UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL
ORGANIZATION CONVENTION CONCERNING THE PROTECTION OF THE WORLD CULTURAL
AND NATURAL HERITAGE
BUREAU OF THE WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE Twenty-sixth session Paris, UNESCO Headquarters, Room IV
8 – 13 April 2002
Item 12 of the Provisional Agenda: State of conservation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List
SUMMARY In accordance with paragraphs 48-56 and 86-93 of the Operational Guidelines, the Secretariat and advisory bodies submit herewith reports on the state of conservation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List.
These reports concern sites included in the preliminary list provided in Document WHC-02/CONF.201/11, for which new information was received by the deadline of 1 February 2002, either from States Parties upon the request of the Committee, or from other sources.
Additional state of conservation reports requested by the 25th session of the Committee (Helsinki, December 2001) will be presented to the 26th session of the World Heritage Committee (Budapest, June 2002).
A report on the state of conservation of sites inscribed on the World Heritage List in Danger for which new information has been received will be presented to the 26th session of the Committee (Budapest, June 2002).
The Bureau is requested to examine the state of conservation reports and, either
A : take the appropriate decision for noting by the 26th session of the Committee, or
B : Prepare a recommendation for action by the 26th session of the Committee
INTRODUCTION (i) This document deals with reactive monitoring as it is defined in the Operational Guidelines: "The reporting by the Centre, other sectors of UNESCO and the advisory bodies to the Bureau and the Committee on the state of conservation of specific World Heritage sites that are under threat". Reactive monitoring is foreseen in the procedures for the eventual deletion of properties from the World Heritage List (paragraphs 48-56 of the Operational Guidelines) and for the inclusion of properties in the List of World Heritage in Danger (paragraphs 86-93 of the Operational Guidelines).
(ii) To facilitate the work of the Bureau, state of conservation reports are presented in a standard format that includes the following information:
Name of property (State Party)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List
Previous deliberations (Reference is made to relevant paragraph numbers of reports of the most recent sessions of the Committee and its Bureau)
(iii) The 24th session of the World Heritage Committee (Cairns, 2000) introduced a number of reforms to the working methods of the World Heritage Committee and Bureau. This included the introduction of an "A" (items which are the subject of consensus for adoption) and "B" (items requiring discussion by the Committee) decision-making system. Therefore this document requests the Bureau to examine state of conservation reports and, either
A: adopt the appropriate decision for noting by the 26th session of the Committee, or
B: adopt a recommendation for action by the 26th session of the Committee.
(iv) For those sites for which new information was received after 1 February 2002, additional state of conservation reports will be presented to the 26th session of the Committee (Budapest, 24-29 June 2002).
(v) The present Document does not include reports on the state of conservation of sites from the Africa Region. Information on these sites will be provided to the 26th session of the Committee as part of the document on Periodic Reporting for Africa.
* * *
Cultural Properties Arab States Byblos(Lebanon)
Inscribed in 1984 on the World Heritage List under criteria C (iii), (iv) and (vi)
Up to 2001, US $ 10,000 under preparatory assistance for a Planning Seminar in cooperation with the University of Delft
25th ordinary Session of the Bureau, Paris, June 2001 – WHC-2001/CONF.205/5, pages 22 and 23.
Deterioration of the archaeological remains; World Bank Project; Impact of uncontrolled urban development; Lack of staff.
Byblos is one of five Lebanese sites considered by a large Cultural Heritage and Urban Development Project financed by the World Bank. In June 2001, the Bureau had requested the State Party to ensure that the findings and recommendations of two Seminars, organized by the World Heritage Centre in 1998 and 1999 in collaboration with the Delft University, be taken into account in defining the scope of the World Bank project’s activities.
The main recommendations pointed to the need for 1) a Master Plan for Byblos at city and regional scale, with specific legal and administrative provisions for its implementation; and 2) the re-definition of the boundaries of the World Heritage site and buffer zone, taking into account the results of the on-going investigations of the marine and coastal areas.
An Urban Study was commissioned in 2001 by the World Bank to a Lebanese Consultancy Firm, in preparation for the Project. A preliminary draft report on this Study was presented in November 2001 to the Bank during its pre-appraisal mission, in the presence of a WHC staff member, and discussed later with an ICOMOS expert in the framework of a reactive monitoring mission to the site. The ICOMOS expert examined as well several other proposed developments at the site, and assessed its general state of conservation.
The archaeological area
The ICOMOS mission found that, despite the remarkable efforts of the few staff working at the site, and some cleaning and site presentation carried out in view of the Summit on the Francophonie, most of its monuments and remains are in a very precarious and dangerous state of conservation. The main problems concern exposed and very fragile structures at risk of collapse, unprotected excavations, and the lifted or in situ mosaics, which are being deteriorated by the combined effect of weathering, neglect and cement. The ICOMOS report stressed the urgent need for retaining walls to prevent erosion, the refilling of most open excavations, the conservation and protection of mosaics, and their proper presentation in an exhibition area to be identified.
Urban Study by the World Bank Consultant
The proposals prepared by the World Bank Consultant for the rehabilitation of the old city focused on three main areas: access and parking; the historic city centre; and the harbour. The relationship with the archaeological site was not taken into account, and an archaeological study was not commissioned by the Bank, contrary to what was done for Tyre and Baalbeck. The World Bank mission, while commending the overall approach of the Study, requested the Consultant to disregard certain options and concentrate on some selected priorities, with a view to completing the Study and enable the finalization of the Project.
A copy of the Study, however, has so far not been submitted to the World Heritage Centre, which therefore could not examine the proposals in detail. From the discussions had with the Consultant, however, the Study did not seem based on a detailed analysis of the ancient topography of the site, including the present day archaeological area, and appeared conceived on a questionable concept of tourism development. As a result, a number of proposals have raised the concern of the ICOMOS expert. Among these are, for example, the installation of a wooden deck on the coast around the archaeological area with extensions onto the sea; the covering of the pebbly beach below the site with sand and the construction of “adequate services and facilities for a tourist beach”; the re-design of the public square in front of the entrance to the excavations including a new fountain with no relations to the underlying archaeological remains; the construction of a new restaurant and elevated promenade on top of the present souk; the conversion of the Municipality and Old Seray, two of the most significant buildings of the Old City and in direct contact with the archaeological area, into a “Relais et Chateau” type of hotel; the execution of a passerelle around the entire medieval walled enclosure; etc.
The Study included as well proposals for the area outside the medieval walls, and especially for the conservation and presentation of the Decumanus Maximus, and its link with a parking area along the present highway on the eastern border of the town. These interventions, which would relieve the old city from excessive traffic and restore the original access to Byblos, were highly recommended by the ICOMOS expert. At any rate, a comprehensive assessment of these proposals will not be possible until the Secretariat and ICOMOS receive a final and complete copy of the Urban Study.
Finally, as for the areas immediately to the South and North of the property, these were not considered by the World Bank Consultant. However, the ICOMOS Mission learnt of plans to develop them for tourism purposes, and strongly warned against this idea, lest the encroachment of modern constructions should impact even more on the site and its buffer zone.
A separate issue is the proposal, by the Ministry of Public Works and Transports, for an extension of the new jetty facing the old harbour of Byblos, to protect this and house a small tourist marina. As already pointed out by the participants in the two seminars organized by the Centre, and confirmed by the ICOMOS expert, this extension would have a major negative impact on the old harbour without providing a guarantee against the strong winter currents. The proposed realization of a road across the archaeological area to construct the extension to the jetty, moreover, would be a disaster for the site. ICOMOS strongly recommends that, instead of engaging in these new projects, a detailed survey of the under-water areas around the site and within the harbour be completed as a matter of urgency.
One of the main problems concerning the archaeological site of Byblos, much as for all the other archaeological sites of the country, is the chronic lack of staff, which severely affects the capacity of the DGA to adequately conserve and manage this large and very important property. Recognizing this problem at the national level, the World Bank decided to include an Institutional Assessment of the DGA as a precondition for the negotiation of its Project with the Lebanese Government. The WHC, which strongly supports this initiative, was involved in the preparation of the Terms of Reference for this Assessment and in the selection of the experts.
Action required:The Bureau may wish to adopt the following recommendation for action by the 26th session of the Committee:
“The Committee commends the State Party for its efforts, in conjunction with the World Bank, for the rehabilitation of the Old City of Byblos and its social and economic revitalization. The Committee, however, expresses concern for some of the proposed interventions, which would be incompatible with the respect for the outstanding universal values, which justified the inscription of the site on the World Heritage List. The Committee, furthermore, invites the State Party to ensure that adequate resources, possibly within this Project, be made available to support the necessary conservation and presentation works within the archaeological area, and especially the strengthening of the capacity and number of the local DGA staff. The Committee, therefore, requests the State Party to provide urgently to the Secretariat a complete set of the preparatory Studies on Byblos carried out in the framework of the World Bank Project, for examination by the Committee, before a final agreement is reached between the Government of Lebanon and the World Bank on the scope of the activities within this Project.
The Committee invites as well the State Party to discard plans for an extension of the jetty, and to engage in a thorough investigation of the under-water areas surrounding the site and the harbour. Finally, the Committee encourages the Lebanese authorities to develop a comprehensive Urban Conservation Plan, including provisions for the areas adjacent to the archaeological site, the medieval enclosure, the areas of archaeological potential on the two sides of the Decumanus Maximus, and the zones to the North and South of Byblos, to protect the site and its buffer zones from further encroachments. The Committee strongly encourages the State Party to submit requests of International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund, as an integration to the World Bank funding, to accomplish the above-mentioned recommendations, and request that a report be submitted by the Lebanese authorities on the progress of the situation to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2003.” Asia and THE Pacific Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor(China)
Inscribed in 1987 on the World Heritage List under criteria C(i), (iii), (iv) and (vi).
Total amount up to 2000: N/A
In 2001: N/A
Previous deliberations: N/A
Insufficient co-ordination of site management authorities and uncontrolled tourism development. Lack of a comprehensive management plan to ensure the conservation and sustainable development of the site.
A WHC staff member undertook an official visit to the property in November 2001. The mission noted that this World Heritage property consists of two parts, which are not contiguous.
The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is a mound separated into two parts by a main road. The southern part of the Mausoleum mound has now been encroached upon by illegal construction of outdoor souvenir stands. The northern part contains a factory complex, private housing and plantations, all of which are within the protective buffer zone of the site.
New excavations in and immediately surrounding the Mausoleum have proven the existence of rich archaeological assets in both the protective core and buffer zones. The mission recommended that steps be taken to expand the boundaries of the World Heritage site and consider the relocation of the intrusive and illegal encroachment.
Enhancement of the site interpretation was also noted. The Terra Cotta Warriors Museum Complex does not have clearly defined protective core and buffer zones. Recently, permission was granted for the construction of a new souvenir supermarket immediately outside the museum complex. The mission commended the high standard of conservation measures and efforts made to enhance site interpretation of the property.
However, the mission was informed that major site development and management decisions are taken without full consultation with the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, resulting with tourism development given priority to conservation needs. At the time of inscription on the World Heritage List in 1987, ICOMOS expressed serious concerns regarding the plans for constructing museums on site. ICOMOS, concluding that measures taken to protect the site were insufficient, recommended that a larger buffer zone be established.
Action required: The Bureau may wish to adopt the following decision for noting by the 26th session of the Committee:
“The Bureau encourages the Chinese authorities to:
Establish a comprehensive site management authority supported by both conservation and site development authorities. In particular, the Chinese authorities may wish to explore further the mobilization of the rich experience and human resources of the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau to ensure that conservation needs are appropriately addressed while developing the site;
Elaborate a comprehensive management plan for this property, taking into due consideration existing management plans, regulations, heritage protection and preservation needs;
Expand the protective buffer zones of the Mausoleum taking into account the most recent archaeological discoveries; consider the relocation of intrusive elements outside the extended World Heritage protective zones;
Define the World Heritage protective core zone of the Terra Cotta Museum complex to include the three pits. Identify the rest of the museum complex and its surrounding area as the protective buffer zone with restrictions on new constructions.
The Bureau requests the World Heritage Centre to assist the Chinese authorities in the elaboration of a long-term comprehensive management plan for the property. The Bureau further requests that a progress report on measures taken to enhance the conservation and development of the property be submitted for examination by the Committee at its 27th session within the framework of the Periodic Reporting Exercise for the Asia-Pacific Region.”
Ajanta Caves / Ellora Caves(India)
Ajanta Caves was inscribed in 1983 on the World Heritage List under criteria C (i,ii,iii,vi)
Ellora Caves was inscribed in 1983 on the World Heritage List under criteria C(i, iii,vi)
Total amount (up to 2000): US$ 13,331
In 2001: US$ 3,733.60 For a reactive monitoring mission to Ajanta and Ellora Caves
25th extraordinary session of the Bureau (Chapter number III.249).
Lack of microclimate control
Progressive structural deterioration
Absence of restoration and conservation codes adopted and implemented on a regular basis following international conservation norms
Upon the request of the national authorities, the World Heritage Centre organized a reactive monitoring mission by an international mural painting expert nominated by ICCROM between 1-9 December 2001. The mission examined the state of conservation of the mural paintings within the Ajanta and Ellora Caves and noted the following main threats facing the wall paintings:
infiltration of rainwater into the caves;
minor cracks on carved surfaces
flaking of the paint layer
infestation of bats and insects within the caves
The UNESCO expert recommended that the authorities consider:
revising present methods for stabilizing and cleaning the wall painting surfaces;
continuous monitoring of the microclimate conditions in Ajanta Caves;
enhancing documentation and archival material to evaluate changing conditions of the wall painting material;
conserving further, the unique natural setting of the Ajanta and Ellora Caves by following the concept of minimal intervention with the historically established environment and giving preference to conservation solutions which involve minimal changes.
Finally, noting certain weaknesses within the institutional framework of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which occasionally prevent maximum utilization of the rich capacity and experience within its various branches, the UNESCO mission recommended that co-operation be enhanced between the complementary ASI branches to enhance the long-term protection and conservation of the two sites.
At the time of the preparation of this working document, the World Heritage Centre was continuing consultations with the Indian authorities to mobilize international technical co-operation for following up on the recommendations of the UNESCO mural painting expert. Further information will be presented to the Bureau at the time of its session together with updated information on the progress made by the authorities in enhancing the co-operation between numerous national and international conservation and development activities.
Action required: The Bureau may wish to consider further information at the time of its session and take a decision as appropriate.
Sun Temple of Konarak (India)
Inscribed in 1984 on the World Heritage List under criteria C (i,iii,vi)
Total amount up to 2000: US$ 39,000
Previous deliberations: N/A
Need for comprehensive management plan to avoid illegal encroachment and ad-hoc construction.
Following an ICOMOS monitoring mission to the site undertaken in February 2000, the Bureau, at its 24th extraordinary session, reiterated its request made previously to the State Party to urgently prepare a Comprehensive Management Plan to mitigate potential threats caused by illegal encroachment and ad-hoc construction in the areas surrounding the site, and requested the Secretariat to assist the State Party in mobilising international technical expertise and co-operation as required and appropriate. The report from the State Party on the progress made in developing the Plan and on the measures taken in favour of the conservation and development of this site has not been submitted to date.
Action required: The Bureau may wish to adopt the following decision for noting by the 26th session of the Committee:
“The Bureau reiterates its previous requests to the State Party to report on the progress made in developing the Plan and on the measures taken in favour of the conservation and development of Konarak. The Bureau encourages the authorities responsible for the conservation and management of the property to submit an international assistance request for elaborating a Comprehensive Management Plan to mitigate potential threats caused by illegal encroachment and ad-hoc construction in the areas surrounding the site.
Meidan Emam, Esfahan(Islamic Republic of Iran)
Inscribed in 1979 on the World Heritage List for criteria C (i,v,vi)
Total amount up to 2001: US$ 39,000
24th session of the Bureau (Chapter IV.66)
Absence of a process of systematic monitoring
Following an invitation by the Government of Iran, a World Heritage Centre staff member undertook a mission to Esfahan in mid-January 2002. The mission was informed that in line with the recommendation of the 1995 UNESCO Mission, the authorities were redefining and extending the World Heritage protected area to include key monuments and historic architectural ensembles representing the Safavid period urban planning scheme. Soon after the WHC mission, the authorities submitted a preliminary draft nomination dossier for consultation with UNESCO.
The WHC mission noted with deep appreciation, the high level of conservation of the monuments composing the Historic Centre of Esfahan including the Meidan Emam World Heritage area. As the property is a complex site, the WHC mission recommended that site-interpretation and signage of the World Heritage values of the property be enhanced.
The WHC mission witnessed the illegal construction of a new commercial complex within the “Conservation Protective Zone of Esfahan Historic City”. According to the authorities, the legal status of this zone had been adopted by the Government of Iran. The construction, planned by the Municipality of Esfahan, was not authorized by the Central Government. Regretfully, the high-rise complex impacts upon the skyline of the historic city, as it has been constructed beyond the maximum height limitations for new constructions. In February 2002, the World Heritage Centre requested clarification on the status of the discussions continuing between the Municipality and the Central Government authorities to correct the situation. Additional information will be presented to the Bureau at the time of its session.
The monitoring mission to be jointly undertaken by ICOMOS and an international urban planner funded under the UNESCO-France Convention was postponed after the events of 11 September 2001. Since January 2002, the organization of this mission, combined with a stakeholders’ meeting also financed under the UNESCO-France Convention, has been reactivated. The dates of the mission and the meeting will be reported to the Bureau at the time of its session.
Action required: The Bureau may wish to examine information that will be made available at the time of its session and take the appropriate decision thereupon.
Town of Luang Prabang(Lao People's Democratic Republic)
Inscribed in 1995 on the World Heritage List, under criteriaC (ii) (iv) (v)
Total amount from 1994-2000: US$ 125,000
24th session of the WH Committee (Chapter IV.para.69).
Illegal demolition of listed and non-listed buildings and illegal construction of buildings not in conformity with the conservation plan (PSMV) in the World Heritage protected area;
Consolidation of the riverbank along the NamKhan River with negative visual impact and possible structural risks;
inadequate flow of information between the local and national authorities concerning conservation and development activities, lack of control in general;
In September 2000 a mission of a legal expert financed within the framework of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement was carried out to provide legal assistance to the national and local authorities to revise the Decree of the Council of Ministers on the Protection of Monumental, Urban and Natural Heritage of Laos, and to draft the status of the Heritage House (Maison du patrimoine), the heritage advisory service attached to the provincial authorities of Luang Prabang.
This mission led to the elaboration of a draft "Decree on the nomination of a Committee to control construction and restoration activities in the City of Luang Prabang" ( Décret sur la nomination du Comité d’attribution des permis de construire dans la ville de Luang Prabang ) and the draft "Decree concerning the structure and activities of the Luang Prabang Heritage House" ( Décret portant sur l’organisation et les activités de la Maison du Patrimoine ). The Luang Prabang Heritage House subsequently transmitted to UNESCO the composition of the working group to finalize these decrees and for their integration in the national law to be enacted officially by the National Assembly of Laos. Despite repeated requests by the World Heritage Committee and its Bureau, as well as by the Secretariat for information on the progress, the State Party has not to date responded officially.
Moreover, the final version of the conservation plan of Luang Prabang (Plan de Sauvegarde et de Mise en Valeur - PSMV) transmitted to UNESCO/WHC in August 2001 by the Heritage House has not yet been officially approved by the competent national authorities.
The Secretariat, having received alarming information on illegal demolitions and constructions over the past year, sent an expert mission (Inspection-General of the Government of France) in February 2002 for an assessment of the situation. The mission noted that information on illegal demolition and construction had been regularly transmitted to the Ministry of Culture of Laos by the Luang Parbang Heritage House but no action had been taken by the competent national authorities. The mission was informed that in 2001, of the 74 building permits issued upon approval by the Heritage House, 20 had been constructed in non-respect of the authorized design. In addition, some 140 constructions have taken place without permit. In view of the small area of the historic centre, this represents some 10% of the buildings and included the demolition of three listed buildings.
Bank of the Nam Khan River
Following the recommendation of the 24th session of the Bureau, an ICOMOS mission was dispatched to evaluate the construction design and engineering mechanics of the riverbank consolidation proposed by the contractor of the Asian Development Bank's Secondary Cities (ADB) project. The ICOMOS expert's report which judged the design to be satisfactory was transmitted by UNESCO to the national authorities and ADB. The consolidation work has since been completed. The hydro-engineering experts and the urban planning experts of the decentralized cooperation programme (joint Chinon-Luang Prabang-UNESCO programme supported by the French Development Agency-AFD)) has judged the work to seriously impair the value of the site, not only in terms of negative visual impact but particularly for the unnecessary widening of the quay along the riverbank which transforms the delicate urban morphology of the town. The open ditch created to capture rainwater run-off along the riverbank has also aggravated the problem of solid waste with the ditch being used as a waste disposal. The experts also expressed reserve over the technical feasibility of the consolidation work, both for the original design and the actual realization.
Decentralized Cooperation Programme (Luang Prabang-Chinon under the aegis of UNESCO/WHC and supported by the AFD, EU, French bilateral cooperation)
Given the serious deterioration of the situation caused by the non-respect of the conservation plan implemented in part through the building permit system, and in view of the continued weakness of the legal framework and the administration capacity of the local authorities, the decentralized cooperation programme was prolonged in September 2001 for another three years by mutual agreement between Luang Prabang and Chinon at the request of UNESCO with financial support from the Region Centre, EU and the French Government.
A second AFD urban conservation and development project for an amount of 5.5 million euro for a three-year project was signed in May 2001. This project foresees the provision of technical expertise under the decentralized cooperation programme which includes periodical missions by UNESCO.
The subsidy and micro-credit scheme to support the conservation of privately-owned houses in the protected historic core is at a standstill since the termination of the first phase of the decentralized cooperation programme between Luang Prabang and Chinon at the end of 2000. Consultations with the local inhabitants to enhance their participation in the conservation process which had been one of the most promising aspects of the activities carried out by the Heritage House had also ceased.
Action required: The Bureau may wish to adopt the following decision for noting by the 26th session of the Committee: " The Bureau expresses great concern over, (a) the rapid increase in illegal demolition of historic buildings including those listed on the inventory of traditional wooden buildings; (b) the illegal construction of buildings including those of public administrations in the World Heritage protected area of Luang Prabang demonstrating non-respect for the building permit system; (c) visual impairment and possible engineering problems of the consolidation works carried out along the banks of the Nam Khan River; (d) delay in the finalization of the national heritage protection laws and regulations, hence delay in their enactment by the National Assembly of Laos, despite the commitment made by the Government in its letter of September 1995 addressed to the Director-General of UNESCO; (e) delay in the official adoption by the national authorities of the Luang Prabang conservation plan (PSMV) also promised in the letter cited above; (f) lack of progress in the establishment of the subsidy and micro-credit scheme to support the conservation of privately owned buildings in the historic core; and (g) non-continuation of consultation process with the local inhabitants which the Burea deems to be essential for the protection of a site largely composed of privately owned traditional houses. The Bureau, while noting with appreciation the tangible support provided by the City of Chinon through its decentralized cooperation programme, as well as by the French Development Agency (AFD), the European Union and the Region Centre amongst others, requests all external partners to ensure that their activities contribute to national capacity-building rather than to the mere completion of the public works. The Bureau reiterates the importance of maintaining the authenticity and the integrity of the town of Luang Prabang whose World Heritage values are based on the link between the natural and the built environment as well as on the harmonious fusion and co-existence between the traditional Lao and the late-19th century European urban patterns and the corresponding architectural styles. The Bureau requests the Centre: (a) to arrange for an urgent reactive monitoring mission composed of experts representing ICOMOS and UNESCO with technical competence to evaluate the situation referred to above, including the hydro-engineering problems; (b) to organize with the national and local authorities concerned, a technical meeting during this mission with all external and national agencies involved in urban conservation and infrastructure development activities in Luang Prabang with a view to enhancing cooperation along a set of defined conservation objectives; (c) to support the State Party in taking immediate measures to halt the process of deterioration to the World Heritage value of the site; (d) to inform the State Party of its deep concern over the non-response to its repeated requests for information on the progress in the adoption of legal and management tools in ensuring the protection of this World Heritage site; and (e) to renew its request for a full report to be submitted to the Centre by 1 February 2003, on the measures taken to redress the threats, to enable to Bureau to examine the case at its 27th session." Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha(Nepal)
Inscribed in 1997 on the World Heritage List under criteria C (iii), (vi)
Total amount (up to 2001): US$ 40,000
25th session of the Committee (Chapter VIII.151).
25th extraordinary session of the Bureau (Chapter III.265)
Conservation for the Maya Devi Temple exposed to harsh natural elements since the large-scale excavation in 1996.
Establishment of a sustainable drainage mechanism to prevent further degradation of the archaeological deposits.
Identification of heritage assets within the core and buffer zones.
Elaboration of a garden landscape conservation scheme.
Although the state of conservation of this property has been regularly examined by the Bureau since 1999, the situation still calls for serious remedial measures based upon careful assessment and analysis of the heritage assets and usage of the pilgrimage property. Appropriate follow-up actions are necessary based upon the recommendations adopted by the Nepalese authorities following the International Technical Meeting (April 2001) and four international expert missions organized at the request of the Government, to ensure that conservation, management and presentation activities on-site.
Following the discussions of the 25th extraordinary session of the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee during which time possibilities to inscribe the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger was raised, the World Heritage Centre, the UNESCO Kathmandu Office and the authorities concerned continued consultations to mobilize international support to enhance the conservation and management of the site. The authorities submitted an international assistance request to complete the outer drainage system of the buffer zone of the Sacred Garden. At the time of the preparation of this working document, the World Heritage Centre was processing this request.
The activity financed by the World Heritage Fund, conducted by the authorities and the University of Bradford (U.K.) to compile basic information to assess pilgrimage activities, environmental factors and to identify high or low-importance archaeological areas through non-destructive geophysical survey, was completed in January 2002. The report of this activity is expected to be finalized and submitted to the World Heritage Centre and the authorities shortly. However, in February 2002, the UNESCO Kathmandu Office informed the World Heritage Centre that new plans to construct the “Golden Pavilion” shelter and a drainage system of the Maya Devi Temple had been announced by the Government, in spite of the fact that the report of the survey and base-line information analysis had not yet been completed. Following this new information, the World Heritage Centre requested clarification from the national authorities.
Action required: The Bureau may wish to examine further information that will be made available at the time of its session and take the appropriate decision thereupon.
My Son Sanctuary(Viet Nam)
Inscribed in 1999 on the World Heritage List under criteria C (ii) and (iii).
Total amount up to 2000: N/A
In 2001: N/A
Previous deliberations: N/A
De-mining of unexploded ordnance (UXO) at the site.
My Son is located along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and was one of the prime areas where unused ordnance was dumped during the Vietnam War.
In the years following peace in 1975, the Vietnamese authorities de-mined four main monumental area of surface unexploded ordnance (UXO). With the assistance of the German, Italian and Polish experts, restoration has been carried out on some of the principal brick towers composing a part of My Son World Heritage property. However, archaeological research of two newly-discovered areas, restoration of eight monumental areas, and site presentation for visitors can not proceed as de-mining has not been completed.
At the request of the Vietnamese authorities, UNESCO Bangkok Office, the Italian Government and the Lerici Foundation carried out a 3-year research project (1999 - 2001) to use non-invasive methods to map the underground archaeological remains of the My Son World Heritage Site. Identification of buried structures as well as UXO has been completed in 2001.
UNESCO is closely co-ordinating with the Armed Forces of Viet Nam providing them with detailed GIS maps of the areas that still remain mined. The process of removing the UXO is progressing slowly, mainly due to lack of funds.
To facilitate both the UXO-removal and restoration work on site, the UNESCO Bangkok Office, together with the Lerici Foundation and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Government of Viet Nam, prepared the project “Safeguarding of My Son World Heritage Site--Demonstration and Training in the Application of International World Heritage Standards of Conservation at My Son Group G Monuments”. This project has been approved by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an amount of US$ 812,470, to be financed under the UNESCO-Italy Funds-In-Trust Co-operation Agreement, brokered by the World Heritage Centre. The implementation of this project will be co-ordinated by the World Heritage Centre, in co-operation with the appropriate UNESCO field offices.
Action required: The Bureau may wish to adopt the following decision for noting by the 26th session of the Committee:
“The Bureau expresses its appreciation to the authorities of Vietnam, UNESCO Bangkok Office, the World Heritage Centre, and the Lerici Foundation for having prepared a project to enhance the security, management, conservation and presentation of the unexcavated areas with UXO of My Son World Heritage Site, and thanks the Government of Italy for its generous support. The Bureau requests the World Heritage Centre to report on the progress made in implementing this activity to its 27th session (April 2003).”
EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA Classical Weimar (Germany)
Inscribed in 1998 on the World Heritage List under criteria C (iii) and (vi).