1.         Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha (Nepal) (C 666rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1997

Criteria  (iii)(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/666/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2000-2007)
Total amount approved: USD 70,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/666/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 931.606; USD 791.786 from the Japanese Funds-in-Trust for 2010 – 2013; 5,000 euros from Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance in 2011; USD 20,000 from Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance in 2010; USD 62.620 from the Japanese Funds-in-Trust in 2009 ; USD 50,000 from Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance in 2008 and USD 7,200 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust in 2006.

Previous monitoring missions

May 2004 and November 2005: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring missions; April and September 2008: UNESCO Advisory missions; UNESCO expert missions have been sent every year since 2009 in the context of the implementation of specific projects. 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of a conservation policy and inappropriate management of the property;

b) Impact of the new structure of the Maya Devi Temple (constructed in 2002) on the archaeological remains, as well as on the visual integrity..

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/666/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

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.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the progress made with respect to the recommendations contained in the Committee’s decisions of the last few years. With respect to the IMP, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the good progress made at present, including through the UNESCO Japan Funds-In-Trust project, and the partnership with the Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the proposal to enlarge the property to encompass the entire inner sacred garden and to recognize the outer sacred garden as a new buffer zone is to be supported in principle and encourage the State Party to further prepare a new nomination.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are concerned about some proposed development projects, including the enlargement of the existing airport; upgrading of tourist infrastructure and the proposed development projects by international investment groups. Information on these proposed developments has been provided by the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu as well as by a group of stakeholders self-named “Lumbini Institutions”. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that decisions on these proposals should be based on an Heritage Impact Assessment taking into account the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, within the framework of the IMP under preparation, and in line with information supplied by the State Party concerning such new developments, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.74

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decisions 33 COM 7B.79 and 34 COM 8B.54, adopted at its 33rd (Seville, 2009) and 34th (Brasilia, 2010) sessions respectively,

3. Notes the efforts and commitment of the State Party for the safeguarding of this property, in particular in undertaking the process of preparation and development of the Integrated Management Plan (IMP);

4. Reiterates its request to the State Party to continue its work on the development of the Integrated Management Plan (IMP), based on the draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, and to avoid carrying out any development project within the property and the adjacent areas identified as having potential archaeological significance, pending completion of the IMP;

5. Calls upon the international community to provide technical and financial support to assist the State Party in the development of the IMP and in implementing the appropriate conservation measures for the archaeological remains contained within the Maya Devi Temple;

6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre detailed information on any proposed developments in the vicinity of the property, including a Heritage Impact Assessment on any project that could affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the progress made on the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.