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 57,200, 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 mission; April and September 2008: UNESCO Advisory missions.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

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

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

At its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008), 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), incorporating the recommendations of the 2005 mission. A time-framed programme of activities to this end was expected. The World Heritage Committee had also requested the State Party to avoid carrying out any development project pending completion of the IMP.

On 30 January 2009, the State Party submitted a report outlining progress as follows:

a) Draft an updated Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, including the conditions of authenticity and integrity and Progress on the preparation of an IMP:

With support through International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund, a draft outline for the IMP has been prepared and is being reviewed. This focuses on the conservation of the property, but includes consideration of two sites, presently on the Tentative List of Nepal, that are closely associated with the life of Lord Buddha - Ramagrama, the Relic Stupa of the Lord Buddha, and Tilaurakot, the Archaeological remains of the Ancient Shakya (the father of the Lord Buddha) Kingdom. The process for the development of the IMP will follow that which was used for the Kathmandu Valley property, i.e. will be driven by those responsible for its implementation (that is the Lumbini Development Trust and the Department of Archaeology) and include extensive consultations with all stakeholders.

The IMP draft presented during the April 2008 start up workshop for the IMP in Lumbini contained a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, offered at that time for discussion to the Lumbini Development Trust, and all stakeholders.

b) Avoid carrying out any development project pending completion of the IMP

The report noted that the no development works have been carried out within the boundaries and the buffer zone of the property pending the completion of the management plan, except for a temporary toilet for visitors, constructed at the edge of the buffer zone. Fencing around the property has been enlarged to protect it from animal and human disturbance.

c) Develop a strategy to ensure the long-term protection of the significant archaeological remains of the property

The report also noted that further work on excavation of the surrounding levee has been undertaken, under the strict supervision of the Lumbini Chief Archaeologist. The area to the south west of the buffer zone, the assumed location of the ancient Lumbini village, and the south east and the north parts of the buffer zone, have been identified as potential archaeological areas for possible future excavation. More detailed documentation and monitoring procedures will be integrated within the future IMP.

d) Develop a strategy for the rehabilitation of the Maya Devi temple incorporating the recommendations and the implementation of the corrective measures proposed by the 2005 mission

Various corrective measures on the Maya Devi Temple have been carried out, including the waterproofing of the roof and removal of the external staircases. Access to the roof has been restricted to maintenance. With regard to the removal of the false ceiling inside Maya Devi Temple and its replacement with natural materials such as bamboo plywood, or fabric, and the review of the railings of the roof of Temple, the State Party has suggested that these aspects would be reviewed in the context of the IMP under preparation. With regard to the protection of the archaeological remains, which are threatened by ground water and humidity, the State Party reports that ground water is being regularly monitored, but that the expertise to analyse the data, understand the threats and establish an approach to deal with the ground water and humidity is not available. The State Party has requested UNESCO to provide an expert to study and analyse this problem.

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. However they also note that the State Party report did not include a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, including the conditions of integrity and authenticity, and the requested time-framed programme of activities.

With respect to the IMP, the World Heritage Centre had supported in 2006 the preparation of a comprehensive project for its elaboration, with detailed cost estimates. Presently, resources are been sought to enable the implementation of this important activity. Additional opportunities to mobilise resources for the conservation of Lumbini, including the IMP, are being considered at present, including through a possible project funded under the Japanese Trust Funds with UNESCO and a partnership with the Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance, an NGO based in France and China. The UNESCO Office in Kathmandu is also exploring a possible cooperation with the Asian Development Bank in the context of a loan to Nepal to foster tourism development related to Buddhist sites in South-Eastern Asia.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are concerned about some proposed development projects, including the enlargement of the existing airport and the construction of a ring road south of Lumbini. Information on these proposed developments was provided by the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu as well as by a group of stakeholders self-named “Lumbini Institutions”, by letter dated 30 October 2008. The ring road, in particular, appears to be located outside the inscribed property and its buffer zone, however it is felt that the project might still have a negative impact on its Outstanding Universal Value, notably through traffic and noise pollution which may affect the sacred character of the area. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that decisions on these proposals should be based on an Environmental Impact Assessment taking into account the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, within the framework of the IMP under preparation.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 33 COM 7B.79

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.75, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes the efforts and commitment of the State Party for the safeguarding of this property;

4. Reiterates its request to the State Party to draft, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, an updated Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, and submit it to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible, for examination by the World Heritage Committee;

5. Also 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 avoid carrying out any development project within the property and the adjacent areas identified as having potential archaeological significance, pending completion of the IMP;

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

7. Requests the State Party to submit detailed information to the World Heritage Centre on any proposed developments in the vicinity of the property which might have an impact on its Outstanding Universal Value, and particularly on the proposed ring road surrounding Lumbini, in line with the provisions of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011 a report on the progress made on the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.