Wadi Daw‘an in Yemen is one of the most attractive locations not to be on the World Heritage List. The landscape of the Wadi however is changing rapidly, threatened by commercial contractors. Its coherent ecological structure and identity is being eroded. As a result the integrity and sustainability of its settlements and landscape is already at risk. Natural resources, skills and agricultural wealth are declining, with detrimental effects on the economic and cultural heritage and future of the region.
Wadi Daw‘an is a tributary of Wadi Hadramut containing numerous towns and villages alongside the wadi banks and above the surrounding terraces and plateaux. Daw‘an Directorate comprises two wadis, identified as the left (laysar) and right (layman). To the north are the directorates of Huraydah and Wadi al ‘Ayn; to the west al Dulay‘ah and ‘Amd; to the south Wadi Hajr; and to the east Ghayl Ba Wazir and Mukalla directorates. Daw‘an Directorate covers 3046 sq. km and has a population of 43,306 according to the 2004 census; the capital is the city of Sif. The architectural heritage of Daw‘an today outshines that of Wadi Hadramut, since its towns and villages have been much better preserved in the past two decades, during which speculation and cement construction have hit the region. For years many villages in Daw‘an were inaccessible by car, and only after 2005 was the road across the left bank of the wadi properly constructed. The laysar stretch from Mashhad to Khaylah now takes under two hours, and a new road from ‘Arsamah to Rabat Ba ‘Shan in the layman was completed shortly after in 2008.