1.         Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China) (N 640)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1992

Criteria  (vii)

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/640/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 60,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/640/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

September 1998: World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/640/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

The 2014 IUCN World Heritage Outlook noted that the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) is threatened by uncontrolled development of tourism facilities, roads, and increased visitation. Concerns regarding air and water pollution were also noted.  On 11 February 2015, the World Heritage Centre wrote to the State Party to request further information on these matters.

On 20 March 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/640/documents/ and reports as follows:

The State Party also considers that although the OUV of the property has been partly affected by the cable cars and a glass elevator, it is generally well preserved, and restoration of areas where illegal developments were demolished has progressed well.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

It is recommended that the Committee welcome the State Party’s ongoing efforts to manage impacts from pollution and to remove illegal tourist facilities and buildings within the property and its buffer zone. It is noted that the third phase of the demolition project will be conducted from 2015 to 2018, and it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure engagement of affected local communities in the demolition project, to report on the outcomes of this project, and to also provide further information on any remaining illegal developments, the activities foreseen to remove them, and the progress achieved with the ecological restoration of affected areas, for possible examination by the Committee at its 43rd session in 2019.

It is noted with concern that cable cars, an elevator and an electric railway, which were built with the intention to enhance visitor experience and reduce environmental pressure by alleviating crowding, are having a negative impact on the property’s OUV as recognized under criterion (vii).  It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to not permit any further such developments within the property, in order to avoid additional impacts on its OUV.

It is also recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that no further road development is permitted within the property, and that any road development outside the property does not negatively impact on its OUV. Furthermore, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that any proposed developments that could impact the property are reported to the World Heritage Centre, prior to any decisions being taken that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

It is noted that measures are in place to manage the number of tourists that visit the property, although during specific days of the year the maximum number of visitors is exceeded. The number of tourists remains high and appears to be increasing. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit a copy of the revised 2005-2020 Overall Plan on Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN. It is also recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to consider further enhancing its tourism strategy, as required, on the basis of new online learning module developed by the World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme.

Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.10

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 22 COM VII.27, adopted at its 22nd session (Kyoto, 1998),
  3. Welcomes the ongoing efforts by the State Party to manage impacts from pollution and remove illegal tourist facilities and buildings within the property and its buffer zone, and requests the State Party to ensure the engagement of affected local communities in the third phase of the demolition project;
  4. Notes with concern that three cable cars, an elevator and an electric railway for tourists inside the property are having a negative visual impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and also requests the State Party to ensure that no further such developments are permitted within the property;
  5. Urges the State Party to ensure that no new road developments are permitted within the property, and to also ensure that any road development outside the property does not negatively impact on its OUV;
  6. Further requests the State Party to notify the World Heritage Centre and IUCN of any future developments that could impact the property, before any decision is taken that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, three printed and one electronic copy of the revised 2005-2020 Overall Plan on Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;
  8. Notes the high and increasing numbers of tourists that visit the property, and encourages the State Party to consider further enhancing its tourism strategy, as required, on the basis of the new online learning module developed by the World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme;
  9. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, as well as on the outcomes of the demolition project, and further information on any remaining illegal developments and planned activities to remove them, and on progress achieved with the ecological restoration of the affected areas, for possible examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019.