1.         Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines) (C 722)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1995

Criteria  (iii)(iv)(v)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2001-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 34 COM 7A.26

Corrective measures identified

See Decision 30 COM 7A.28

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

In its Decision 30 COM 7A.28, the World Heritage Committee had initially requested that the above corrective measures be implemented by 2007. By its Decision 32 COM 7A.24, and following consultations with the State Party, the World Heritage Committee had requested the latter to develop a more realistic timeframe. In its present report, the State Party has submitted a time table for each corrective measure which should be completed by 2012.

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/722/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1994-2001)
Total amount approved: USD 153,200
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/722/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 20,000 under Italy Funds-in-Trust for study tour, USD 47,000 under the UNESCO Participation Programme for emergency assistance following typhoon Emong in May 2009.

Previous monitoring missions

September 2001: ICOMOS/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; June 2005: UNESCO expert mission; April 2006: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; March 2011: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/722/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

A report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party on 27 January 2011. From 13 to 24 March 2011, a joint World Heritage Centre/ ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was carried out as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010). The mission report is available online at:https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/35COM

a) Landscape restoration and conservation

The State Party reported on a number of initiatives implemented for the restoration of collapsed terrace walls, including the implementation of a pilot programme for skill transferring which is expected to continue and be officially adopted to increase capacities. The project is implemented in partnership with Barangay officials, Municipal Local Government Units (MLGUs), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Provincial Government. The Provincial Government continues to allocate funds for the implementation of restoration projects and for the rehabilitation of irrigation systems.

As for the Nurturing Indigenous Knowledge Experts (NIKE) project, activities have continued to strengthen the transmission of traditional knowledge both in restoration techniques and in the continued use of the terraces. The State Party also reports that conservation guidelines will be institutionalised at Heritage Municipal Government Units by the third quarter of 2011. Mapping and documentation of the major irrigation systems is foreseen for 2011.

The mission noted the progress made in the conservation of the rice terraces and highlighted several accomplishments, among which the conservation and adoption of the Conservation Guidelines by all barangays is particularly relevant, as well as the on-going efforts for skill development. These initiatives have illustrated effective coordination among different stakeholders and contributed to the improvement of conditions at the property. To date, close to 6 hectares of damaged rice terraces have been restored along with 8,000 cubic meters of walls. However, the mission reports that close to 31,000 cubic meters of walls have yet to be restored, a quantity that can increase if new collapses occur as a result of typhoons and landslides. The mission also verified progress made towards the restoration of communal irrigation systems and noted the extensive use of concrete for their repair. This is an issue which warrants further examination to identify appropriate interventions that balance function and maintenance costs with the conservation of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.

b) Protection and planning

The State Party reports that the Environment Code for the Province of Ifugao was adopted through an Ordinance in March 2010 which confers additional power to the Province in regard to the regulation and management of natural resources and the environment and the protection of the Rice Terraces. At the municipal level, an Environment Code has been formulated for Kiangan to integrate planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and projects on land resource management, eco-cultural tourism, indigenous customary laws and practices in relation to natural resource, water and land management.

Guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) have been completed and the draft ordinance for their adoption is expected by late October 2011. Infrastructure guidelines are also expected to be adopted by the end of 2011 and dissemination of their contents is foreseen throughout 2011.

With regard to community-based land use and zoning plans, the State Party reports that work continues for the mapping of the 5 cluster sites which will provide the baseline documentation to draft zoning ordinances and also to meet the request for cartographic documentation made by the World Heritage Centre. The target date for completion is December 2012.

The mission verified progress made towards the adoption of environmental codes and the efforts towards the production of community based land use plans. It highlighted the urgent need to establish boundaries for the cluster sites and buffer zones, including the protection of each barangay’s watershed. The proposed project to map the property with satellite imaging is considered important to develop the basic information to create the database for the Geographic Information System (GIS) initiative. The mission considers that the property should be declared an “environmentally critical area” to ensure the enforcement of EIA and for different development and infrastructure projects, supported by other regulatory tools.

c) Management

The report notes that cultural heritage and tourism officers have been appointed at the municipalities. The Ifugao Heritage Conservation Council has been created but the State Party remarks that sustained funding is required to continue the implementation of protection, conservation and promotion measures for the property. The Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office (ICHO) has continued to function and it is expected that by the end of 2011 it will be merged with the tourism division of the Provincial Planning and Development Office, which will ensure programmes for cultural heritage and tourism development are handled by a single permanent entity in the Province. The Rice Terraces Owners Organizations and Irrigators Association continue to partner with the Provincial government in heritage endeavours through conditions stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement and Commitment between the Provincial government and the Farmers Organisations (MOAC Agreement), which includes a 10% retention fund from implemented projects that serves as a revolving fund for the organisation.

The mission noted the strengthened collaboration at the national, provincial and local levels and the participatory nature of many of the on-going initiatives. It also underscored the need to secure regular and multi-year funding for effective long term implementation and continuity.

d) Other issues

The State Party reports that profits from the Ambangal Mini-Hydro power plant, which will go to the conservation of the Rice Terraces, are pending approval from the Energy Regulatory Commission for the Provincial government to operate the plant expected in 2011.

The mission found that this type of power plant has no impact on the property and that others should be permitted as long as their development is preceded by independent EIA and Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) and they continue to be placed in areas with minimal visual impact on the terraces, as well as outside of the areas designated as World Heritage.

Further the State Party reports on the Environment protection and enhancement project which was concluded in December 2010 and included activities on advocacy for environmental preservation, the preparation of the Ordinance for Development Planning at Barangay and Forest enrichment. The mission reported that in addition to these efforts, Conservation Guidelines for the Watersheds and Forests have been developed and these should further improve practices.

In addition, the mission highlighted issues of concern, including new housing construction along access roads and widening of roads through parts of the property, which have an impact on the landscape and increase the risk for erosion and landslides. Barangay and municipal infrastructure guidelines need to be developed and enforced to prevent further erosion and ensure the visual integrity. Another issue of concern is the potential gold mining exploration activity within one of the cluster sites, and the development of tourism related facilities, as well as future proposals for cable cars, zip lines and night lighting. All of these potential projects need to be preceded by EIA and HIA and submitted to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies before any commitment is made for their implementation. The mission underscored the urgent need to develop an integrated tourism management plan.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend that the World Heritage Committee acknowledge the significant progress that has been made towards the implementation of the corrective measures identified for the property and commend the State Party and the local communities on their commitment and dedication to the preservation of this cultural landscape. They recognize the difficulty of managing the property especially in the absence of base-line data, which is planned for the end of 2011 using satellite imaging. This project, coupled with the provision of effective guidelines and regulations for infrastructure and housing, will provide a sounder basis for decision-making at all levels of government and mark an important step towards achieving the Desired state of conservation of the property. However, there are important issues that have yet to be fully and sustainably addressed to consider removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7A.28

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling decisions 33 COM 7A.24 and 34 COM 7A.26 adopted at its 33rd (Seville, 2009) and 34th (Brasilia, 2010) sessions respectively,

3. Notes with satisfaction the efforts of the State Party to address the threats that led to the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and encourages the State Party to continue its work on the implementation of the adopted corrective measures, in particular the implementation of a sustained programme for the conservation of the terraces, irrigation systems and watersheds and adoption of conservation policies at the national level;

4. Takes note of the results of the March 2011 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission;

5. Requests the State Party to implement the mission's recommendations, in particular to:

a) Secure the necessary human and financial resources to ensure the sustained implementation of the conservation and management plan through operational arrangements,

b) Develop and implement community-based zoning and land-use plans which respond to traditional value systems,

c) Develop a tourism management plan to encourage community-based tourism,

d) Establish appropriate control procedures for infrastructure and development projects, such as Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessment procedures and definition and enforcement of guidelines for development,

e) Implement the process to designate the World Heritage cluster sites as "environmentally critical areas";

6. Expresses its concern about the potential gold mining exploration at one of the cluster sites and strongly urges the State Party to take all necessary measures to ensure the preservation of the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property;

7. Invites the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre all relevant documentation and technical proposals for the exploration projects and other potential developments at the property, for review by the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre before any commitments are made for their implementation, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

8. Also requests the State Party to finalize the definition of boundaries for the property components and their buffer zones, including the corresponding regulatory measures to control and regulate further development, and submit the adequate cartography to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;

9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, 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 36th session in 2012;

10. Decides to retain the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines) 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: