1.         Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) (C 708bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2009-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4103

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4103

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4103

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-2010)
Total amount approved: USD 96,160
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

November 2003, June 2008, March 2010 and April 2012: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring missions.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

On 31 January 2012 the State Party submitted a detailed state of conservation report that addresses progress with the implementation of the corrective measures, including conservation work at Jvari Monastery, surveys of Svctitskhoveli Cathedral, clarification of boundaries and progress with the Management Plan. Details are also provided regarding a proposed visitor centre at Jvari Monastery.

A joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission visited the property between 23 and 28 April 2012, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011).

a) Boundaries issues

The State Party has submitted to the World Heritage Centre updated retrospective cartographic documentation clarifying the boundaries of the property. However, the mission reported that there has not yet been any definition of the buffer zone. This work is seen as a pre-condition for the development of the Management Plan and for possible minor boundary modification of the property.

b) Management Plan

The State Party reported that the drafting of the Management Plan will take place during 2012 within the framework of an approved International Assistance Request and with the support of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation. This project will also consider the management system for the property and the possibility of establishing working groups to allow for the participation of representatives of the church authorities, NGOs and the Mtskheta civil society. The mission stressed the need for the Management Plan to acknowledge that the property is an ensemble of religious monuments within a very sensitive historical environment and thus needs to be managed as a cultural landscape.

c) Long-term consolidation, conservation and monitoring measures

The State Party reported that during 2012, a comprehensive conservation assessment of archaeological components of the property was undertaken and recommendations set out for their management. Conservation work was carried out on the roof, walls and stone plaques of the Jvari monastery, with the participation of an ICCROM expert, and of the wall paintings in the southern part of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. At the Cathedral, another capacity-training project headed by an international expert addressed the production of up to date measured drawings during 2010-2011. This resulted in a full set of measured drawings for the Cathedral that will form the basis for developping of a comprehensive conservation plan. At Samtavro nunnery, a project is being prepared to strengthen the southern support wall taking into account the 2010 mission recommendations.

The State Party reported that in 2011 the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation had allocated a special budget for monitoring of the property. In addition, a special project was implemented for monitoring the groundwater fluctuations around Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. It is anticipated that by the end of 2012, additional monitoring mechanisms will be proposed for all elements of the property.

d) Proposal for a Visitor Centre at Jvari Monastery

The State Party included in its report revised plans for the visitor centre at Jvari Monastery. These are said to take into account the comments made by ICOMOS on the initial plans in 2011. These plans will now be reviewed by ICOMOS and comments sent to the State Party.

e) Urban Land-Use Master Plan

At the initiative of the local authorities, work has begun on a systematic data collection of the urban topology, related development and other studies. This data will form the basis for an Urban Master Plan of the town which is being prepared and is due to be completed by the end of the year.

f) Urban development pressure

The 2010 mission report highlighted the need for special care to be given to the sensitive area extending along the river Mtkvari bank, between the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Jvari church. It recommended that the area where the rivers converge should not be developed and that the historic landscape be restored. However, the 2012 mission noted that the State departments, in cooperation with the local authorities have proceeded with the construction of new administrative buildings (Police and Courts buildings and Conference Hall) in this area. The 2012 mission was also informed that a new Museum building is to be erected on the same area, the plans of which have already been approved, as well as a hotel complex. The mission also saw a new tourist information building in front of the entrance of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, constructed in inappropriate style without any respect of the property’s value.

The 2012 mission noted that these considerable developments have been undertaken within one of the most sensitive areas of the property, in the visual corridor between the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and the Jvari hill, is currently being assessed independently of the directions that may be developed by the Urban Master Plan and the Management Plan that are both under preparation. The mission further noted that although all these interventions have an immediate impact on the property, they have not been notified to the World Heritage Centre, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

g) State Programme for Cultural Heritage in Georgia - towards a strategic World Heritage country programming

The World Heritage Centre has been informed by the World Bank that a “Regional Development Program: An Integrated Approach to Urban Regeneration, Cultural and Natural Heritage for Economic Growth and Job Creation” is under implementation in Georgia. On 23 April 2012, the Minister of Finance of Georgia presented an “Innovative Approach to Regional Development” during a meeting organised by the Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Thematic Group, the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Sustainable Development Department and the South Caucasus Regional Management Unit at the World Bank Headquarters.

The 2012 mission has been informed that the Governor of Mtskheta discussed with the World Bank representative the possibility to extend this project to Mtskheta. The mission recommended to the authorities to establish, in coordination with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a global approach for all projects and activities which could be developed for the World Heritage properties in Georgia.

During the meeting with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and the National Commission of Georgia for UNESCO, the mission underlined the urgency to develop this global approach towards a strategic World Heritage country programming in coherence and alignment with the State Programme for the protection of Georgian cultural heritage prepared by the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation. It was discussed that this country-based approach could be developed using the 5C Strategic Objectives in order to achieve greater coherence, efficiency and effectiveness at country level of all activities related to the protection, management and use of the World Heritage properties, and to avoid fragmentation and duplication of projects and activities.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the detailed report from the State Party which includes and assessment of what has so far been achieved – identified as strengths, and its conclusion that the main weakness is the lack of a Management Plan and of a consolidated vision for the development of the property, both of which will be addressed this year.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies wish to highlight to the Committee their concern that despite the 2010 mission recommendation regarding the sensitiveareaextendingalong the river Mtkvari bank,between theSvetitskhoveli Cathedraland Jvari church, the State Party authorised new constructions in this area and plans new developments which will impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, without any submission of these projects to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for review and comments prior to any approval.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies underscore the fact that Mtskheta is an ensemble of religious monuments within a very sensitive historical environment. Taking into account that the most sensitive areas of Mtskheta’s landscape are being compromised by new buildings, they recommend that the World Heritage Committee retains the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies suggest that the World Heritage Committee might recommend that the State Party develop a national law for all World Heritage properties in Georgia, as well as initiate a “5C strategic World Heritage country programme” proposal. This could serve as a consolidated basis for cooperation within the country to enhance the implementation of its commitments within the framework of the World Heritage Convention and take into account the need for a more sustainable longer-term approach. It could be developed on the basis of the analysis of the challenges, corrective measures and the national priorities and strategies as set out in the Periodic Report.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7A.31

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.      Recalling Decision 35 COM 7A.30 adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.      Acknowledges the detailed information provided by the State Party on the progress made to implement the corrective measures and urges the State Party to continue its work on all the corrective measures adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010);

4.      Also urges the State Party to define the buffer zone of the property to allow a clear understanding of the archaeological and visually sensitive areas around the property and to submit this proposal as a minor boundary modification of the property;

5.      Expresses its great concern regarding developments being undertaken by the State Party in the vicinity of the property within the area of the river Mtkvari bank, between the Svctitskhoveli Cathedral and Jvari church, and further urges the State Party to halt developments within the property and its setting until details of proposed developments, together with Heritage Impact Assessments, have been submitted to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for review and comments by the Advisory Bodies before any irreversible decisions have been made;

6.      Notes that the State Party intends to complete a Management Plan for the property by the end of 2012, requests the State Party to ensure that this Plan recognises that the property is an ensemble of religious monuments within a very sensitive historical environment, and also requests it to submit the draft of this plan to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;

7.      Invites the State Party to consider the development of a national law for all World Heritage properties in Georgia;

8.      Further requests the State Party, in coordination with the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, to develop a “5C strategic World Heritage country programme” proposal, based on the State Programme for the protection of Georgian cultural heritage, to serve as a consolidated basis for cooperation within the State Party to enhance the implementation of its commitments within the framework of the World Heritage Convention;

9.      Requests furthermore 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;

10.   Decides to retain the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-12/36.COM/7A and WHC-12/36.COM/7A.Add),

2.   Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 8D

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/8D,

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 8D adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Acknowledges the excellent work accomplished by States Parties in the clarification of the delimitation of their World Heritage properties and thanks them for their efforts to improve the credibility of the World Heritage List;

4.   Recalls that the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies will not be able to examine proposals for minor or significant modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties whenever the delimitation of such properties as inscribed is unclear;

5.   Takes note of the clarifications of property boundaries and areas provided by the following States Parties in response to the Retrospective Inventory, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-12/36.COM/8D:

6.   Requests the States Parties which have not yet answered the questions raised in the framework of the Retrospective Inventory to provide all clarifications and documentation as soon as possible and by 1 December 2012 at the latest.