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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.37
Old town of Galle and its Fortifications (Sri Lanka) (C 451)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.17, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Notes that the major project for developing Galle Port is currently postponed, and requests the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre immediately in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, should the project be reactivated, and to provide all the necessary documents requested by the previous decisions of the Committee, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  4. Welcomes the State Party’s ongoing commitment to the management of the property, and also notes the ongoing implementation of the Integrated Management Plan (IMP) and the Sustainable Tourism Management Plan (STMP), an increase in funding for the Galle Heritage Foundation (GHF), and plans to improve its organizational structure and resources;
  5. Also requests the State Party, in the light of the importance of the IMP to deal with planning and development controls, and conservation in the property, to provide the following details:
    1. Confirmation of progress with the implementation of the 2016-18 IMP Action Plan,
    2. Confirmation that coordination between GHF and other conservation and development authorities has been strengthened, as recommended by the 2010 Reactive Monitoring mission,
    3. Confirmation of the number and type of applications for developments within the property that were submitted, approved and denied over the last two years, along with the criteria used for these assessments,
    4. Conservation work that undertaken or ongoing,
    5. Progress with the drafting of a Conservation Plan,
    6. Progress with the development of a retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (rSOUV);
  6. Further requests the State Party to clarify how the GHF’s resources allow it to implement the IMP and the STMP, and notably to provide details on:
    1. The GHF’s organizational structure and how many posts remain unfilled,
    2. The GHF’s annual budget and how this has increased since 2015 in relation to baselines and taking inflation into account,
    3. The development of a long-term funding strategy, as previously requested;
  7. Invites the State Party to consider the development and implementation of capacity-building activities for staff working at the property;
  8. Further notes that many of the recommendations of the STMP require additional reports, notably on traffic management, visitor capacity, and the preparation of a masterplan, and requests furthermore the State Party to provide details on:
    1. How much of the STMP has been implemented,
    2. What financial resources are available for its completion,
    3. The appointment of a Tourism Officer at the GHF,
    4. Progress with additional reports (e.g. traffic management, visitor capacity) and the draft master plan, and/or how and when the State Party intends to undertake or commission these tasks, and/or how the State Party intends to take into account the recommendations of the STMP,
    5. Any interim arrangements made to improve the traffic situation in the old town;
  9. Requests moreover the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines of any project that might negatively impact on the property’s OUV before any decision is made than would be difficult to reverse, notably regarding proposals for a new stand at the Cricket Club;
  10. 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