Location and Values: Wadi Rum Protected Area is located in southern Jordan, close to the border with Saudi Arabia. It encompasses an area of spectacular desert landscapes, with sand-filled wadis bounded by massive towering cliffs with narrow gorges, natural arches and other geological features. It is a mixed site, occupied by Bedouin communities, where archaeological remains, petroglyphs and inscriptions provide a remarkable record of 12,000 years of human development.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of Wadi Rum Protected Area is ‘good with some concerns’. The remote and mountainous nature of much of Wadi Rum has made it relatively inaccessible and therefore naturally protected until recently. Its scenic values (which justify its World Heritage Listing) are nevertheless threatened to some extent by tourism activities including poorly regulated off road driving, construction of illegal campsites and other tourism infrastructure, and vegetation damage by visitors. The growing tourism industry and associated infrastructure needs to be carefully planned and managed to ensure sustainable benefits for local Bedouin communities. More broadly, the area’s biodiversity and other values (not specifically recognized in the world heritage listing) are also under some degree of threat from illegal hunting, wood fuel collection and pastoral grazing by local communities. In the longer term, the flora and fauna may also be impacted by climate change, while unsustainable extraction of water from a fossil aquifer under the site may affect the area.
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description