1.         Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Pakistan) (C 171)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2000-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/171/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1981-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 121,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/171/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission in September 2000.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Urban pressure; Lack of capacity in conservation techniques; Lack of management mechanism (including legislation); Lack of monitoring system; Lack of human and financial resources; Transfer of custody.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/171/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

The amount of US$ 50,000, approved by the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee in June 2004 as Emergency Assistance for the property, was decentralized to the UNESCO Office in Islamabad and used to carry out urgent measures for the stabilization and conservation of selected deteriorated structures of the Shalamar Gardens, as well as for the restoration of their original landscaping.  In addition, the UNESCO Office in Islamabad is using funds from the Getty Grant Programme for a baseline survey and documentation of selected structures.

The World Heritage Centre received a report from the State Party on 29 January 2005.  The report explains what provisions exist for buffer zones in the current legislation for cultural heritage, and confirms that the management authority for the property has been transferred to the Punjab Government (Department of Culture), with effect from August 2004.

The State Party reports as well on a number of significant steps which have been taken for the safeguarding of the property since the transfer of management authority, thanks mostly to the financial support of the Norwegian Government through a Joint UNESCO/Government of Punjab project.  The following main results were achieved:

a)  The re-hanging of the endangered historic ceiling of the Shish Mahal Hall was successfully accomplished in April 2004, as a result of a cooperative effort between international and national conservators.  Following the stabilization of the ceiling, a new roof is being installed over the Shish Mahal, which will ensure safety against water seepage and provide enough space for regular cleaning and maintenance of the decorative ceiling.  The threat to this monument, which had been one of the reasons for the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2000, has been therefore removed.

b)  The establishment of building-crafts workshops, i.e. for fresco, pietra dura, mirror work and tile mosaic, with a view to ensuring the condition of ‘sustainability’ laid down by the donor agency. 

c)  The first draft of a Master Plan for the Lahore Fort, to be completed in October 2005 and submitted to the competent authorities for approval and funding. 

Other minor conservation works have been accomplished or are in progress. 

With regard to the above-mentioned report of January 2005, ICOMOS commended the strong efforts of the national authorities and its various partners, UNESCO, Getty Conservation Institute and the Government of Norway, to put in place a series of well co-ordinated and strong integrated initiatives for the conservation of the Shalamar Gardens and the Lahore Fort.

However, ICOMOS stresses the importance of fully responding to a number of questions for which the Committee asked for further information in its decision of the 28th session (Suzhou, 2004), and which remain unanswered:

a)  The Committee asked the State Party, “in collaboration with ICOMOS, to examine the heritage values of the Shalamar Gardens and Lahore Fort to redefine the protective core and buffer zones of the property”.  The State Party’s comments on buffer zones suggest however the limits within Pakistani Law of what can be done to improve the effectiveness of buffer zones, in particular giving the shifting of responsibility from Federal to Provincial level.

b)  The Committee in addition asked that the State Party “take all steps to ensure the establishment of an effective site management authority for the protection of the property, and inform the Committee of the effects that a change of custody of the property from national to provincial levels has had and will in the future have on the conservation of the property.”

ICOMOS, furthermore, notes that the State Party’s comments on the shift of responsibility from one level of government to another are ambiguous, and not clear with regard to the expectations for future management of the site.  At the same time, nothing is said about efforts to establish an overall site Management Authority.

According to information collected by the World Heritage Centre during a Sub-regional Workshop on the Follow-Up to the Periodic Reporting in South Asia, held at Lahore from 11 to 17 April 2005, the Government of Punjab has recently taken a number of important decisions to strengthen the protection of the property, both at the Shalamar Gardens and at the Fort. 

Concerning the Shalamar Gardens, the actions decided include:

a)  the diversion of the Great Truck Road and the acquisition and subsequent demolition of 106 houses to create a larger buffer zone respectively on the southern and eastern sides of the Shalamar Gardens;

b)  the consolidation and conservation of the remains of the water tank which had been demolished in 1999 (event which had contributed to the decision by the Committee to inscribe the property on the List of the World Heritage in Danger); and

c)  the implementation of important drainage works to mitigate the impact of waste water and salts on the perimeter walls. 

At the Lahore Fort, the actions foreseen include:

a)  the implementation of conservation works on selected buildings according to a Master Plan to be finalized in October 2005;

b)  the pedestrianization of the southern road of Azuri Bagh and the shifting of the Rim Market, as well as

c)  the closure of the Great Truck Road to heavy traffic, to alleviate the pressure on the property. 

Substantial financial allocations have apparently been made towards the implementation of the above works.  In response to a request from the Norwegian authorities, moreover, the Government of Punjab has also expressed its intention to allocate permanently a share of the revenue from entrance fees of the two monuments for conservation works on the property. 

It would appear, therefore, that the transfer of management authority from the federal to the Provincial level sparked a renewed sense of ownership and commitment from the part of the responsible authorities in Lahore with immediate tangible benefits for the conservation of the property.  However, as noted by ICOMOS, there remain some uncertainties on the overall implications of the shifting of responsibilities from Federal to Provincial level.  In particular, it is not clear what procedures exist for the central authorities of the State Party to ensure that the appropriate standards of conservation are applied by the provincial institutions responsible for the day-to-day management of the property, and what is the process for designating and regulating land use of buffer zones.  This needs to be urgently clarified by the State Party, especially as it seems that the same approach might be adopted for other properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, such as Taxila.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM


Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7A.25

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 28 COM 15A.26, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Commends the State Party of Pakistan for the significant and positive steps undertaken for the safeguarding of the property, and notably for having ensured the stability of the ceiling of the Shish Mahal;

4. Requests the State Party, in consultation with ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre, to:

a) submit to the World Heritage Centre copies of the final Master Plans developed in the framework of the on-going Project for the safeguarding of the World Heritage property;

b) approve the master plans for the Shalamar Gardens and the Lahore Fort and provide the necessary regular financial and human resources for their implementation; and

c) develop a single, comprehensive management plan for the two sites composing the property, integrating information on the new institutional set up for their conservation, on the revised boundary and buffer zones as well as on all the activities envisaged within the framework of the Master Plans elaborated for the Shalamar Gardens and Lahore Fort;

5. Further requests the State Party to clarify the rationale and management implications (including buffer zone identification and protection in compliance with accepted standards of conservation) of the shift from federal to provincial authorities with respect to the commitment of the State Party to preserve the values for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List;

6. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint mission of the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS to the property to assess its state of conservation and to report on whether corrective measures for the property have been implemented, in order to allow the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006) to consider the possible removal of the property from the List of World Heritage List in Danger;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2006, a progress report on the implementation of the abovementioned recommendations and requests of clarification, and on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);

8. Decides to retain the Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Pakistan) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 29 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined the of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-05/29.COM/7A and WHC-05/29.COM/7A.Add),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: