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World Heritage Convention

Decision 40 COM 7B.31
Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa (China) (C 707ter)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 33 COM 8B.47, 35 COM 7B.65 and 38 COM 7B.10, adopted at its 33rd (Seville, 2009), 35th (UNESCO, 2011) and 38th (Doha, 2014) sessions respectively,
  3. Notes with satisfaction the measures taken to mitigate the impact of the Shenli Mall on the visual qualities of the corridor between Jokhang Temple and the Potala Palace, including the dismantling of whole glasshouse on top of the mall and the renovation of the façade in traditional Tibetan architectural style;
  4. Noting the conservation actions currently being implemented at the property, commends the State Party for the efforts made to integrate traditional knowledge systems and craftsmanship in conservation works and encourages the formal integration of this approach in conservation and management arrangements for the property;
  5. Also notes that Cultural Heritage Conservation Plans (CHCP) for the three component parts of the property and the Urban Master Plan for Lhasa are being developed and reiterates its request that copies of these documents, with a synthesis in English, be submitted to the World Heritage Centre prior to their finalization and approval, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  6. Takes note of the outcomes of the April 2015 Reactive Monitoring mission to the property and urges the State Party to take into account and implement the following recommendations:
    1. Include provisions in the CHCP for the Potala Palace to continue the monitoring of soil erosion and bedrock conditions and to identify any measures required to anticipate potential structural stability issues,
    2. Include provisions in the Urban Master Plan to maintain the spatial linkages and visual corridors between the component parts of the property, their historical context and wider setting, and to promote and maintain the traditional urban structure and layout of the buffer zones. This should include, but should not be limited to, regulations regarding acceptable heights, visual qualities, façades and roofs,
    3. Include mechanisms in the Urban Master Plan for the approval of development projects, including requirements for Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), archaeological excavations (where relevant) and the creation of a coordinated permit system,
    4. Ensure that the sacred character and pilgrimage use of Lhasa is fully articulated with the management arrangements for the property,
    5. If necessary, develop a Cultural Environment Management Plan to provide complementary measures for the Urban Master Plan,
    6. Explore alternative locations for the telegraph tower that currently impacts the visual qualities and predominance of the Potala Palace in the landscape;
  7. Requests the State Party to provide, following the procedure for boundary clarifications outlined in the Operational Guidelines, scaled maps of the buffer zones for the three component parts of the property, in line with the boundaries approved at the time of inscription, along with details of height restrictions within the buffer zones, as requested by Decision 33 COM 8B.47;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
Decision Code
40 COM 7B.31
Conservation, Reports
States Parties 1
Report of the Decisions adopted during the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016)
Context of Decision