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World Heritage Convention

Decision 40 COM 7B.47
Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications (Sri Lanka) (C 451)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM7B.21, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party concerning the Galle Harbour project and welcomes the significant scaling back of the project;
  4. Taking note of the findings of the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), supports its recommendations and requests the State Party to:
    1. Provide assurances that the recommendations will be considered, in order to limit the potential impact of the development on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property,
    2. Make available detailed plans for the port development as soon as possible,
    3. Appoint a marine archaeologist at an early stage during the development, who shall closely observe the impacts of the project and initiate mitigating measures if necessary;
  5. Notes the information provided on the Integrated Management System and recommends that the State Party:
    1. Consider the need to make further legislative changes to ensure its functioning,
    2. Provide a clear timetable for the implementation of the Management Plan,
    3. Strengthen the management capacity of the Galle Heritage Foundation,
    4. Establish a clear, long-term funding strategy which includes sufficient funds for the maintenance of the property,
    5. Develop a tourism strategy to promote and protect the cultural values of the property and ensure sustainable benefits for the local community, especially from the Port project;
  6. Acknowledges that the State Party has invited an ICOMOS Advisory mission concurrent to the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee in order to consider the plans for the Port project prior to its adoption, and to examine the overall state of conservation of the property, and also requests the State Party, to provide large-scale plans and high-resolution, photo montages of the port project for examination by the Advisory mission;
  7. Takes note of the expiry of the funding timeline for the project in May 2017 and also strongly urges the State Party not to start the Port Project until the findings of the ICOMOS Advisory mission have been considered by the World Heritage Centre;
  8. Further requests the Director of the World Heritage Centre, in consultation with the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee, to officially determine whether it is appropriate for the Port Project to proceed having regard to the findings of the mission and in compliance with all Committee Decisions related to the Port Project;
  9. Requests furthermore 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.47
Conservation, Reports
State of conservation reports
2016 Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications
Report of the Decisions adopted during the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016)
Context of Decision