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Setting up a World Heritage management framework in Kyiv (Ukraine) 

A new, unified buffer zone and a management plan aim to preserve the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage site “Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra” and promote its sustainable management and development.

About Kyiv

Kyiv is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine. The city is home to the World Heritage site “Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra”, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1990 under criteria (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv). The World Heritage site is a serial property with three components:

  • Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings
  • Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
  • Church of the Savior at Berestove.
© Ko Hon Chiu Vincent
© Ko Hon Chiu Vincent

The State of Conservation reports presented to the World Heritage Committee between 1998 and 2021 reflect ongoing issues regarding the establishment of functioning and efficient management, urban planning and legal frameworks, which had led to improper development in the vicinity of the World Heritage site, threatening its integrity and setting. 

Setting up the World Heritage management framework in Kyiv (Ukraine) 

As a response to the recommendations by the World Heritage Committee, the World Heritage site Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is developing a sustainable management strategy to preserve the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and strengthen its role as a source of spiritual wellbeing, peace and security; a model of sustainable land use, developed over centuries as a constant process of mutual adaptation of the monastic and church communities and management bodies of the Property; and a source of local livelihoods and stable jobs. 

In order to implement this vision, a number of initiatives are being developed, including the revision of the buffer zone, creation of a management plan and a programme of conservation and maintenance of historic buildings.

Buffer zone

At the time of the inscription of the property on the World Heritage List in 1990, its buffer zone was not defined. Separate buffer zones for the different components of the property were approved by the World Heritage Committee during its 29th session (Decision 29COM 8B.56). 

Following the recommendations of World Heritage Committee in its 42nd session (Decision 42COM 8B.43) as well as the recommendations of the 2017 and 2020 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions, a unified buffer zone surrounding all the components of the property was proposed. The buffer zone aims to:

      • preserve the relationship between the monumental heritage, surrounding urban environment and landscape
      • include green areas as part of the significance of the property
      • preserve the physical fabric of property, and
      • control development pressures around property.
Visual relationships between the World Heritage site and surrounding urban landscape © National Conservation Area "Sophia Kyivska" and National Preserve "Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra"
Analysis of the historical and urban planning situation © National Conservation Area "Sophia Kyivska" and National Preserve "Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra"

The buffer zone includes general regulations regarding urban development and land uses within the vicinity of the World Heritage site, with additional requirements for designated subzones. It was approved into national law in 2020. During its 44th session, the World Heritage Committee approved the proposed buffer zone as a minor boundary modification (Decision: 44 COM 8B.58). 

Zones of protection within the buffer zone © National Conservation Area "Sophia Kyivska" and National Preserve "Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra"
Maximum permissible heights within the buffer zone © National Conservation Area "Sophia Kyivska" and National Preserve "Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra"

Management plan

In addition to the buffer zone, a management plan is currently in development by a specialised working group in cooperation with local and national governments and relevant institutions, as well as experts from the Advisory Bodies.  During its 44th session, the World Heritage Committee recommended the State Party to update the management plan as soon as possible and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for examination (Decision: 44 COM 8B.58). 

Next steps

Additionally, the World Heritage Committee requested the State Party to strictly monitor the application of the buffer zone and establish an efficient system to protect landscape elements, skylines, visual fields and vistas as part of urban regulation documents which are currently in development. Additionally, the World Heritage Committee requested the State Party to establish an inventory of tall buildings, both existing and planned, and to undertake Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA) for developments within the property and its buffer zone as a timely and appropriate method of assessing the multiple and cumulative impacts of planned developments. (Decision: 44 COM 7B.59) 


Source: Ms Daryna Nedzelska, World Heritage site, 2020-2021; World Heritage Committee Decisions Report, 2021

Contribution towards the implementation of the 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape

The project aims to contribute to the implementation of the Historic Urban Landscape approach by:

  • definition and implementation of new policies identifying and protecting the historic layering and balance of cultural and natural values in the urban environment,
  • promoting a landscape approach to urban heritage management,
  • developing urban planning tools that protect and manage urban heritage values, including landscape values, and their attributes. 

Historic Urban Landscape Tools

Knowledge and Planning tools Regulatory systems

Contribution towards Sustainable Development

If fully implemented in accordance with the described plans, the initiative could contribute towards Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

  • Target 11.4: the management framework aims to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Note: the described potential impacts of the projects are only indicative and based on submitted and available information. UNESCO does not endorse the specific initiatives nor ratifies their positive impact.

To learn more
  • Listen to the presentation by Ms Daryna Nedzelska during International Scientific and Practical Online Conference on “World Heritage Sites: Sustainable Development Practices for Urban Heritage” on 10 December 2020.
  • Consult the documentation dossier presented to the World Heritage Committee in its 44th Session in 2021.
  • Browse through the technical drawings developed to support the definition of the buffer zone. 
 
Cover image: Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Ukraine) © Ko Hon Chiu Vincent.
Permanent URL: whc.unesco.org/en/documents/148319

Note: The cases shared in this platform address heritage protection practices in World Heritage sites and beyond. Items being showcased in this website do not entail any type of recognition or inclusion in the World Heritage list or any of its thematic programmes. The practices shared are not assessed in any way by the World Heritage Centre or presented here as model practices nor do they represent complete solutions to heritage management problems. The views expressed by experts and site managers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Heritage Centre. The practices and views shared here are included as a way to provide insights and expand the dialogue on heritage conservation with a view to further urban heritage management practice in general.

Decisions / Resolutions (2)
Code: 42COM 8B.43

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/18/42.COM/8B.Add and WHC/18/42.COM/INF.8B1.Add,
  2. Refers the proposed minor modification to the buffer zone of Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Ukraine, back to the State Party in order to allow it to:
    1. Consider creating a single buffer zone for the property surrounding all components,
    2. In the case of the Saint-Sophia Cathedral component, amend the proposed buffer zone in order to:
      1. ensure that the boundary is running behind the first row of buildings on the other side of the road,
      2. reduce or eliminate the large indented section of the buffer zone on the north-west side,
    3. In the case of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra component, amend the proposed buffer zone in order to extend it:
      1. north along the river edge to a point adjacent to the northern tip of the current buffer zone,
      2. on the western side one more block and including territory bounded by Moskovska Street, Tsydalena Street and back to Leiptsyzka Street,
    4. Implement the recommendations of the 2017 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission and Decision 41 COM 7B.53 relevant to the legal protection and management mechanisms of the buffer zone;
  3. Recommends that the State Party notes possible impacts on the property, which might arise outside the buffer zones, consistent with paragraph 112 of the Operational Guidelines and ensures that legal protection and management mechanisms are available to regulate changes and development outside the buffer zone to ensure no adverse impact on the visual integrity of the property.

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Code: 29COM 8B.56

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/8B.Add;

2. Commends the State Party of Ukraine for having proposed the buffer zones;

3. Approves the minor modification of the buffer zone of Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastery Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk (Ukraine);

4. Welcomes the proposal by the State Party to organise a mission to the property that would as well examine the choice of the eastern boundary of the buffer zone and the existing quality and condition of the urban fabric of the central Kiev both inside and outside the buffer zone.

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