Title: Risk Management at Heritage Sites: a case study of the Petra World Heritage Site
Authors: Paolini, Anna
Vafadari, Azadeh
Cesaro, Giorgia
Santana Quintero, Mario
Van Balen, Koen
Vileikis, Ona
Fakhoury, Leen
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: UNESCO and KU Leuven
Abstract: This publication and development of a risk management methodology is the result of the Risk
Mapping Project in Petra, a project of the UNESCO Amman Office in partnership with the
Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (RLICC) at the Katholieke Universiteit
(KU) Leuven in Belgium and in cooperation with the Petra Development and Tourism Regional
Authority (PDTRA) and the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (DoA). This collaborative
project started in February 2011 for a period of fifteen months in response to the increasing
risks for loss of heritage values at the site and a need for their assessment and proposing
responses to reduce their impact.
Petra Archaeological Park (PAP), the most significant World Heritage site in Jordan, with its
unique landscape, monuments and natural gorges, is a fragile property. Further to its inherent
fragile characteristics, Petra is endangered by natural and human-made threats and impacts.
Lack of an implemented management plan coupled with no clear property boundaries and an
absence of buffer zones as recommended by the World Heritage Committee, and weak visitor
management strategies, result in major gaps in the management of the property and increasing
risks to the site. Accordingly, risk assessment and research to better address the challenges
of the management of Petra World Heritage site have been identified as the most appropriate
tools for mitigation of risks and protection of the values of the property. This publication
examines a systematic approach in order to identify threats, their causes, and understand and
assess their effects, and proposes ways to choose responses and mitigation strategies in order
to reduce the impact of threats.
The realization of this project and the publication of this book would not have been possible
without the generous support of the Annenberg Foundation. UNESCO wishes to express deep
appreciation for this support.
UNESCO Amman Office would also like to acknowledge and thank the continuous support of
the PDTRA, Dr Emad Hijazeen, Commissioner of the PAP, Eng. Tahani Al Salhi, Director of the
Cultural Resource Management unit at the PAP. We would also like to thank the rest of the PAP
staff for their continuous coordination and for making this possible, as well as the DoA for
applying the risk management methodology in the pilot area of Petra during the second phase
of fieldwork. The outcomes of this pilot testing were crucial in the improvement of the study.
This publication presents a risk management methodology to be used as a systematic tool for
the better management of heritage sites. The methodology developed incorporates similar
approaches used by the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration
of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI)-Institute for
Cultural Heritage of the Netherlands (ICN), which are embodied in the
Australian/New Zealand Standard for Risk Management. The authors wish to thank and
acknowledge the cooperation with ICCROM, CCI-ICN and their courses in preventive conservation
and risk reduction. Also, we would like to thank Dr Robert Waller of the Canadian Museum
of Nature whose risk analysis model for cultural properties and museums has been an essential
reference for the development of the methodology.
For the Petra case study the authors have utilized a variety of research and scientific
documents, including published and unpublished sources, master plans, scientific articles,
legal documents and planning regulations for the areas surrounding the PAP, supported by
meetings and workshops. Furthermore, stakeholders, local authorities, national and international
experts have been extensively involved in various meetings, workshops and field
To assess categories of threats and disturbances affecting the monuments under analysis, the
Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities – Jordan (MEGA–J) defined the categories that
have been used. The authors would like to thank the DoA, the Getty Conservation Institute,
and the World Monument Fund, for developing such a system and supporting its use.
Embarking on this work has also been a unique opportunity to contribute to the capacitybuilding
of Jordanian experts in the fields of risk assessment, condition survey and preventive
conservation, as well as to contribute to the protection of the uniqueness of Petra. We wish
also to thank the local community in Petra for their support and hospitability.
During the fieldwork application and testing of the methodology, two workshops were organized.
The hard work and important contribution of the RLICC class of 2011 students, and the
coordinative efforts of RLICC staff are gratefully acknowledged.
We are also grateful to The World Heritage Centre Publication Unit, which without, this publication
would have not been possible. Finally, we would like to thank all those individuals and
institutions that in one way or another helped with the completion of this publication.
ISBN: 978-92-3-001073-7
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IBa
Appears in Collections:Research Group Architectural History and Conservation (-)
R. Lemaire Centre for Conservation
Building Materials and Building Technology Section

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