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. 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Uncontrolled urban development and expansion of tourism-related facilities in and adjacent to the boundary of the property;

b) Negative impact of the rehabilitation projects on the protection of the traditional urban tissue of the historic centre. 

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

The State Party submitted its report to the World Heritage Centre on 20 January 2011.

The report describes efforts to ensure better protection and management of the property. From 2005 to 2010, a financial contribution of a total of RMB 380 million (USD57.58 million) was provided to repair and preserve the Potala Palace, RMB 310 million (USD46.97 million) to improve its surroundings, RMB 169 million (USD25.60 million) to improve the roads and water-supply and drainage system within the buffer zone of Jokhang Temple and to maintain some 56 traditional residences. To reduce the negative impact of tourism, concrete measures such as on-line reservations, visits during designated periods, and adjustments to visiting routes were introduced.

The report also provides information on the following issues:

a) Formulation of the conservation master plans of the property

Following the requests of the World Heritage Committee, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China (SACH) has accelerated the preparation of the Conservation Master Plans of the Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace. Thus far, the Cultural Heritage Bureau of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) has entrusted the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage to prepare the Conservation Master Plan of the Potala Palace, and the Henan Research Institute of Ancient Architecture Protection to set up the Conservation Master Plan of Norbulingka in Lhasa. At the same time, the formulation of the Conservation Master Plan of the Jokhang Temple has started and is expected to be completed by December 2011.

The Conservation master plans will be submitted to the World Heritage Committee and its Advisory Bodies for review upon their completion.

b) Ensuring coherence and complementarity between the Conservation Master Plans of the property and the Urban Master Plan for Lhasa City.

The Urban Master Plan of Lhasa City includes a special section on World Cultural Heritage Protection specifying requirements for the protection and management of the property area and buffer zone as follows:

· Requirements for the protection and maintenance of the physical fabric of the World Heritage site to ensure its authenticity, integrity and security are established.

· Requirements for the protection of the overall property are also defined and include protection of the environment in the areas surrounding the Potala Palace, including the Red Mountain and its vegetation, as well as other historic remains, preservation of protected historic sites and historic buildings within the Barkhor Street zone, as well as protection of the water systems, vegetation and other natural elements of Norbulingka.

· Requirements for the protection of the buffer zone of the property are also established. These include ensuring that the appearance of the buffer zone of the Potala Palace is in harmony with its traditional appearance, and that the above ground height of transformed or newly-built buildings in the buffer zone shall not exceed 12 metres; protection of the traditional appearance of the buffer zone of the Jokhang Temple Monastery, and establishing control for the protection of the historic precinct, i. e., the Barkhor Street, with specific requirements limiting height of buildings ; ensuring that the appearance of the buffer zone of Norbulingka is harmonious with its traditional appearance, and that transformed or newly-built buildings, the nature of land use, the degree of development, green space, height, size, style and colour of the buildings shall be strictly controlled.

 

c) Strengthening the institutional co-ordination body to ensure the implementation of plans

A World Heritage Steering Committee, led by the Vice Chairman of the TAR, and involving related departments of cultural heritage, construction and planning, has been established to co-ordinate important decisions in the protection and management of the property.

The Cultural Heritage Bureau of the TAR, as the administrative body for cultural heritage affairs at the provincial level, supervises and provides instructions on the protection and management of the property. In charge of formulation of related polices and regulations, the Bureau also develops and implements protection and maintenance projects for the historic ensemble, and examines and approves related construction projects. 

At each of the three sites in the property (Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka), special entities have been set up to ensure the property’s protection and management. These protection and management institutions at various levels have ensured the effective implementation of the plans and related measures from the institutional perspective.

d) World Heritage Property boundary

In the framework of the on-going periodic reporting exercise for the Asia and the Pacific region, the Cultural Heritage Bureau of the TAR is evaluating a plan to carry out minor modifications to the buffer zone, in accordance with Decision 33 COM 8B.47. The completed proposal will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for approval by the World Heritage Committee. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the progress made by the State Party in elaborating the conservation master plans for the three areas of the property. The drafts of these plans shall be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies would additionally emphasize the necessary integration of the three conservation master plans around the property’s Outstanding Universal Value. They would also recommend the conservation master plans take into account the foreseeable socio-economic impacts of the conservation policies on the local communities and propose any necessary mitigation measures. 

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.65

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decisions 33 COM 7B.68 and 33 COM 8B.47, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Notes with appreciation the efforts made by the State Party to develop the conservation master plans for the three areas of the property and to harmonize these with the Lhasa Urban Development Plan;

4. Welcomes the establishment of a World Heritage Steering Committee in Lhasa to strengthen institutional co-ordination and ensure proper implementation of the conservation master plans;

5. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit the drafts of the above-mentioned plans to the World Heritage Centre, before their finalisation and enactment by the competent authorities, for review by the Advisory Bodies;

6. Requests the State Party to submit proposals for minor boundary modifications to the buffer zone of the property to the World Heritage Centre;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a report on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the World Heritage Committee at it 37th session in 2013.