State of Conservation (SOC)
Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area (2000)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:0USD
July-August 2000: ICOMOS/IUCN joint reactive monitoring missin
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
Construction of the tourist light railway between Golden Summit and the main summit of Emei Shan
Current conservation issues
The Secretariat arranged the reactive monitoring mission by IUCN and ICOMOS to the site in July and August 2000 following the construction of a monorail at the Summit of Mount Emei. Concerns had been expressed regarding the impact of the monorail on the natural and cultural values of the site. In general, the mission found that the Mount Emei Administration has taken steps to enhance the conservation of the area in a number of ways, including through the construction of the monorail, the management of tourists visiting the area, and the plans to gradually move out people who are living in the site. The paths in the site are frequently patrolled, and staff removes all litter, thus resulting in a very tidy appearance in most places.
The monorail, follows the line of the former path between the Golden and Wanfo Summits, was inspected by the consultants from IUCN and ICOMOS to ascertain its impact on the natural and cultural values of the site. Very little vegetation has been cleared for the monorail and the vegetation is now encroaching on the old path, which is no longer used. For the most part, the monorail is unobtrusive and not easily visible from a distance.
In conclusion, the mission was of the view that the monorail does not make any significant adverse impact on the natural values of the Mount Emei World Heritage site, on the contrary, it probably serves to minimize the impact of tourism on the Wanfo Summit.
The mission also identified some other conservation issues such as tourist pressure and biodiversity monitoring to the site.
The mission recommended that the World Heritage Committee should give much higher priority to biodiversity monitoring within both natural and mixed sites of China. This should be considered an essential and normal part of any management plan. The World Heritage Committee should agree on minimum standards for such monitoring programmes, and States Parties should then provide information on how their monitoring programmes relate to the minimum standards. Where additional capacity is needed to develop and implement such programmes, the World Heritage Fund should be considered as one possible source of financial support.
The ICOMOS mission visited the Leshan Giant Buddha in August 2000. The situation at the Leshan Giant Buddha is clearly becoming serious, with incipient danger to visitors because of the worn out nature of the existing stairway and the steadily increasing visitor numbers. ICOMOS commends the decision of the administration of the site not to carry out any alternations to the historic access stairway, which is an integral part of the monument. The solution that is proposed is a bold one but it has been developed with great care and sympathy for the overall view of the Giant Buddha when seen from the river. It will be simple in form and rendered more unobtrusive by the use of surfaces that harmonise with the colour of the natural rock. ICOMOS believes that this is an admirable solution to a serious problem and one that will in no way detract from the cultural values of this important World Heritage monument.
The results and recommendations of the mission undertaken by the advisory bodies will be presented to the Bureau in Cairns, Australia.
Link to the decision
Mount Emei and Leshan Giant Buddha (China)
Historic Sanctary of Machu Picchu (Peru)
The Bureau may wish to adopt the following and transmit it to the Committee for noting:
“The Bureau examined the results and findings of the IUCN and ICOMOS missions. The Bureau requested that the State Party should impress upon the managements of all World Heritage properties in China that major projects of this type should not be implemented without the World Heritage Committee being fully informed of all aspects of project planning and implementation and of all environmental impacts. Furthermore, the Bureau drew the attention of the Chinese authorities to the need to improve training of site staff so that they can better monitor and mitigate tourism impacts and develop biodiversity monitoring programmes on the site. The Bureau recommended that the Secretariat, the State Party and the advisory bodies develop follow-up actions. The Bureau also recommended that the report of the IUCN/ICOMOS mission be transmitted to the relevant Chinese authorities.”
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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”).