1.         Town of Luang Prabang (Lao People's Democratic Republic) (C 479bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1995

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(v)

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/479/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1994-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 92,242
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/479/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO mission (15-22 February 2005)

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Lack of enforcement of the Luang Prabang Conservation Plan (PSMV) and illegal constructions; Public works (road upgrading and drainage) which may affect the World Heritage values.   

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/479/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

No new information has been received from the State Party.

Upon receipt of information at the end of 2004 concerning the unauthorized demolition of Talat Dara market, the main covered market located in a strategic area of the historic core of the conservation area, UNESCO wrote to the State Party requesting that administrative procedures as laid out in the Luang Prabang Conservation Plan (PSMV) be respected, notably the demolition and building permits for non-objection by the Heritage House (Maison du Patrimoine) and approval by the Urban Development Authority (UDA).  While a third of the market buildings of 1950’s architecture had already been demolished, intervention by the Minister for Culture saved the remaining structures.  UNESCO was assured, during its February 2005 mission, by the Minister of Culture and the Vice-Governor of Luang Prabang that the renovation of the market would be carried out in conformity with the PSMV. 

The long awaited execution of the court decision for the demolition of a house built in flagrant violation of the PSMV, which involved falsification of the permit document and destruction of a listed building was finally carried out in February 2005 during the joint UNESCO-Chinon-Agence Française de Développement (AFD) mission.

The town extension plan and the Scheme for Coherent Territorial Development (SCOT) to mitigate the development pressure on the core historical zone of the property was approved by the inter-departmental Local Heritage Committee and the Minister of Culture, as President of the National Inter-ministerial Heritage Committee.  SCOT, developed with funding support from the AFD, has identified the general needs for new infrastructure, housing and nature protection areas and urban agricultural land.  The Government, with UNESCO’s support, has requested the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for a grant to finance a feasibility study on the road improvement and deviation around Luang Prabang to structure the coherent territorial development.  With support from UNESCO, the City of Chinon and the Region Centre of France, partners of Luang Prabang for the past ten years, the State Party initiated a new EU-financed project (750,000 Euros) on the protection and development of urban and peri-urban agriculture, and another on the protection of the hydro system/wetlands approved for funding by the French Fund for the World Environment (FFEM), both of which will support conservation and local development. 

Preparation for the creation of a Natural Regional Park of the Nam Khan River Basin which will include the World Heritage area of Luang Prabang, and part of a National Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA) is also underway with the support of Region Centre and UNESCO.  A joint UNESCO/WWF rapid assessment survey of the property for potential consideration as a Biosphere Reserve under Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) is scheduled for the last quarter of 2005.  UNESCO and the Tokyo Institute of Technology are supporting the “Heritage Knowledge Kiosk” project entailing the development of database/website and installation of internet centres for tourists and the local communities in the World Heritage protected area and future biosphere reserve under MAB.  The State Party approved a revision of the national heritage law to enable the levying of heritage taxes from tourists to finance conservation through the “heritage pass” system.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7B.60

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15B.60 adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Recognizing the importance of the territorial dimension of heritage conservation and heritage-based development, as developed in the Scheme for Coherent Territorial Development (SCOT), notably to mitigate the development pressure on the World Heritage property,

4. Reiterating, however, its concern over the capacity of the national and local authorities to continue enforcement measures for heritage protection in a sustainable manner, particularly to maintain the vital function of the Maison du Patrimoine without dependence on external aid,

5. Encourages the State Party of Lao People's Democratic Republic to seek national measures to raise funds for conservation;

6. Requests the State Party to regularly report to the World Heritage Centre on the progress achieved in the implementation of the "Plan de Sauvegarde et de Mise en Valeur" and the SCOT, as well as on other conservation issues in the core protected area.