The report on the state of conservation of the property, prepared by the Directorate General of History and Archaeology, Department of Culture and Tourism, Government of Indonesia, was received by the World Heritage Centre in January 2008. This document covers most of the points raised by the World Heritage Committee in 2002 and 2007:
a) The Coordinating Boardhas beenreactivated, working through a Conservation Office of Sangiran Early Man Site, recently established by the Minister of Culture and Tourism (February 2007). This Office has the duty of carrying out security, recovery, order, maintenance, preservation, regulation of land, survey, excavation, analysis, presentation, guidance, education, collaboration, community empowerment, documentation, publication, and administration;
b) No regulations currently exist to control building activities and land-use within the World Heritage property;
c) Work is nearing completion for revising the boundaries of the core zone;
d) There has been a considerable expansion and reordering of the museum.
The report by the State Party points as well to other issues of concern, including the lack of awareness among the local community of the importance of conserving the heritage of Sangiran, resulting in trafficking of fossils and inappropriate developments; and heavy rainfall, causing slides that leave precious fossils exposed (and therefore easily stolen).
The State Party report also indicates that all the above issues should be addressed in the framework of a ‘Master Plan’, consisting of eight sections. The report does not clarify whether this Master Plan is the existing document prepared in 2004 or a revised version, and does not provide indications as to the timeframe for its implementation.
At its 31st session, the World Heritage Committee recommended that the State Party should invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the property to assess its state of conservation and assist in addressing the issues raised above. The mission, which visited the property from 28 January to 3 February 2008, noted the significant advances made by the State Party, in particular by establishing a Conservation Office at the site and by making progress in the development of the Master Plan. Some problems persist in ensuring the necessary authority and financial resources for the proper functioning of the Conservation Office. As for the Master Plan, this provides a good basis for the management of the property, but lacks detailed operational policies and procedures, especially with regard to conservation aspects. In its report, the mission made 13 detailed recommendations, summarised here below:
a) Effective operational planning for the next stage of the Master Plan should be completed as a matter of urgency;
b) In this context, priority must be given to the development of detailed strategies and actions for conservation, community involvement, land use regulations, interpretation and visitor management;
c) As regards conservation, work should begin immediately on the preparation of a plan defining long, medium, and short term objectives and establishing technical parameters (materials, surfaces, types of impact and monitoring techniques);
d) Research activities at the site should be coordinated within the framework of the Master Plan and under the authority of the Conservation Office, with priority given to areas affected by soil erosion;
e) The authority of the site manager to control development within the World Heritage area must be officially defined and enforced in practice;
f) Priority should be given to securing funding to enable the Director of the Office to devote his full time to this post, which should be upgraded, the Office being redesignated as a Centre, as proposed in the Master Plan;
g) It is very important that there is ongoing involvement of the residents as key stakeholders of the property. The Coordinating Board and the Office should consider ways of doing this on a permanent basis;
h) As part of the Master Plan framework, environmental, archaeological and socio-cultural impact procedures should be mandatory for any significant development proposals within the World Heritage area;
i) The value statement in the Master Plan should be augmented by the recognition of cultural heritage value of the traditional wood and bamboo architecture, lifestyle, and folk arts and practices of the local community and specific strategies developed to conserve and enhance these aspects of the site's significance;
j) The policy for interpretation on the property should be minimal physical intervention. The use of vernacular architecture and the involvement of locals as guides and service providers would have the added advantage of involving the local community, providing maximum protection for the property and its contents, and have the long-term benefit of the need for fewer infrastructures.
k) The mission team commends the staff of the Office and supports the proposal by the Department and the Regencies, to carry out social research concerning the local population with the objective of improving living standards and community involvement in the property. This urgent work should be developed in tandem with research in conservation and interpretation by engaging a wider range of international expertise in its facilitation.
l) The villagers in the core area resent World Heritage inscription of the property, which has limited their ability to increase their standard of living. It is urgent to offer compensation and a proposal for an alternative livelihood project to ensure the effective implementation of the Master Plan and the successful implementation of the necessary regulations and limitations related to land use.
m) The property is at a critical stage in terms of ensuring sensitive and appropriate tourism ventures, which benefit locals. Local industries must be encouraged and safeguarded against a situation in which the profits go to outsiders. A strategy focused on these issues should be developed.