1.         Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa (China) (C 707ter)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (i)(iv)(vi)

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/707/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/707/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March 2001: ICOMOS Monitoring mission; April 2003: UNESCO/ICOMOS expert mission; May 2005: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2015: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/707/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 1 December 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on the property, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/707/documents/ and indicates the following:

Following a fire at the Jokhang Temple Monastery in February 2018, the World Heritage Centre requested additional information and, on 16 March 2018, the State Party responded with the following:

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

The efforts of the State Party are duly noted, notably with valorizing traditional knowledge systems, improving visitor experience for pilgrims and tourists, improving monitoring and maintenance systems, and launching studies to analyse spatial relationships between the component parts of the property and cultural environment management planning.

The provision of maps which clearly define the buffer zones should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre as a matter of priority, in accordance with multiple prior Decisions of the Committee. The State Party’s advice that regulations for the buffer zones will be contained within the conservation plans for the component parts of the property is welcome. The three conservation plans for the component parts of the property should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as possible.

It is also noted that a study will be launched to assess the potential impacts of the proposed television tower on the OUV of the property. The study should follow the methodology of the 2011 ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage Properties and be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as it is completed and before any work begins. 

In regard to the fire of February 2018, the preliminary report contained in the additional information is acknowledged, along with the work carried out in the immediate aftermath of the fire. As more detailed damage assessments are carried out and plans for restoration are developed, more detailed reports, including images, drawings and other graphic illustrations of all the damage, paying particular attention to the Golden Ceiling, should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies.

In this regard, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess the damage caused by the fire and the proposed restoration works to be undertaken, as well as to examine other aspects of the state of conservation of the property.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.31, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Expresses its regret at the fire of February 2018, and notes the work carried out by the State Party in the immediate aftermath of the fire;
  4. Requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, more detailed reports of all the damage caused by the aforementioned fire, including images, drawings and other graphic illustrations and paying particular attention to the Golden Ceiling, as more detailed damage assessments are being carried out and restoration plans developed;
  5. Takes note of the completion of the three conservation plans for the component parts of the property, which are awaiting final approval, and requests that they be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as possible, along with the maps to clarify the buffer zones, in line with the procedures defined in the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Also takes note of the efforts of the State Party to valorize traditional knowledge systems, improve visitor experience for pilgrims and tourists, improve monitoring and maintenance systems, and launch studies to analyse spatial relationships between the component parts of the property and cultural environment management planning;
  7. Acknowledges the study to be launched on the potential impacts of the proposed television tower on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and also requests that the study be undertaken in accordance with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessment for Cultural World Heritage properties and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, as soon as it is completed and before any work begins;
  8. Further requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess the damage caused by the fire and the proposed restoration works to be undertaken, as well as to examine other aspects of the state of conservation of the property;
  9. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, 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 44th session in 2020.