Kathmandu Valley (Nepal)
The Secretariat recalled the concern raised over the state of conservation of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage site and the debate during the seventeenth session of the Committee in December 1993 and the Bureau at its eighteenth session in July 1994 on the possible inscription of the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger and the delisting of certain parts of the site damaged by uncontrolled development. The 16-point recommendation of the UNESCO/ICOMOS Review Mission of November 1993 and the pledge made by' the Representative of His Majesty's Government at the seventeenth session of the Committee to follow-up on these recommendations were also recalled.
The Committee was presented with a monitoring report prepared by the Department of Archaeology on progress made in the follow-up activities. In the absence of the Nepali Representative, the Secretariat summarized the main points of this report.
Actions reported include:
- adoption of revised byelaws which came into effect in February 1994 requiring prior permit for any demolition within the core area of the city;
- submission to Parliament of the proposed Fifth Amendment of the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act strengthening the enforcement mechanism of design and development control within the World Heritage protected zones which could not be passed due to the dissolution of the Parliament;
- approval by the Government of the redefined boundary of Swayambunath and publication of this in the Nepal Gazette;
- completion of a map of the revised boundary of Patan Darbar Square checked on the ground, house-by-house, and agreed upon with the Municipality and other relevant bodies which is to be gazetted in the near future;
- completion of maps of the revised boundaries of the five other monument zones as recommended by the UNESCO/ICOMOS mission which will soon be verified through ground survey;
- completion of the inventories of public and religious monuments in Patan Darbar Square, Pashupati and Bauddhanath;
- publication of information pamphlets on the seven World Heritage monument zones containing general information on conservation norms, particularly the ban since July 1994 of the use of cement mortar in the repair of monuments;
- initiation of computerized documentation and manual recording of monuments zones;
- removal of commercial advertisement panels from the monument zones and the museum building of Swayambunath.
The Secretariat also reported on the Nepal/UNESCO/ICOMOS strategy meeting held in mid-November 1994 immediately following the Kathmandu Valley International Campaign Review Meeting and drew the attention of the Committee to the action plan to be coordinated by an inter-ministerial task force which the representatives of the various ministries to the strategy meeting agreed to establish. This action plan contained in the monitoring report includes, inter alia, the development and publication of guidelines on building and conservation practice with graphic illustrations and establishment of a development control unit in the Department of Archaeology to work closely with the municipalities and town development committees.
The Committee, having noted the efforts being made by the Nepali authorities to rectify the damage caused to the Kathmandu Valley, requests UNESCO to support the Government of Nepal in strengthening the mechanism of coordination of all international conservation activities, whether bilateral or multilateral, especially with regard to the method of conservation to be applied. The Committee also calls upon the Government of Nepal to take into consideration, the recommendations made by the joint UNESCO/ICOMOS mission of November 1993 in ensuring the protection of the World Heritage site from uncontrolled development, especially by adopting a more stringent policy in the granting of demolition and construction permits and other landuse authorization in both the core area and the buffer zone. Recognizing the limited national resources in carrying out the variety of required activities, the Committee requests UNESCO to assist the Nepali authorities in preparing a package of projects to seek international donor support including the documentation of the World Heritage site, to be undertaken as a priority. In this connection, the Committee discussed the advantages of the Kathmandu Valley being put on the List of World Heritage in Danger to draw the priority attention of the international community and urged the Government of Nepal to reconsider this option.