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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.22
Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an – Tian-shan Corridor (China/Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan) (C 1442)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7B.34, 41 COM 7B.88 and 42 COM 7B.5 adopted at its 40th (Istanbul, 2016), 41st (Krakow, 2017) and its 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. Notes that progress has been made with research, interpretation, stakeholder involvement and monitoring along the property, including public outreach activities, and that the States Parties jointly contribute to the development of laws and regulations and to the preparation and improvement of Management Plans, encourages all three States Parties to continue their collaborative efforts in these key areas, and reiterates its request that any outstanding management plan be finalized as a matter of priority, taking into consideration the outcomes of the November 2016 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission, and be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  4. Notes with satisfaction that the three States Parties have made good use of the Intergovernmental Coordinating Committee for the Silk Roads World Heritage nomination (ICC), and notably of its Secretariat based at the ICOMOS International Conservation Centre-Xi’an (IICC-X, China), for information management and capacity-building activities, and also encourages the continuation of this practice to continuously improve the coordination of the protection and management of the property;
  5. Also notes the reported increase in visitor numbers at some component sites, along with the steps taken to address this potential issue, notably by conducting new carrying capacity studies, and further encourages the States Parties to review carrying capacities at all component sites in the light of post-COVID-19 health and safety regulations, while ensuring that visitor management places sustainability and the protection of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) at its core;
  6. Further notes the information provided by the State Party of Kazakhstan regarding the bypass route at Talgar, and also reiterates its request that the State Party submit to the World Heritage Centre more detailed plans of these proposals, showing the precise route of the road, the location of the new bridge and any demolition or new construction, in one of the working languages of the Committee (i.e. English or French), for review by the Advisory Bodies, before any commitment is made or any work undertaken;
  7. Notes furthermore that no decision has been made yet regarding the dismantling of the bridge partially constructed across the Talgar River in 2016, which was requested in previous decisions, and further reiterates its request to the State Party of Kazakhstan to provide this information, once tentative plans have been outlined, for review by the Advisory Bodies before any decision is made that would be difficult to reverse;
  8. Regrets that the State Party of Kazakhstan did not provide any of the requested information concerning road management prior to the joint report, notably for the component sites of Akyrtas, Kostobe, and for the adjusted route of the A3 Ust-Kamenogorsk-Almaty road that avoids the buffer zone of the Kayalyk component, and that work progressed without prior review by the Advisory Bodies; also regrets that the State Party of China did not submit the proposal for the re-development and enlargement of the Xi’an Railway Station located in the buffer zone of the Daming Palace component in a timely manner to prevent the project’s adverse impacts on the setting of the site; and urges the three States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, details of any major restoration or new construction which may affect the OUV of the property, including Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) prepared in accordance with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage Properties, as soon as possible and before making any decision that would be difficult to reverse, in conformity with Paragraphs 118bis and 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Reiterates furthermore its request to the State Party of Kazakhstan to establish a World Heritage Steering Committee for the component sites in Kazakhstan and to develop effective coordination with China and Kyrgyzstan for the management of the overall serial transnational property through the existing agreements and management mechanisms, and encourages furthermore the three States Parties to ensure the effective and coordinated conservation and management of component sites through the ICC, particularly with regard to development projects and their impact to the property;
  10. Also takes note of the efforts of the State Party of Kyrgyzstan to address development issues in the buffer zones of the Ak-Beshim and Krasnaya Rechka settlements, and strongly encourages all three States Parties to ensure that the boundaries and buffer zones of all inscribed component sites are duly inscribed in cadastral maps;
  11. Encourages moreover the three States Parties to use new technologies to monitor all component sites of the property; calls upon them and all concerned partners to work closely with the IICC-X, the International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) and the International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS) to use space technology applications to monitor the state of conservation of the property; and invites them to share good practice examples with the World Heritage Centre, so that they may be made available to other States Parties on the World Heritage Centre’s website;
  12. Requests the three States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, an updated joint 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