On 1 February 2007, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report to the World Heritage Centre as requested by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006). An ICOMOS/World Heritage Centre reactive monitoring mission took place from 24 to 29 April 2007, in order to review the progress reported by the State Party above, and to review the conditions for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The mission and the State Party note the following accomplishments in their respective reports:
a) Preparation of a draft Integrated Management Framework (IMF), designed as an instrument to give official legitimacy to the IMP, and included within the IMP, to be adopted by the Government before the end of May 2007;
b) Completion of inventories of heritage buildings (categorized into A, B and C with grades of condition) in each of the seven World Heritage Monument Zones;
c) Revision of all existing building bylaws in each of the seven Monument Zones;
d) Amendment of some building bylaws conceptually linked to prescriptions for the inscribed site, buffer zone and surrounding areas;
e) Nepalese Conservation Guidelines (Ancient Monument Conservation Manual 2006) set up by the Government of Nepal;
f) Integration of the conservation of the inventorized buildings in linkage to building bylaws for each Monument Zone, as well as to the guiding conservation principles established in the IMF;
g) Identification of the site managers for each monument zone;
h) Establishment of a Coordinative Working Committee (CWC) for the IMP of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage property, composed of (representatives of) the site managers of each monument zone and chaired by the World Heritage Unit of the Department of Archaeology;
i) Establishment of the Secretariat of the CWC within the Department of Archaeology,
j) Establishment of a database containing all collected information on the property by the Secretariat of the CWC, which would eventually become the principal shared public source of information for the conservation of heritage values in the Kathmandu Valley;
k) Preparation of Management Handbooks and Action Plans for each of the seven Monument Zones;
l) Monitoring measures set up to assess the implementation of the management plan by regularly documenting and evaluating physical transformation of heritage buildings.
ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre commend the State Party on the quality and completeness of the state of conservation report, and on the continued strong efforts to complete the Integrated Management Plan according to the time table set last year, in difficult work conditions and political circumstances.
The mission found the IMP to be exemplary in many respects. The IMP was completed after two and a half years of work, addressing the social, political and economic complexities and challenges of the multi-component World Heritage property. It could be considered a model for the development of integrated management plans in all regions of the world. Its excellence lies in the innovative aspects of many of its constituent instruments (such as the Integrated Management Framework for adjusting structural relations among stakeholders) and its commitment to build from the ground-up a planning approach which involved all those who will be responsible for its implementation.
Referring back to the Decision 30 COM.7A.26, the mission reports with respect to the following five points:
a) The integrated management plan is in place, awaiting final completion to incorporate comments provided during the mission, for the envisaged Governmental adoption by the end of May 2007;
b) Guiding conservation principles for the Kathmandu Valley, which reflect the philosophy of the recently completed Nepalese national conservation guidelines (Ancient Monument Conservation Manual 2006), have been included in the IMF;
c) The categorized inventories in the seven Monument Zones have been completed by the Department of Archaeology, and through their linkage to the conservation guidelines (and building bylaws), and are to be effectively utilized for documenting and monitoring. Categorized inventories in the “buffer zones” of Patan and Bhaktapur Durbar Square Monument Zones, with large perimeters, are still awaiting completion;
d) The building by-laws for each Monument Zone have been revised, to control the transformation of heritage buildings within the World Heritage boundaries and in their buffer zones;
e) Regular monitoring measures to document and evaluate physical transformation of heritage buildings are planned within the Plan of Action for each Monument Zone, for monthly reporting to the Coordinative Working Committee in order to be assessed within the framework of implementing the Integrated Management Plan as a whole.
The mission recommends,on the basis of the above, the removal of the Kathmandu Valley from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The mission further recommends, during implementation of the IMP that close attention be given to:
a) Long-term sustainability of IMP involving identification of secure self-sustainable resources and a self-assessment mechanism within the State Party;
b) Strengthening of cross-sectoral co-ordination around the implementation of the IMP;
c) Increased recognition of risk preparedness as a key strategic priority in overall management of the property.
The mission further notes the importance of the official submission of the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value by the State Party.