Decisions of the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee (Kyoto, 28-29 November 1998) with regard to the state of conservation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, noted by the Committee*
Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
The Bureau at its twenty-first extraordinary session requested the Australian authorities to provide specific information on the results of the financial review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). At its twenty-second session, (June, 1998) the Bureau was informed that the Australian authorities have set rigorous environmental conditions on development activities in the Hinchinbrook region, and have implemented several other measures to strengthen the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef. Since then, the Australian authorities have informed the Centre that they have acted on the findings of the financial review. In accordance with the review's key recommendations, the Australian Government has reorganized the GBRMPA to assist the Authority to meet critical challenges in protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef. The Bureau noted that the Australian authorities are unable to provide the Centre with a copy of the financial review of the GBRMPA since it is considered an internal working document of the Government.
The Bureau was informed that IUCN has received reports on the state of conservation of this site from its Australian National Committee, GBRMPA and the Australian NGOs and it is in the process of reviewing all those reports.
The Bureau requested the Centre to transmit the reports from IUCN Australia and the Australian NGOs to the State Party for review and comments. Furthermore, the Bureau recommended that IUCN provide an up-to-date state of conservation report for the twenty-third session of the Bureau.
Heard and McDonald Islands (Australia)
The Committee, when it inscribed this property on the World Heritage at its last session (Naples, 1997), had requested documentation on the marine resources surrounding this property. The Australian authorities have informed the Centre that the Australian Antarctic Division has recently granted Commonwealth funding to collate and analyse existing data on the benthic environments surrounding this property, including the territorial sea. In accordance with Australia's plans to establish a marine protected area in the region, the project aims to assess whether the 12 nautical miles territorial sea provides a representative sample of marine biodiversity in the region. To enable such an assessment, a comprehensive research programme will be undertaken to clearly identify the marine values of the area. A report on the project is expected within six months.
The Bureau invited the State Party to submit a report, before 15 April 1999, on the findings of the project to establish a marine protected area so as to enable it to review the report at its twenty-third session in 1999.
Shark Bay, Western Australia (Australia)
At its twenty-second session, the Bureau was informed that a petroleum exploration permit had been granted by the State Government of West Australia (WA) for an area located within the World Heritage site. The Observer of Australia assured the Bureau that no development that threatens the World Heritage values of the site would be allowed to take place. IUCN however, voiced its concern about the issue of the granting of prospecting licences by State Governments of WA, and Queensland for locations within World Heritage areas, and called for closer liaison between Commonwealth and State Governments on this matter.
Since the conclusion of the Bureau session in June 1998, the State Party has provided a detailed report describing the administrative structure established, and the resources committed for the conservation of this property. In addition, the Australian authorities have informed the Centre that a mining lease of the Shark Bay Salt Joint Venture (SBSJV) had attracted public comment but is outside of the property and that levee construction occurred outside the World Heritage area. The levee is 5.6 km long and was constructed across Useless Inlet to enclose 2,600 ha of marine waters, adjacent to SBSJV's existing primary concentration pond, and as part of the expansion of the company's operations. Approval for the levee construction was granted under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act of 1986 and construction works complied with the environmental requirements set by the Minister for the Environment. The WA Department of Environment conducted two environmental compliance audits and concluded that SBSJV had satisfactorily implemented environmental conditions during the construction phase. Furthermore, in accordance with a post-construction environmental requirement, marine mega-fauna, namely 13 bottlenose dolphins, six loggerhead turtles and 23 green turtles, which were trapped behind the levee, were transferred to open marine waters by SBSJV with the help of professional assistance provided by the Department of Conservation and Land Management.
The Bureau was informed that IUCN has received a report on the state of conservation of this site from its Australian National Committee, and that it is in the process of reviewing that report.
The Bureau requested the Centre to transmit the report from IUCN Australia to the State Party for review. The Bureau furthermore recommended that IUCN provides an up-to-date state of conservation report on this site for the twenty-third session of the Bureau.
Wet Tropics of Queensland (Australia)
The Bureau, at its twenty-second session (June, 1998) learnt that the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment had investigated concerns that vegetation clearing may have occurred within this property and determined that World Heritage values were not at risk and that no further action was needed on this matter. Since then the Australian authorities have re-affirmed that the arrangements for the management of this site are now fully effective and meet with the full confidence of their Government. They have pointed out that the Management Plan, effective as of 1 September 1998, had been prepared with the full involvement of all stakeholders, including Aboriginal groups. The Plan provides the Wet Tropics Management Authority with a full suite of powers to act in the interests of the World Heritage values of the property.
IUCN informed the Bureau that it had received a report on the state of conservation of this site from its Australian National Committee, and that it is in the process of reviewing that report.
The Bureau requested the Centre to transmit the report from IUCN Australia to the State Party for review. The Bureau furthermore recommended that IUCN provide an up-to-date state of conservation report on this site for the twenty-third session of the Bureau.
Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)
The Bureau at its twenty-first extraordinary session was informed that sustainable forestry operations in the Polish side of this trans-border site were restricted to forests outside of the World Heritage area. The Bureau had invited the Polish authorities to inform the Centre as to whether they plan to extend the World Heritage area to conform to the new boundaries of the 10,500 ha Bialowieza National Park, as established in 1996.
The Polish authorities submitted, on 10 September 1998, an extension of the Bialowieza Forest. The proposed extension is substantial and will be evaluated by IUCN in 1999 in accordance with paragraph 64 of the Operational Guidelines and recommendations submitted to the twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau. The Bureau noted the publication entitled "Belovezhskaya Pushcha Forest Biodiversity Conservation" produced by the Belarus authorities which focuses on strengthening forest and wildlife conservation and improving land-use management. The publication is based on results of the "Belarus Forest Biodiversity Protection Project" financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The Bureau commended the Polish authorities for nominating an extension to their part of the World Heritage site. The Bureau reiterated its previous request that the two States Parties co-operate to prepare a management plan for the Belarus part and consider removing the fence separating the two parts.
Iguacu National Park (Brazil)
Since 1997, the Bureau and the Committee have repeatedly called for the permanent closure of the 18 km road traversing this Park which had been illegally opened by local people. The Bureau, at its twenty-second session (June, 1998) requested the Centre and IUCN to undertake a joint mission to review the situation and to assist the State Party to mitigate the threats to the Park and asked the State Party to provide by 15 September 1998: (i) a copy of the revitalisation programme and a time frame for the rehabilitation of damaged areas; and (ii) a detailed report on the state of conservation of the site and actions taken with regard to the permanent closure of the road.
The Bureau was informed of a new threat to Iguacu's integrity, arising from plans to fill a hydropower reservoir in Southwest Brazil that would divert a considerable volume of Iguacu's waters for seven to eight weeks every year.
The Bureau reiterated its request that the State Party provide information on items (i) and (ii) as described above and on plans to divert Iguacu's waters to fill a hydropower reservoir in South-west Brazil. The Bureau also noted that a Centre/IUCN mission to the site could be scheduled in March 1999 in order to determine whether the site needs to be included in the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon)
The Committee, at its twenty-first session, had expressed its concern that logging activities, carried out under commercial, as well as sustainable forestry schemes, are contributing to the growing biological isolation of the Reserve and are not welcome by local people. At its twenty-second session (June 1998), the Bureau noted the findings and recommendations of the Regional Training Workshop, organized with the support of a US$ 29,900 grant from the World Heritage Fund. It suggested that Cameroon take urgent measures to act on the Workshop recommendations and present to the twenty-second session of the Committee, a statement of actions to be implemented, particularly in order to:
- strengthen law enforcement against poaching and improve management of hunting and trade in wildlife products; and
- halt the issue of new licences for forest exploitation in areas immediately adjacent to the boundaries of the World Heritage site.
The Bureau requested the Centre, IUCN and the State Party to co-operate in designing and launching a rapid bio-diversity assessment to evaluate the impacts of on-going forestry activities on the contiguity of habitats and gene pools in and around the Dja World Heritage site. The Centre is currently discussing possible financial support for such a study with UNDP, Cameroon, and bilateral donors, such as the Netherlands.
The Bureau was informed that the Cameroon authorities have implemented some of the recommendations of the Sangmelima Workshop; e.g. establishment of an inter-ministerial and a multidisciplinary working group, strengthening of infrastructure and the launching of a programme to build environmental awareness among local communities. However, the Bureau noted that further actions are needed for the implementation of all of the recommendations of the Sangmelima Workshop.
The Bureau invited the State Party to provide a report by 15 September 1999 concerning progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the Sangmelima Workshop. Based on the review of such a report, the Committee, at its twenty-third session, may consider calling for a Centre/IUCN mission in the year 2000, possibly in co-operation with other international partners.
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (Canada)
At its twenty-first session, the Committee expressed its serious concerns over the potential threats posed by the Cheviot Mine Project, designed to exploit a large, open-pit coal mine, located 2.8 km from the Jasper National Park portion of this site. A case filed by conservation groups challenging the EIA of the Federal-Provincial Environment Assessment Panel in favour of the mining project was dismissed because the judge decided that the Panel report is not subject to judicial review. At its twenty-second session, the Bureau had requested the State Party to provide a status report on the proposed mining project, including information on any proposed start-up date for the project. The Assistant Deputy Minister of Parks Canada, via his letter of 15 September 1998, has informed the Centre that it is unlikely that construction work on any component of the mine will begin before the spring of 1999. On 27 August 1998, the Government of Alberta announced the creation of Whitehorse Wildland Park between Jasper National Park and the proposed mine, to help protect the ecological integrity of Jasper National Park and its surrounding area.
The Bureau reiterated its concerns over the impacts of the proposed Cheviot mining project on the integrity of the site and is pleased to be informed that other alternatives may be considered. The Bureau welcomed the initiative of the Government of Alberta to establish the new Whitehorse Wildland Park to improve the ecological integrity of the Jasper National Park and its surrounding areas. The Bureau invited the State Party to provide the Centre and IUCN with an up-date for the proposed mining project and provide a status report on the project to the Centre, before 15 April 1999, for review at its twenty-third session.
Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China)
The Bureau was informed of the findings of a Centre/IUCN mission to this site undertaken in September 1998. The mission found that the management authorities of this site has been effective in restricting hotel construction to areas outside of the property. Within the site, visitors have no option other than staying in small-scale tourist facilities established in the homes of the Tibetan villagers resident there. The mission found that the management authorities and the local people have entered into an effective partnership, material and social conditions of the villagers have considerably improved, and economic benefits accrued through tourism has eliminated the need for natural resources exploitation. The State Council of China has issued a directive to completely halt illegal logging in the site. Despite these positive features, the mission team found the site to be congested with tourists; the management has made it too easy for the visitors to enter the site en-masse and in vehicles that drive through the core area. Increasing visitation appears to be leading to mushrooming of several new hotels immediately outside the boundaries of the site.
The Bureau commended the Chinese authorities for their effective management of the site and encouraged them to establish a "park-and-drive" system and to limit travel within the site to smaller, environment-friendly vehicles. Visitors should be accompanied by trained guides who have the capacity to interpret the natural and World Heritage values of the site. The Bureau drew the attention of the Chinese authorities to the need to improve training of site staff so that they can better monitor and mitigate tourism impacts on the site. The Bureau recommended that the report of the IUCN/Centre mission be transmitted to the relevant Chinese authorities.
Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China)
The Bureau was informed of the findings of a Centre/IUCN mission to this site in September 1998 that was favourably impressed with tourism management there. The site is located within the same Minshan Mountain range as the Jiuzhaigou World Heritage area described above. Tourist accommodation facilities in Huanglonggou are limited and future development of facilities is being confined to the town of Chuan Zhu Si, in Songpan County, 40 km from the Huanglong World Heritage area. The 7km boardwalk within the site is well managed and a visitor centre is currently under construction at Huanglonggou.
The mission team urged the Chinese authorities to implement the recommendation of the Committee, made at the time of inscription of this site and Jiuzhaigou in 1992, to link the two sites into a single Minshan Mountain World Heritage Area. The Bureau learned that the Chinese authorities had pointed out the need for undertaking scientific studies to link the two sites into a single World Heritage area nomination and the difficulties in co-ordination between two different County administrations. After the mission team had provided information on cluster nominations submitted by other States Parties, the Chinese authorities expressed an interest in taking the necessary steps to implement the Committee's 1992 recommendation. The mission also urged the Chinese authorities to explore possibilities for linking the Jiuzhaigou-Huanglong cluster with a selected number of reserves set aside for the protection of the giant panda in Sichuan.
The Bureau commended the State Party for effectively managing tourism in Huanglong. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to co-operate with the State Party to undertake necessary studies for preparing a Minshan Mountain Range World Heritage area nomination linking Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong World Heritage sites and other giant panda reserves as appropriate. The Bureau recommended that the report of the IUCN/Centre mission to China be transmitted to the relevant Chinese authorities.
Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China)
The Bureau was informed of the findings of a Centre/IUCN mission to this site in September 1998. The mission found this site to be overrun with tourist facilities, having a considerable impact on the aesthetic qualities of the site. The Chinese authorities have not taken any steps to implement the recommendation of the Committee, made at the time of the site's inscription in 1992, to prepare a species status conservation report in order to determine whether the site would qualify for inscription under natural heritage criterion (iv). At present the site is inscribed under natural heritage criterion (iii) only. The mission found that several buildings and roads have been damaged as this site has been severely impacted by the recent floods in China. The site management has been encouraged to consider submitting a plan for rehabilitation of damaged areas within the site and a financial assistance request to the World Heritage Fund for emergency assistance. The site requires enhanced support from the Central and Provincial Governments of China owing to its location in a relatively remote region with a poorly developed economy.
The Bureau invited the Provincial and Central Government authorities to augment the resources for the management of the site. Co-operation with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and other such institutions may be needed in order to assess the World Heritage values of the site's biodiversity. The Bureau drew the attention of the State Party to manage tourism development in and around the site on a sustainable basis. Furthermore, the Bureau urged the State Party to assess the extent of damage caused to the site by the recent floods and prepare a rehabilitation plan for implementation with financial support from Provincial and Central Governments, the World Heritage Fund and other sources. The Bureau recommended that the report of the IUCN/Centre mission to China be transmitted to the relevant Chinese authorities.
Los Katios National Park (Colombia)
In November 1997, a representative of Colombia's Ministry of Environment informed IUCN that the security situation in this site was threatened by conflicts between armed groups. A significant portion of the Park area was off-limit to staff due to the presence of such armed groups and tourism to the area had come to a halt. At its twenty-second session, the Bureau requested IUCN to review a report submitted by the Colombian authorities to the Centre and submit its findings to the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau. The Bureau was informed that a major restructuring of Columbia's conservation administration was currently underway, for devolving responsibilities for the management of Los Katios to the provincial level. On 24 September 1998, the Permanent Delegation of Colombia to UNESCO confirmed this fact. IUCN has been gathering further information on the decentralisation process to assess its implications for the conservation of Los Katios, but was of the view that the site is under serious threat and should be considered for inclusion in the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Bureau was informed of a new report submitted by the Colombian authorities on 23 November 1998. This report notes that the Park was affected by the confrontation between guerrilla and paramilitary groups and during that time four sectors of the Park received only limited attention from the authorities. In 1997 and 1998, however, a number of activities were carried out, including the strengthening of the protection of the Park through control units, inter-institutional meetings, collaboration with communities living in the Park, work on the definition of the buffer zone of the Park and the elaboration of the management plan. Support for the creation and consolidation of the Darien Special Management Area (DSMA) to co-ordinate the management of the two World Heritage sites (Darien of Panama and Los Katios of Colombia) has been provided and actions will be taken to create a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. In addition, a number of meetings of the Bi-national Commission of Colombia and Panama took place and a US$ 500,000 project for a rapid ecological evaluation of the area, funded by the Mac Arthur Foundation, is being implemented by the NGOs from both countries.
The Colombian authorities have concluded that although there have been impacts on the Park, it had not been invaded by colonists and the pressure on the Park and its natural resources had reduced considerably. Preventive measures have been taken for the security of the personnel and the Park has returned to a certain normality and calm, allowing the staff to control the area and to implement operations. The State Party does not see any need for inclusion of Los Katios on the List of World Heritage in Danger at present.
The Bureau took note of the report provided by the Colombian authorities. It requested the Centre and IUCN to keep in contact with the State Party to monitor progress made and to report back to the twenty-third session of the Bureau. The Bureau commended the Mac Arthur Foundation for its support for a conservation project in the "Darien Gap Region". The Bureau reiterated the Committee's recommendation made at the time of the inscription of the site to establish a single World Heritage site linking Darien (Panama) and Los Katios (Colombia) World Heritage sites.
Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Dominica)
At its twenty-second session, the Bureau was informed of a cable car construction project through the centre of this Park, proposed by a private individual concerned with tourism development. The feasibility of the project is questionable due to the heavy rains, high winds and the steep-terrain that characterises this site. The construction of major access facilities in this area is not consistent with the management plan of the Park, and the Bureau was in agreement with IUCN that the Dominica authorities need to exercise great caution when evaluating the feasibility of this proposal. The Director of the Centre visited the site during his participation in the International Conference on the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention in the Caribbean (2-5 August 1998). He observed that the project foresees the "sky-train", taking visitors to the heart of the core area and was of the view that the proposed project is unlikely to be compatible with Dominica's obligations under the Convention for conservation of this site. The Government of Dominica, via its letter of 7 July 1998, informed the Centre that the terms of reference for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposal have been prepared and reviewed by the Natural Resource Management Unit of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. The terms of reference have also been forwarded to the proponent of the cable way system. The Government informed the Centre that the report of the EIA would be submitted to the Centre for review as soon as it is available.
The Bureau noted that the State Party is carrying out an EIA on the cable car construction project. The Bureau drew the attention of the State Party to IUCN's view that the location foreseen for the cable car construction would be inappropriate and inconsistent with the management plan. The Bureau invited Dominica to submit a report on the outcome of the EIA and the status of the cable car development proposal before 15 April 1999.
Nanda Devi National Park (India)
At its twenty-first session, the Bureau noted that the management of this site is based on enforcing a policy of strict protection. An Indian Supreme Court ruling of 1996 suspended, until further review by concerned authorities, rights of the local people to collect forest produce in protected areas, including in their buffer zones. This ruling has been applied to the "Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve", including in its buffer zone surrounding the Nanda Devi National Park and World Heritage area. The enactment of the Supreme Court ruling has led to a rise in conflicts between the management and local people. Co-ordination between the Ministry of Tourism and site management also needs to be improved; site-staff had to apprehend tourists who had entered the Park with permits issued by tourism authorities without informing site management. Furthermore, the Deputy Director of the Park was of the view that the boundaries of the World Heritage site could be extended to include the Valley of Flowers National Park and the Khedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Bureau invited the State Party to review site management policy with a view to minimising conflicts between management and local people and to seek the co-operation of local people in the protection of the site. Co-operation between conservation and tourism authorities also needs to be strengthened in order to define a policy for visitor entry and use of the site. The Bureau suggested that the Indian authorities study the feasibility for enlarging the World Heritage area by including the Valley of Flowers National Park and the Khedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.
Whale Sanctuary of El Viscaino (Mexico)
The Bureau recalled that during 1996-97, the State Party, by establishing a Scientific Committee which set up stringent environmental conditions on the proponents of an industrial salt production facility, successfully averted threats which the construction of that facility could have posed to the integrity of this site. However, the Bureau was informed that IUCN and the Centre have received a large number of messages about threats to this site arising from a renewed consideration of the project for constructing an industrial salt production facility. Several of these messages include calls for declaring El Viscaino a World Heritage site in Danger. Moreover, IUCN has pointed out that new settlements are occurring in the area; increasing pollution and over-fishing are crowding out endangered and endemic species. There are indications of a decline in the populations of various marine mammals, shellfish, and sea turtles that are unique to the area. IUCN has recommended that a mission to the site be planned in 1999 to evaluate various threats to the integrity of the site and assess whether or not this site should be included in the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Bureau was informed that a report had been received on 26 November 1998 and that IUCN and the Centre were not able to review this new information; however, the summary of that report indicates that the Government does not consider the site to be in Danger.
The Observer of Mexico informed the Bureau that it was the Mexican Environmental Agency (SEMARNAP) which established an International Scientific Committee that set up stringent guidelines for the environmental impact assessment for a salt production facility. He stated that there are no indications of a decline in the populations of various mammals, shellfish or sea turtles in the area.
The Observer of Mexico also informed the Bureau that the El Viscaino Lagoons are not in danger and that Mexico has a strong environmental legal framework, which regulates any activities in the site. His Government continues to take actions to reinforce environmental regulations to preserve the marine resources of the site and in particular, that the management programme has been concluded and that the reserve is included in the GEF programme for ten Mexican priority areas. He furthermore informed the Bureau that the grey whale population is recovering and that it has not been affected by the salt extraction. The Mexican Government has not authorised any construction project or extension of the salt production facility. The International Scientific Committee will review the EIA as soon as it is completed. This assessment will be essential for the final decision. In conclusion, the Mexican Government states that the site is not in danger, no proposal will be authorised which would jeopardise conservation of the site and that the World Heritage values will be conserved. In accordance with Article 11, par.4 of the Convention, there is no reason to include the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger. He indicated that an invitation of his Government to carry out a mission would be provided.
The Bureau noted that the State Party has provided new information and requested the Centre to transmit it to IUCN for review. The Bureau was pleased to note that the State Party, upon receipt of IUCN's comments on the report would invite a mission to the site as soon as possible. The Bureau requested that the mission should prepare an up-to-date state of conservation report on the Whale Sanctuary of El Viscaino, and submit it to the twenty-third session of the Committee in 1999.
Royal Chitwan National Park (Nepal)
At its twenty-first session, the Bureau noted this site's success in conserving the great one-horned rhinoceros. The Park celebrated its 25th year anniversary in 1998. However, the management of the Park is faced with problems of pollution of the Narayani River due to industrial sewage discharged into that River by private enterprises located outside the Park. An increase in the natural rate of mortality of the rhinoceros in 1998 remains unexplained and is perhaps attributable to the possibility that the population consists of a considerable number of older individuals. The National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act has been recently amended to ensure that 30-50% of the tourism revenues from the Park are used for development projects benefiting local communities. The Bureau was informed of the interest of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation of Nepal to use the large volume of scientific data available on ecological and managerial aspects of Royal Chitwan for setting up a systematic monitoring regime for the Park.
The Bureau recommended that the Centre and IUCN co-operate with the State Party to design and implement international assistance projects for mitigating the impacts of the pollution of the Narayani River. The Bureau urged the Centre and IUCN-Nepal to co-operate with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation to establish a systematic monitoring scheme for tracking long-term changes in the ecology, and the management regime of Royal Chitwan.
Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal)
At its twenty-first session, the Bureau noted that supplying the energy needs of the growing number of tourists, staff and the Sherpa community is the most critical management issue in this site. At present, site staff and a considerable number of the Sherpa families resident in lower elevations have shifted to the use of kerosene and micro-power plants to meet their energy needs. However, tourist installations in the higher alpine zones continue to exploit the juniper bushes to meet their fuel-wood needs. The site management is initiating a project for which the Chairperson, based on a request submitted by the State Party, approved a sum of US$ 15,000 from the Fund, to update information-displays at the interpretation Centre at the Park entrance and in the Namche Bazar Visitor Centre. New displays are to be designed in order to inform visitors of the growing energy demands of the tourist industry and to suggest possible ways and means by which tourists could help the management to find solutions. Restrictions to the number of visitors to the Park is likely to be resisted by the Sherpa community who derive about 75% of their income from tourism; at least one member of each Sherpa household is employed in the tourism industry. The site management intends to start a process for revising the management plan of the site, in connection with the commemoration of the site's 25th anniversary in 2001. As part of that process detailed analyses of trends in the growth in the numbers of visitors and local population and associated energy demands will be undertaken.
IUCN informed the Bureau about a seminar held on the Impacts of Tourism Development on Sagarmatha in August 1998. A research project to revise the management plan, prepare a tourism development strategy and undertake relevant training is also under consideration by protected landscape and development agencies of the United Kingdom.
The Bureau encouraged the State Party to seek a long-term, strategic approach for managing the increase in the growth of the numbers of visitors and local people and the parallel rise in energy demands. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN Nepal to co-operate with the State Party and the relevant agencies of the United Kingdom to ensure that visitor rates, tourism infrastructure development and energy demand planning become an integral part of the process to revise the site's management plan in connection with the commemoration of Sagarmatha's 25th anniversary in 2001.
Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)
In 1997, the authorities of Oman submitted an interim zoning plan that foresaw a new outer boundary, and provisional boundaries for five management zones. In addition, they provided brief descriptions of their plans for implementing several projects and a report on the population status of the Arabian Oryx in the Sanctuary.
At its twenty-second session (June 1998), the Bureau agreed with IUCN's position that it would be better to review the zoning plan and other associated proposals after the overall management plan and the boundaries for the site are finalised. Hence, the Bureau invited the State Party to inform the Centre about progress with regard to the finalisation of the management plan and submit the plan to IUCN and the Centre for review. The Centre informed the Bureau that no response from the authorities of Oman has been received.
The Bureau noted with concern that the boundaries of the site remained undefined since the inscription of the site in 1994. The Bureau requested the Oman authorities to expedite the finalisation of the management plan, including the boundaries of the site and its management zones. The Bureau invited the State Party to submit the finalised plan for review by IUCN and the Centre before 15 September 1999. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to submit the findings of their review of the management plan to the twenty-third session of the Committee in 1999.
Huascaran National Park (Peru)
At its twenty-second session, the Bureau was informed that a Canadian/Peruvian mining consortium is in the final stages of obtaining approval to develop one of the world's largest copper and zinc deposits found at Antamina, located 20km east of this Park. Mining is expected to commence in 2001 and have a life span of 20 years. The Bureau noted that the concentrates may be transported from the mining site to the coast, either via a Central Road that traverses the Park, or an alternative Southern Road circling around the Park. The mining company had agreed to take the Southern Road, which is completely outside the Park, but traverses the buffer zones of the Huascaran World Heritage site and the Biosphere Reserve. No EIA has been carried out for the use of the Southern Road so far. The Central Road would however, be used for bringing heavy equipment to the mining area for approximately one year, until the construction of a by-pass along the Southern Road is completed to allow for the transport of such heavy equipment along that road. IUCN underlined the importance of monitoring all impacts of the use of the Central Road during the one-year period. The Bureau took note of the different options for accessing the mining area and the preference expressed by INRENA to use the Southern Road. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to collaborate with the State Party to control impacts of the temporary use of the Central Road through the Park until the Southern Road becomes fully operational. The Bureau suggested that a future mission to this site may be useful, and requested the State Party to provide a status report on the mining project to its twenty-second extraordinary session. The Bureau recommended that the State Party consider inviting a Representative of IUCN to be part of the "Working Group" being established by INRENA on the management of the site.
The Bureau agreed with the proposal of the Chairperson to establish a Study Group to reconcile environment and development needs and to use Huascaran as a case study which could provide guidance and lessons to other World Heritage sites whose integrity is threatened by potential mining projects. The Centre has proposed names of a number of experts, who may be included in the Study Group to be established for the consideration of the Chairperson. The Centre and IUCN had been invited by the International Council on Metals and the Environment (ICME) to a working session on "Mining and Protected Areas and other Ecologically Sensitive Sites" on 20 October 1998 in London, UK.
On 14 September 1998, INRENA informed the Centre that several meetings regarding the establishment of the "Working Group" on the management of the site were held. Representatives from the IUCN Office in Peru participated in the INRENA meetings. On 28 September 1998, additional information on the state of conservation of Huascaran National Park and the Huascaran Biosphere Reserve was submitted by the Permanent Delegation of Peru to UNESCO to the Centre. In addition, the Centre informed the Bureau that INRENA provided an update on the situation on 20 November 1998, indicating that the "Working Group" on the management of the site, (in particular to oversee the use of the Central Road) has been established. A meeting of the Working Group was held on 13 November 1998 with INRENA, IUCN Peru, MAB, Mountain Institute, Ministry for Energy and Mining and members of the consortium on "Mining, conservation and sustainable development". The Group will work independently from the Antamina Mining Company and will invite local participation. Antamina confirmed to complete the construction of the bypass along the Southern Road by July 1999, provide traffic estimates and expressed an interest in the use of the Central and Northern Roads for vehicles transporting personnel. It also committed itself to road maintenance and reaffirmed its support to the Park. An up-to-date report by Antamina was also provided concerning the agreement with the Government of Peru concluded on 16 September 1998 to develop the Antamina project. This project will create 4,000 jobs during the construction and 1,000 jobs during the twenty years of the mine. Antamina will provide information on the use of the Central Road including an addendum to the EIA, and the revised mine plan with rearrangements of waste storage.
The Bureau commended the Government of Peru regarding actions taken to implement the recommendation of the Bureau to establish a Working Group on the management of the site and to control impacts of the temporary use of the Central Road through the Park until the Southern Road becomes fully operational. However, the Bureau expressed concern over the permanent use of the Central and Northern Road for the transport of the mine personnel. The Bureau requested the State Party to submit a copy of the additional EIA on the impacts of the use of the Central Road and the Northern Road to the Centre and IUCN and to provide a status report on the project by 15 April 1999.
Concerning the Study Group, the Chairperson pointed out that his intention was not to create a permanent group, which would involve financial costs. He suggested that a small and informal contact group during World Heritage Committee and Bureau meetings might be established. This suggestion was supported by a number of Bureau members. The Centre and IUCN informed the Bureau that a dialogue with the mining industry has commenced. IUCN's World's Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) has prepared a "Draft policy on mining and protected areas" which is currently being reviewed within the WCPA network and that consultations with UNESCO's Division for Earth Sciences and the International Union for Geological Sciences have been undertaken. The Bureau requested that the Draft policy document be circulated prior to the next session of the Bureau. ICOMOS stressed the need to review impacts of mining on cultural sites as well.
Kamchatka Volcanoes (Russian Federation)
At its twenty-second session, the Bureau recalled that a proposed mining project, located at about 5 km outside of the Bystrinsky portion of this site, if executed would disrupt migratory wildlife in the region and impact fisheries resources. The Bureau was informed of communications from the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation and the Governor of the Province of Kamchatka reiterating their commitment to the site's protection. The Governor of Kamchatka supported the controlled development of the Aginskoe gold deposit and pointed out that a formal EIA of the mining project had been carried out. Nevertheless, the Bureau expressed its concern to the Russian Government and the Kamchatka Administration over the potential consequences of the proposed mine, and requested the Centre to obtain more information, particularly on details of the EIA carried out.
Since the conclusion of the last session of the Bureau in June 1998, IUCN has informed the Centre that a GEF-funded project for this site could significantly strengthen biodiversity conservation in the area and that WWF has also initiated projects for the conservation of the site. Furthermore, IUCN was informed by the Kamchatka authorities that they intend to extend the World Heritage area by including an additional volcano within the region; IUCN has recommended that the Bureau encourage the State Party to proceed with their plans to extend the World Heritage area.
The Centre informed the Bureau that a letter, dated 17 November 1998, from the State Committee for the Environment indicates that there would be no impact on the World Heritage area as the gold deposit would be outside the Bystrinsky park. The Governor of Kamchatka, in his letter of 4 November 1998, underlined that the Aginskoe Gold Mining project is subject to rigid environmental requirements by the Kamchatka Province. Following the IUCN mission in 1997 indicating that the mine would not be visible from the site and would not affect any drainage system, the Governor came to the conclusion that the mine could start subject to the fact that it meets all environmental conditions.
The Bureau noted the activities of GEF and WWF for the conservation of Kamchatka. The Bureau recommended that the Centre and IUCN maintain contact with the State Party and the Kamchatka Administration in order to obtain detailed information on the EIA carried out, and to systematically monitor the status of the proposed gold mining project. The Bureau welcomed the possibility that the Kamchatka authorities may be considering extension of the area of the site to include another volcano within the region and encourages the State Party to proceed with such plans in consultation with the Centre and IUCN.
Virgin Komi Forests (Russian Federation)
At its twenty-first extraordinary session, the Bureau had expressed its serious concerns over a proposed gold mining project in this site and requested detailed information on the project, including any environmental impact studies that may have been carried out. At its twenty-second session, the Bureau noted that letters from different Federal and State Level authorities seem to imply that changes to the boundaries of the World Heritage site were under consideration and that the gold mining project may have been suspended. Hence, the Bureau urged the State Party to provide to the Centre, full information on any proposal to change the borders of the site, and confirm whether the gold mining project had been withdrawn.
IUCN has informed the Centre that following a Federal Government inspection of the site in the context of the proposed gold mining activities, the local authorities were ordered to cancel all activities related to mining. However, the Government of the Komi Republic is taking legal action against this Federal Government Order and the Duma is in the process of considering a law, despite objections from the State Committee on Ecology, which would allow mining in Russia's national parks.
The Russian State Committee for the Environment informed the Centre on 17 November 1998 that the site is under regular inspections from the State Committee and that the last inspection was carried out in June/July 1998. It revealed violations of the national legislation by enterprises specialised in gold mining on the site. All companies were given orders to suspend their illegal activities. The administration of the Yugyd Va National Park was obliged to register all affected lands and to prepare a land re-cultivation programme. IUCN informed the Bureau that the WWF Biodiversity Programme is carrying out a five Million Swiss Franc project on boreal forest conservation in the Komi Republic with SF 400,000 earmarked for the Pechora Ilytch Zapovednik portion of the site.
The Bureau commended the Russian authorities on the actions taken to halt the mining activities at Virgin Komi Forests, and WWF for initiating a conservation project. The Bureau invited the State Party to provide a report on the rehabilitation of impacted areas. Furthermore, the Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to contact the authorities in the Komi Republic to discuss any boundary issues relevant to the Virgin Komi Forests.
Skocjan Caves (Slovenia)
IUCN has informed the Centre that the Regional Vice-Chair of IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) attended a meeting in May 1998 for the preparation of a management plan for this site. The Regional Office of the Park, established in 1997, has completed the first phase of the management plan; however, the May 1998 meeting identified several problems, including the need to improve visitor facilities and training new rangers. WCPA and EUROPARC Federation offered to provide expert advice on park facilities and proposed to organize workshops in the Regional Park for training personnel on cave and karst protection. The Park has also invited IUCN to provide advice on the preparation of the management plan.
The Bureau invited the State Party to submit a request for organizing an in-situ training activity focusing on the conservation of European World Heritage sites with cave and karst features for possible financial assistance from the World Heritage Fund. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to co-operate with the State Party to provide any assistance needed in the preparation and finalisation of a management plan for the site.
Thung Yai-Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries (Thailand)
The Bureau was informed that this site has been severely damaged by fires that had affected Thailand and other countries in the region. Forest fire prevention was identified to be the major management issue in this site by IUCN, Centre and other experts and managers who visited the site as part of a World Heritage workshop hosted by Thailand during 19-23 January 1998. Most participants to the workshop identified the need for greater involvement of local people in the management of the site, including the prevention of forest fires. Following that workshop, the Chairperson has approved a sum of US$ 20,000 for a project, designed and submitted by the National Committee for the Protection of the World Heritage of Thailand, for research, training and raising awareness of local people on forest fire prevention and control. The results of the project will be used to review and revise the fire management policy of the site. The project foresees the implementation of joint activities by site staff and representatives of local communities in forest fire prevention and control during the next dry season that will begin after November 1998.
The Observer of Thailand informed the Bureau that he would make a statement on this property at the time of the twenty-second session of the Committee. A representative of IUCN pointed out that IUCN's Forestry Programme was developing an initiative focusing on forest fires in Asia and that IUCN will explore possibilities to launch actions that could assist forest fire prevention and control in this site.
The Bureau requested the Centre, IUCN and the State Party to co-operate to ensure timely implementation of the project to review and revise the forest fire management policy in this site and to elaborate a forest fire management policy that solicits the co-operation of local people. The Bureau invited the State Party to submit a report on the outcome of fire management practices that may be tested out during the forthcoming dry season for the consideration of the twenty-third session of the Bureau.
St. Kilda (United Kingdom)
The Centre transmitted the report entitled "Threats to St. Kilda World Heritage Site from Proposed Oil Exploration and Production in the Atlantic Frontier", prepared by Greenpeace International, to IUCN for review. This report has raised serious concerns on potential impacts to this site, particularly in the event of a possible oil spill that may result from the use of the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading Facilities (FPSOs). There are important threats associated with pollution derived from by-products of oil exploration and drilling activities. IUCN has informed the Centre that the State Party is currently considering the establishment of a special Area of Conservation for the seas of the St. Kilda archipelago under the European Union's Habitats and Species Directive. IUCN has welcomed this initiative and expressed the hope that it would lead to the eventual extension of the World Heritage site to include the seas of the St. Kilda archipelago.
The Observer of the United Kingdom informed the Bureau that his Government is in the process of preparing a detailed response on the issues raised. Any licence is subject to a thorough review, which is co-ordinated by Scottish Heritage.
The Bureau invited the State Party to take all possible measures to protect St. Kilda from potential adverse impacts of oil exploration and production in the Atlantic frontier and to consult with all interested parties before proceeding with such activities. The Bureau welcomed the State Party's initiative to extend the boundaries of the site to include the seas of the St. Kilda archipelago.
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
At its twenty-second ordinary session (June 1998), the Bureau noted that the study on environmental management for Ha Long Bay designed and implemented by Vietnam and JICA, commenced in February 1998 and is expected to proceed until October 1999. This study will run parallel to the Environmental Impact Assessment of the Cailan Port construction project. The Bureau was also informed of negotiations between Vietnam and Japan for the construction of the Bai Chay Bridge, expected to link Bai Chay Beach to Ha Long City across the Bai Chay Bay. A loan agreement for providing engineering services for the construction of this bridge was signed, in March 1998, by OECF, Japan, and the Government of Vietnam and includes a feasibility study as well as an environmental impact assessment of the bridge construction project.
The Vietnam authorities have provided an "explanation report" of the Bai Chay Bridge construction project, a detailed technical study outline report on the environmental management for Ha Long Bay, a report on Engineering Services and EIA for the Bai Chay Bay Bridge construction project; and a report on the feasibility study on the Bai Chay Bridge construction project. Furthermore, a report of a project, jointly implemented by the UNESCO National Commission and IUCN Vietnam on a study of the geomorphology of Ha Long Bay, focusing in particular on karst features, has also been received. The Bureau furthermore noted that an East Asia meeting on impacts of limestone quarrying on biodiversity and cultural heritage (23-29 January), and a national conference on the development of the Quang Ninh – Hai Phong Region (April) are planned for 1999. They are expected to generate new information relevant to the conservation of Ha Long Bay. In addition, preliminary results of the JICA/Vietnam Environmental Study on Ha Long Bay are also expected to be released before the end of 1998.
The Bureau urged the Centre and IUCN to liaise with donors and international agencies in order to obtain all information resulting from on-going studies and proposed conferences and meetings scheduled for 1999 and undertake a thorough review of the large volume of data contained in the reports submitted by the Government of Vietnam. The Bureau requests the Centre and IUCN to provide a state of conservation report on Ha Long Bay to the twenty-third session of the Committee in 1999.
Durmitor National Park (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
At its twenty-second session, the Bureau was informed that a map showing the 40 ha area to be excised from the Park is under preparation. The Park authorities have transmitted other information requested by the Bureau in November 1997 to the Federal Ministry for the Protection of the Environment (FMPE). The Bureau noted that there is a global protection regime for the Tara River and its Canyon. The Centre has requested the Permanent Delegation of the State Party to UNESCO to obtain the documentation sent by the Park authorities from the FMPE. No information was received from the State Party.
The Bureau recommended that the State Party submit to the Centre, before 15 April 1999, the map showing the 40 ha area to be excised from the Park to enable the Bureau to review the map at its twenty-third session. The Bureau requested the Centre to continue its efforts to obtain the information transmitted by the Park authorities to the FMPE.
The Bureau furthermore decided to adopt the UN official name for the State Party as follows: Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)
The Bureau was informed that IUCN had reviewed the "Scoping Report: Potential impacts associated with the proposed development of the Mosi-Oa-Tunya Hotel Complex", prepared by the Division of Water, Environment and Forestry Technology, CSIR, South Africa. This report was commissioned by Sun International, the company that would like to develop this hotel complex on the Zambian side of this trans-border World Heritage site. From IUCN's point of view, the key issues of concern are that: (a) the location of the proposed development is within the boundaries of the site and particularly close to the banks of the rivers; (b) institutional support that should be provided by the Zambian Government to address environmental problems is not defined; (c) given that the site belongs to two States Parties, the Government of Zambia needs to discuss the project with the Government of Zimbabwe, to seek the latter's agreement on implementation policies, procedures and schedules.
The response of the Zimbabwean Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management (ZDNPWLM) to the hotel development proposal of Sun International has been transmitted to the Centre, on 25 September 1998, by the Zimbabwe National Commission for UNESCO. ZDNPWLM has emphasised the need to preserve the World Heritage site as a global asset and stressed that any development proposal should be subject to EIA procedures that invite full public involvement. ZDNPWLM has pointed out that it lacks details and information on the hotel development proposal. Hence, ZDNPWLM is unable to make specific and constructive comments or endorse the development proposal.
The Bureau requested the Centre to co-operate with the IUCN Regional Office for Southern Africa to organize a bi-national meeting to bring representatives from the Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe together. The meeting should be designed and organized in a manner so as to clarify issues concerning this development project in accordance with the joint responsibility of the two States Parties to conserve and properly manage this trans-border World Heritage property. The Bureau also supported the ZDNPWLM's position to emphasise the need to preserve the World Heritage site as a global asset and that any development proposal should be subject to EIA procedures with full public involvement.
MIXED (CULTURAL AND NATURAL) HERITAGE
Tasmanian Wilderness (Australia)
At its twenty-first session, the Bureau had requested the State Party to provide a timetable for the implementation of the Regional Forestry Agreement (RFA), including possible boundary extensions to the World Heritage site. The Australian authorities have informed the Centre that negotiations between the Tasmanian and the Commonwealth Governments for setting a timetable, potentially involving the extension of the boundaries of the World Heritage site, are underway. They have undertaken to provide the timetable when the two Governments reach an agreement.
The Bureau requested the Centre to transmit the report from the Australian NGO's to the State Party for review. The Bureau recommended that the Centre and IUCN maintain contacts with the Australian authorities to obtain information on the timetable for the implementation of the RFA once an agreement between the Tasmanian and Commonwealth Governments is reached.
Mount Taishan (China)
The Bureau was informed that a Centre-IUCN mission which visited the site in September 1998 was concerned by the management's stated desire to open up three new scenic spots in Heavenly Candle, Rear Rock Basin and Jade Spring scenic spots. The number of vendor stalls along the walking route may also have to be considerably reduced. Furthermore, the management needs to place an emphasis on learning more about the natural heritage values of the area and on educating visitors on the cultural and natural values of the area of World Heritage significance.
The Bureau invites the State Party to take steps to determine the tourism carrying capacity of the World Heritage site and on the basis of that determination elaborate a visitor management and a tourism development plan for the site. Furthermore, the Bureau urged the management of the site to place more emphasis on learning more about the natural heritage values of the area and on educating visitors on the cultural and natural values of the area of World Heritage significance. The Bureau recommended that the report of the IUCN/Centre mission to China be transmitted to the relevant Chinese authorities, and for review by ICOMOS.
Mount Huangshan (China)
The IUCN-Centre site mission in September 1998 found Mt. Huangshan's management of visitors and tourism development to be exemplary. However, the mission team urged the management to consider implementing a "one-way" walking route for visitors moving across and around peaks in order to further minimize congestion. Even if site management proceeds with its plan to develop a long distance path to the Nine Dragon Peaks to alleviate pressure on the more popular scenic spots, it should not permit the development of any new hotels in the vicinity of those Peaks. The natural heritage values of this site are receiving increasing attention and the team welcomed the management's interest to promote research on biodiversity of the area and to communicate the findings to visitors. The State Party needs to be encouraged to support the management's concern to combat the pine-wilt disease that appears to be infesting the legendary Huangshan pines.
The Bureau commended the State Party for its effective management of visitor and tourism development in the site and invites all concerned authorities of the State Party to: (a) establish a "one-way" walking route for visitors moving across and around peaks; (b) not permit the development of new hotels in the vicinity of popular scenic spots, including the Nine Dragon Peaks; (c) promote research on biodiversity of the site and communicate the findings to the visitors and (d) take all necessary measures to combat the pine-wilt disease infesting the legendary Huangshan pines. The Bureau recommended that the report of the IUCN/Centre mission to China be transmitted to the relevant Chinese authorities, and for review by ICOMOS.
Ohrid Region with its Cultural and Historical Aspect and its Natural Environment (Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of)
A joint UNESCO-ICOMOS-IUCN monitoring mission was carried out in September 1998 for the first time since the inscription of the site on the World Heritage List in 1979.
The mission report draws particular attention to the fact that at the time of inscription of this mixed property on the List, the well preserved old towns of Ohrid and Struga were set in an almost untouched natural environment on the shores of the Lake Ohrid. As to cultural heritage, only specifically listed monuments are inscribed on the World Heritage List. These monuments are very well preserved. The natural heritage includes part of the Lake which is territory of the country (and excludes the part on the territory of Albania) and part of the Galicia National Park. Now, the enormous increase in constructions and settlement activities has seriously altered the original balance in the region: for example, the town of Struga has incorporated ten new sub-communities.
The mission observed that the authorities undertake great efforts for the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the site. However, economic and demographic developments pose threats to the values of the site that can only be addressed through an integrated approach and protective measures that link the cultural and the natural heritage preservation.
The mission report includes a set of recommendations calling for a special legal framework for the World Heritage site (integrating culture and nature), the strengthening of the management, the preparation of Spatial Plan for the area and the towns, and the extension of the site to include the whole of the Galicia National Park.
The Bureau took note of the report of the joint UNESCO-IUCN-ICOMOS mission to the mixed World Heritage site of Ohrid Region with its Cultural and Historical Aspect and its Natural Environment (Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of). It commended the Government of the country for the efforts taken for the preservation of the monuments and environment in Ohrid. It recommended the Government to consider the recommendations of the mission carefully, particularly with regard to integrated planning and legal protection of the natural and cultural heritage. It also requested the authorities to review the definition of the cultural heritage, to define and propose revised boundaries, if appropriate, and to establish adequate buffer zones. It requested the Government to provide a response to the report by 15 April 1999, for consideration by the Bureau at its twenty-third session.
Cliff of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons) (Mali)
A cultural heritage inventory programme, financed by UNESCO's World Heritage Fund in 1995-96, was the starting point of an important work of identification, diagnostic and ad hoc interventions that the Cultural Mission and other partners (Konstanz University and Mali research architects) carry out to improve the conservation of this heritage, which is both cultural and natural.
The Cultural Mission, with funding from the State of Mali, carries out in a continuous manner an awareness campaign throughout the 289 villages of the site, concerning the protection and the enhancement of the heritage elements. The «cities and historical sites» comprising the project «Urban Development and Decentralization» (UNDP), Land of the Dogons, are: the creation of a Documentation Centre on the Dogon Culture at Bandiagara, the rehabilitation of the Songo encampment and the management of the trails in the Sangha region.
The Bureau congratulated the Mali authorities for the efforts undertaken to preserve this site inscribed on the World Heritage List. It invited the Mali authorities, in accordance with paragraph 56 of the «Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention» to: (i) co-ordinate international assistance, and (ii) inform the World Heritage Committee, through the UNESCO Secretariat, of their intentions to undertake or to authorize, in an area protected by the Convention, major restoration works. The Bureau also encouraged the authorities to implement awareness building activities among the population.
Tongariro National Park (New Zealand)
The New Zealand authorities in their letter of 11 September 1998, have pointed out that an eruption of the Mt. Ruapehu in 1953 caused one of the country's major civilian disasters and that there is an inevitability of a lahar from the crater following the present eruption. The Minister for Conservation has called for a comprehensive environmental and cultural assessment identifying the risks and assessing impacts of options for their mitigation. The New Zealand authorities consider the following three as the most practical options at present:
(a) installing an alarm and warning system;
(b) building structures off the mountain to contain the lahar expected when the ash-dam fails; and
(c) bulldozing a trench through the ash-dam itself, although the sub-option of hand digging a shallow trench has not yet been entirely dismissed.
The Park management is in regular consultation with the Ngati Rangi and the Ngati Tuwharetoa Tribes to exchange information and views and it appears very clear that they do not like the idea of engineering works at the Crater Lake. Ngati Rangi consider that the excavation at the crater "challenges the indigenous integrity and strength of the cultural World Heritage status" of the Park. However, both Tribes understand the risks to public safety and infrastructure (e.g. bridges and roads) and the Paramount Chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa intends to convene a consultation group to work through the issues with Park management. When the draft report on the environmental and cultural assessment is ready to be released, both Tribes will be consulted. The Department of Conservation is committed to a consultation process that will support an exemplary code of ethical conduct and field conservation practice that emphasise social responsibility and cultural sensitivity. The Director of the Centre, who attended the World Heritage celebrations in Tongariro National Park during the weekend of 21-22 November 1998 confirmed this extremely sensitive approach taken by the management in searching for solutions to this issue.
The Bureau commended the New Zealand authorities for the ethically and culturally sensitive manner in which they are addressing this issue. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to submit a status update on the management of the ash build up at the Crater Lake outlet on Mt. Ruapehu to its twenty-third session in 1999.
Rapa Nui National Park (Chile)
Early 1998, the Secretariat received information about the possible construction of a new harbour within the World Heritage site, the extraction of stone and problems in the management of the Park. In response, the Chilean authorities informed that the harbour project was indeed considered some years ago but that this project at present was not being pursued; and that the extraction of stone is strictly controlled by the Council of National Monuments in accordance with what is foreseen in the Management Programme for the Natural Heritage and the Master Plan for the Rapa Nui National Park. A close collaboration has been established between the Council for National Monuments and the National Forestry Agency (CONAF) and consultations with the local authorities are taking place. No new authorisations have been given for archaeological excavations, awaiting a specific ordinance for excavations and research.
As to the management of the Park, the authorities informed that a Management Plan for the Rapa Nui National Park was adopted in February 1998, copy of which was made available to the Secretariat and ICOMOS.
A comprehensive programme for the preservation of Rapa Nui has been prepared by the National Conservation Centre, the University of Chile and the National Forestry Agency (CONAF) and submitted for consideration under the Japanese Funds-in-Trust. The programme would include items such as: the preservation of stone, cultural anthropology, the environment and equipment.
The Bureau thanked the Chilean authorities for the information provided on the management of the Park and the adoption of the management plan. It requested the Chilean authorities to keep the Committee informed of future planning, infrastructural works and excavations that might be planned for the Park.
The Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples in Chengde (China)
The Bureau, at its twentieth extraordinary session in 1996, recommended that the Chinese authorities adopt a development plan for the town of Chengde in line with World Heritage conservation needs. The Chinese authorities reported to the Secretariat, in a state of conservation report on this property submitted in July 1998, that the city planning department has included World Heritage protection in the historic city's urban development plan.
According to this report, conservation work has continued since its inscription on the World Heritage List in 1994. A 10-year Renovation Plan of the site was prepared by national experts and approved by the Bureau of Cultural Relics of Chengde City in 1995. An "Overall Management Plan for Chengde City" was adopted by Hebei Provincial Government in 1995. Afforestation measures have been taken for the gardens and the surroundings of the site, with vegetation coverage currently exceeding 90%.
Training and education activities carried out by the site administration have enabled the training of more than 3,500 persons. Promotion "week" and "month" were organized by the City Government to increase the understanding and application of the Law on the Protection of Cultural Relics. Chengde Research Institute of Cultural Properties was established in 1995. Over 30 on-site staff have been trained at other institutes or universities. With assistance from the World Heritage Fund, a Training Course for Site Managers of Cultural World Heritage Properties in China was organized in September 1997 by the State Bureau of Cultural Relics. In addition, the Mayor of Chengde participated in the International Conference for Mayors of Historic Cities in China and the European Union in April 1998 (Suzhou) organized by the World Heritage Centre and exchanged experiences with counterparts from China and the EU.
Security conditions at the site museum have improved, thanks to the technical and equipment support made available from the World Heritage Fund. The security staff has increased from 200 to 300 persons since 1995. 3.4 million RMB Yuan (US$411,600) was invested in the restoration project of Xu Mi Fu Shou Temple and the conservation of artifacts in the site museums.
The management of the site has been strengthened with the Vice-Mayor of Chengde City assuming the responsible supervision of all administration work. A decision was taken to further intensify the protection of the site by the City government so as to strengthen the implementation of the Management Plan.
The Bureau was informed by the World Heritage Centre of reports received concerning increasing urban and tourism development pressures negatively affecting the historical setting within the buffer zone of this site.
The Bureau took note of the state of conservation report submitted by the Chinese authorities and commended the local authorities for their efforts in enhancing the management of the site. The Bureau, however, expressed concern over the rapidly increasing urban pressure within the buffer zone and encouraged the relevant authorities to take appropriate measures to integrate tourism development and urban heritage conservation issues in the Management Plan of the site.
The Potala Palace, Lhasa (China)
In approving the inscription of this site on the World Heritage List at its eighteenth session in 1994, the Committee recommended the Chinese authorities to extend the boundary to include Jokhang Temple and the surrounding historic quarters. This point was discussed at the twentieth extraordinary session of the Bureau and the Delegate of China informed the Bureau that the Chinese authorities were in favour of this extension as recommended by the Committee. A report was submitted to the World Heritage Centre by the State Bureau of Cultural Relics of China in July 1998, which indicated that the Government of the Tibetan Autonomous Region would be formally requesting the inclusion of Jokhang Temple within this site, and that the responsible Chinese authorities would proceed accordingly. On 18 August 1998, the World Heritage Centre requested the Director-General of the State Bureau of Cultural Relics of China to provide further information on the progress of the extension before 1 October 1998. No written report was however been received by the Secretariat.
To protect the setting of the site, modern residences and shops around the square in front of the Palace, which were not in harmony with the historical monuments, were removed by the local authority. The use of traditional building material and methods in the restoration work is being promoted so as to preserve the original architectural features of the site. Publications concerning the architectural styles, paintings, sculptures and the contents of all the cultural properties of the Potala Palace were issued by the local authorities to raise awareness amongst the general public.
The Bureau was informed that the World Heritage Centre has received numerous reports on the demolition of historic buildings and new construction activities in the Barkhor historic area which encircles the Jokhang Temple in the religiously symbolic urban form of the "mandala".
The Bureau took note of the efforts made by the responsible Chinese authorities to prepare the extension of the Potala Palace World Heritage site to include the Jokhang Temple. The Bureau also noted the efforts being made by the local authorities in safeguarding the essential historical setting of this site. It requested the State Party for additional information concerning Barkhor historic area which is also part of the extension area recommended by the Committee at the time of the inscription of this site.
Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu (China)
According to a state of conservation report submitted by the Chinese authorities in July 1998, efforts have been made to conserve the authenticity of the site. To improve the setting of the site, the Divine Road connecting the monumental sites was restored by using traditional building material and the protection of ancient trees was strengthened. A computerized management system has been put into place to monitor all the cultural properties, ancient trees and the ancient monuments within the site. Lighting facilities in the ancient buildings were replaced and electricity wiring was placed underground. Safety and fire prevention measures have also been strengthened.
The Bureau took note of the state of conservation report submitted by the Chinese authorities and encouraged the responsible authorities to undertake further actions to enhance the management of the site, especially taking into consideration development issues such as land-use, sustainable tourism, and vegetation management.
Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains (China)
According to a state of conservation report submitted by the Chinese authorities in July 1998, a commission of experts for the preservation of this site was established by the local authorities. Subsequently, legal measures which strengthen the protection of Wudang Mountains have been put into effect. The transfer of the local residents inhabiting the ancient buildings to areas outside the site has been undertaken. Restoration work has been carried out to repair the Purple Cloud Hall and a number of ancient buildings. An Administration Bureau was established to enhance the management and preservation of the site. Increased financial resources have been made available towards the preservation of the ancient building complex. A "Master Plan for the Development of Wudang Mountains" has also been formulated. The local authorities have included the protection, presentation and restoration of cultural properties as one of the top priorities within their programme for social development.
The Bureau took note of the state of conservation report submitted by the Chinese authorities and of the efforts made by the local authorities to implement adequate management measures to protect this site. The Bureau requested the national and local authorities to incorporate sustainable tourism development strategies within the site management plan to ensure that the integrity of the site's cultural and historical setting is protected.
City of Quito (Ecuador)
The UNESCO Representative in Quito, informed the Secretariat on 7 October 1998 that the Volcano Pichincha, in the vicinity of the western part of the City of Quito, had become active after three hundred years. An eruption (most probably stones and acid ashes) could seriously imperil the lives of the inhabitants of villages and the City of Quito and could affect its historic centre and its monuments. The National Geophysical Institute has established a scientific committee with experts from the United States of America to monitor the situation. The Mayor of Quito, who has been assigned by the Government with the responsibility for the crisis management, has approached UNESCO for immediate support for:
- preventive measures at the historic monuments of Quito ;
- expert advice on planning and management of this type of crisis in urban areas.
At the time of preparation of this document, the Secretariat is in contact with the national authorities, the UNESCO Office in Quito and the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee about the appropriate response to this situation.
The Bureau took note of the information provided by the Secretariat and requested the State Party to keep the Secretariat informed on the situation.
Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur (Egypt)
In 1995, a mission from the World Heritage Centre visited Egypt to prevent the construction, within the boundaries of the protected zone, of a portion of the Greater Cairo "Ring-Road". A joint declaration was then issued and the project cancelled. A proposal for the diversion of the Ring Road was then suggested. On 6 September 1998, the Secretariat received a letter from the President of the Supreme Council of Antiquities requesting UNESCO to send a mission of specialists to study details of the diversion plan and provide them with technical advice.
On 3 October, a mission from UNESCO proceeded to Cairo and worked on this issue with the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the concerned ministries. A joint communiqué, signed by the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the Ministry of Housing and Reconstruction and UNESCO urged for a full implementation of the Convention and reconfirmed the alternative route selected during the previous UNESCO mission in 1995 (diversion through the Maryoutiyah and Mansouriyah canals). At the request of the authorities, the Centre will start co-operation for the improvement of the management of the site.
After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat, the Bureau requested the Secretariat to continue co-operating with the Egyptian authorities on this issue as well as on the overall management of the site and to report on the progress of the work to the Bureau at its twenty-third session.
Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis (Egypt)
The Secretariat has received from various sources, mainly scholars involved in research work, detailed information about renewed plans by the authorities to transfer the inhabitants of the old village of Gurnah to a new location, outside the boundaries of the site. This plan of relocating Gurnah has been considered for decades, the first attempt having seen the involvement of the reputed Egyptian architect, Hassan Fathi in the conception of the new village of "Gurna El-Gadidah". The inhabitants of Gurnah, who have always been involved in the archaeological excavations as workers or specialized manpower have opposed their displacement to a new village. The reasons for the decision of the authorities are that the village is built on an archaeological land, that the inhabitants are looting the sites surrounding them and that the waste water created by the village is destroying some archaeological sites.
The Secretariat is of the opinion that this issue be taken in a broader manner and that a full-fledged study of the situation in the site be undertaken (encompassing geological, archaeological and geographical surveys and mapping, anthropological studies, assessment of the historical and cultural landscape qualities of the foothills and of the presence of Gurnah in the site). A comprehensive management plan could then be prepared to include the concept of a separate cultural landscape nomination for the villages of Gurnah and their environment.
After having taken note of the information provided, the Bureau requested the Secretariat to study with the Egyptian authorities the possibility of launching a co-operation programme encompassing geological, archaeological and geographical surveys and mapping, anthropological studies, assessment of the historical and cultural landscape qualities of the foothills and of the presence of Gurnah in the site. The Bureau also recommended to the Egyptian authorities the postponement of any further transfer of the population of Gurnah until these investigations have taken place, and urged the authorities to establish an awareness campaign among the local community.
Islamic Cairo (Arab Republic of Egypt)
Based on the recommendation of the Bureau at its twenty-second session and on a request of the Minister of Culture addressed to the Director-General of UNESCO endorsing the results of the brain-storming session of June 1998, the Centre has sent from 3 to 11 October a mission of specialists to Cairo to prepare a three-year strategy and conservation programme for Islamic Cairo. This co-operation programme is submitted for consideration to the World Heritage Committee under requests for international assistance.
Regarding the issue of Al Azhar Mosque, the Centre received a technical report containing the architectural standards applied for the work on the monument from the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt. The Centre transmitted the report to ICOMOS and ICCROM on 23 November 1998.
Regarding awareness creation among concerned parties in the Arab Region in favour of the built religious heritage, as suggested by members of the Bureau, the Centre is proposing to organize in 1999 a meeting on the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and architectural standards in religious sites and monuments. During the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau, the representative of Lebanon suggested that the meeting cover different types of monuments and not only religious ones, considering the diversity of the monuments in the Arab Region. He also offered to host the meeting in Lebanon.
After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat, the Bureau thanked the Egyptian authorities for their co-operation with the Centre and requested the Secretariat to do its utmost in the implementation of the co-operation programme in favour of Islamic Cairo.
The Bureau took also note of the report submitted by the authorities on the works at the Al-Azhar Mosque. It requested ICOMOS to undertake an in-depth evaluation of the report for examination by the Bureau at its twenty-third session.
The Bureau also requested the Secretariat to organize as soon as possible the seminar on monuments and properties in the Arab Region.
Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn (Estonia)
On 13 October 1998, the Secretariat received an urgent request from the UNESCO National Commission of Estonia for advice on a project for a new theatre in medieval buildings within the World Heritage site of the Historic Centre of Tallinn. ICOMOS was able to respond immediately by sending an expert to Tallinn.
Having listened to the report by ICOMOS, the Bureau expressed its concern about the adverse impact of the proposed theatre project on the medieval centre of Tallinn. It requested the State Party to give urgent consideration to the selection of an alternative location for this important cultural project and alternative uses for the medieval buildings concerned.
Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town in Quedlinburg (Germany)
A comprehensive state of conservation report has been submitted by the German Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt which focuses on the recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee in Naples 1997. In order to guide and assist with conservation, preservation and development of Quedlinburg a number of activities have been carried out. These refer to measures taken to strengthen and improve planning, legal protection and control mechanisms.
ICOMOS advised the Secretariat that this report is very encouraging. The City authorities have taken energetic and positive steps to take account of the points made by the recent expert mission.
The Bureau commended the German authorities on this extensive and very encouraging report and requested the State Party to submit a progress report by 15 September 1999 for examination by the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau.
Historic Centre of Florence (Italy)
The Secretariat and the Chairperson informed the Bureau that they had received a number of letters of concern about the possible impact of the construction of a high tension power line through the landscape surrounding the city of Florence. The Delegate of Italy confirmed that such a project exists and that, although outside of the World Heritage site, it could be visible from some location in the city. He informed that a review was being undertaken to identify measures to minimise the impact of the project on the city and the landscape.
The Bureau requested the Italian authorities to consider this matter and to submit a report on it by 15 April 1999 for examination by the Bureau at its twenty-third session.
Quseir Amra (Jordan)
In August 1998, the Centre received a letter from the Director-General of the Antiquities in Jordan stating that the Jordanian authorities in co-operation with IFAPO had already completed the alternative plan of the Visitors' Centre at Quseir Amra. The proposed location is East of the ancient Roman bath within the fenced area and at a good distance from the monument. The Director-General of the Antiquities also stated in his letter that the idea to divert the Visitors' Centre to the other side of the highway would be unrealistic and would threaten the safety of the visitors in crossing the highway.
The Centre requested the authority to send a detailed plan to be forwarded to ICOMOS for evaluation.
After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat and the evaluation of ICOMOS, the Bureau endorsed the views of the Jordanian authorities concerning the location of the Visitors' Centre. However, it requested the authorities to do their utmost to minimize the impact of the Visitors' Centre on the landscape and to provide the Secretariat with a proposal in this respect. Moreover, the Bureau requested the Jordanian authorities to continue preserving works of the mural paintings of the Roman bath.
Luang Prabang (Laos)
The Heritage House (Maison du patrimoine), a conservation and development advisory service for inhabitants which is a service of the Provincial Authorities of Luang Prabang that reports to the Local Provincial Committee for the Protection and Development of Cultural and Natural Heritage, initiated the second phase of the Safeguarding and Development Plan of Luang Prabang. Architectural surveys of 1000 buildings owned by private individuals or religious groups located within the centre of the World Heritage site were completed and surveys of all Government-owned buildings and public space are currently being undertaken. The elaboration of this Plan and other related activities, such as the restoration of the traditional timber buildings and colonial buildings through on-site training activities are being carried out within the framework of the Luang Prabang-Chinon (France) decentralized co-operation agreement signed in August 1997 under the aegis of UNESCO. Following the study tour to France by the Governor of Luang Prabang in September 1997, the four Lao architects of the Heritage House visited France in July 1998, both financed by the French Foreign Ministry.
Following the Luang Prabang-Chinon-UNESCO technical meeting held in April 1998, the Governor of Luang Prabang was presented with a list of buildings recommended for protection. Upon approval by the Governor of the list of all scheduled buildings, it will be submitted to the national authorities for official legal protection.
In addition to the daily work of advising on building permits and field inspection of on-going construction works, the Heritage House with support from the town of Chinon and UNESCO, developed two major project proposals. One on the protection of the urban humid zone prepared by the Institute of Aquatic and Fluvial Research of Chinon (IMACOF/Tours University), under funding from the World Heritage Fund and Chinon, was co-funded by the European Commission for ECU 350,000 (US$ 380,000). The second, aimed to strengthen local capacity in urban management and to conduct a number of demonstrative rehabilitations of public space, has been funded by the French Agency for Development. for the sum of FF 10 million (US$ 1.95 million) over a 3-year period. Co-operation with Region Centre (France) has continued with the confirmation of their second earmarked contribution to the World Heritage Fund for the sum of FF 300,000 within the total amount of FF 1 million pledged in the Agreement with UNESCO in 1997 for the rehabilitation of the former French customs building being converted for re-use as the Luang Prabang Site Information Centre. Close collaboration has been established between the Heritage House and the project team executing the Asian Development Bank project on road and riverbank upgrading, and with the German development aid agency, KFW, implementing the drainage and sewage improvement project. Both these being important infrastructural projects that would greatly benefit the inhabitants, but could have a negative impact on the cultural heritage of the town if carried out without adequate care and sensitivity to the fragile patrimonial value of the site.
The 1998 World Heritage grant of US$ 25000 has enabled the preparation of pedagogical tools to inform the local population of the Safeguarding and Development Plan and its implications to the inhabitants, which include a video film, panel exhibition and information leaflets. A community-based meeting foreseen under this WHF project is scheduled to commence in January 1999 upon the completion of the educational tools.
The draft law on Protection of National Cultural and Natural Heritage which was prepared in 1996 with legal assistance from UNESCO and the French Government, was issued as a Decree of the Council of Ministers in May 1997 but has not yet been officially enacted as law by the National Assembly.
The Bureau commended the efforts of the Luang Prabang Provincial authorities, particularly the Heritage House as well as the national authorities in the substantive and rapid progress made in strengthening the legal and administrative framework to protect and conserve this site. The Bureau, also commended the Heritage House-Chinon-UNESCO project team for having successfully mobilized close to US$ 4.5 million from bilateral and multilateral donor sources in less than three years by using financial assistance from the World Heritage Fund in a catalytic manner to generate other co-operation projects. The Bureau however, recommended the national and local authorities of the State Party to remain vigilent in co-ordinating the numerous aid and investment projects, particularly those of the Asian Development Bank and German KFW to ensure that these infrastructural development projects are carried out without undermining the World Heritage value of the site. The Bureau requested the State Party to make all efforts for the enactment of the national law on cultural and natural heritage protection by the National Assembly which is presently a decree, and to approve an official list of protected buildings and to forward a copy of these to UNESCO.
Expressions of concern have been received by the Secretariat about extensive rehabilitation works being undertaken by the Lebanese Department of Antiquities contrary to established procedures. After the twenty-second session of the Bureau, the Centre received letters from the Lebanese authorities explaining the waterproofing works of the "crypto-portico", which was to be used as an exhibition area for the celebration of the centenary of the German excavations in Baalbek (November 1998). The German Archaeological Institute has confirmed to the Secretariat that the waterproofing works were technically sound and reversible.
After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat and the clarification stated by the Lebanese authorities, the Bureau thanked the authorities for the information received. It also thanked the German Archaeological Institute for its assistance in this matter, and congratulated the Lebanese authorities for the protective actions taken for the site by expropriating plots in front of the main entrance. Finally, the Bureau reminded the Lebanese authorities of the necessity to prepare a long awaited management plan for the site.
In September 1998, the Minister of Public Works of Lebanon was invited to a meeting with the Secretariat and with the President of the International Association for the Safeguarding of Tyre. At this meeting, which was also attended by a UNESCO consultant working on the Master Plan of Tyre, the Minister presented the work undertaken and planned by his Ministry and requested UNESCO to provide assistance to secure the proper integration of archaeology in the Master Plan and in his Ministry's works. The Division of Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, in charge of the international campaign launched in March 1998, had already started this technical support by sending an expert in urban planning in July 1998, whose report has now been transmitted to the Lebanese authorities.
After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat, the Bureau welcomed the request of the Ministry of Public Works to be advised by UNESCO and recommended that the co-operation between the Lebanese authorities and UNESCO in preparing the Master Plan of Tyre be reinforced. The Bureau also requested :
Vilnius Historic Centre (Lithuania)
The Bureau recalled that considerable assistance had been provided since 1995 for the revitalisation of Vilnius Old Town, not only from the World Heritage Fund, but also from others such as the Canadian Urban Institute, Edinburgh, the Nordic World Heritage Office, ICCROM, UNDP etc. With this assistance, meetings and a donors' conference were organised, training and expert advice has been provided as well as consultant services.
The Secretariat informed the Bureau that a major achievement had been obtained by the creation of the Old Town Revitalisation Agency (OTRA), a joint agency between the Ministry for Culture and the Municipality of Vilnius. An Old Town Revitalisation Fund would be established shortly. Both OTRA and the Fund will concentrate on the development of specific projects and programmes. To this effect, a technical assistance programme will be drafted by UNESCO and UNDP.
A request for international assistance for US$ 20,000 was received for consideration by the Chairperson, to support this programme.
The Bureau took note with satisfaction of the considerable progress made in setting up the institutional framework for the revitalisation of the Vilnius Historic Centre. The Bureau commended in particular the Government of Lithuania and the Municipality of Vilnius on the creation of the Old Town Revitalisation Agency (OTRA). It encouraged the authorities to continue its efforts to develop and implement policies, programmes and projects for the revitalisation of the city.
Old Towns of Djenné (Mali)
In close co-operation with the village populations adjacent to the archaeological sites, and the administrative offices, the Cultural Mission of Djenne has carried out, since 1994, information, awareness-building and education activities with the local population, stressing the imperative need to preserve and promote cultural heritage.
Following an inventory of the conservation of the monuments of the Town of Djenne, the Cultural Mission had undertaken the restoration of some monuments, and, thanks to support from participants of the international youth workshop, held in December 1996, the inner walls of Konofia were restored.
Co-operation between Mali and The Netherlands resulted in a project comprising the restoration of 168 dwellings in the old quarter, which began in October 1996. This project, for a duration of six years, has the following essential objectives:
At the request of the Minister for Culture, a project entitled « Reappropriation and improvement of the urban area of Djenne » with the objective of an integrated and concerted development of cultural tourism, will permit the implementation of harmonized action. This would concern the improvement of solid and liquid waste management and their co-ordination with other conservation projects carried out through co-operation between the Cultural Mission of Djenne and The Netherlands. The project, which is decentralized to Dakar, will be financed up to 100 million CFA, in the framework of a shared phase with local populations. The project is part of the network of activities implemented by the « Human Habitat » Unit of the Social Sciences Sector of UNESCO.
In the framework of the Third Urban Project, the execution of a global plan for the conservation of the old Town of Djenne is foreseen. This plan will comprise activities to improve sanitation, the construction of the Museum, and the construction of green areas, all of which will contribute towards the development of sustainable tourism to benefit the local population.
City of Cusco (Peru)
The Bureau, at its twenty-first session, reiterated the need for appropriate planning mechanisms for the Historic City of Cusco. At that occasion, the Bureau welcomed the initiative to establish a Master Plan for the City but emphazised that in the process of its preparation and application arrangements should be made for the adequate co-ordination and collaboration between all institutions and authorities involved, particularly the National Institute for Culture and the Municipality of the City.
In November 1997, the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee approved an amount of US$ 20,000 under Technical Co-operation for the preparation of the Master Plan. A contract to this effect was established with the National Institute for Culture. To date, however, this assistance could not be implemented due to the lack of appropriate co-ordination between the Institute and the Municipality. Concerns about this situation were brought to the attention of the Permanent Delegation of Peru on 2 October 1998. In the meantime, the Secretariat has received expressions of concern about the lack of planning, the lack of application of the urban ordinances for preservation and new constructions that are considered inappropriate.
The Bureau expressed its concern about the state of conservation of the City of Cusco and urged the national and local authorities to make adequate arrangements for the preparation and application of a Master Plan for the city. It also urged to consider interventions in public spaces as well as new construction and rehabilitation works in full respect of the urban, architectural and historic values that are represented in the city as well as international standards of intervention in historic urban areas.
The Bureau requested the Peruvian authorities to inform the Secretariat of the actions taken in response to the above by 15 April 1999 for examination by the Bureau at its twenty-third session.
Archaeological site of Chavin (Peru)
In 1998, Emergency Assistance was provided to the Peruvian National Institute for Culture for taking protective measures at the archaeological site of Chavin against the possible impact of the El Nino phenomenon. The Emergency Assistance has enabled to improve the drainage system at the site and to improve the stability of the galleries in the temple, preventing their possible collapse.
The works at the site and a preliminary technical report from the expert who supervised the execution of the works show that this site had never been the subject of a specific conservation and maintenance programme and that the state of conservation of the major structures was very bad. The report identifies a great number of factors that possibly affect the site, such as climatic conditions, structural instability, topography, characteristics of the materials used in the construction, badly managed tourism etc.
The Bureau took note of the successful implementation of the Emergency Assistance for the site. It expressed concern, however, about the overall state of conservation of the site and encouraged the Secretariat and the advisory bodies to provide expertise to update the monitoring report prepared in 1993. This should enable the Peruvian authorities to draw up a project for the preparation of a comprehensive master plan for the site, making use of the expertise that has been obtained in the preparation of similar plans for other archaeological sites in Peru, such as Chan Chan.
Historic Centre of Lima (Peru)
On 2 August 1998, a serious fire destroyed the municipal theatre of Lima located within the World Heritage site of the Historic Centre of Lima. The theatre was inaugurated in 1920.
In response, the Secretariat fielded an expert mission in order to assess the situation and to advise the municipal authorities on setting up a programme and action plan for the recuperation of the theatre.
The Bureau expressed its concern about the serious damages caused by fire to the municipal theatre of Lima. It recommended the national and local authorities to develop a rehabilitation scheme that respects the architectural and historical values of the building and that can serve as a catalyst for the recuperation of the urban surroundings of the theatre. It requested the authorities to keep the Secretariat informed about the progress made in this respect.
The Baroque Churches of the Philippines (The Philippines)
The Bureau of the World Heritage Committee, at its the twenty-first extraordinary session, took note of the report of the Secretariat on the state of conservation of the San Agustin Church in Paoay and the request for international assistance submitted by the Government of The Philippines to organize a training workshop to raise public awareness and to ensure proper conservation measures to be undertaken to preserve the authenticity of the Baroque Churches. The Bureau recommended that the Government continues its efforts to safeguard this site and to report on the Government's restoration plan of the Church of San Agustin in Paoay, to the Committee at its twenty-second session. The requested report had not been received by the World Heritage Centre.
At the request of the Government, the World Heritage Centre sent an expert recommended by ICOMOS in July 1998 to the San Augustin Church of Intramuros Manila, one of the four Baroque Churches composing this World Heritage site. The purpose of this mission was to evaluate whether or not a proposed plan for building an ossuary by the custodians of the San Augustin Church of Intramuros would affect the integrity and authenticity of the monument. The plan proposes to replace the original 159 crypt burials within the Sala de Profundis to a new ossuary to be built outside of the Church. According to the expert, this plan if implemented, would alter the original and authentic condition of the rear space of the monument. Furthermore, the displacement of the crypt burials of Sala de Profundis would change a historical event and evolution of the Church and was therefore discouraged.
The expert also analyzed the conservation practice at San Augustin Church of Intramuros Manila and recommended that a long-term solution to control the flow of heavy rain water and appropriate conservation practices using traditional construction material be adopted by the custodians of this monument to ensure the structural stability of the Church.
The Bureau took note of the report of the expert, and expressed concern regarding the plan to remove the original crypt burials from the Sala de Profundis and to build a new ossuary at the San Augustin Church of Intramuros Manila. The Bureau requested the national authorities to reconsider the proposed plan in order not to change the historical evolution of the Church, and that new design and land-use within the protected World Heritage site be carefully considered by all authorities concerned to ensure the authenticity of this important historical monument and the integrity of its setting. Furthermore, the Bureau advised the State Party to work with the World Heritage Centre to consider requesting international expertise on appropriate conservation practices using traditional building material to ensure the structural stability of the historical monument. Finally, the Bureau requested the national authorities to report to the Committee on the results of the training activities held at the Churches of Paoay and Santa Maria, the restoration plan for the Church of San Agustin of Paoay, and on the measures taken to ensure the integrity and authenticity of the San Augustin Church of Intramuros Manila, by 15 September 1999.
Historic Centre of Porto (Portugal)
The Bureau at its twenty-second session took note of a report on the impact of infrastructural works at the River Douro on the World Heritage values of the site of Porto.
In response, the State Party by letter dated 16 November 1998, informed that:
The Bureau took note of the assurance from the Portuguese authorities that the works that would be undertaken in the River Douro in the vicinity of the World Heritage site of the Historic Centre of Porto would not have any impact on, nor would be visible from the World Heritage site.
Island of Gorée (Senegal)
The International Campaign for the Safeguarding of the Island of Gorée has as its objective the rehabilitation of the heritage and the socio-economic revitalization of the Island, the principal tourist destination in Senegal.
The preservation of the architectural heritage is linked to the protection of the natural environment (coastal areas) and the improvement of the infrastructure (water, sewers, refuse disposal, etc.). Specific priority projects have been identified for implementation.
The Bureau congratulated the Senegalese authorities for the efforts undertaken to preserve the Island of Gorée and its rehabilitation and socio-economic revitalization, taking into consideration the natural environment and the improvement of infrastructure; it also invited the international community to support the efforts undertaken by the Senegalese authorities.
Sacred City of Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka)
Ancient City of Polonnaruva (Sri Lanka)
Ancient City of Sigiriya (Sri Lanka)
ICOMOS monitoring missions to these three World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka were undertaken in November – December 1994. The final and comprehensive report of this mission was submitted by ICOMOS in July 1998, due to a series of unavoidable events which led to the delay in the completion of the report. The preparation of the report was also considered by ICOMOS as a process for the establishment of general parameters for future monitoring reports, which could possibly serve as guidelines for the World Heritage Committee. The report will be made available upon request by the World Heritage Centre for consultation at the twenty-second session of the World Heritage Committee. The report was submitted to the Government of Sri Lanka by ICOMOS in July 1998.
The report of the ICOMOS monitoring mission recommends a 10-point general recommendation for enhanced management and adequate protection of the three World Heritage sites, with a final recommendation that the concerned authorities refer to the 10 points as a guide in structuring periodic monitoring activities. The report also presents numerous recommendations concerning issues of management, planning, legal protection, conservation practice, training, tourism development, documentation, monitoring and presentation, as well as site-specific recommendations.
Amongst the comprehensive information and various recommendations presented in the report, ICOMOS experts noted that the area surrounding the rock of the outer moat at the Ancient City of Sigiriya site, which clearly was intended to be included in the original 1984 nomination dossier, is not indicated on the map of the nomination file. ICOMOS recommended that this be officially included in the protected area and that the World Heritage Committee be officially notified of the boundaries of the Ancient City of Sigiriya site. ICOMOS also reported that the complex water-management system, one of the most significant elements of the ancient landscape of Polonnaruva, is not specifically listed in the original 1984 nomination form. Particulary alarming at the Ancient City of Polonnaruva site, for which no buffer zones are fixed, was the construction of new buildings without specific design guidelines taking place in half of the city. Furthermore, ICOMOS noted that the boundaries delineated on the official map of the Sacred City of Anuradhapura exclude important areas of the World Heritage site.
Therefore, ICOMOS recommended that the Government of Sri Lanka submit to the World Heritage Committee, maps for all three properties clearly indicating the core and buffer zones of each site. These maps should be accompanied by explanatory material concerning each monument within each zone, also indicating the protection afforded to the monuments and areas protected. ICOMOS also recommended that copies of relevant management plans for individual projects and the corresponding development plans be transmitted to the World Heritage Committee through the World Heritage Centre.
The Bureau took note of the comprehensive ICOMOS report of the three sites in Sri Lanka and requested the Government of Sri Lanka to submit maps of the three sites, clearly indicating the core and buffer zones of each, accompanied by an inventory of all the religious and secular monuments, historically significant buildings and landscape elements within the core and buffer zones of the sites with explanatory information. Furthermore, the Bureau requested that copies of legislation and relevant management plans which ensure the protection of these zones be submitted to the World Heritage Committee by 15 September 1999. Finally, the Bureau requested the Government to submit a report to the World Heritage Committee concerning the actions taken to address the concerns and recommendations of ICOMOS following the monitoring mission, before 15 September 1999, especially concerning the building control within and surrounding the sites.
Site of Palmyra (Syrian Arab Republic)
In December 1997, the mission sent by the Secretariat to study the state of conservation of World Heritage sites in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon had recommended that an overall management plan should be prepared for the site of Palmyra. The Syrian authorities have requested the Secretariat to prepare detailed terms of reference for the management plan. A specialist visited the site in August 1998 and, in close co-operation with the Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums of Syria and with the assistance of the Institut Français d'Archéologie du Proche-Orient (IFAPO), prepared detailed terms of reference for the management plan which encompasses the archaeological site and the oasis and town of Palmyra, which are intertwined. Meanwhile, the authorities have already taken important protection measures, such as the diversion of the international road crossing the site.
The Bureau congratulates the Syrian authorities for their commitment in the conservation of the important site of Palmyra. It supported the continuation of the work for the development of a full-fledged integral management plan covering the oasis, the town and the archaeological zone. It also thanks the IFAPO for its involvement and the UNDP for its interest. It finally requests the Secretariat to continue its work to develop, starting early in 1999, the management plan of Palmyra. It therefore recommends the Syrian authorities to submit as soon as possible a request for international assistance to this effect.
Historic Areas of Istanbul (Turkey)
The Monument of Hagia Sophia of the Archaeological Park
In 1993, an expert mission visited Hagia Sophia, one of the main monuments of the World Heritage Historic Areas of Istanbul. A series of recommendations for its rehabilitation elaborated by the UNESCO mission in 1993 was approved by the Government of Turkey, who subsequently increased its budgetary allocation for their implementation. In March 1998 another mission visited the monument and stressed the need for an advisory body of international and national experts which can meet regularly to advise the national team composed of the Hagia Sophia Museum and the Central Conservation and Restoration Laboratory, in charge of the restoration of this monument. It also noted that the restoration of the mosaics of Hagia Sophia for which the World Heritage Fund has contributed US$ 80,000 between 1983 and 1994, was progressing satisfactorily. To increase the rhythm of the work, the Central Laboratory has requested additional human and financial resources (request to be considered under International Assistance).
The Zeyrek Conservation Site
With regard to the Zeyrek Conservation Site in Fatih District of Istanbul which is protected as part of the World Heritage area for the value of the Ottoman epoch timber buildings, the State Party submitted in May 1998, a Technical Co-operation request. This request concerned a detailed technical evaluation and the preparation of the repair schedules of these historic timber buildings, following the alarming report presented by ICOMOS to the twenty-second session of the Bureau. This request also included activities to support the Municipality of Fatih to establish a Fatih Heritage House, a service to advise the inhabitants of Fatih (including Zeyrek) of the housing improvement and conservation methods of the historic buildings, the majority of which are under private ownership. The Secretariat reported to the Bureau at its twenty-second ordinary session held in June 1998 that the urgency of these activities was due to the need to convince the European Union not to exclude Zeyrek from its rehabilitation project aimed at housing improvement, despite the fact that the majority of the Ottoman epoch buildings in Zeyrek had been abandonned by the inhabitants due to their dangerous condition. The Bureau decided to postpone its decision concerning the grant of this request to its extraordinary session in November 1998 and to await additional information. The UNESCO/EC project office and the ICOMOS expert who undertook another reactive monitoring mission in October 1998, reconfirmed the need for urgent measures to (a) prevent the further loss of these Ottoman epoch buildings by at least providing emergency shoring to avoid their collapse; (b) carry out training in conservation skills to stop the use of cement and inappropriate material in the restoration/reconstruction work being carried out on some of these buildings by the private sector; and (c) mobilize the Fatih Heritage House to undertake actions to organize the inhabitants to invest the required self-financing component in the co-funding scheme for housing improvement under the EU/Turkish Government programme, expected to become operational by September 1999.
The Bureau, having noted the State Party's request for UNESCO to establish a team of national and international experts to strengthen the on-going effort for the restoration of the mosaics of Hagia Sophia, recommended the Government to organize, in close collaboration with the Secretariat, an international expert meeting to take stock of the actions accomplished and to draw up a medium-term plan of action for the continuation of the work and to prepare the terms of reference for the international experts required by the Central Laboratory.
The Bureau expressed concern over the state of conservation of the Ottoman epoch timber buildings in Zeyrek as reported by ICOMOS and the Secretariat and requested the State Party to inform the Secretariat by 15 April 1999, for examination by the Bureau at its twenty-third ordinary session, on measures it intends to take for the preservation of this important site which forms an integral part of the World Heritage Historic Areas of Istanbul. The Bureau furthermore, requested the Secretariat to maintain close collaboration with the European Commission and the Fatih Municipality to maximize the benefits of the EU-funded project in Fatih for the rehabilitation of historic buildings in the World Heritage protected areas.
Kiev: Saint Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings (Ukraine)
At its twenty-second ordinary session, the Bureau requested the Government of Ukraine to reconsider its hotel-building policy and specific hotel projects in respect of their historical context. It requested the authorities to submit a report on this matter by 15 September 1998 at the latest.
The State Party informed the Secretariat on 14 September 1998 that the above-mentioned projects were repeatedly considered by the experts of Ukraine and were discussed by the local and central authorities as well as by ICOMOS Ukraine. As a result, the project of the hotel "Kiev-International" was decreased in height to the level of the existing surrounding buildings. Furthermore, the construction of the nearby "Laboratory House" project, which did not correspond to the surrounding architectural environment of the Cathedral, was suspended pending the preparation of a new proposal.
On 31 August 1998, the State Party also informed the Secretariat on the proposed reconstruction of the Dormition Cathedral in Pechersk-Lavra that, according to other sources, could cause problems to the surrounding buildings due to the unstable and geologically difficult terrain. It was stated that the reconstruction project would be carried out on the basis of a complex geological and engineering research, which offers the opportunity to select the optimal engineering and constructive solution. The State Party asked the Secretariat for advice in this matter.
ICOMOS stated that the final designs of the hotel buildings should still be reviewed and confirmed that open excavation pits at the site of the Cathedral, undertaken to research the geology of the soil, now pose dangers to the stability of the area. Expert assistance on the rehabilitation of the subsoil should be obtained without delay. Any further excavation in this area should be carried out according to accepted archaeological principles.
The Bureau took note of the information provided by the State Party on the projects for the construction of hotels in the city of Kiev and the proposed reconstruction of the Dormition Cathedral in Pechersk-Lavra. It also noted the advice of ICOMOS that the final designs of the hotels should be verified and in-depth hydro-geological studies should be undertaken at the site of the Dormision Cathedral. The Bureau requested ICOMOS to field an expert mission to this effect.
Complex of Hué Monuments (Vietnam)
The World Heritage Committee, at its the twenty-first session noted the concerns raised by the Bureau over the increasing cases of inappropriate reconstruction and new construction activities taking place in some parts of Zone 1 and more noticeably in Zone 2 of the World Heritage protected area of the Complex of Hué Monuments. The deformation to the historic urban pattern, renowned for its "garden houses" built respecting the traditional spatial organization of "feng shui", is caused primarily by the densification of land-use to accommodate the increase in family size after the end of the Vietnam War. The deformation of the historic townscape of Hué is also caused by inappropriate designs of houses being renovated or newly constructed which do not use traditional construction material nor are built in a style harmonious to the historic environment of the site.
With the international technical co-operation grant provided from the World Heritage Fund in 1998, a legal audit was conducted as part of the Hué-Lille-UNESCO joint project which has confirmed the weakness or the non-existence of some essential regulations. A proposal of provisional land-use regulations and general building guidelines are currently being drafted for consideration by the competent local and national authorities. The Heritage House (Maison du patrimoine), an advisory service for local inhabitants aimed to involve them in heritage conservation in the process of housing improvement, is expected to begin operations in March 1999 upon completion of the rehabilitation of a historic house to be used as the office. This rehabilitation and the architectural survey being conducted in five pilot project sites, have involved the mobilization of some 50 students of the Department of Architecture of Hué University over a period of six months under the technical supervision of Vietnamese professors and French architect-urbanists from the School of Architecture of Lille. These activities are financed by Lille Metropole and the French Foreign Ministry with catalytic financial input from the World Heritage Fund and being carried out within the framework of the decentralized co-operation agreement signed in November 1997 between between Lille Metropole (France) and Hué Provincial and Municipal Authorities under the aegis of UNESCO. Complementary activities in urban landscape protection and training of two Vietnamese professors of architecture in Lille are being financed and conducted by the Region Nord Pas de Calais in consultations with the Hué-Lille-UNESCO team. Close collaboration is also being maintained with the French DATAR team working on the regional development scheme to ensure that the upgrading of National Route No. 1 which cuts across the World Heritage site between the Citadel and the Imperial Tomb area, will not undermine the integrity of the site. The Bureau was informed that with funds made available in 1998 by the Committee, the Provincial Authority of Hué with support from the Vietnamese National Commission for UNESCO and the World Heritage Centre, will be organizing a donors' information meeting in Hanoi in March 1999 to co-ordinate international co-operation and development activities in Hué.
The Bureau encouraged the continued efforts of the Provincial and Municipal Authorities of Hué and the Hué Conservation Centre with technical support of Lille and UNESCO in mitigating the threat to Hué caused by inappropriate building design and densification of land-use. The Bureau requested the State Party to submit a written report to the Committee through the World Heritage Centre by 15 September 1999 on progress made in the elaboration and application of provisional regulations concerning the urban design and land-use in Zones 1 and 2 of the Hué World Heritage site.
Old City of Sana'a (Yemen)
A monitoring mission visited the site in June 1998 and found that there was obvious need of co-ordination between the various governmental bodies involved in the city as well as between the World Bank project team and the General Organization for the Preservation of the Historic Cities in Yemen (GOPHCY). The responsible national authorities requested the members of the mission to assist in establishing a new scheme in order to define the roles of various international and national bodies. The mission recommended that UNESCO create a new focal point to co-ordinate preservation activities in Sana'a.
After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat, the Bureau requested the Centre to assist the Yemeni authorities in establishing a focal point in Sana'a and provide technical assistance to prepare an overall management plan for the city.Annex 5