1.         Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) (C 208rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2003

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   2003-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

See Decision 31 COM 7A.21

Corrective measures identified

See Decision 31 COM 7A.21

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

The authorities of Afghanistan proposed that the desired state of conservation could be attained by 2013, if security conditions allow

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2002-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 30,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 4,781,737 (2003-2010) through the Japanese Funds-in-Trust.

Previous monitoring missions

No reactive monitoring mission was carried out; November 2010: World Heritage Centre/ICCROM advisory mission; April 2011: UNESCO Kabul/ICOMOS advisory mission; UNESCO expert missions every year since 2002 in the context of the implementation of specific projects. 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

The State Party submitted a report on 9 February 2011 on the state of conservation of the property, plus a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010). Additional information came from presentations made, and discussions held, during the Ninth Bamiyan Expert Working Group Meeting (hereby known as NBEWGM) on 3-4 March 2011 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

As requested by the World Heritage Committee, an Advisory Mission was carried out to Bamiyan from 19-27 November 2010. The Department of Historical Monuments, Kabul, the World Heritage Centre and ICCROM discussed various solutions for the long-term presentation of the Buddha niches. The second part of this Advisory Mission was undertaken by ICOMOS to Afghanistan from 29 March to 6 April 2011. Unfortunately, the ICOMOS visit to Bamiyan had to be cancelled, due to poor weather and to serious incidents against the UN offices in Afghanistan.

Outcome of the Ninth Expert Working Group Meeting in Paris, 3-4 March 2011

March 2011 marked the tenth anniversary of the devastating destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues and invaluable cultural objects of Afghanistan. The Director-General of UNESCO, in close cooperation with the Afghan authorities, organized a one day event (2 March) in conjunction with the NBEWGM at Headquarters on 3-4 March 2011. The expert meeting examined the initial proposals from Germany, Italy and Japan on the remedial measures and the future presentation of the two Buddha niches. In view of the available scientific data and estimated financial requirement, the NBEWGM concluded that a total reconstruction of either of the Buddha sculptures cannot be considered at the present time. It was recommended that the larger western niche be consolidated and left empty as a testimony to the tragic act of destruction and that a feasibility study be undertaken to determine whether or not a partial reassembling of fragments of the Eastern Buddha could be as future option in the coming years. A proposal for an interpretation centre for the Western Buddha was presented. The Meeting reconfirmed that the Desired State of Conservation for the property in view of its potential removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger could be attained by 2013.

With regards to the implementation of corrective measures, the following progress has been reported by the State Party:

a) Ensuring site security

Since 2009, the local authorities have done considerable work in cooperation with the UNESCO Office in Kabul for de-mining the heritage sites and in the removing of unexploded ordinance throughout the valley. Nevertheless, all archaeological prospection and conservation work has to be undertaken with extreme caution as the remnants of war are ever present. The Ministry of Culture and Information (MoIC) has currently deployed 8 guards to control the property meanwhile the Ministry of Interior has deployed a team of police officers from the specialized unit (012); the force needs to be increased and provided with resources to ensure the successful protection of the properties

b) Ensure long-term stability of the Giant Buddha niches and install a permanent monitoring system

The monitoring systems installed for the stabilisation of the Eastern Buddha niche, in particular its rear wall and the remains of the sculpture within were completed successfully at the end of 2010. The safety of the path leading to the top of the Eastern Buddha niche has also been ensured. Stabilisation work on the Western Buddha will commence urgently as there is a risk of an imminent collapse. 

c) Ensure adequate state of conservation of archaeological remains and mural paintings

The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (NRICP), Tokyo has undertaken and ensured some successful mural paintings conservation. For the future, local conservation technicians must be trained with conservators from Kabul. Substantial work has been accomplished by the French archaeological mission in Bamiyan in front of the Eastern Buddha to preserve and restore the archaeological remains (Oriental Monastery and Royal Monastery sites) and their transformation into a site Museum.

d) Implement the Management Plan and the Cultural Master Plan

The Cultural Master Plan developed by the local authorities, in consultation with UNESCO and partners is now finalised and adopted by the local government in Bamiyan and by the Ministries of Urban Development and Information and Culture. The overall development strategy plan for the valley and within the boundaries of the property should be reinforced with the implementation of building codes and controls on the development in the buffer zones. The NBEWGM recommended the creation of a Quality Control Commission for development projects within the area determined by the Cultural Master Plan with a close monitoring by UNESCO experts, members of the Afghan Government and other International Organisations. The Meeting recommended that a management plan of Bamiyan Valley must be finalized for all future interventions.

e) Interventions on two main niches where statues were destroyed

There have been various propositions by different experts on potential interventions to the two main inches and their presentation including the partial reassembling of the broken (Buddha) pieces. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the organisation for the International Forum on 2 March 2011 at UNESCO Headquarters to mark the Tenth anniversary of the devastating destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. The timeline of 2013 for the removal of the property from the List in Danger is realistic. Furthermore, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the decision of undertaking a feasibility study to determine whether or not a partial reassembling of fragments of the eastern Buddha could be envisaged in the near future.

They consider that the progress made by the State Party for ensuring site security is satisfactory; however the size of the security force and its resources must be increased. Public awareness and education programs need to advocate the issue of illicit traffic.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are of the view that the State Party monitor closely the repair work undertaken and recommend starting the consolidation work of the Western niche.

They noted the challenges faced by the teams in their capacity building activities as well as in the restoration of murals and archaeological remains. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies further recommend that the Cultural Master Plan of the property be shared with all the national and international actors for the development strategy of the valley. The finalisation of a Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley management plan must be completed including enforcement of building codes and controls on development.

Final proposals for the two niches – to be developed in close consultation with the State Party for the examination by the Committee - should be part of an overall strategy for the conservation and presentation of the entire property as a cultural landscape and should be based on feasibility studies which include:

a) An overall approach to conservation and presentation of the property;

b) An appropriate conservation philosophy based on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

c) Technical and financial possibilities for the implementation fo the project proposals; 

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7A.25

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7A.23, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Takes note of the state of conservation report and of the draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value submitted by the State Party, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010);

4. Thanks the Director-General of UNESCO for having organised, at UNESCO Headquarters, an International Forum on 2 March 2011 to mark the Tenth Anniversary of the devastating destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues and other invaluable cultural heritage properties in Afghanistan;

5. Also takes note of the conclusions and recommendations of the 9th Expert Working Group Meeting which took place on the 3rd and 4th March 2011 at UNESCO Headquarters;

6. Notes the efforts and commitment of the State Party and of the international community for safeguarding the property, notably by completing the de-mining of the eight component sites, consolidating the Eastern Buddha niche, and conserving mural paintings and archaeological remains;

7. Encourages the State Party, when considering options for the treatment of the Buddha niches, to ensure that proposals are based on feasibility studies which include:

a) An overall approach to conservation and presentation of the property,

b) An appropriate conservation philosophy based on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property,

c) Technical and financial possibilities for the implementation of the project proposals;

8. Reiterates its request to the State Party, in line with the provisions of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to inform the World Heritage Centre of any proposed restoration or new construction within the property;

9. Urges the State Party to continue its work on the implementation of corrective measures, particularly the need to further increase the size of the security forces on the site and provide them with a minimum of facilities, and suggests that public awareness and education programmes need to be advocated in order to address the issue of illicit traffic of antiquities, as well as to start the consolidation of the Western niche;

10. Also urges the State Party to ensure that the Cultural Master Plan is respected by all national and international actors intervening in the valley and further urges the State Party to enforce building codes and controls on development in the buffer zones of the property and other areas protected under the Afghan Law on the Protection of Historical and Cultural Properties 2004;

11. Also encourages the State Party to finalise the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley Management Plan with an overall strategy for the managing the property as a cultural landscape;

12. Calls upon the international community to continue providing technical and financial support for the protection and management of the property, in particular to achieve the Desired state of conservation;

13. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012;

14. Decides to retain the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 35 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-11/35.COM/7A, WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add and WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add.Corr),

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

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/8E,

2. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex I of Document WHC-11/35.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:

3. Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed in priority;

4. Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely: