The Borobudur Temple Compounds was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991. At its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), the World Heritage Committee urged the State Party to continue its efforts towards the revision of the legal and institutional framework for the protection and management of the property; to discontinue practices that appeared to have a negative impact on the stone of the Borobudur temple; and to continue monitoring and research activities (Decision 31 COM 7B.84).
The State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property to the World Heritage Centre on 29 January 2009, which reported progress against the Committee’s requests as follows:
a) Revision of the legal and institution framework
The State Party has engaged in a consultation programme with stakeholders and inter-institutional representatives to revise the legal and institutional framework for the protection and management of the property and its surrounding area. Consultation meetings were held in June 2007, October 2008 and February 2009 at Borobudur and Jakarta and were financed under the Netherlands Funds-In-Trust. As a result, all parties agreed to continue efforts to revise the existing legal framework (Presidential Decree Number 1 of 1992) to ensure a better protection and management of Borobudur and its surrounding areas.
Subsequently, the State Party designated Borobudur as a National Strategic Area, in which the property will be directly under the central government’s control. The State Party is yet to finalize a zoning system which will clearly demarcate the boundaries of the protected area and associated management conditions. Management of the property will be coordinated through a national institution and involve ongoing consultation with all stakeholders. The State Party estimates that the draft revised Presidential Decree will be finalized by 2010.
The State Party’s report also included a Master Plan concept, prepared by Indonesia’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which overviewed the proposed updates to the existing 1979 Master Plan for the property. The new Master Plan will address issues including the legal system, visitor management, community development, tourism development and administrative structures.
b) Discontinuation of conservation practices that have potential adverse effects
The State Party reports that it has now limited the use of epoxy resin, but not totally eliminated it, as an alternate substance has not yet been found. They envisage that it will be gradually phased out until a substitute has been identified. The report indicates that the primary ongoing uses of epoxy include coating for water resistance, gluing of broken stones and glue injection into cracks and camouflage. To minimize the adverse effects of the epoxy on the property, the State Party has been conducting research into the impacts of epoxy and potential substitutes, and has discontinued the use of epoxies that have noted adverse effects. They also report that the use of steam cleaning is now very limited and is only applied to the floor. In addition, the State Party reported that water repellents are no longer used on the Borobudur Temple.
Monitoring and research programs are ongoing, further to studies undertaken in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre in 2006 and 2007, including the ‘Collaboration Project on Methods for Monitoring the Monument’ in conjunction with the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. Monitoring programmes include conservation of temple stones, geo-hydrology, leakage of temple walls, structure stability, environmental impact, utilization and security.
c) Additional information provided by the State Party
In addition to responding to the Committee’s requests, the State Party reported:
- interpretation and presentation of the property has been recently improved through installation of information boards and signage, preparation of a ‘green map’ of the property, conduct of on-site management and conservation training and production of leaflets and brochures; and
- a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value has been prepared, based on the format developed by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies. The text provides a brief synthesis of the significant heritage features of the property as well as justifications for inscription on the World Heritage List.l>
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the efforts of the State Party in addressing the issues raised by the World Heritage Committee, particularly in its progress in revising the legal and institutional framework for the management of the property, as well as in the improvement of the interpretation and presentation of the property. They also note that whilst the policies for stone conservation have been strengthened, there is continued use of epoxy resin at the property and they encourage the State Party to progress research and testing into finding an alternative substance, giving special consideration to the use of traditional local mortars combined with frequent maintenance. They also recommend that the State Party might consider requesting International Assistance to develop a pilot project in this area in order to formulate a protocol for the long-term conservation of the stone.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the preparation of the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value by the State Party, but also note that this does not include information on the authenticity and integrity of the property, nor protection and management requirements necessary to maintain the Outstanding Universal Value. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies will provide assistance to the State Party to develop these components of the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, within the framework of the upcoming periodic reporting exercise for the Asia Pacific Region.