1.         Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Ukraine) (C 527bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1990

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/527/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-2009)
Total amount approved: USD 44,720
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/527/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

May 1999: ICOMOS expert mission; April 2006: expert mission (Italian Funds-in-Trust); November 2007: World Heritage Centre information meeting for site managers; March 2009 and November 2010: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring missions.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Urban development pressure

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/527/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

The State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 30 March 2012 prepared by the National Kiev-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Preserve. The report addresses only those recommendations of the Committee at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011) regarding the state of conservation of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.

a) Accelerated urban development

The State Party recognizes in its report that three high-rise buildings under construction in the Pechrsk district threaten the dominance of the property’s silhouette along the Dnieper River. The State Party reports that these buildings are situated in the protected landscape zone for which specific building regulations exist. The National Kiev-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Preserve informs in the report that numerous letters regarding these constructions have been sent to the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine and to the Kyiv City State Administration.

The State Party did not provide detailed information on these high-rise construction projects which the Committee has requested to be halted since 2009, in accordance with the recommendations of the 2010 reactive monitoring mission. The constructions have continued despite assurances that a moratorium would be established.

The World Heritage Centre has also been informed about new construction in the buffer zone of Saint-Sophia Cathedral, which may adversely impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The State Party report does not contain information about the survey of the overall monastic river landscape that was requested at the 35th session, as a basis for planning and impact assessment.

At the end of April 2012, the State Party invited a high-level advisory mission to visit Kyiv in May 2012 to discuss these issues with the national authorities. The time constraints before the 36th session of the Committee did not allow a mission to be organized.

b) Concept of the Master Plan of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

The State Party reports that in 2010 the concept of the Master Plan of the development of the National Kiev-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Preserve, including a conservation Master Plan, land-use and monument use rules, hydrological monitoring system, has been developed and approved by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. Due to the lack of funding, however, the development of the Master Plan has been suspended until 2012.

c) Management Plan

The State Party has not submitted a management plan, as it has been requested by the World Heritage Committee for several years. The State Party reports on the intention to develop such a plan for the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, but no progress has been reported on a unified system of management for the property.

d) Rehabilitation programme for the Varangian caves

The State Party reports that the National Kiev-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Preserve jointly with the authorities of the Holy Dormition Pechersk Lavra developed the concept of conservation of caves for 2012-2015. The report states that the emergency projects for individual sections of the caves will be developed on the basis of technical surveys of the state of conservation of the complex of the Far and the Varangian caves. The overall rehabilitation plan for the caves requested by the Committee has not been submitted.

e) Possible extension of the buffer zone boundaries

The State Party states that the Scientific and Methodological Council of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine decided to unify the buffer zones of both components of the property. This proposal and project documentation have been approved by the Ministry of Culture in July 2011. No maps have been provided nor has a minor Boundary modification been submitted.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note with alarm that the most pessimistic prognosis mentioned in the 2009 mission report on the panorama along the River Dnieper is becoming a reality, as tall buildings are being constructed even in regulated areas.

Despite the fact that the City Administration has been charged by the Prime Minister of Ukraine to inspect all disputable constructions in the historical part of the city, from the point of view of their compliance with existing legislation, currently no survey of the monastic river landscape has been undertaken or even planned. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the property and its setting are vulnerable to irreversible changes in their urban context and that there is an urgent need to control the scale and design of building development and overall development.

In spite of repeated requests from the Committee, no moratorium has been imposed on all high-rise buildings that may have a negative effect on the panorama along the Dnieper River, until a survey has been conducted of the overall monastic river landscape.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that unless urgent action is taken to halt and, in places, reverse the development along the Dnieper River, the landscape will be irreversibly damaged.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also consider that the lack of protection and planning mechanisms has reached an alarming level. Although a Master Plan has been drafted, it is not in effect. Furthermore no Management Plan has been prepared and no progress has been made with a unified management system. They consider that it is now essential that strengthened protection and planning mechanisms are introduced for the property, its buffer zone and wider setting based on studies of the urban landscape and views if the integrity of the property is not to be irreversibly damaged.

They recommend to the Committee that it request the State Party to implement, in coordination with the City Administration, all necessary measures, identify alternative solutions to the ongoing high-rise building projects and reduce their adverse effect by commissioning heritage impact studies, modifying proposed projects and demolishing already constructed levels which exceed an appropriate scale.

They also recommend inviting the State Party to develop Special Area Plans for the inscribed property, its buffer zone and its setting, based on a careful analysis of important views, typologies and urban fabric, that would provide planning controls and guidance at a more detailed level, as well as to create a World Heritage Board, and submit a report on the implementation of the above to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2013, for review.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that new legal provisions in the protection and management system for the World Heritage property should be introduced that would enable the national authorities to review and, if necessary to introduce veto proposals for major development projects, and, if necessary, impose vetoes on such developments.

Further, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend the establishment of a special board of representatives or a Technical Review Committee, comprised of representatives of the national authorities, City administrators and site managers, to review all major development proposals and proposed planning controls and policies that could impact adversely on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the State Party had invited a high-level advisory mission to Kyiv and recommends that the Committee requests the State Party  to invite a reactive monitoring mission to discuss all sensitive issues regarding the protection of the historic urban landscape of the city of Kyiv, as well as the development of the national strategy for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Ukraine, including reinforcement of the management system.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the surveys undertaken of the Varangian caves but regret that no detailed documents have been provided on the rehabilitation project, as requested by the Committee.

If no substantial progress is accomplished by the State Party, they further recommend to the Committee to consider inscribing the Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral, Kiev Pechersk Lavra and Related Monastic Buildings (Ukraine) on the List of the World Heritage in Danger at its 37th session 2013. 

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7B.90

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.112, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Expresses its grave concern at the degradation of the panorama along the Dnieper river and that the ongoing construction of high-rise buildings could affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

4.   Reiterates its requests to the State Party to impose a moratorium on all high-rise buildings, to implement, in coordination with the City Administration all necessary measures to reduce their adverse effect, by modifying projects and by demolishing constructed levels to an appropriate scale and also to undertake a survey of the overall monastic river landscape as a basis for planning and impact assessment;

5.   Considers that the lack of legal protection and planning mechanisms that would enable the national authorities to exercise control over the property constitute a potential threat for the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and urges the State Party to strengthen protection and planning mechanisms as a matter of urgency, to define a protected historic urban area for central Kyiv and to develop special Area Plans for the property, its buffer zone and its setting, based on a careful analysis of important views, typologies and urban fabric, and to submit these to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2013, for review;

6.   Also expresses its grave concern about the continuous lack of a management system and defined mechanisms of coordination for the management of the property, and also urges the State Party to put in place a unified system of management for the property;

7.   Regrets that adequate information on these development proposals and the status of their approval was not provided by the State Party prior to the beginning of the construction works, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of Operational Guidelines and as previously requested and further urges the State Party to ensure that all major projects have adequate impact assessments in line with the ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessment for Cultural World Heritage properties and be then presented to the Committee before any irreversible decisions are made;

8.   Invites the State Party to consider the establishment of a special board, including representatives of the national authorities, the city administration, as well as site managers of the property and other relevant stakeholders, and to review all major development proposals and proposed planning controls and policies that could impact adversely on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

9.   Notes the multi-disciplinary study that has been carried out on the Varangian caves, and also reiterates its request to the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre details of the proposed rehabilitation plan for the caves;

10.  Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the property which will discuss, at the highest decision makers level, the development of a national strategy for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Ukraine, including all sensitive issues regarding the protection of the historic urban landscape of the city of Kyiv;

11.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 8B.41

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Documents WHC-12/36.COM/8B and WHC-12/36.COM/INF.8B1,

2.   Defers the examination of the proposed extension of Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, to include St. Cyril’s and St. Andrew’s Churches, Ukraine, to the World Heritage List, in order to allow the State Party, with the advice of ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre, if requested, to:

a)   Clarify the situation with regard to Saint Cyril’s Church boundaries,

b)   Consider creating a buffer zone northeast of Saint Andrew’s Church, on the hillside below the building,

c)   Confirm that the right of ownership of the extended property was transferred to the Ministry of Culture in 2011,

d)   Confirm that the ministerial responsibility over the body in charge of the extended property, the Saint Sophia Conservation Area, was transferred to the Ministry of Culture in 2011,

e)   Clearly indicate the legal protection in place and the management system responsible for its application, and include the conservation schedule,

f)    Put an end to the absence of control over construction work in the buffer zone, guarantee under the new draft Law on Town Planning Regulations that all new projects in the buffer zone will be examined by the Ministry of Culture, which will have a suspensive power in the event of a threat to the environmental and landscape values of the property’s sites,

g)   Implement a unified Management Plan for the properties, buffer zones, and landscape protection of the Orthodox Metropolate of Kiev,

h)   Stop the project to rebuild a bell tower at Saint Cyril’s Church,

i)     Implement forthwith a moratorium on the restructuring of Andreevsky Spusk street, alongside Saint Andrew’s Church, in order to manage better the visual impacts on the site;

3.   Considers that any revised nomination should be examined by a mission to the site;

4.   Recommends the State Party give consideration to the following:

a)   Continuing the research and monitoring efforts for the unstable subsoil at both churches,

b)   Confirming the possibility for rapid intervention of emergency services in the event of a fire at Saint Cyril’s Church,

c)   Settling the issue of the abundant use of tapers and candles that are blackening and damaging the already fragile painted and decorative schemes,

d)   Regulating automobile traffic and parking within the perimeter of Saint Andrew’s Church,

e)   Improving tourist facilities outside these two churches, especially Saint Andrew’s, where the environmental quality of the church is threatened (booths, parking, etc.),

f)    Ensuring the property’s overarching authority, the Saint Sophia National Protection Area, involves the other parties in the property’s management, notably the Orthodox Churches and the municipality of Kiev, as well as the local population.