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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.20
Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa (China) (C 707ter)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.2 adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Notes with satisfaction the conclusion of the April 2019 Reactive Monitoring mission that there was no significant negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property resulting from the 17 February 2018 fire at Jokhang Temple, welcomes the State Party’s efforts to undertake response, recovery and prevention initiatives following the fire, and requests the State Party to implement fully the recommendations of the Reactive Monitoring mission;
  4. Regrets that pavilions were erected close to the Jokhang Temple Monastery to protect three historic stelae prior to the submission of plans and a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), despite the provisions of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, expresses concern that these may have a negative effect on the cultural setting and context of the Jokhang Temple Monastery, and also requests the State Party to explore alternative solutions in accordance with the advice provided by ICOMOS and to submit a full HIA, prepared in accordance with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage Properties, for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to the implementation of any revised design;
  5. Notes the ongoing work to complete the three conservation plans for the three component parts of the property, but reiterates its request to submit these as soon as possible to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to formal adoption and implementation;
  6. Also notes the submission of three maps with property boundaries and buffer zones, but further requests re-examination and adjustment of the buffer zone of Norbulingka so that it conforms more clearly to identifiable landmarks, and clarify the buffer zones of the property and the regulations, which will apply to the buffer zones along with the submission of a proposal for a boundary clarification for the property as soon as possible;
  7. Expresses its appreciation to the State Party for its commitment towards the protection of the intangible heritage attributes of the property, but requests furthermore that more work be carried out to ensure that sufficient attention is given to safeguarding these important attributes and that the Jokhang Temple plaza be managed so that pilgrims can bow and visit the shrine in a sacred atmosphere, respectful of the cultural setting and integrity, and can traverse from the plaza entrance to the temple while praying without being disturbed by tourists;
  8. Commends the efforts of the State Party with regard to the possible demolition of the existing television tower once a new tower on the eastern edge of the city is completed, but urges it to prepare an HIA for the new tower as a matter of priority, in accordance with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidance, to ensure that it does not have any negative impact on the OUV of the property;
  9. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session.
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision