State of Conservation (SOC)
Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee
Summary of previous deliberations: At its twenty-second session, the Committee approved a technical co-operation request for purchasing computer equipment and for partially funding the international experts’ fees, for producing new maps for efficient and adequate management of this cultural landscape site, which is very vulnerable to a variety of adverse impacts. The Regional Advisor for Culture in the Asia-Pacific is assisting the authorities of the Philippines in implementing this activity.
New information: ICOMOS Germany expressed serious concern on the state of conservation and management of the Rice Terraces Philippines Cordilleras in December 1998, following an expert mission undertaken at the invitation of the Culture Committee of the Philippines within the Philippines National Commission to UNESCO. In January 1999, the Director of the World Heritage Centre recommended that the Government of the Philippines appoint a special team of experts, composed of various national and local authorities responsible for this site, in order to prepare a realistic plan of corrective measures upon technical evaluation of the conservation needs. No response concerning this recommendation has been received by the World Heritage Centre. Meanwhile, the Ifugao Terraces Commission responded in March 1999 informing the World Heritage Centre that it has taken into consideration for future action, the recommendations made by the expert concerning the creation of a buffer zone around the rice plantation areas, the restoration of the watersheds of Batad and the promotion of traditional houses in Batad.
Action RequiredThe Bureau, upon examining the report of the World Heritage Centre, requests the authorities of the Philippines to submit a progress report on the implementation of the Technical Co-operation project for GIS mapping, and to report on the actions taken in addressing the concerns raised by ICOMOS experts, for examination by the Bureau at its twenty-third extraordinary session. Furthermore, it reiterates the recommendation of the Director of the World Heritage Centre that a team of experts, composed of various national and local authorities responsible for this site, be urgently appointed in order to prepare a realistic plan of corrective measures upon technical evaluation of the conservation needs of this site.
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Requests Approved: 0
Total Amount Ap proved: 78,200USD
|1998||GIS for mapping the Rice Terraces of the Philippines Cordilleras ...||50,000 USD|
|1997||Preparation of a technical project for the mapping of the Rice ...||15,000 USD|
|1994||Preparation of a nomination file for Cordillera Rice Terraces||13,200 USD|
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
Current conservation issues
World Heritage Bureau, twenty-third session - Chapter IV.74
New information:In response to the request of the Bureau at its twenty-third session, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines transmitted a brief report prepared by the Banaue Rice Terraces Task Force (BRTTF) dated 30 August 1999, stating that the contract for the GIS mapping of the site was finally signed on 24 August 1999. The Secretariat was requested to note that the following were among the projects being undertaken to protect the site :
· Reforestation of Batad’s critical watershed which serves as the buffer zone for the terraces ;
· Repair of the damaged rice terraces ;
· Rehabilitation of the ancient irrigation systems ;
· Repair and restoration of the traditional native Ifugao houses in the Batad villages (BRTTF reported that 48 native houses have already been restored by changing decayed cogon or thatched roof with fresh cogon) ;
· Protection of the traditional Ifugao clan-owned forest called the « Muyongs » which serves as buffer zones for the terraces, notably by strengthening co-operation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for strict enforcement of the Forestry Laws to prevent timber-poaching and deforestation ; co-operation with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to prevent damages to the ricefields and forest buffer zones when implementing public works within the terrace areas ; and by undertaking joint reforestation projects with the local woodcarvers and stakeholders of the terraces with technical support of the DENR.
The Secretariat has been informed by independent experts of the negative impact on the site and its inhabitants due to increasing tourism while the site’s carrying capacity remains inadequate.
Analysis and Conclusion
Link to the decision
At its twenty-second session, the Committee approved a technical co-operation request to purchase computer equipment and for partially funding the international experts’ fees, for producing new maps for efficient and adequate management of this cultural landscape site, which is very vulnerable to a variety of adverse impacts. The UNESCO Regional Office in Bangkok is assisting the authorities of the Philippines in implementing this activity.
ICOMOS Germany expressed concern over the state of conservation and management of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras in December 1998, following an expert mission undertaken at the invitation of the Culture Committee of the Philippines of the National Commission for UNESCO. The Ifugao Terraces Commission responded in March 1999 informing the World Heritage Centre that it has taken into consideration for future action, the recommendations made by the expert concerning the creation of a buffer zone around the rice plantation areas, the restoration of the watersheds of Batad and the promotion of traditional houses in Batad.
The Bureau was informed that the Government of the Philippines had submitted for evaluation, a proposal, work plan and budget for the GIS mapping project to the Regional Advisor for Culture in the Asia Pacific Region of the UNESCO Bangkok Office, and was awaiting response to commence the implementation of the technical work.
ICOMOS stated that the state of conservation and the concerns raised should be taken seriously, as this fragile site, like many cultural landscape sites, was extremely vulnerable to the changes of the socio-ecological system. The closely interlinking characteristics of the site are essential in maintaining the integrity of its World Heritage values.
The Observer of the Philippines expressed her appreciation of the ICOMOS mission and its recommendations. She informed the Bureau that her Government had taken note of the concerns raised, and that the President of the Philippines had recently appointed a task force to address these concerns.
The Bureau, upon examining the report of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and the Observer of the Philippines, requested the authorities of the Philippines, with the assistance of the UNESCO Regional Office in Bangkok, to submit a progress report on the implementation of the Technical Co-operation project for GIS mapping, and also report on the actions taken in addressing the concerns raised by ICOMOS experts, for examination by the Bureau at its twenty-third extraordinary session. Furthermore, the Bureau reiterated that the newly appointed Government Task Force, established by the President of the Philippines, together with various national and local authorities responsible for this site, prepare a realistic plan of corrective measures upon technical evaluation of the conservation needs of this site.
Link to the decision
X.46 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-99/CONF.209/6) and included in Annex VIII of this report on the following properties:
Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis (Argentina and Brazil)
The Jesuit Mission of Santa Ana (Argentina)
The Potala Palace, Lhasa (China)
City of Quito (Ecuador)
The Delegate of Ecuador informed the Committee that the volcano Pichincha had erupted on 5 October and November 26 1999 and that the National Institute for Cultural Heritage (INPC) and the Municipality of Quito had taken preventive measures to protect the population and the monuments.
Historic Centre of Tallin (Estonia)
Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay (France)
Roman Monuments, Cathedral and Liebfrauen Church in Trier (Germany)
Ashanti Traditional Buildings (Ghana)
Churches and Convents of Goa (India)
Luang Prabang (Laos)
Island of Mozambique (Mozambique)
Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha (Nepal)
The Observer of HMG of Nepal assured the Committee that the conservation of the Maya Devi Temple would be undertaken following international conservation norms prescribed by the World Heritage Convention. He informed the Committee that HMG of Nepal would be grateful to receive expert suggestions from UNESCO concerning the draft conceptual design for the Maya Devi Temple conservation work, as such advice would be a guideline for elaborating the details of the design under preparation. The Observer assured the Committee that the designs for the works at Maya Devi Temple, once completed, would be transmitted to UNESCO, as assured by HMG of Nepal. The Observer informed the Committee that a technical cooperation request for the organization of an international technical meeting to discuss the proposed project for the conservation, restoration, and presentation of the Maya Devi Temple, would be submitted, following the request of the Bureau at its twenty-third session.
Archaeological Site of Chavin (Peru)
City of Cuzco (Peru)
Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines)
The Observer of the Philippines assured the Committee that the long-term integrated development plan of the site, including a tourism development plan for the site, would be submitted in due course to UNESCO, preferably before 15 September 2000. To ensure that the authenticity and sustainable conservation of this fragile site is maintained, the Observer stated that his Government would avail of the generous offer of the Committee to provide technical expertise under the World Heritage Fund.
Auschwitz Concentration Camp (Poland)
The Sokkuram Grotto and Pulguksa Temple (Republic of Korea)
Alhambra, Generalife and Albaycin, Grenada (Spain)
Historic Areas of Istanbul (Turkey)
The Observer of Turkey thanked the Bureau for the sympathies expressed for the victims of the earthquake this year. The Observer stated that Istanbul is the only one among the nine World Heritage sites in Turkey located in the region impacted by the August 1999 earthquake. While the damage can only be measured over time, initial assessment has noted minor cracks in several historic monuments including the Hagia Sophia, and four museums. Severe cracks have, however, been noted in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, the conservation laboratory which is housed in an historic monument, in two historic library buildings, and in more than ten tombs as well as in the city walls (ramparts). The Committee was informed that the impact report of the second earthquake (in November 1999) on World Heritage sites had not been received by the Ministry of Culture of Turkey from its regional offices. The Observer said that a detailed report would be submitted to the Committee through the Secretariat as soon as it is completed.
With regard to the urban conservation plan of the historic peninsula of Istanbul, the Observer informed the Committee that the 1/5000 scale plan has just been completed and submitted to the Greater Istanbul Council and upon approval, will be transmitted to the Regional Conservation Council for clearance. As soon as this is officially approved, the 1/1000 scale plan will be prepared for the Fatih and Eminonu municipalities. In addition, the 1/500 scale detailed conservation plan for the Zeyrek district prepared by Istanbul Technical University, which was co-funded by the World Heritage Fund is about to be completed, and will be submitted to the Fatih Municipality for approval. The Observer thanked the UNESCO World Heritage Centre for having mobilized international support for the conservation of Istanbul's urban heritage, and in this regard, expressed particular appreciation for the financial support extended by the European Commission and the Government of France.
The Observer concluded her intervention by saying that due to the need to finance earthquake rehabilitation activities, the budget of all government services had been severely cut, including that of the Ministry of Culture. While on-going joint conservation projects with the municipalities of Istanbul will be continued, no expansion in the area of work or additional activities will be possible for 2000.
The Delegate of Greece called upon the Committee to provide support to Turkey in the rehabilitation of the earthquake damage. In this regard, she recalled her statement at the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau, which pointed to the need to prioritize the object of international support in view of the vast conservation needs of the Istanbul World Heritage area. The Chairperson, in his personal capacity stated that this spirit of collaboration and solidarity expressed by Greece in favour of Turkey was a demonstration of the spirit of the World Heritage Convention.
The Bureau may wish to adopt the following decision and transmit it to the Committee for noting:
“The Bureau expresses its appreciation of the informative report of the Banaue Rice Terraces Task Force (BRTTF) dated 30 August 1999 informing the Bureau of the on-going activities for the protection of the Rice Terraces of the Philippines Cordilleras. The Bureau stresses the importance of these activities, notably the watershed management of the site and its buffer zone as well as those to mitigate the negative impact of infrastructural development works on the site. The Bureau recommends the State Party to elaborate a long-term integrated development plan to ensure that the socio-economic development needs of the local inhabitants are met while maintaining the authenticity and sustainable conservation of this fragile site. In this connection, the Bureau expresses concern over the impact of increasing tourism to the site and requests the State Party to inform the Bureau through the Secretariat by 15 September 2000 on whether or not the integrated development strategy including a tourism development plan for this site which were reportedly under preparation at the time of the site"s inscription had been completed. Should the State Party require international expertise in completing this, the Bureau expresses its readiness to support the national effort through technical co-operation under the World Heritage Fund.”
Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras
- Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
- Management systems/ management plan
Inscription on the Danger List
Threats to the Site:
- The abandonment of the terraces due to neglected irrigation system and people leaving the area;
- Unregulated development threatening the property;
- Tourism needs not addressed;
- Lack of an effective management system.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).