A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was undertaken from 23 to 28 November 2011 to the property to assess the state of conservation of the property including examination of the proposed road constructions and airport extension.
On 30 January 2012, the State Party submitted a concise state of conservation report.
a) Proposed Tunnel Road Construction at Pashupati Monument Zone
The State Party reports that the proposed tunnel road construction crossing the Pashupati monument zone has been abandoned, as requested by the Committee. This road, started in 2007, would have bifurcated the monument zone. Active work was stopped after the threat that constituted to the property was recognized. Mitigation to return the area to its pre-2007 appearance was requested by the World Heritage Committee decision. The State Party informs that this mitigation was discussed with the November 2011 mission but provides no further detail about implementation of such mitigation measures.
The November 2011 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission recommended that mitigation work on the road construction already undertaken in the Pashupati Monument Zone is essential, especially the construction work had been abandoned and an ecological restoration which should be undertaken immediately to return the area to its pre-2007 appearance. The resolution of the question for a transport infrastructure, in particular a new road proposal is urgently required, and clearly defined procedures to guide future traffic planning and road building should be developed and respected.
The mission also recommended that the Committee should review the progress made on the issue of an alternative route around the boundary of the property.
The mission considered that the Army’s presence within the property should be minimized and its use of part of the property as a Golf Club should cease. A transport and urban planning strategy for the whole city should be developed and adopted, and the impact of the proposed airport extension, ring road widening and new development to the north of the Pashupati Monument Zone should be assessed. Only projects judged not to impact adversely upon the Outstanding Universal Value of the property should be included in the Strategy.
b) Implementation of the Integrated Management Plan (IMP)
The State Party indicates that the current Integrated Management plan for the property is five years old and will need to be reviewed and updated.
The November 2011 mission considered that the Nepali government agencies should be commended, for their efforts towards implementation of the property’s 2007 Integrated Management Plan (IMP).
The mission recommended that the successful development of the IMP should be followed by the formation of a collaborative structure between government departments, other agencies and communities to support implementation and by mechanisms to undertake impact assessments of proposed developments. Site specific management regimes and building regulations for each of the seven areas of the property need to be developed and the Outstanding Universal Value communicated by the Department of Archaelogy to all stakeholders. Further, the mission considered that additional resources should be made available to support the Coordinative Working Committee to implement the IMP. In addition, a disaster risk management plan should be developed.
The mission noted that inappropriate development, such as that near the Pashupati Shrine and Hanuman Dhoka site, should be avoided. Efforts should be made to preserve key historical buildings across all monument zones. Furthermore conservation projects must be subject to heritage impact assessment and monitoring to ensure that conservation standards are applied, as they were found to be variable. Grant aid should be available for conservation of private buildings within the property.
In terms of on-site conservation of the property, the mission recommends that the new structure adjacent to the Pujari Math in the Bhaktapur site has an adverse impact on the historic character and setting and should be demolished. However, the reuse of a historic building to house the Patan Museum is exemplary and this example should be followed with other structures. Traditional building crafts should be encouraged. Communication with the general public should be improved to ensure appropriate understanding and appreciation of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value.
d) Heritage Impact Assessment
A Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for the proposed developments was requested by the Committee in Decision 35 COM 7B.75, for review by the Advisory bodies. The Decision implied that this should be produced for both developments mentioned in the Decision – the proposed road and the proposed airport extension. The same decision requested a report on the implementation of the recommendations of the March 2011 advisory mission, which examined the new road proposals and necessary repairs to the damaged natural drainage system, restoration of damaged forest areas, controls over pedestrian and vehicular access and the need to secure clear boundaries for the property.
The State Party has not produced a formal HIA for either proposal, and the report merely states that this will be produced for the new road once a consensus on the new proposal has been reached. The March 2011 advisory mission recommendations are not addressed by the State Party report.
e) Proposed reconstruction of Bhaidegah Temple, Patan Durbar Square
The Mission noted a draft proposal for this reconstruction. The State Party should provide full justification for the rebuilding and detailed architectural drawings including information on the materials and ornamentation so that a full review maybe undertaken by ICOMOS. A report compiled by ICOMOS assessing the State Party’s proposals for reconstruction of Patan Durbar Square is added to the mission report.