1.         Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) (C 208rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2003

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   2003-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

a) Site security ensured;

b) Long-term stability of the Giant Buddha niches ensured;

c) Adequate state of conservation of archaeological remains and mural paintings achieved;

d) Management plan and cultural master plan (the protective zoning plan) implemented.

Corrective measures identified

a) Ensure site security by:

(i) exerting strict control of illicit excavations and looting through hiring of adequate number of trained site guards, and

(ii) clearing unexploded ordnances and anti-personnel mines from the property;

b) Ensure long-term stability of the Giant Buddha niches by installing a permanent monitoring system;

c) Ensure adequate state of conservation of archaeological remains and mural paintings by:

(i) completing the conservation of the fragments of the Giant Buddha statues;

(ii) completing the conservation of the mural paintings in the prioritized Buddhist caves;

d) Implement the management plan and the cultural master plan (the protective zoning plan) by developing institutional capacity, notably for the Ministry of Culture and the intersectoral Bamiyan Cultural Landscape Coordination Committee (BCLCC).

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

A timeframe of three years has currently been proposed by the UNESCO 6th Expert Working Group Meeting, held in Tokyo, January, 2008, to meet the Desired state of conservation.

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2002-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 30,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 3,237,027 (2003-2008) through the Japanese Funds-in-Trust.

Previous monitoring missions

No reactive monitoring mission has been carried out since 2002, but UNESCO expert missions have been sent every year since 2002 in order to implement the projects for the property.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Risk of imminent collapse of the Buddha niches;

b) Irreversible deterioration of the mural paintings;

c) Looting, illicit traffic and illegal excavations of cultural heritage assets;

d) Continued use of certain heritage areas for military posts;

e) Anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordinances (i.e. munitions).

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

The State Party submitted a report to the World Heritage Centre on 27 February 2008, which concentrated on conservation and restoration works at the property. However, no reference was made to other aspects of the World Heritage Committee’s decisions, such as the management plan and site security.

The State Party did not submit to the World Heritage Centre, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007) a draft Statement of outstanding universal value including the conditions of integrity and authenticity, nor the management plan and a progress report on the implementation of corrective measures.

Updated information has been provided by the final report on the“Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site” project - Phase II, which was financed by the Japanese Government. This report states that the activities implemented in 2007 include assistance to the Afghan authorities in the following:

a) Defining the steps to be undertaken in the future for the clearing of unexploded ordinances and anti-personnel mines from the property;

b) Installing a permanent monitoring system on the Giant Buddha niches;

c) Ensuring of adequate state of conservation of archaeological remains and mural paintings;

d) Preparation, finalization and Implementation of the management plan and the cultural master plan.

The cultural master plan has been officially adopted in 2006. As for the management plan for the property, work is still in progress. Looting, illicit traffic and illegal excavations of cultural heritage assets are being addressed by an initial site-management and monitoring system. However, due to the situation of the country, it remains extremely difficult to ensure effective governance of the property. Though the military is no longer active in the heritage areas of the Bamiyan Valley, anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordinances remain unidentified and uncleared in certain areas of the property, and no archaeological studies or conservation works can be carried out in these areas prior to mine clearance.

In order to ensure site security, including the safety of the public, mission members, and local workers, the report stresses that critical issues should be addressed. The steps identified to ensure proper site security include:

a) Strict control over illicit excavations and looting through hiring of adequate number of trained site guards;

b) Establishment of a regular site inspection system by professionals from the Ministry of Information and Culture;

c) Removal of all unexploded ordnances (UXOs) and anti-personnel mines from the property.

With regard to the de-mining operations, a 2008-2009 plan to clear all mines and UXOs in the whole area of Bamiyan is currently being developed by UNMACA (United Nations Mine Action Cooperation in Afghanistan) and UNESCO Office in Kabul. This work has recently received funding by the Japanese Government through UN Mine Action Services (UNMAS) at UN Headquarters in New York within the framework of UN Voluntary Funds-in Trust.

A Project Document for the “Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site” Phase III was submitted by UNESCO on 28 February 2008 to the Japanese Authorities, for the amount of approx. USD 1.5 million, to be implemented from 2008 to 2011. The Bamiyan third phase project will focus more on training activities and awareness-raising among the national/local authorities as well as the inhabitants.

During the UNESCO/ICOMOS Sixth Expert Working Group on the Preservation of the property in January 2008 in Tokyo, it was recommended that major activities under phase III should help attain the desired state of conservation by 2011.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7A.21

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7A.21, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes the efforts and commitment of the State Party and the international community for the safeguarding of this property and urges the State Party to continue its work on the corrective measures, particularly the completion of the management plan for the property, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007);

4. Welcomes the three-year timeframe proposed at the UNESCO 6th Expert Working Group Meeting in Tokyo in January 2008, to meet the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;

5. Reiterates its requests to the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity and authenticity, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

6. Calls upon the international community to continue providing technical and financial support, in particular to achieve the Desired state of conservation;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2009 a progress report on the implementation of the corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

8. Decides to retain the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.