At its 33rd session (Seville, 2009), the World Heritage Committee had requested the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and to continue its work on the Integrated Management Plan (IMP). It had also requested the State Party to avoid carrying out any development projects pending completion of the IMP. At its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), the World Heritage Committee did not approve the proposed boundary modification of the property submitted by the State Party. By Decision 34 COM 8B.54, the Committee requested the State Party to consider reformulating the proposal “as a major modification” for subsequent evaluation by means of an ICOMOS mission.
A UNESCO Japan Funds-in-Trust (FIT) project for the “conservation and management of Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha” was launched in Lumbini in August 2010. The three-year project (2010-2013) has a budget of USD 791,700 and is being implemented jointly by UNESCO, the Department of Archaeology and the Lumbini Development Trust. It will reinforce the capacity of the Nepalese authorities for the protection, enhancement and sustainable development of the World Heritage property.
On 28 January 2011, the State Party submitted a report, outlining progress as follows:
a) General response to Decision 33 COM 7B.79
Draft an updated Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:
A draft retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Values has been prepared and submitted to the World Heritage Centre.
Continue work on the development of the Integrated Management plan (IMP):
The development of the IMP is in progress, and a detailed explanation of this process, the progress made and future considerations have been presented in section (c) of the State Party report.
Avoid carrying out any development project pending completion of the IMP:
The report noted that development works including the “Ring Road” have been halted, that an inappropriate temporary toilet for visitors has been removed and that temporary improvements are being carried out in close consultation with the national and international consultants working with the JFIT project.
b) General response to Decision 34 COM 8B.54
The report noted that the proposed modification of the boundaries “be supported in principle” by the authorities.
With regard to point 8 of the Decision recommending the State Party to submit a fuller nomination that will be considered as a major modification and evaluated with a mission to the property, the report mentioned that the State Party is considering the possibility of submitting a new nomination for the property which will be prepared during the above-mentioned project period of the UNESCO Japan Funds-in-Trust project.
c) Preparation of the IMP refer Decision 33 COM 7B.79 and 34 COM 8B.54
The report also noted that various steps for the preparation of the IMP were carried out during the report period, notably through the implementation of the UNESCO Japan Funds-In-Trust project; Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance, an NGO based in France, financed the Broad Study on the Sacred Garden as well as some specific legal and management improvement activities including the establishment of a “World Heritage Unit” within the Lumbini Development Trust to take up the specific responsibilities of safeguarding the Outstanding Universal Value of the property as well as initiation of related amendments of the Lumbini Development Trust Act and its by-Laws.
In November 2010, the UN Secretary General and the UNESCO Director General discussed the possibility of jointly launching an international initiative to draw attention to the need to better preserve and manage Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Nepal’s authorities (Minister for Federal Affairs, Constituent Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture, Secretary of Culture, Director-General of Department of Archaeology, Vice-Chair of the Lumbini Development Trust) have very positively reacted to this re-newed interest in Lumbini. In January 2011, UNESCO proposed to establish an International Expert Committee for the Safeguarding of Lumbini. The experts would provide advice for the safeguarding and promotion of the historical sites related to the life of Lord Buddha in the Greater Lumbini Area. This proposal is under consideration by the Nepali authorities.