Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site, Phase IV

Phase IV of this project aims to achieve the desired State of Conservation for the gradual removal of the property from the list of World Heritage in Danger; promote institutional and community capacity building in conservation, monitoring, planning, management and community awareness; ensure the scientific documentation of site findings and operation. The duration of Phase IV is foreseen from March 2012 to August 2014. This Phase IV project will provide technical assistance to the Afghan authorities for the conservation of the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley. The implementing agencies include UNESCO (World Heritage Centre and Kabul office); ICOMOS-Germany; Aga Khan Foundation (Bamiyan); ISPRA (Italian Institute for Protection and Environmental Research); National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (NRICP) Tokyo and Nara; RWTH Aachen University, Technical University of Munich with general contribution from the Government of Japan.

The objectives of Phase IV of the project to Preserve and Safeguard the Cultural Landscape of the Bamiyan Valley follow in line with the achievements of the first, second and three phases. Apart from the required technical and safety interventions keeping in view its removal from the List in Danger, Phase IV focuses on institutional and community capacity building in order to ensure suitable site security and management and enable sustainable development processes to unfold in the coming years. Indeed, throughout this project, UNESCO’s concern has not only been to safeguard the remains of the tangible heritage sites and train local conservation specialists in the process but also to unleash a dynamic process for intercultural dialogue and local sustainable development. In this context, the concept of Culture for Development for Bamiyan and the creation of a Bamiyan Museum for Peace could be important for the long-term sustainable development in the region.

This project for the conservation and sustainable management of the World Heritage property of Bamiyan is fully in line with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and Afghan National Development Strategy. It is hoped that the conservation of this outstanding heritage site contributes to promoting peace and fostering sustainable development, in particular for the people of Bamiyan, and in Afghanistan as a whole, by demonstrating the possibility of building sustainable communities on recognition of cultural diversity and the appropriate use of the natural and cultural environment.

Immediate Objectives

1. Achieve the Desired State of Conservation for the gradual removal of the property from the list of World Heritage in Danger, by:

  • Ensuring site security,
  • Safeguarding the remains of the two Buddhas and their niches,
  • Achieving an adequate State of Conservation of archaeological remains and mural paintings,
  • Implementing the Management Plan and Cultural Master Plan (the protective zoning plan);

2. Promote institutional and community capacity building in conservation, monitoring, planning, management and community awareness for a cultural heritage-based sustainable development program, including the linkage of this Phase IV project with Concept of Culture for Development for Bamiyan and the creation of a Bamiyan Museum for Peace;

3. Ensure the scientific documentation of site findings and operations.

Concept of Culture for Development

The development goal, in line with the UNDAF (United Nations Assistance Development Framework) and the ANDS (Afghan National Development Strategy), is to promote peace and sustainable development (sustainable livelihoods) for the people of Bamiyan with an appropriate use of the natural and cultural environment and for Afghanistan as a whole by reviving a rich history of intercultural exchanges and fostering cultural diversity.

The proposed project will contribute to the protection, enhancement and sustainable development of a World Heritage Property whose unique history and tangible and intangible cultural heritage make it a fertile laboratory for learning how to transform a destructive act into an opportunity for tolerance, peace and development through culture.

As part of this initiative, the government of Afghanistan has been particularly interested in the creation of a Bamiyan Museum for Peace. This potential museum would introduce the rich cultural heritage and history of the Bamiyan Valley to tourists from around Bamiyan, Afghanistan and the world. The local community would be invited to actively participate in the creation and development of the museum, providing an opportunity for local employment and capacity building as well as contributing to a culture of tolerance and peace.

Donor country: Government of Japan

Total project cost: USD 1,564,070  (including 13% support cost)

Project duration:  March 2012 to August 2014

Implementation organization/sector: UNESCO World Heritage Centre and UNESCO Kabul Office

Implementing partners : Ministry for Information and Culture, Afghanistan; Bamiyan Governor’s office, Afghanistan; National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and Nara; Aachen University, Germany; ICOMOS Germany; ISPRA (Italian Institute for Protection and Environmental Research)

States parties (1)