Unesco world heritage bid deferred

The UAE has been told to provide more details by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) on the creek’s architecture, buildings and markets around it as well as prepare for a visit from the UN mission.
Dubai has been told to provide more details by Unesco on the creek’s architecture, buildings and markets around it. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo
Dubai has been told to provide more details by Unesco on the creek’s architecture, buildings and markets around it. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo

DUBAI // The historic Dubai Creek’s bid to be recognised by the United Nations as a world heritage site has been deferred and the UAE asked to furnish more details when it resubmits its bid next year.

The country has been told to provide more details by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) on the creek’s architecture, buildings and markets as well as to expect a visit from the UN mission.

“We had a meeting and the final decision was they need extra information,” said Rashad Bukhash, director of architectural heritage at Dubai Municipality and the man who led the campaign.

“We have got the preliminary approval. We now need to provide different information on the creek, like the architecture, the boats, the market and buildings around it.

“There were some comments on the reconstruction of sites. Some of these were reconstructed in 1991 and we built them as it was before. We have to prove that it was rebuilt in the same way.”

A UN mission will visit the creek by the end of the year to evaluate the site, said Mr Bukhash, who returned on Saturday from Doha where the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee will conclude on Friday.

He said the UAE delegation was not discouraged by the decision taken by the committee, which comprises 21 member states.

“We are not disappointed. We have to complete the file with more facts and reports. We want everything to be in place. A proposal usually goes through many stages before you get the final proposal. This is our first time.

“It is very difficult to show a site is of outstanding value. Many regulations have to be met.”

The proposal to list Dubai Creek, also known as Khor Dubai, was first made in 2011. It was among 34 sites that submitted bids to be included on the World Heritage List this year. Once a bid is submitted, it can take years before a site is approved by the committee.

Thirteen new sites, including Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah in Saudi Arabia; the Erbil Citadel in Iraq; the Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey in Germany; Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir; and Van Nellefabriek in the Netherlands have been approved so far this year.

The cultural sites of Al Ain including Hafit, Hili, Bida bint Saud and oases areas were added to Unesco’s World Heritage list in 2011.

pkannan@thenational.ae