By Decision 31 COM 7B.75, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), the World Heritage Committee requested the State Party to give urgent consideration to the recommendations of the 2006 mission and their phased implementation.
It urged the State Party to prepare, in consultation with and with assistance from the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a management plan that would include consideration for the significant geomantic elements associated with the inscribed monuments, thus providing a stronger level of protection, in view of the possible eventual re-nomination of the property as a cultural landscape.
The World Heritage Committee also requested the State Party to prepare
an action plan of necessary works to minimize the negative impact of noise pollution on the Minh Mang and Khai Dinh tombs.
An expert mission to the property was conducted in September 2008 within the framework of the France/UNESCO Cooperation Agreement to assist the State Party to meet these recommendations. The mission report contains a series of recommendations, each with proposed Action Plans to bring them into effect and meet Decision 31 COM 7B.75.
The State Party submitted its report on 9 March 2009, outlining progress as follows.
a) Illegal buildings and inventory of properties of heritage significance
The State Party’s progress report advises that a further 59 illegal households had been removed from the citadel during 2007-8 and that the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre and relevant agencies had been has recently been commissioned by the Hue Municipal People’s Committee to continue the clearance of illegal buildings and preventing new illegal works from being constructed in the inscribed core areas in the period 2010-2020. The report notes that the Provincial Government has enforced policies related to compensation and land allocation to households moved away from the World Heritage property. Much work has taken place in 2007-8 to re-investigate the zoning status and field demarcation of the inscribed sites and a number of other monuments have been recommended to Provincial and National heritage lists in order to provide a legal basis for their inclusion in an extended heritage area. Work has continued with Waseda University in expanding the inventory of traditional buildings and studying the historical water system in the citadel, with the University of Tokyo in proposing ways of stabilising the life of people residing in the inscribed area and with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in setting up a digitised database of historic buildings.
b) Suspension of major infrastructure projects and redefinition of boundaries
With regard to the proposed moratorium, the State Party advises that the local authority has not approved any major infrastructure projects near the property’s buffer zones. It is not clear, however, if this concerns the areas identified by the 2006 mission for the potential re-nomination of an extended property – as it was implied by the World Heritage Committee in its recommendation of 2007 – or rather the existing buffer zones as currently defined. In 2007 and 2008, 24 new sites were investigated and documented by the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre (HMCC) with a view to including them in extended boundaries for the property. The Provincial authorities have also assisted in the preparation of recommendations to the relevant National body regarding the amendment of the National Law for Cultural Heritage that will be required to enable changes to property and its buffer zone (Zone I and II) as recommended by the 2006 mission.
c) Development of a management plan
The State Party and local authorities have realised that the development of a comprehensive management plan requires in-depth studies, high professional competencies, the participation of many government agencies and priority investment on the part of the national government. The State Party’s report informs that a project to develop an integrated management plan is being carried out with support from the Netherlands Government and the UNESCO Hanoi Office. This project has already produced a draft Heritage management plan and is being reviewed by local stakeholders. The State Party expects the draft management plan to be submitted to UNESCO in the third quarter of 2009. With regard to the establishment of a GIS mapping system recommended by the 2008 mission, the State Party seeks financial and technical assistance, with the expectation that the system could be implemented in 2010-2012.
d) Action plan to mitigate impacts of noise pollution on Minh Mang and Khai Dinh Tombs
The State Party advises that projects involving the construction of low mounds and the planting of vegetation are being implemented to mitigate the noise problems at the Minh Mang tomb, together with a monitoring system to measure their effectiveness. Similar treatment will be implemented at the Khai Dinh to deal with the negative visual impacts of the road and to limit landslide dangers.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the progress made by the State Party in addressing the recommendations of the 2006 mission, notably in dealing with illegal buildings, preparing an inventory of heritage properties, starting the development of a management plan and carrying out mitigating measures at the Minh Mang and Khai Dinh Tombs to reduce the impact of the new highway. They would have welcomed information on how this management plan under preparation will be integrated in the context of the new Master Plan for the larger city of Hue, which was due for 2010.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also note, however, that no significant progress appears to have been made in developing a statement of Outstanding Universal Value that includes consideration for the significant geomantic elements associated with the inscribed monuments, and in redefining accordingly the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone, and that no request of International Assistance has been submitted by the State Party to support these activities. Considering that a management plan is apparently being developed, this seems very urgent.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also note press reports concerning a series of other conservation activities that are being carried out in Hue, through international cooperation. These include the restoration of the Tu Duc mausoleum (with German support), the 3D modelling of the city, in cooperation with Italy, and the promotion of local community involvement in heritage conservation (in the framework of a cooperation with the Nord Pas de Calais region, France).