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World Heritage Convention

Decision 28 COM 15B.55
Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Expresses its appreciation to the State Party for the measures taken to enhance the state of conservation of the property;

2. Takes note of further information provided by the State Party during its 28th session (2004);

3. Encourages the Chinese authorities to develop an articulated strategic programme for the conservation and rehabilitation of the historic fabric of Lhasa based upon an analysis of the heritage value of the historic structures. This analysis should assist the authorities in ranking the buildings according to their importance. The information should be made public;

4. Requests the State Party to provide information about all major conservation and renovation works in Lhasa to the World Heritage Committee;

5. Requests UNESCO and ICOMOS to assist the Chinese authorities in assessing and updating the comprehensive conservation plan to make the most appropriate use of the Shöl Area, which forms part of the administrative section of the Potala Palace, so as to maintain the traditional urban tissue of the area while changing the use of the traditional buildings;

6. Further encourages the State Party to elaborate design guidelines for the built heritage environment, including urban design elements, so as to increase the capacity of local urban planners, architects, and designers to follow the international conservation norms;

7. Reiterates the request to the State Party to continue making efforts to mitigate the negative impact on the World Heritage value of this property caused by development pressure, and, to this end, recommends the following:

a) Institutional requirements: The conservation challenges and potentials in Lhasa would benefit from a management and development agency to coordinate activities in Old Lhasa, which could be responsible for the management of Old Lhasa and the World Heritage properties. It is recommended that such an agency be established to raise and administer funds from national and international donors.

b) Conservation, planning and urban development: Taking into consideration the on-going processes of change and urban development, it is recommended that a review of the urban development plan is undertaken to ensure integrated territorial urban conservation challenges of Lhasa. The conservation plan of 1995-2015 should be made available to the public to increase their appreciation of the plan. A mechanism to periodically review the relevance of the conservation plan should be built in the planning process itself.

c) Protection: In view of the rapid change in the character of Old Lhasa, all remaining historic traditional buildings in Lhasa should be protected at the level of the Autonomous Region or at the national level.

d) Conservation and rehabilitation of historic traditional buildings: Except in exceptional circumstances, demolition should be stopped, particularly in the Shöl area. Any necessary replacement buildings should be in keeping with the historic character of the area. The State Party is requested to inform the World Heritage Committee of its policy on the conservation of the historic urban fabric of Lhasa.

e) Conservation awareness: It is recommended that the management authorities set up a programme to encourage community participation and increase awareness of heritage conservation needs amongst the local residents.

f) Protective areas and buffer zones: It is recommended that the management authorities evaluate and redefine the current World Heritage protective boundaries and management guidelines pertaining to the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple (including the Barkor Historic Area) and Nobulingka, taking into consideration the heritage values of the surrounding landscape and environment.

g) Tourism: In view of the potential in-come generation opportunities from the tourism industry for financing conservation work in Lhasa, the heritage management authorities are encouraged to develop training activities and provide guidance on sustainable tourism planning at the World Heritage properties in Lhasa.

h) International outreach: An exchange programme between the World Heritage site managers in Lhasa and the managers of World Heritage properties in other countries is encouraged to develop on-site and international co-operation activities. The Chinese authorities may consider the organization of a study tour to successfully managed World Heritage properties focusing on the selected issues identified above.

8. Expresses its readiness to consider an international assistance request to support national and local efforts to address the above-mentioned recommendations;

9. Further requests the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS to undertake a mission to the property as soon as possible, and to present a report on the progress achieved in the implementation of the above recommendations, for examination by the Committee at its 29th session in 2005.

Decision Code
28 COM 15B.55
States Parties 1
Decisions of the 28th session of the World Heritage Committee