1.         Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy (Indonesia) (C 1194rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2012

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(v)(vi)

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/1194/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1194/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

The following factors were identified at the time of inscription of the property in 2012:

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1194/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

In response to letters from the World Heritage Centre of 14 August 2013 and 29 January 2014, on threats to the integrated subak water management system that has maintained the rice terraces of Bali for over 1000 years, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 21 February 2014 available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1194/documents

At the time of inscription in 2012, the Provincial Government adopted a Management Plan that aimed to sustain traditional subak farming practices and deflect inappropriate development. It set out a governance structure that connected individuals, organisations, agencies, and institutions through a democratic Governing Assembly, which had been approved by Regulation of the Government of Bali No. 17 in 2010. This Decree set out the composition of the Governing Assembly that included representatives from different government departments and the subak community and empowered members to jointly undertake the management of the sites.

At the beginning of 2014, the implementation of this agreed management system had still not apparently been put in place in a way that allowed the management plan to be implemented. This lack of structure and progress with the implementation of the plan was reportedly leading subak farmers to sell their land for development, which could lead to the collapse of the overall subak system.

The State Party reports that the Governing Assembly has met on a periodic basis and representatives of various institutions are a part of its board. It also mentions the implementation of annual work plans, but without elaboration. No details have been provided on the composition and responsibilities of the Governing Assembly and it appears that subak community members are not formally involved in the management of the sites, or in the implementation of the Management Plan.

The State Party further reports that the Provincial Government is preparing a Provincial Regulation Plan on Safeguarding Bali’s Cultural Heritage, which will form the basis for the implementation of the conservation and management of the property. It also outlines various coordinating activities between ministries at the national level and other activities such as a workshop, social mapping, bilingual brochures, and a forthcoming guidebook, all of which will form the basis for broad participation of communities in the management of cultural heritage.

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

At the time of inscription, it was acknowledged that the subak system was highly vulnerable and reaching a critical stage beyond which it could be difficult to reverse trends. In its evaluation, ICOMOS commended the State Party on developing an overall management system that recognised the “critical priority” that needed to be given to developing further knowledge, skills and expertise to manage the property as a complex and dynamic cultural landscape. The Management Plan aimed to use social and economic tools to strengthen traditional systems and provide a framework for linking traditional practice with national priorities. The Management Plan had been developed in an inclusive way and encouraged subak communities to support the nomination as a way of supporting their traditional practices – which underpinned the whole rationale for the nomination.

The Management Plan was to have been implemented through the Governing Assembly, where it was envisaged that communities would be represented. If that has not yet happened, then there would appear to be no mechanism that allows the subak communities to have a voice in the overall management of the property.

The lack of implementation of this Management Plan will be seen as a major disappointment for participating communities, and may constitute a serious problem for the ongoing management of the property in a way that safeguards its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).

Although the State Party has reiterated its support for the property in general terms, few details have been provided to show that the Action Plans developed in the Management Plan have been carried through. For instance, it was indicated at the time of inscription that the first phase of the Action Plan would be implemented in 2012 and would cover actions under the following Strategic Priorities: livelihood protection and enhancement for subak institutions and their members, conservation and promotion of ecosystem services to ensure sustainable use of natural resources; conservation of material culture, appropriate tourism development, and infrastructure and facility development. In particular the State Party also confirmed at the time of inscription that the Governing Assembly would provide technical assistance and financial aid to the subak farmers through proposals that were to be submitted to the Governing Assembly.

The cultural landscape is highly vulnerable to fast paced irreversible change that could be brought about by farmers leaving the land or selling property to developers. The commitment to deliver incentives and subsidies to support prosperous rural livelihoods and strong subak institutions, coupled with statutory authority and enforcement of land use regulations to prohibit inappropriate development within the components of the property, appears so far to have not been upheld. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to invite an advisory mission in order to consider how best to activate the participatory management system to which the State Party committed itself at the time of inscription.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.14

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 8B.26, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party on actions taken for the management of the property since June 2012;
  4. Notes with concern that the vulnerabilities of the cultural landscape that were acknowledged at the time of inscription, and the need to support the traditional practices of the subak communities through their engagement in the management of the property, have not been addressed clearly;
  5. Regrets that the laudable governance structures and Management Plan developed with the nomination have not been fully put in place and implemented, and that incentives and subsidies to support prosperous rural livelihoods and strong subak institutions, and land use regulations to prohibit inappropriate development within the property, have so far not been delivered as envisaged;
  6. Urges the State Party to operationalise the Governing Assembly which incorporates the traditional practices underpinning the property as envisaged in the Decree of 2010, as soon as possible, and include in its membership representatives of the subak communities;
  7. Also urges the State Party to allow the Governing Assembly to implement the approved Management Plan, as set out at the time of inscription, in order that the various multi-disciplinary Action Plans based on agreed Strategic Priorities can be delivered;
  8. Requests the State Party to consider how the various commitments for protection and management made at the time of inscription and approved by the Committee in the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value might be put into practice as soon as possible;
  9. In the light of the high potential vulnerability of the subak landscape, encourages the State Party to invite an ICOMOS/ICCROM advisory mission to the property, to be financed by the State Party, in order to consider how progress can be made in putting the management of the property on firm basis that will allow a sustainable future for the subak communities;
  10. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.