1.         Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Uganda) (C 1022)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2001

Criteria  (i)(iii)(iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2010-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Fire that resulted in the destruction of part of the property

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4351

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4351 

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4351

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1022/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-2010)
Total amount approved: USD 111,292
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1022/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: 2011-2012: USD 68,365 from the Japanese FIT for an Expert Appraisal Mission; 2013-2016: USD 650,000 from the Japanese FIT for the project: Technical and financial assistance for the reconstruction of Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga, architectural masterpiece of the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi, Uganda, World Heritage property in Danger.

Previous monitoring missions

April 2010, August 2011, November 2011, and August 2013: World Heritage Centre mission; November 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2012: Joint ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2015: Joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Destruction by fire of the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga 

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1022/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 8 February 2016, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report for the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1022/documents and addresses the requests of the Committee as follows:

The State Party further reports that the Bujjabukua, one of the most authentic architectural elements at the property is in need of urgent conservation due to deterioration and deformation. Plans are being developed to carry out this work once the pressure from the work to reconstruct the Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga subsides.

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

The State Party has halted developments at the property pending the completion of the Master Plan (MP), requested since 2012. This is to ensure that conservation work respects Ganda architectural principles, materials, and building traditions, and to ensure a harmonized aesthetic at the property, and that development proposals, such as the provision of a reservoir and a fire-fighting system, alterations to the entrance, implementation of a visitor route or development of tourism facilities, are all undertaken in an integrated way within an agreed framework.  The development of the MP is also part of the corrective measures to be undertaken to reach the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the World Heritage List in Danger (DSOCR). It is urgent for this MP to be completed in order that work can be resumed. It is recommended that the Committee express concern that no details have been provided as to when this Plan will be prepared or completed.

All the buildings have not been included to the site plan submitted (e.g. the solar panels and electricity station under construction during the 2015 mission), which needs to be amended as it should be part of the overall MP.

Ahead of the MP, the expansion of Masiro Road will take place on the side opposite the property. Although this is considered positive in principle, the site managers should continue monitoring the situation to ensure that the bark cloth trees, which line the property, but are actually located outside the new constructed perimeter walls, are protected. Maintenance of the perimeter wall and its reed covering will remain an important issue. Detailed plans of the road are needed.

The revised timeline for the reconstruction of the Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga with completion at the end of 2017 is considered adequate. However, this timeframe is not related to the MP and cannot begin until the MP has been approved and is in place.

The episode with the rings, installed and then removed, illustrates the need to ensure closer communications and consultations between the architect, the traditional craftspeople, the representatives of the Buganda Kingdom, and the community, in order to respect the traditional practices and intangible cultural heritage of the Kingdom. The successful careful monitoring, in this case, is well noted.

The halting of all work, including conservation on the Bujjabukua, gives cause for concern given its importance and state of deterioration.

The work on the firefighting system was halted to ensure that the equipment fits into the overall concept for the property. It needs to be designed and installed contemporaneously with the reconstruction of the Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga, as recommended by the 2012 mission. For this reason, the Advisory Bodies should review as soon as possible the proposed firefighting system. The Japan Funds-in-Trust project (JFIT), which foresaw the purchase of this equipment, has expired (prior to completion) and an extension request was submitted to the donor and is currently being reviewed.

The Disaster Risk Management Plan is still a skeleton and needs to be more detailed, with specific actions and clearly defined roles and responsibilities before, during, and after a fire, as well as other possible hazards. It should be developed in line with the guidelines provided in the UNESCO Resource Manual “Managing Disaster Risks for World Heritage.

Regarding the new management structure, progress has been made. As for other properties with a complex traditional management structure, there is need to ensure opportunities for open and clear communications among all stakeholders, including the traditional custodians, the representatives of Buganda Kingdom, the Government (including the Uganda National Commission for UNESCO), the Tourism and Heritage Board, the tour guides and others working on the property.  Efforts should be made within the new management structure to ensure that all concerns related to conservation and social issues are dealt with in a positive manner.

It is also important to recognize that the Buganda Tourism and Management Board must prioritize the conservation of the attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), including the intangible heritage, over tourism related activities. A careful balance must be made between meeting the needs of the traditional custodians and an improved visitor experience. A planned cultural village, which would take away some of the existing farmland within the property, could have an adverse impact on the OUV, and must be reviewed as part of the overall MP.

A Tour Guiding Manual for Kasubi Tombs was produced as part of the JFIT project and distributed locally to all tour guides (https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1452/). The production of this manual is a positive development, and work is ongoing to develop guidelines for Ganda thatching, both part of the DSOCR. 

In conclusion, the need for the MP to be completed is of the utmost importance as it is this that will unlock progress with the conservation of the Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga, and Bujjabukua, with the firefighting equipment project and with visitor management and road development projects on the property as all of these need to be taken forward in a coordinated way.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7A.8

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.23, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Notes that the State Party has halted all developments at the property pending the completion of the Master Plan;
  4. Notes with concern that no progress has been reported with the development of the Master Plan that was requested in 2012, as part of the corrective measures, in order to ensure that conservation of the Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga, and other buildings, and development proposals such as for fire-fighting, visitor management and the widening of the road, are all undertaken in an integrated way within an agreed framework;
  5. Urges the State Party to progress with the development of this Master Plan and ensure that it encompasses:
    1. Ways to support Ganda architectural principles, materials, and building traditions alive, and the harmonized aesthetic of the property, and an integrated plan for development proposals, such as the provision of a reservoir and a fire-fighting system, alterations to the entrance, implementation of a visitor route or development of tourism facilities such as restaurants, and the widening of the road,
    2. A detailed site plan of the property that contains all the structures on the property, as it is now and a plan to show what is envisaged as development proposals;
  6. Also notes the revised timeline and planning for the reconstruction of the Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga and considers that these need to be integrated into the Master Plan;
  7. Requests the State Party to provide a draft Master Plan to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2017, for review by the Advisory Bodies, in order to allow urgently needed work to recommence on the property;
  8. Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with details of the proposed plans for the firefighting equipment proposed for the property, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  9. Further notes the revised management structure and the ongoing work management plan, including focusing on the disaster risk management plan and tourism management;
  10. Further requests the State Party to:
    1. Ensure that work on the reconstruction of the Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga maintains the highest standards of quality under the supervision of the project architect,
    2. Complete the management plan for the property, and integrate a much more detailed disaster risk management plan (for fire and other potential hazards) and a tourism management plan which emphasizes the protection of the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), for review by the Advisory Bodies,
    3. Develop adequate mechanisms for communication and exchange amongst all of the stakeholders of the property to ensure that all concerns related to both conservation and social issues are dealt with in a positive manner,
    4. Provide details of the proposed widening of the Masiro Road to show that it does not encroach on the property or the bark cloth trees that line the edge of the property,
    5. Prepare detailed plans for the conservation of the Bujjabukua given its deteriorating state of conservation, so that work can begin once the Master Plan is in place; some of the thatch that is already prepared but sitting unused might be used for this important work;
  11. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, 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 41st session in 2017;
  12. Decides to retain Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Uganda) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/16/40.COM/7A, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: