UNESCO fielded a monitoring mission to Hué in November 2003 to evaluate the state of conservation of the World Heritage property and advise the Vietnamese authorities on the steps to be taken to improve the conservation and protection of the heritage of Hué. This mission resulted in several observations.
The following operations, planned or already carried out, contribute to rendering the citadel of Hué its original urban and landscaping aspects:
a) Clearing the banks of the Perfume River at the level of the Kim Long Quarter;
b) Clearing the south-east ditches, with the creation of a road lined with trees along its outer side in the Phu Hoa Quarter;
c) The enhancement of the south-east ditch and glacis, opposite of the flag tower;
d) The planting and replanting of alignment trees;
e) Opening the Hau Door north-east of the citadel to public circulation;
f) The operational project for the restoration and enhancement of the Grand Canal;
g) The operational project for the enhancement of « garden houses » planned for the Kim Long Quarter.
The ancient domestic and commercial architecture in the citadel and suburbs is under threat due to urban pressure that produces a general congestion. The monumental component of the property does not seem to be in danger, even if the restoration and the enhancement of the monumental architecture of Hué is a task of considerable magnitude.
Certain projects have already had, or may have, a negative impact on the heritage values of the site of Hué and its surroundings. These are especially:
a) the ominous development of road infrastructures within the inscribed property, making it vulnerable to urban sprawl of the geomantic environment by anarchic urbanisation and an increase of road traffic:
(i) by the creation of the south-west bypass of the national Route 1 crossing the inscribed
property, with the construction of a bridge across the Perfume River;
(ii) by the creation and widening of the roads, linked to the opening of the south-west bypass of Route 1;
(iii) by the widening of roads;
b) dangerous projects for developing the road infrastructures in the property inscribed linked to the danger of the urban infrastructure passing from level 2 to level 1, notably:
(i) the project for the creation of a south-west ring road with a bridge cutting off the perspective of the Perfume River;
(ii) the project to widen Nyuyen Chi Thanh street in the Phu Cat Quarter;
(iii) the project for widening the Tan Da street in the Huong So Quarter, which would result in widening the roads in the citadel and an increase in the circulation and parking of vehicles;
c) the worrisome construction of modern buildings that do not respect the regulations with regard to height and density;
d) the landfill of part of a pond to the north of the Tay Loc Quarter in the vicinity of the An Hoa Door and, generally, the increase in urban pressure on the hydrographic network structure and the agricultural land situated within the citadel.
ICOMOS stresses the urgent need for a Master Plan based on the recommendations of the mission report. This plan should not be conceived on the western model, but in such a way so as to take account of the local specificities and conditions. The table of contents in the Agreement for decentralized cooperation between the urban community of Lille (France) and the province of Thua Thien Hué is considered as an excellent working basis for such a plan. Additional regulations for the use of public space and sanitary conditions are necessary to strengthen the proposed Master Plan.