Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha (Nepal) (C 666rev)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1997
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/666/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 70,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/666/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount provided to the property: 1,677,936 USD from the Japanese Funds-in-Trust for 2009 – 2017; 5,000 Euro and 70,000 USD from Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance from 2008 - 2011; and 7,200 USD from the Italian Funds-in-Trust in 2006.
Previous monitoring missions
May 2004 and November 2005: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring missions; April and September 2008: UNESCO Advisory missions; UNESCO expert missions have been sent every year since 2009 in the context of the implementation of specific projects.
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Management Systems/Management Plan;
- Impact of the new structure of the Maya Devi Temple (constructed in 2002) on the archaeological remains, as well as on the visual integrity;
- Commercial Development, Interpretive and Visitation Facilities & Industrial Areas;
- Air pollution.
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/666/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014
The State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 31 January 2014, responding to the requests of the World Heritage Committee which is available at the following address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/666/documents, addressing the following issues:
- Integrated Management Plan/Process (IMP) and Conservation Issues : The Integrated Management Framework (IMF), defining the implementation of the Integrated Management Process and included as an annex, has been finalised but requires ratification by the Government of Nepal. UNESCO has assisted Nepal in organizing stakeholder meetings to advance its finalization. Areas of potential archaeological significance of the property are being looked after and no noteworthy development works have been undertaken. Archaeological surveys are ongoing to better define the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), accompanied by conservation and capacity-building initiatives.
- Planned Development Projects : The report mentions new developments which have not been submitted to the World Heritage Centre and are not foreseen in the Kenzo Tange Master Plan. These concern walkways and meditation platforms within the property and its buffer zone; a Baby Buddha statue just outside of the buffer zone; and a second Visitors’ Centre under construction just outside the Sacred Garden. Included in an annex to the report is a brief introduction to the Master Plan for the Lumbini World Peace City, supported by KOICA (Korean International Cooperation Agency). The plan has yet to be finalised and adopted by the Government of Nepal, but a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) will be initiated before finalisation. No detailed information has been provided on its planned location, scale or potential impact.
- Environmental Degradation and Industrial Activity : New industrial activities have been limited within 15km of the property and the Lumbini Project Area. UNESCO has received additional information that the State Party plans to further curb pollution. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), partially included as an annex, has been prepared by IUCN Nepal and UNESCO Kathmandu, along with studies from other agencies. The Assessment has not been formally submitted to the World Heritage Centre. UNESCO continues to receive third-party information expressing concern for the property over the environmental quality and industrial development at Lumbini. On 14 January 2014, the World Heritage Centre had requested the State Party to provide comments. At the time of drafting this report, no response has been received.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
The ongoing work towards finalizing the IMP is well noted, in particular ongoing dialogue with national stakeholders and international partners, and the Committee may wish to commend the progress made in archaeological research on Buddhism and early settlements, conservation and capacity building undertaken within and around the property. The State Party has made significant progress in awareness-raising for the property, collaborating with UNESCO and the Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance on two publications on Lumbini in 2013, and with UNDP and UNESCO to produce a brochure for fundraising towards the completion of the Kenzo Tange Master Plan. However, there is some concern that the IMF is still pending Government approval and it is suggested that the Committee urge the State Party to adopt the IMF and continue the finalization of the IMP, and not approve any development within the property or in the adjacent areas identified as having potential archaeological significance before the completion of the IMP and before conducting HIAs, in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on Heritage Impact Assessments for World Heritage cultural properties.
There is also some concern with developments currently being undertaken both within the property and its buffer zone, and in the Greater Lumbini Area, notably the proposed development of a Lumbini World Peace City. Considering the close relationship of the property to the Tentative List sites of Tilaurakot and Ramagrama, which are subject to ongoing research, development in both areas is particularly sensitive. Thereforeit is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to undertake comprehensive HIAs prior to any development or construction to determine the potential impact on the OUV of the property and to submit detailed plans of the Lumbini World Peace City, and any other proposed major restoration or new development projects, to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for review. All activities undertaken should be in conformity with the IMF and the vision established to protect the OUV of the property.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies have received additional information that the State Party plans to further curb pollution and welcome this development, as well as research undertaken to explore environmental data in the Lumbini region. Despite the efforts of the Government of Nepal to curb the environmental degradation at Lumbini, the EIA, as well as third-party information received by UNESCO, indicate that current levels of pollution and ongoing proposed industrial development in the vicinity of the property can potentially harm the archaeological remains and setting of the property, as well as local communities and pilgrims. In light of the potential impact of development and environmental degradation, it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to develop a strategy for the protection of the larger Greater Lumbini Area and its setting, including, but not limited to, Tilaurakot and Ramagrama and to further reduce industrial activity in the vicinity.
Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.18
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.64, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
- Notes the progress made in developing the Integrated Management Framework document and its Management Plan, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), as well as conservation measures taken for the property;
- Also notes the awareness raising efforts undertaken by the State Party, notably in the publication of two books on Lumbini and the development of the UNDP/UNESCO brochure to raise funds for the completion of the Kenzo Tange Master Plan;
- Urges the State Party to adopt the Integrated Management Framework document and to continue its work on the finalization of the Integrated Management Plan/Process (IMP), and also urges the State Party to not approve any development project within the property, or in the adjacent areas identified as having potential archaeological significance, before the completion of the IMP and before conducting Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA) that are in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on Heritage Impact Assessments for World Heritage cultural properties;
- Notes with concern the proposed development of the Lumbini World Peace City in the Greater Lumbini Area, and requests the State Party to submit detailed information on this development, and to submit information about any other proposed major restoration or new construction in the vicinity of the property, to the World Heritage Centre for review by the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines ;
- Encourages the State Party to develop a strategy for the protection of the larger Greater Lumbini Area and its setting, including but not limited to Tilaurakot and Ramagrama, and to further reduce industrial activity in the vicinity of the property;
- Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 40th session in 2016.