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Decision 42 COM 7A.4
Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Uzbekistan) (C 885)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 39 COM 7B.74, 40 COM 7B.48 and 41 COM 7A.57, adopted at its 39th (Bonn, 2015), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions respectively, and, in particular, its Decision 41 COM 7A.57 paragraph 11, requesting the World Heritage Committee to consider whether the property had “deteriorated to such an extent that it has lost the attributes of the OUV defined at the time of inscription and should therefore, in accordance with Paragraph 192 of the Operational Guidelines, be deleted from the World Heritage List”; and noting the concern that the reconstruction project ‘State Programme for complex measures for the building and reconstruction of Shakhrisyabz city’ represented a threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 179 (b) of the Operational Guidelines,
  3. Also recalling that the March 2016 and December 2016 Reactive Monitoring missions to the property confirmed that “the heart of the Temurid town planning has been lost, that traditional dwelling houses in the core of the medieval town have been destroyed” (Decision 41 COM 7A.57), and that the key attributes of the OUV have been damaged,
  4. Further recalling that States Parties have an obligation under the Convention to protect and conserve the World Cultural and Natural Heritage situated on their territory, notably to ensure that effective and active measures are taken for the protection and conservation of such heritage,
  5. Recalling furthermore that, according to Article 6.1 of the Convention, properties inscribed on the World Heritage List constitute ‘a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate’, and recalling furthermore the duty of the international community to assist and cooperate with States Parties in their endeavour to conserve such heritage,
  6. Regrets that no information was provided on the reconstruction and development scheme to the World Heritage Centre in due time, and before any irreversible decision was taken, despite the provisions of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Notes that the State Party has not defined any possible mitigation measures to recover lost attributes or proposed a significant boundary modification based on any recoverable attributes, in response to the Committee’s request to explore these options;
  8. Also notes that the work is currently suspended on the ‘State Programme for complex measures for the building and reconstruction of Shakhrisyabz city’ and requests the State Party to halt any further work at the Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz until the World Heritage Committee reconsiders this matter at its 43rd session in 2019, with the exception of possible emergency recommendations from the high-level World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission referred to in paragraph 18 below;
  9. Considers that the State Party’s 2017 report has not questioned the conclusions of the December 2016 Reactive Monitoring mission;
  10. Also regrets that the requests of the World Heritage Committee at its 39th, 40th, and 41st sessions were not properly addressed to protect key attributes of the OUV of the property;
  11. Takes note of the Decree of the Government of the State Party and its annex that includes a road map on the protection of the Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz;
  12. Bearing in mind the Reactive Monitoring mission’s conclusion that “recovering sufficient attributes to justify the OUV identified at the time of inscription seems impossible at this stage” (41 COM.7A.57), recommends that the State Party should further explore options for the potential recovery of attributes and, if needed, consider, in consultation with ICOMOS, whether a significant boundary modification based on some of the monuments and the remaining urban areas might have the potential to justify OUV;
  13. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, further details and documentation to allow an assessment of what, if anything, could be recovered, for review by ICOMOS, including:
    1. Detailed plans of the town centre showing the layout and buildings before and after demolition,
    2. Detailed plans of the remaining mahalla areas and descriptions of their characteristics,
    3. Inventories of remaining traditional houses,
    4. Assessment of changes to houses and streets since inscription, including comparisons with the 1983 drawings of selected houses,
    5. Current plans for further improvements and upgrade work on houses and access routes,
    6. Documentation on work carried out on the monuments and their settings since inscription,
    7. A report on the current Master Plan for the city;
  14. Also requests that the State Party develop, in consultation with ICOMOS, detailed and specific indicators for the attributes of OUV for the entire property in order to assess the impact on authenticity and integrity in relation to these indicators, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019;
  15. Also recommends the State Party to develop a holistic interpretation strategy for the property in order to communicate the historic development of the urban fabric and allow residents and visitors to establish a connection between the preserved elements of the property and its original structure and appearance;
  16. Urges the State Party to address recommendations of the World Heritage Committee as well as those of the December 2016 Reactive Monitoring mission, notably regarding protection, management and tile decay on the façade of Ak-Saray Palace;
  17. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, 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 43rd session in 2019, with a view to considering retaining the property on the World Heritage List;
  18. Requests furthermore the State Party to invite as soon as possible a high-level World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to discuss with the relevant Uzbek authorities and stakeholders possible mitigation of the impacts to the attributes that convey the property’s OUV and/or possible major boundary modification to the property;
  19. Decides to retain the Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Uzbekistan) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  20. Finally notes that the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies stand ready to provide capacity-building assistance to the State Party at the national level, notably regarding the implementation of the 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape, the process for Heritage Impact Assessments, in line with the ICOMOS Guidelines, and other important aspects of heritage management and conservation, and strongly encourages the State Party to use this opportunity as a means of strengthening management and conservation at other urban World Heritage properties in Uzbekistan.
Decision Code
42 COM 7A.4
Themes
Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger
States Parties 1
Year
2018
State of conservation reports
2018 Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz
Documents
WHC/18/42.COM/18
Decisions adopted during the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee (Manama, 2018)
Context of Decision
WHC-18/42.COM/7A
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