World Heritage Centre World Heritage Centre - Committee Decisions 90 en Copyright 2019 UNESCO, World Heritage Centre Sun, 25 Aug 2019 07:39:27 EST UNESCO, World Heritage Centre - Decisions 26 BUR XII.3-5 Komodo National Park (Indonesia) XII.3      The Bureau noted that a joint UNESCO-UNEP-RARE Center for Tropical Conservation mission to the site was fielded, from 23 January to 5 February 2002, as part of the implementation of the UNF-financed project: “Linking Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Tourism at World Heritage sites”. The State Party informed the Centre that co-operation between Park staff, the Navy and the police has been strengthened considerably and joint patrols are being undertaken. These patrols are likely to help curtail the illegal entry of fishermen from other provinces and nearby islands to exploit the marine areas of the Park; and that discussions regarding the nomination of extensions to the Park for inclusion in the World Heritage site are underway. Furthermore, the extension of the site is in the process of consultation between the central and local governments.

XII.4      The Bureau noted information provided by the State Party and congratulated its efforts to promote co-operation between Park staff, the Navy and the police to strengthen patrolling and surveillance capacity. The Bureau noted that the establishment of a Tourism Concession in support of the management of Komodo National Park required further discussions. The Bureau urged that the Park Management, The Nature Conservancy and other stakeholders study existing legislation and regulations to fully understand the implications of the establishment of the Concession and develop it as a support mechanism to provide sustainable revenues for the management of the Park.

XII.5      The Bureau invited the State Party to provide to the 27th session of the Committee, a detailed report on the outcome of these discussions and investigations, as well as on the on-going dialogue between the central and local Governments with regard to the potential extension of the Park boundaries, as a part of the Periodic Reporting Exercise for the Asia Pacific Region.

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26 BUR XII.6-10 Royal Chitwan National Park (Nepal) XII.6      The Bureau noted that the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) of Nepal, via a letter dated 22 January 2002, informed the Centre that the Bureau’s concerns with the construction of the 33kv transmission lines between Jagatpur and Madi.  This concern had been brought to the attention of the Ministry of Population and Environment, that is responsible for review and approval of the EIA for the project. IUCN has informed the Centre that this EIA is awaiting approval and notes that there is considerable public pressure in favour of the project going ahead.

XII.7      The Bureau also noted that a public hearing on the EIA report of the 33kv transmission line was held on 24 January 2002. Erection of transmission poles has already begun in Madi and in other parts outside of the northern sector of the Park. People at Madi regard electrification of the area as a step towards their economic prosperity. To date no poles have been erected inside the Park.

XII.8      Concerning the foundation for the Kasara Bridge on the Rapti River, which forms the northern boundary of the World Heritage site, the Bureau noted that it was laid by an earlier Prime Minister in response to requests from the local government and people.  It has been reported that alternative sites were assessed as neither suitable nor cost effective for the construction of the bridge. If the bridge is completed and the road is permitted along the bank of the Rapti River, the vehicles using the route will be required to travel at least 4 to 5 kilometres within the Park in order to meet the existing public right of way. The Park authorities believe that it will inevitably cause tremendous pressure on the World Heritage site due to the easy access it will provide.

The Observer of Nepal informed the Bureau that his country has no objection to inviting a monitoring mission to the site.

XII.9      The Bureau expressed its support for measures that would reduce the impact of the transmission line on the World Heritage values of this site and noted that the installation of an underground transmission line, while more expensive, may have the least potential impact on the site. The Bureau urged the Nepal Electricity Authority to consider undertaking all measures to mitigate any significant environmental impacts on the Park, and to contribute to conservation activities in addition to the insulation of the wire along its entire length within the Park and the buffer zone. The Bureau invited the State Party to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment of the Kasara Bridge and the associated road in order to identify possible alternatives and/or mitigation measures to minimize the significant negative impacts that are foreseen due to these constructions. Pending the completion of an EIA for the Kasara Bridge construction project, the Bureau recommended that the State Party consider imposing a moratorium on construction and use of the bridge and road.

XII.10    The Bureau requested the State Party to consider inviting a monitoring mission to the site in order to fully assess the impacts of the various development proposals being planned in the vicinity of the Park, and consider alternatives that do not compromise the World Heritage values of the site.

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26 BUR XII.11-13 Ha Long Bay (Vietnam) XII.11    The Bureau noted that an international expert meeting on the application of the World Heritage Convention in tropical coastal, marine and small-island ecosystems, jointly organized by the Centre and IUCN, was convened in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay from 23 February to 1 March 2002. A Centre staff, as well as several IUCN experts, attended the Workshop and are expected to report back on issues raised by the 25th extraordinary session of the Bureau in December 2001. The report requested from the State Party by the 25th extraordinary session of the Bureau has not been received.

XII.12    IUCN informed the Bureau that the number of caves open to visitation has been reduced, capacities for cave visitation and interpretation have been substantially improved, and the State Party has decided not to open new caves for visitation.  Illegal extraction of coral and other forms of sea life for the tourism markets has been halted at the site; however, the collection of cycads and other plants is more difficult to control and still occurs at the site. IUCN noted the number of recent positive measure that should be acknowledged by the Bureau.

XII.13    The Bureau expressed concerns regarding the rapid pace at which developments around this site are being planned and executed while conservation action, such as the implementation of the Government of Vietnam/JICA-sponsored Environmental Management Plan, appears to be rather slow in being launched. The Bureau reiterated its request made at its 25th extraordinary session in Helsinki that the Government of Vietnam, in collaboration with JICA and other partners as necessary, take urgent steps to implement the recommendations of the Environmental Management Plan without delay. The Bureau invited the State Party to present as a part of the Periodic Reporting Exercise to the 27th session of the Committee (2003), a work plan for the implementation of the Environmental Management Plan for Ha Long Bay.  This should include benchmarks that could be used to measure progress in the implementation of the Plan on an annual basis.  It was noted that all reports for the Asia Pacific region could be provided as part of the Periodic Reporting exercise for this region due in 2003.

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26 BUR XII.14-18 Pirin National Park (Bulgaria) XII.14    As requested by the 25th session of the World Heritage Committee and its Bureau, a joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission was undertaken to the site from 11 to 16 February 2002.  The Bureau noted that the full report of the mission is currently being finalized and that it will be presented to the Committee at its 26th session.

XII.15    The Bureau noted a number of preliminary mission findings and recommendations, in particular that potential threats to the site preceded the current development proposal, the lack of boundary maps and Management Plan at the time of the nomination, as well as the development of a ski area within the site. The new ski development inside the site concerns an additional 29.71 ha of forest disturbance within the 818.46 ha. Furthermore, the Bureau noted that an all-season cable car is proposed. The mission noted that allowing that this development would set a precedent for further ski development proposals and continued erosion of the site. Remediable actions would be required, in particular for effective management controls and reforestation. The Bureau furthermore noted delays in the completion of the Management Plan, and that an ‘Interim Plan’ is to be prepared to guide development and management of the site.

XII.16    The mission recommended a number of actions to be undertaken by the State Party, including the provision of clarifications and updated information on the approved development, and notice of the conclusion of all appeals, accurate boundary maps of the site of Pirin (1983) showing the existing and proposed ski development areas, the development and adoption of an ‘Interim’ Management Plan covering management objectives, regulations on development, staffing, visitor use and presentation and the creation of a Scientific Advisory Body for the site of Pirin. The Bureau noted that the State Party already provided detailed information dated 29 March 2002 including a map, an interim report on the status of the management plan and the extension of the site, which will be reviewed by IUCN and the Centre. The Bureau noted that this was a positive step, as the mission had recommended that in case such action is not taken, the Committee may consider inscribing Pirin World Heritage site on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

XII.17    IUCN noted that new ski developments have not been allowed on other sites since their inscription on the World Heritage list. IUCN welcomed the assurance from the State Party that no new ski development would be approved within the site.

XII.18    The Bureau adopted the following recommendation for action by the 26th session of the Committee:

"The Committee notes the results of the report provided by the UNESCO-IUCN mission to the site and the number of existing and potential threats to the values and integrity of the site, including boundary issues, the lack of a management plan, and a new ski development proposal with forest disturbance. The Committee urges the State Party to implement the recommendations of the mission and take remedial actions to ensure that the World Heritage values of the site are protected. These actions should include: the development of effective management controls, reforestation of disturbed areas, the creation of a scientific advisory body and the provision of an interim management plan awaiting the management plan which should be finalized as a matter of urgency. The Committee welcomed the immediate response by the State Party to some of the concerns raised by the mission and invites the authorities to apply for international assistance as indicated in the mission report. The Committee acknowledged the support provided by the State Party of Switzerland for the preparation of the Biodiversity Conservation Management Plan for Pirin National Park and World Heritage site.  The Committee may wish to review additional material that may be available at the time of its 26th session and decide whether or not the conditions of potential threats as indicated in paragraph 83 (ii a, b, d) of the Operational Guidelines would be fulfilled".

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26 BUR XII.19-22 Caves of the Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (Hungary/Slovakia) XII.19    The Bureau noted that the Minister for the Environment of Slovakia provided a report, dated 30 January 2002, to the Centre that was transmitted to IUCN for review. The report noted that the Minister of Environment, after consultations with the concerned ministries, submitted the proposal to the Slovak Government for designating the Slovak Karst Caves as Slovak Karst National Park, noting that with such a designation the level of protection would increase. The report noted that up to the present, the site has been a Protected Landscape Area where geologic activities and mining have only been allowed with the permission of the nature and landscape protection body.  Caves are also protected as “national nature monuments” and afforded the highest level of protection.  Further, in 2001 the National Council of the Slovak Republic took all caves into State ownership. To date, no permission has been granted for any geologic or mining activity near the Skalisty potok – Kunia preipast cave system. The report also mentioned that the territorial plan of the Large Territorial Unit Kosice Region, approved in 1998 by the Slovak Government, does not propose any limestone mining in the Slovak Karst and emphasises its protection.

XII.20    A number of NGOs, including Sosna, expressed concern that farmers affected by the designation of national park be adequately compensated, is developing, together with the Hrhov local government, proposals for development of sustainable tourism and ecological agriculture.  The IUCN WCPA Task Force on Caves and Karst commended the excellent standard of administration of cave management, research and monitoring in Slovakia.

XII.21    The Observer of Slovakia informed the Bureau that the new Slovak Karst National Park came into force on 1 March 2002, in a new framework providing protection for natural sites in Slovakia. She underlined that her authorities are working closely with NGOs on these issues to ensure proper consultation and sustainable development in the region.

XII.22    The Bureau commended the State Party on rejecting the mining application that threatened the site, and on the general improvement in legislative control over protected areas and cave systems, as well as for its decision to designate the site as a national park.  The Bureau urged the State Party to apply mechanisms that provide for compensation as well as continued community involvement in the management of the national park. The Bureau acknowledged the role of Sosna and its partners in achieving positive outcomes for the protection of the site and encouraged the State Party to carefully consider proposals for sustainable tourism and ecological agriculture in and around the site.

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26 BUR XII.23-29 Lake Baikal (Russian Federation) XII.23    Following the report of the joint UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission to the site in 2001, presented to the 25th extraordinary session of the Bureau, and at the request of the 25th session of the Committee, the Permanent Delegation of the Russian Federation transmitted a report on the situation of Lake Baikal dated 1 February 2002.

XII.24    IUCN noted that progress has been achieved in the implementation of a number of measures towards the conservation of Lake Baikal.  This was acknowledged in the UNESCO/IUCN report presented to the World Heritage Committee and the efforts of the State Party are recognized in trying to solve the complex conservation issues facing this site.

XII.25    In relation to the report submitted by the State Party the Bureau noted a number of concerns:

  1. Baikal Commission:  The Bureau welcomed the news, conveyed in the State Party report, of the decision of the Russian Federal Ministry of Natural Resources to establish a Russian Federal Commission for Lake Baikal.  However, no information was provided on:
  • the time frame to implement this decision;
  • when approval could be forthcoming from the Government of the Russian Federation;
  • by what process the Commission would be formed;
  • the mandate of the Commission;
  • who would comprise the Commission and what would be their competencies, and
  • when the Commission is expected to be fully operational.

XII.26    IUCN noted that the State Party decision to also create an inter-regional department of the Ministry in the Baikal Region to co-ordinate activities related to nature management and environmental protection in Lake Baikal and adjoining areas, may have the potential to duplicate the role of the Baikal Commission and create confusion. 

2.  Federal Law “On the Protection of Lake Baikal”: This was a key issue raised in the UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission report.  IUCN believed that the further specification and follow up of the Law is key to the successful resolution of other problems affecting the site.  The State Party report noted that authorities are preparing their suggestions for the delineation of the zones, however that no time frame for final application is given. Though the State Party report noted adoption of several resolutions and legal acts, a clear and logical definition of the borders of the environmental zones is essential.

3.  Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill:  This issue has been brought to the attention of the Committee a number of times and the information received from the State Party confirms its complexity and the need for the Convention to assist the State Party in obtaining additional financial and technical support to solve this problem.  The State Party reported that the Expert Commission for the State Environmental Impact Assessment recommended, in mid 2001, that the first stage of the “Complex Program for the Conversion of the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill and Development of the town of Baikalsk” be launched, so as to be completed by 2005.  It remains unclear who will be responsible for implementation of each component of the first stage, and what is the time-table in the short term (1-2 years).

4.  Prospects of gas production in the Selenga Delta:  The report from the State Party confirmed that there are some geophysical indications of gas deposits in the Delta.  IUCN welcomed the information provided by the State Party that the planned drilling of two parametrical wells in the site, to confirm the possibility of gas deposits, is presently subject to a State EIA.  IUCN considered that exploration and exploitation of mineral, oil and gas resources is not acceptable within a World Heritage site.  IUCN remained concerned that, if the existence of gas deposits is confirmed, exploitation of gas in this area will take place, with associated environmental impacts on the World Heritage site, as outlined in the UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission.  IUCN noted that, while the existence of gas deposits in the Selenga Delta is yet to be confirmed, the State Party report does not provide any re-assurance that this resource will not be exploited in the event that its existence and economic viability is confirmed by research.

5.  Level of pollution to Lake Baikal through the Selenga River:  The report from UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission to this site noted that “the pollution load of the Selenga River is apparently still considerable”.   While IUCN acknowledged, based on the State Party report, that this load has been steadily reduced (by 27% between 1997 and 2000), the discharge of wastewater to the river in 2000 was still over 60 million cubic metres per annum and this provides a significant impact on the site and remains a major concern.   This level of pollution is indeed of concern.  IUCN also welcomed the information on the different measures planned to further reduce this level of pollution, however it is not clear from the State Party report what progress had been made in the implementation of these measures, and if the funding received for them is sufficient for full implementation.

6.  Single Management Plan for the site:  The information received from the State Party noted proposals to develop such a plan under the framework of Article 22 of the Federal Law “On the Protection of Lake Baikal”.  However, information is required on the resources available to prepare such a plan, and the time frame for this exercise to be completed.  IUCN emphasised that the management plan must outline concrete strategies and actions for dealing with threats, in the long, medium and short term.

7.  Decline of the Baikal Seal population: The UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission noted a continuous decline in the Baikal seal population.  The information provided by the State Party is contradictory to this and to other assessments made available to the team that undertook the UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission in 2001.  There is no clear agreement, due to a lack of regular monitoring assessments, on the factors that affect the seal population.  IUCN acknowledged that the hunting permits have remained unchanged for the last 8 years (at a level of 3-4 thousands seals per year).  However, the UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission noted that the skills of the legal hunters are poor, often causing collateral deaths due to wounding of animals.  In the event of a true decline of the seal population due to factors other than hunting, the current level of the legal quota may be inappropriate and create unfavourable pressure on the species. IUCN reiterated the recommendation from the UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission on the need for improved and co-ordinated monitoring of the seal population as well as better training and surveillance of the hunters.

8.  Planned oil and gas pipeline to China: IUCN welcomed the commitment from the State Party to require that the EIA prepared by the pipeline contractor should effectively address the protection of the integrity of the site.  However, IUCN believed that this issue requires careful attention in the event that important gas reservoirs are found in the Selenga Delta and in the event that the State Party decides to exploit such reservoirs.

9.  Pollution from the town of Severobaikalsk: The report of the State Party reinforces the results of the UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission, which noted that the insufficient treatment of sewage remains an issue of serious concern to the integrity of the site.

10.  Forest Cutting: The State Party report noted that: wood-logging volumes in the catchment area of Lake Baikal are much lower that they were in the 80’s; no clear-cutting operations are taking place in the coastal water-protection zone of Lake Baikal in the Irkutsk Region and the Republic of Buryatia; and all timber is logged under improved environmental felling operations.  The UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission also noted official reports that there had been a significant decrease in logging in the Buryat Forest, however the Monitoring Mission report also mentioned that satellite imaging shows that considerable clear-cuttings went on in this area after the inscription of Lake Baikal in 1996.  This issue remains unclear.

11. Situation in Pribaikalsky National Park:  IUCN welcomed the information provided by the State Party on the increasing level of protection of this national park that has resulted in a decreasing number of violations related to illegal fishing and hunting. 

XII.27    IUCN noted that a few issues mentioned in the UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission report were not mentioned in the State Party report: atmospheric pollution; fishing; state of reserves and artificial changes of the water table.  With respect to the atmospheric pollution, the UNESCO/IUCN Monitoring Mission report noted the need for improved interpretation of data in order to link monitoring results with sources of pollution.  IUCN noted that the conservation and development issues at Lake Baikal are complex and that the positive efforts of the State Party in dealing with these issues are to be commended.  IUCN noted there remain some areas of disagreement between the UNESCO/IUCN report and the State Party report.

XII.28    IUCN considered that there remain serious concerns in relation to the state of conservation of this site, particularly in relation to pollution impacts, including from the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill; progress with the Federal Law: “On the Protection of Lake Baikal”; establishment of the Baikal Commission, and uncertainties about gas exploration and exploitation in the Selenga Delta.  IUCN thus reiterated the recommendation of the UNESCO/IUCN report to inscribe this site on the List of World Heritage in Danger.  IUCN restated that inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger would be a positive measure to attract international support to enhance the capacity of the State Party to deal with the complex issues related to the conservation of this site.  IUCN also reiterated the need to consider the five points proposed to the 25th session of the World Heritage Committee for assessing future progress towards the conservation of this site. 

XII.29    The Bureau adopted the following recommendation for action by the 26th session of the Committee:

“The Committee notes that there remain serious concerns in relation to the state of conservation of this site, particularly in relation to pollution impacts, including from the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill, the lack of progress with the Federal Law “On the Protection of Lake Baikal”, the establishment of the Baikal Commission, and uncertainties about gas exploration and exploitation in the Selenga Delta. Having considered the report provided by the State Party and the comments by IUCN, the Committee decides to include Lake Baikal on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Bureau furthermore requested the State Party to provide the following:

  • Precise time-schedules for implementation of the first stage of the BPPM Programme in the next 1-2 years;
  • Concerning the Baikal Law: a map of the zones, indicating clear and logical borders;
  • For the Baikal Commission: documentation detailing the establishment of the co-ordination body, including means of establishment, mandate, composition, date of commencement of duties, competence;
  • Concerning the Baikal Seals: information on the training of legal hunters and establishment of a sound monitoring regime; and
  • Finally for the Gas Exploration in the Selenga Delta, clear statement of intentions if and when gas is found through “scientific research".

Furthermore, the Committee recommends that regular meetings between the State Party, the UNESCO Moscow Office and IUCN-CIS be encouraged to improve co-operation and communication".

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26 BUR XII.30-33 Volcanoes of Kamchatka (Russian Federation) XII.30    Following the request by the 25th session of the Committee, the Permanent Delegation of Russia transmitted a report on the situation of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka, dated 1 February 2002. IUCN noted that the report from the State Party is consistent with IUCN information related to gold mining and the fact that no gas pipeline crosses the territory of the World Heritage site. 

XII.31    The State Party reported that salmon poaching in the Kamchatka Peninsula is increasing.  However, such activity is being held in check in the protected natural areas included in the World Heritage site due to the operation of special services protecting and controlling the use of water resources, as well as certain environmental protection measures and education.  Furthermore, IUCN noted reports of a lack of managerial and staffing levels and capacity in the protected areas, and expressed concern that this affects the ability to control poaching.   IUCN acknowledged that hunting is allowed in Bystrinsky Nature Park under National Park regulations, but noted the critical need to develop systems to manage and monitor hunting to avoid reductions in the population of game species.  Moreover, IUCN noted that the Bystrinsky Nature Park management does not participate in decisions on the delineation of game areas.  There is also concern that current staffing levels inhibit the Park management from effectively monitoring hunting. With respect to the incidence of forest fires, IUCN notes that it continues to receive reports that fires are a problem, and in light of previous comments on staffing levels, is concerned that there is no effective fire management/response system or team.  IUCN welcomed the information that the project for the improvement of the Esso-Palana road is to be the subject of a State EIA, however concerns remain on the secondary impacts that this road may have, through the opening up of opportunities for increased poaching and hunting.  With respect to the construction of the gas pipeline and geothermal power plant, though both outside the site, it is not clear how far from the boundaries both developments lie.  Further details should be requested from the State Party on the construction of the pipeline and geothermal power plant and their Environmental Impact Statements.

XII.32    IUCN welcomed the information that there is no intention to redefine the boundaries of Bystrinski Nature Park beyond the changes undertaken in 1996, and that no gold mining is occurring in the site or adjoining areas. 

XII.33    The Bureau noted that there are two GEF-funded projects underway in Kamchatka to address salmon management and to strengthen management of the World Heritage site and welcomed such initiatives. The Bureau requested that the State Party report on any future proposed mining adjacent to the site and the environmental impact assessment process and environmental management measures associated with any such activity. The Bureau noted that there remain some conflicting reports and concerns with the conservation of this site.  Therefore, it requested further information on: the management and staffing levels and arrangements in the protected areas comprising the site; the system of delineation or distribution of game areas, and the management of hunting, including the extent of involvement of the protected area management/authorities; and the location of the gas pipeline and power plant in relation to the World Heritage site boundary and any impacts on the World Heritage site. The Bureau decided that a mission to the site, as recommended by the World Heritage Committee at its 25th session, be deferred until information on the above aspects is received.

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26 BUR XII.34-35 Doñana National Park (Spain) XII.34    The State Party informed the Centre via letter that its report would only be available after 15 February 2002. The letter notified the Centre of a meeting on 14 February 2002 of the Joint Committee for the Management of Doñana National Park, and the State Party’s intention to provide a report on the state of conservation of the site following this meeting.  The full report provided by the State Party noted that the project for the proposed expansion of the Port of Seville had not been approved and that it is subject to expert review by stakeholders. Furthermore, progress in the consultation process and institutional arrangements for finalising the new Management Plan and the execution of special plans for the protection of the Iberian lynx and the Imperial Eagle  (decline of populations due to combination of problems) were noted and that a regional approach is needed. Concerning the illegal water extraction it was stated that actions are taken with the Hydrographical Confederation of Guadalquivir to address this problem. However the Restoration Plan for the Aznalcollar Mine is still to be addressed, as the mine site is releasing a small amount of acid water.  Concerning the monitoring of water quality it is noted that water entering the National Park shows minimum levels of pollution.  The Restoration Plan requires implementation over a number of years. The Park Administration is exerting increasing control on the Rocío Pilgrimage and environmental education activities are implemented. After the 2nd International Meeting of Project Doñana 2005 (November 2001), a Scientific Committee was created, and a Co-ordinating Commission to link Project Doñana 2005 and the Green Corridor Programme was established. IUCN noted that the situation of the Iberian Lynx has been aggravated,  there is a lack of road speed limits and wildlife fatality mitigation infrastructure, and that the pilgrimage is not a single event but a combination of different pilgrimages throughout the year involving 3 - 5,000 people and hundreds of vehicles crossing the site. IUCN considered that these pilgrimages could not be considered "traditional" in the way they are occurring. However, the State Party is making concerted efforts and investing substantial funds to address the range of issues affecting the site.

XII.35    The Bureau commended the State Party for its continued efforts towards the conservation of the site. The Bureau noted with concern a number of issues to be addressed including the Iberian Lynx population and the series of pilgrimages through the Park. The Bureau urged the State Party to give priority to promoting integrated regional land-use planning in order to minimise impacts related to irrigation and road design, construction and management around the site.

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26 BUR XII.36-40 Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast (United Kingdom) XII.36    A detailed report on the site has been provided via letter and electronic mail from the Department for Culture, Media and Sports dated 11 February 2002. IUCN stated that the report noted that the management plan for the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which has the World Heritage site as its core, is now under preparation. An issue paper was prepared for public consultation by March 2002, which will be followed by a draft plan in June 2002. A final version of the plan is then to be lodged with the Department of Environment of Northern Ireland (DOENI) in November 2002.  DOENI intends to publish the agreed AONB management plan in January 2003. Through the United Kingdom Observer, DOENI undertakes to keep the Bureau informed on progress on the plan.

XII.37    In early 2001, the Moyle Distric Council had offered the site for development.  The State Party report noted that a number of planning applications had recently been lodged relating to the area immediately adjacent to the World Heritage site. These applications will be determined under the Northern Ireland planning process. IUCN received some reports expressing concern with threats to the integrity of the site, and more specifically on the following issues: ongoing piecemeal development/applications and poor control on development; absence of an integrated management plan; lack of a statutory development plan which recognises the unique nature of the World Heritage site; concern that the current planning system only considers each application on its own merit, but does not consider cumulative impacts.

XII.38    One of these reports noted that the bid for tender for the visitor centre is the same developer who is already undertaking development in the land adjacent to the site (conversion of a listed building to a public house), and has three other applications pending (Arts, Crafts and Cultural Centre; 60-room hotel and separate tea room).  The Bureau noted that the State Party letter of 11 February stated that the decision to sell the land was again reversed by the Moyle District Council on 6 February 2002, and that the Council intended to take the lead in redeveloping the visitor facilities.

XII.39    The Bureau reiterated its concerns about piecemeal development and the absence of a clear buffer zone with special planning provisions that would prevent such development occurring.  There is potential for cumulative impacts which could cause irreversible damage to the setting and environmental context of the site. The Bureau noted that the State Party report in December mentioned that the DOENI “has commenced preparation of the Northern Area Plan which will provide the statutory planning framework for development in the area up to 2016.  The plan will formulate local planning policies accordingly.  As an interim measure, and in advance of the planned adoption of this plan in 2003, the current policy provides for a 4-km radius around the World Heritage site within which all development proposals will be subject to particular scrutiny.” 

XII.40    The Bureau expressed its concern that knowledge of the two planning processes underway may be intensifying development proposals around the site, and requested information from the State Party as to whether the AONB and normal planning processes provide sufficient protection of the area adjacent to the site.  The Bureau encouraged the State Party to delineate a buffer zone as part of the Northern Area Plan and AONB management plan processes.  Finally, the Bureau urged the State Party to implement the 4-km special zone during the drafting period of the Northern Area Plan, and to consider a moratorium on commercial development until such time as both the AONB management plan and the Northern Area Plan are further advanced".

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26 BUR XII.41-43 St Kilda (United Kingdom) XII.41    A detailed report on the site has been provided via letter and electronic mail from the Department for Culture, Media and Sports dated 4 February 2002. IUCN noted that the report stated that the results from the seabed survey are being analysed and a report will be produced as soon as possible. These results will inform the development of the proposal for an extension to the St Kilda World Heritage site as well as providing information for the site to be designated, and therefore protected under European legislation, as a Special Area of Conservation.

XII.42    It is still proposed to complete a consultation draft of the management plan, incorporating both natural and cultural elements of the site. The maritime aspects of the plan will reflect the obligations of the Natural sites that will be able to call on the full backing of legislation to enable enforcement.  If the new boundaries extend beyond the six-mile territorial limit this will raise issues relating to the Law of the Sea administered by the International Maritime Organisation.

XII.43    The Observer of the United Kingdom noted that the draft of the management plan will not be ready by June 2002 but needs another year and that her authorities will keep the Centre informed.  The Bureau noted that no substantial new information is forthcoming, that the process of producing the management plan is ongoing, and looked forward to the proposals being provided by the State Party.

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26 BUR XII.44-46 Cocos Island National Park (Costa Rica) XII.44    The Bureau was informed that after the illegal fishing incident in October 2001 the State Party has undertaken significant actions to increase the protection of the Marine Reserve. These actions include establishing co-operation with the National Coast Guard Service (NCGS) and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for patrolling the marine area, extension of the marine limits up to 12 nautical miles and prosecution of illegal fishing boat owners.

XII.45    IUCN congratulated the State Party on the actions taken to protect the site and on the intentions of the State Party to also expand the boundaries of the World Heritage site to match the new marine limits of 12 nautical miles. He informed the Bureau of the proposal for the creation of “Pacific Biological Corridor” between Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia and Panamá. The aim of the proposal is to improve the protection of existing protected areas within the Corridor, including two World Heritage sites, namely Cocos Island and Galapagos Marine Reserve, as well as to help prevent marine transportation related accidents and illegal fishing within the region. The proposal is a joint effort between the above-mentioned State Parties, IUCN, Conservation International and UNEP and it is currently being prepared for GEF funding.

XII.46    The Bureau commended the State Party on its efforts to achieve protection of the site with limited resources, and the forming of a strategic partnership with the National Coast Guard Service and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. It noted that the recent prosecution of the Ecuadorian vessel underlined the commitment of the State Party and sets a precedent for further prosecutions. The Bureau recognised the continuing financial constraints preventing the full enforcement of the present laws and regulations and the courage and dedication of those rangers who have been tackling the poaching threat for years. The Bureau congratulated the State Party on the extension of the Marine Park boundaries to 12 nautical miles, and, in light of the desire of the State Party to extend the boundaries of the World Heritage site to be commensurate with these new boundaries, requested that a proposal be submitted in due course, including a map of the extension. The Bureau fully supported the efforts by The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, particularly in seeking donations of fast boats, a radar system and other equipment to give to the Cocos Island National Park Ranger Station. If necessary, the State Party may wish to consider requesting additional assistance from the World Heritage Fund.


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26 BUR XII.47-52 Tongariro National Park (New Zealand) XII.47    The Bureau noted that following the request of the Committee at its 25th session (Helsinki, 2001) the State Party provided a report following completion of a review of the management decisions taken to date to minimise the risks to safety associated with the impending Ruapehu Crater Lake lahar. The Minister of Conservation announced that the installation of a state-of-the-art alarm and warning system, and the construction of a bank alongside the Whangaehu River are sufficient to address risks to public safety from an expected lahar.

XII.48    In addition to these measures, the Department of Conservation is working closely with the Police and the Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management to develop an appropriate emergency response plan.  Furthermore, the Ministry is helping organisations with assets in the predicted lahar path to review their individual civil defense response plans.

XII.49    The Minister has decided against undertaking engineering work at the Ruapehu Crater Lake to reduce the impact of a lahar.  Such works had been opposed by environmental and recreational groups, the Tongariro/ Taupo Conservation Board, the New Zealand Conservation Authority and by local iwi (Maori tribes). The decision was based on the assessment of potential risks to staff working on the engineering works versus the risk to the public and infrastructure without engineering, and the public concerns about the impact on National Park values that would occur by bulldozing into the summit of the mountain.

XII.50    The decision followed a lengthy period of consultation with technical experts, the community and other stakeholders as well as input from other Government Ministers with portfolios, who would be affected by a lahar. In making the announcement, the Minister stated that an engineering intervention at the Crater Lake would be inconsistent with the provisions of the National Parks Act, the Tongariro National Park Management Plan and the World Heritage Convention.  "This area is of outstanding international significance for its natural values. Given the high natural values of the Crater and the intense interest in the area," she said, "intervention would have been highly controversial and there would have been considerable uncertainty as to whether the required consents could have been obtained."  Both ICOMOS and IUCN have expressed their support for this decision.

XII.51    The Bureau commended the State Party on its decision concerning the management of the ash build-up that has blocked the outlet of Crater Lake following the eruptions of Mount Ruapehu in 1995 and 1996.

XII.52    The Bureau welcomed the decision to install a state-of-the-art alarm and warning system and to construct a bank alongside the Wangaehu River rather than undertake engineering work at the Ruapehu Crater Lake, in the hope that this will maintain the outstanding natural and cultural values of the site whilst giving due regard to public safety issues. The Bureau expressed its hope that all parties will accept the decision.

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26 BUR XII.53-55 Hierapolis-Pamukkale (Turkey) XII.53    The Bureau noted that a report on the state of conservation of the site was provided by the State Party on 30 January 2002 and was reviewed by IUCN and ICOMOS. The Bureau also noted that since 1992 when the Pamukkale Development Plan was issued, a number of positive developments had occurred:

  1. Construction of transportation to the site: the road linking Pamukkale town and the plateau, which climbed through the travertine terraces, has been closed and alternative options are being considered.
  2. New access to the terraces is related to the alternative transportation options, which has yet to be resolved.
  3. Tourism establishments have been removed from the site and the last two hotels were demolished in 2001.  This is considered one of the major successes of management of the site.
  4. Construction of a thermal water distribution network: the development of a thermal water distribution network is almost complete.  However the new water distribution channels are visually intrusive and options to address this problem are being considered, including changing the position and level of some channels, or camouflaging the channels with vegetation.
  5. Forming new travertine terraces: it is recognized that the major attraction of Pamukkale for tourists is bathing in the terraces.  Hence plans are being developed to form new travertine areas to cater to this demand.
  6. The report also noted that Pamukkale is part of the World Bank-financed “Turkey: Community Development and Heritage Project”, which commenced in 2000.  The first activity under this project was an assessment of the 1992 Master Plan.  The assessment concluded that there was an urgent need for the establishment of a proper site management system, together with site interpretation and presentation plan.  A Pamukkale Site Management and Presentation Plan is currently being prepared by a joint Ministry of Culture and World Bank team.

XII.54    Although there is still some progress to be made, the Bureau noted that major problems have been resolved and dealt with and there has been a significant improvement in care of the site.  Problems relating to the state of conservation of the pools and visitor management have been successfully resolved.

XII.55    The Bureau thanked the Turkish authorities for the detailed report and congratulated them on the measures they have taken to ensure the protection and management of the site. It requested that a report on the progress of the World Bank-financed project be made available and acknowledged the attempts to protect the site from tourist damage through the creation of alternative terraces for bathing. Furthermore, the Bureau urged the State Party to undertake full impact assessments before engaging in any new works, including further access/road construction. It suggested that the State Party seek international technical, scientific and other support to improve the state of conservation of the travertine terraces.

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26 BUR XII.56-62 Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (Peru) XII.56    The Bureau was informed that the State Party had submitted, on 6 December 2001, a detailed report stating that almost all the recommendations of the 1999 mission had been followed, including a plan for the village of Aguas Calientes, detailed studies on the carrying capacity of, and the means of access to the Sanctuary and its components, the limitation of visitor facilities in the area surrounding the Ciudadela, and the desirability of extending the site. However, from other reports received through the UNESCO Lima Office, gradual deterioration seems to continue.

XII.57    In addition, a “Landslide Risk Mitigation Symposium” took place from 21 to 26 January 2002, at the Disaster Prevention Research Institute of the Kyoto University (Japan) whereby an agreement was reached between the Institute and the Peruvian experts on the process to be followed to continue the research on the Machu Picchu landslide risks.

XII.58    The site has been of serious concern to the World Heritage Committee since 1996.  The management arrangements and planning mechanisms for the preservation of the Sanctuary, a proposed cable car from Aguas Calientes to the Ciudadela and a hotel extension, as well as damage to the Intihuantana sundial have been the main motives for this concern.

XII.59    Three monitoring missions have been undertaken to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, in 1997, 1999 and 2002, to assess the management and planning of the site. The most recent mission was to assess the implementation of the recommendations of the 1999 mission and, in response to damage caused to the Intihuatana sundial, to look into the policy for the commercial use of the site. The mission was undertaken from 25 February to 1 March 2002 and found that only a few of the recommendations of the 1999 mission had been fully implemented:

  • Planning and management arrangements for the Sanctuary have improved only marginally and remain inadequate as many stakeholders continue to act in their own self-interest. The strategies of the Master Plan have not been translated into clear planning and action, although an improvement is to be noted in the Operational Plan for the year 2002.
  • The Machu Picchu Programme, funded under a debt-swap arrangement with Finland, has provided sound information on, and analysis of, many of the critical problems confronting the Sanctuary. However, this information has been used only rarely as the basis for concrete decisions and action.
  • Access to the Sanctuary and to the Ciudadela remains as it has been for many years and the contract for the study and eventual construction of the proposed cable car has been cancelled.
  • A study on carrying capacity of the Camino Inca has been completed and a regulation for the use of the Inca Trail has been introduced, which is probably the most important progress that has been made in the Sanctuary.
  • Terms of reference for development of a Public Use Plan for the Sanctuary are currently being developed in preparation for out-sourcing of this critical work. The Public Use Plan will be pivotal in terms of determining carrying capacities, alternatives for access, and the safety of Aguas Calientes for visitor use. These are critical factors that should be used as the basis for planning visitor services and facilities.
  • While urban development and natural disaster mitigation plans have been developed for the village of Aguas Calientes, they have not been implemented nor have their recommendations been followed.
  • Scientific and financial support for management of the Sanctuary remains a critical issue for which the Machu Picchu Programme has provided interim solutions, but the Programme will terminate this year. Urgent consideration should be given to the establishment of a permanent, independent, and international institution to provide scientific support to the management of the Sanctuary. There is also a need to immediately establish, as indicated in the Master Plan, a Trust Fund for Machu Picchu, to facilitate the collection, transparent management, and distribution of revenues in accordance with the priorities and strategies outlined in the Master Plan.
  • The damage caused to the Intihuantana sundial during filming of a beer commercial has demonstrated that current regulation of commercial use of the site is inadequate. Efforts are underway to augment both regulation and supervision of such activities in the future. Studies have been undertaken that indicate restoration of the damage to be feasible, but little can be done until the legal and administrative processes against the party causing the damage have been resolved. In the meantime, it would be useful to establish a technical commission to study the reports, and make a firm recommendation regarding the restoration.

XII.60    The extensive mission report, to be distributed during the next Committee session, concludes by formulating a series of 38 specific recommendations.  On the basis of the findings of the mission and after a brief debate, the Bureau noted the report of the 2002 UNESCO-IUCN-ICOMOS mission and its recommendations. While recognising that progress has been made in certain aspects, particularly the management of the Camino Inca, it expressed its very serious concern about the continued inadequacy of the management and planning arrangements for the Sanctuary. The Bureau requested the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee to write a letter to the highest level competent authorities to invite the Peruvian Government to address these issues as a matter of urgency.

XII.61    The Bureau, furthermore, invited the Government of Peru to consider the report and recommendations of the mission of 2002 and to submit an intermediary response by 15 September 2002, and a full report on the implementation of the recommendations of the missions of 1999 and 2002 by 1 February 2003 for consideration of the Bureau in April 2003.

XII.62    The Bureau requested the Secretariat in co-operation and consultation with the Advisory Bodies concerned, to maintain close communications with and advise the Government of Peru on the implementation of the recommendations of the mission.

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26 BUR XII.63-77 Byblos (Lebanon) XII.63    The Bureau, recalling the recommendations of two Seminars, organized by the World Heritage Centre in 1998 and 1999 in collaboration with the Delft University, noted that Byblos is one of five Lebanese sites considered by a large Cultural Heritage and Urban Development Project financed by the World Bank, and examined the summary of the findings of an ICOMOS mission, carried out to the site in November 2001.

XII.64    An Urban Study was commissioned in 2001 by the World Bank to a Lebanese consultant firm, in preparation for the Project. A preliminary draft report on this Study was presented in November 2001 to the Bank during its pre-appraisal mission, in the presence of a WHC staff member, and discussed later with an ICOMOS expert in the framework of a reactive monitoring mission to the site. The ICOMOS expert examined as well several other proposed developments at the site, and assessed its general state of conservation.

XII.65    Concerning the archaeological area, the Bureau noted that, despite the remarkable efforts of the few staff working at the site, and some cleaning and site presentation carried out in view of the Summit on the Francophonie, most of its monuments and remains are in a very precarious and dangerous state of conservation. The main problems concern exposed and very fragile structures at risk of collapse, unprotected excavations, and the lifted or in situ mosaics, which are being deteriorated by the combined effect of weathering, neglect and cement. The ICOMOS report stressed the urgent need for retaining walls to prevent erosion, the refilling of most open excavations, the conservation and protection of mosaics, and their proper presentation in an exhibition area to be identified.

XII.66    On the World Bank project, the Secretariat explained that it focused on three main areas: access and parking, the historic city centre, and the harbour. The relationship with the archaeological site was not taken into account, and an archaeological study was not commissioned by the Bank, contrary to what was done for Tyre and Baalbek. The Bureau noted, however, that copies of the final studies had so far not been provided to the World Heritage Centre, which therefore could not examine the proposals in detail, but that from discussions with the Consultant, the project did not seem based on a detailed analysis of the ancient topography of the site, including the present-day archaeological area, and appeared conceived on a questionable concept of tourism development. As a result, a number of proposals had raised the concern of the ICOMOS expert. Among these were, for example, the installation of a wooden deck on the coast around the archaeological area with extensions onto the sea; the covering of the pebbly beach below the site with sand and the construction of “adequate services and facilities for a tourist beach”; the re-design of the public square in front of the entrance to the excavations including a new fountain with no relations to the underlying archaeological remains; the construction of a new restaurant and elevated promenade on top of the present souk; the conversion of the Municipality and Old Seray, two of the most significant buildings of the Old City and in direct contact with the archaeological area, into a “Relais et Chateau” type of hotel; the execution of a passerelle around the entire medieval walled enclosure; etc.

XII.67    The Study included as well proposals for the area outside the medieval walls, and especially for the conservation and presentation of the Decumanus Maximus, and its link with a parking area along the present highway on the eastern border of the town. These interventions, which would relieve the old city from excessive traffic and restore the original access to Byblos, were highly recommended by the ICOMOS expert.

XII.68    The Bureau was also informed that the areas immediately to the South and North of the property had not been considered by the World Bank Consultant. However, the ICOMOS Mission learnt of plans to further develop them for tourism purposes, and strongly warned against this idea, lest the encroachment of modern constructions should impact even more on the site and its buffer zone, which remains to be properly defined.

XII.69    On a separate issue, the Bureau noted the proposal by the Lebanese Ministry of Public Works and Transports, for an extension of the new jetty facing the old harbour of Byblos, to protect this and house a small tourist marina. As already pointed out by the participants in the two seminars organized by the Centre, and confirmed by the ICOMOS expert, this extension would have a major negative impact on the old harbour without providing a guarantee against the strong winter currents. The Secretariat then informed the Bureau of a letter, received on 4 April 2002 from the Director-General of the Lebanese Antiquities Department, suggesting an alternative solution to the proposed extension of the jetty, consisting of a breakwater to be executed under the sea, some 200 m from the old port. 

XII.70    The proposed realization of a road across the archaeological area to construct the extension to the jetty, moreover, would be a disaster for the site. ICOMOS strongly recommends that, instead of engaging in these new projects, a detailed survey of the underwater areas around the site and within the harbour be completed as a matter of urgency.

XII.71    The Bureau, furthermore, noted that one of the main problems concerning the archaeological site of Byblos, as much as for all the other archaeological sites of the country, is the chronic lack of staff, which severely affects the capacity of the DGA to adequately conserve and manage this large and very important property. Recognizing this problem at the national level, the World Bank decided to include an Institutional Assessment of the DGA as a precondition for the negotiation of its Project with the Lebanese Government. The WHC, which strongly supports this initiative, was involved in the preparation of the Terms of Reference for this Assessment and in the selection of the experts.

XII.72    Finally, the Bureau noted that all these initiatives are being conducted in the absence of a comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, with specific legal and administrative provisions for its implementation. 

XII.73    The Observer of Lebanon informed the Bureau that the final documents and studies prepared by the consultants of the World Bank would shortly be made available to the Secretariat. He also informed the delegates of the intention of the Antiquities Department to request technical assistance from the Centre to assess the feasibility and possible impact of the above-mentioned breakwater. Finally, the Observer of Lebanon agreed on the urgent need for a comprehensive Urban Conservation Plan for Byblos.

XII.74    The Bureau adopted the following recommendation for action by the 26th session of the Committee:

“The Committee commends the State Party for its efforts, undertaken in conjunction with the World Bank for the rehabilitation of the Old City of Byblos and its social and economic revitalization. The Committee, however, expresses concern with regard to some of the proposed interventions, which would be incompatible with the respect for the outstanding universal values of the site. The Committee, furthermore, invites the State Party to ensure that adequate resources, possibly within this Project, be made available to support the necessary conservation and presentation works within the archaeological area, and especially the strengthening of the capacity and number of the local DGA staff.

XII.75    The Committee, therefore, requests the State Party to submit urgently to the Secretariat a complete set of the preparatory studies on Byblos carried out in the framework of the World Bank Project, for examination by the Committee, before a final agreement is reached between the Government of Lebanon and the World Bank on the scope of the activities within this Project.

XII.76    The Committee also invites the State Party to discard plans for an extension of the jetty, and to engage in a thorough investigation of the underwater areas surrounding the site and the harbour. Finally, the Committee encourages the Lebanese authorities to develop a comprehensive Urban Conservation Plan, including provisions for the areas adjacent to the archaeological site, the medieval enclosure, the areas of archaeological potential on the two sides of the Decumanus Maximus, and the zones to the North and South of Byblos, to protect the site and its buffer zones from further encroachments.

XII.77    The Committee strongly encourages the State Party to submit requests for International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund, in addition to the World Bank funding, to accomplish the above-mentioned recommendations, and requests that a report be submitted by the Lebanese authorities on the progress of the situation to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2003.”

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26 BUR XII.78-83 Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (China) XII.78 The Secretariat informed the Bureau on the findings of the mission carried out to the property by a staff of the Centre in November 2001. The property consists of two parts: the Mausoleum mound and, 1.5 kilometers eastward, the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum.

XII.79    The Bureau’s attention was drawn to the insufficient co-ordination of site management authorities, uncontrolled tourism development and the lack of a comprehensive management plan to ensure the conservation and sustainable development of this World Heritage property.

XII.80    The Bureau was further informed that major site development and management decisions are being taken without full consultation with the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, which had resulted in tourism development being given priority over conservation needs.

XII.81    The Observer of China assured the Bureau that the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the local governments were placing importance on the management and protection of this site specifically following the recommendations of the UNESCO mission. The Bureau was informed that measures are being taken to expand the boundaries of the property. The Bureau was also assured that intrusive buildings and stands located within the protected core and buffer zones of the site would be relocated. The Observer of China expressed her Government’s appreciation to the World Heritage Centre for its support in mobilizing international co-operation and expertise to complement the national and local efforts in safeguarding this important World Heritage property.

XII.82    The Bureau recommended that the Government of China:

  • Establish a comprehensive site management authority, which would be supported by both conservation and site development authorities. In particular, the Chinese authorities may wish to draw on the rich experience and human resources of the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau to ensure that conservation needs are appropriately addressed while developing the site;
  • Elaborate a comprehensive management plan for this property, taking into due consideration existing management plans, regulations, heritage protection and preservation needs;
  • Expand the protective buffer zones of the Mausoleum, taking into account the most recent archaeological discoveries and consider relocating intrusive elements beyond the extended World Heritage protective zones; 
  • Redefine the World Heritage protected core zone of the Terra Cotta Museum complex to include the three pits and identify the rest of the museum complex and its surrounding area as the protected buffer zone with restrictions on new constructions.

XII.83    The Bureau requested the World Heritage Centre to assist the Chinese authorities in the elaboration of a long-term comprehensive management plan for the property. The Bureau further requested that a progress report on measures taken to enhance the conservation and development of the property be submitted for examination by the Committee at its 27th session, within the framework of the Periodic Reporting Exercise for the Asia-Pacific Region.

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26 BUR XII.88-90 Meidan Emam, Esfahan (Islamic Republic of Iran) XII.88    The Bureau examined the report on the state of conservation of this World Heritage property presented in document WHC-02/CONF.201/11Rev and the findings of the World Heritage Centre mission undertaken in January 2002 at the invitation of the Government of Iran.  The Bureau noted with appreciation, the high level of conservation of the public monuments composing the Historic Centre of Esfahan, including the Meidan Emam World Heritage area. 

XII.89    The Bureau, however, expressed concern over the illegally constructed new commercial complex within the “Conservation Protective Zone of Esfahan Historic City”, which replaced a historic caravanserai and negatively impacts upon the skyline of the historic city, as it has been constructed beyond the maximum height limitations for new constructions.  Taking note that the Joint Mission to be carried out by an ICOMOS expert and an international urban planner funded under the UNESCO-France Convention was being organized in July 2002, the Bureau requested this Joint Mission to discuss ways and means of minimizing the negative impact of this illegal construction with the concerned authorities during the stakeholders’ meeting, also being financed under the UNESCO-France Convention.

XII.90    In the meantime, the Bureau requested the Government of Iran to provide a report on the status of ongoing discussions between the Municipality and the Central Government authorities in correcting the situation, before 25 May 2002, to enable the Committee to examine the case at its 26th session in June 2002.

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26 BUR XII.91-93 Town of Luang Prabang (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) XII.91    The Bureau examined the report on the state of conservation of this property presented in working document WHC-02/CONF.201/11 Rev.

The Bureau expressed great concern over: 

(a) the rapid increase in illegal demolition of historic buildings, including those listed on the inventory of traditional wooden buildings;

(b) the illegal construction of buildings including those of public administrations, in the World Heritage protected area of Luang Prabang, which  demonstrates non-respect for the building permit system;

(c) visual impairment and possible engineering problems regarding the Asian Development Bank-financed consolidation works carried out along the banks of the Nam Khan River;

(d) delay in the finalization of the national heritage protection laws and regulations, hence delay in their enactment by the National Assembly of Laos, despite the commitment made by the Government in its letter of September 1995, addressed to the Director-General of UNESCO;

(e) delay in the official adoption by the national authorities of the Luang Prabang conservation plan (Plan de Sauvagarde et de Mise en Valeur-PSMV), also promised in the letter cited above;

(f) lack of progress in the establishment of the subsidy and micro-credit scheme to support the conservation of privately-owned buildings in the historic core; and

(g) non-continuation of consultation process with the local inhabitants, considered essential for the protection of a site largely composed of privately-owned traditional houses. 

XII.92    The Bureau, while noting with appreciation the tangible and well-coordinated support provided by the City of Chinon through its decentralized co-operation programme, in partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD), the European Union and the Region Centre amongst others, requested all other national and international actors working in Luang Prabang to ensure that their activities contribute to national capacity-building, rather than to the mere completion of the public works. The Bureau reiterated the importance of maintaining the authenticity and the integrity of the town of Luang Prabang, whose World Heritage values are based on the link between the natural and the built environment as well as on the harmonious fusion and co-existence between the traditional Lao and the late 19th-century European urban patterns and the corresponding architectural styles.

XII.93    The Bureau requested the World Heritage Centre to:

(a) arrange for an urgent reactive monitoring mission composed of experts representing ICOMOS and UNESCO with technical competence to evaluate the situation referred to above, including the hydro-engineering problems;

(b) organize a technical meeting during this mission with the national and local authorities concerned and with all external and national agencies involved in urban conservation and infrastructure development activities in Luang Prabang, with a view to reinforce co-operation according to a set of defined conservation objectives;

(c) support the State Party in taking immediate measures to halt the process of deterioration to the World Heritage value of the site;

(d) inform the State Party of its deep concern over the non-response to its repeated requests for information on the progress in the adoption of legal and management tools in ensuring the protection of this World Heritage site; and

(e) renew its request for a full report on the measures taken to redress the threats, to be submitted to the Centre by 1 February 2003, for examination by the Bureau at its 27th session of the Bureau  in April 2003.

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26 BUR XII.94-97 Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha (Nepal) XII.94    The Bureau examined the report on the state of conservation of this World Heritage property presented in document WHC-02/CONF.201/11Rev and updated information on the on-going consultations between the Nepalese authorities, the World Heritage Centre, the Advisory Bodies and UNESCO international experts concerning the plans for the conservation of the Maya Devi Temple. 

XII.95    The Observer of Nepal informed the Bureau that his Government was considering all recommendations of the Committee, its Bureau, its Advisory Bodies and the UNESCO international experts in elaborating its revised proposals for the conservation and presentation of the Maya Devi Temple.  He assured the Bureau of his Government’s commitment to follow international conservation norms and the recommendation of the World Heritage Committee to ensure appropriate conservation, management, and presentation of this fragile archaeological site that is simultaneously a centre of international pilgrimage.

XII.96    The Bureau, noting that the state of conservation of this property still calls for serious remedial measures based upon careful assessment and analysis of the heritage assets and usage of the pilgrimage property, expressed its appreciation to the Government of Nepal for its willingness to fully co-operate with the Committee, its Advisory Bodies and UNESCO in ensuring the highest level of conservation and presentation of this unique property.  

XII.97    In light of the information provided by the Nepalese authorities and the World Heritage Centre concerning the on-going and continuing consultations, the Bureau recommended that the Committee examine further information at its 26th session. 

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26 BUR XII.98-100 My Son Sanctuary (Viet Nam) XII.98    The Secretariat informed the Bureau that the presence of unexploded ordnance (UXO) at the site, following the Vietnam War, has affected the archaeological research of newly-discovered areas, restoration of eight monumental areas, as well as site presentation for visitors.  The Bureau noted that the Vietnamese authorities demined unexploded ordnance at four main monuments since 1975. This demining work is progressing slowly, mainly due to lack of funds.

XII.99    The Bureau also noted that, at the request of Vietnamese authorities, the UNESCO Bangkok Office, the Italian Government and the Lerici Foundation carried out a three-year research project (1999--2001) to use non-invasive methods to map the underground archaeological remains of the My Son World Heritage site. Identification of buried structures as well as unexploded mines was completed in 2001. A UNESCO-Italian Funds-In-Trust project (US$ 812,470) was approved by the Government of Italy in January 2002 in order to facilitate both the demining and restoration work on site. The implementation of this project is being co-ordinated by the World Heritage Centre, in co-operation with the UNESCO field offices in Bangkok and Hanoi.

XII.100 The Bureau expressed its appreciation to the authorities of Vietnam, the UNESCO Bangkok Office, the Lerici Foundation and the World Heritage Centre, for mobilizing the generous contribution of the Government of Italy to enhance the security, management, conservation and presentation of the mined and non-excavated areas of My Son World Heritage site. The Bureau requested the World Heritage Centre to report on the progress made in the implementation of this activity at its 27th session in April 2003.

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