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World Heritage Convention

Decision 45 COM 7B.168
Vat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape (Lao People's Democratic Republic) (C 481)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7, 43 COM 7B.68 and 44 COM 7B.146 adopted at its 40th (Istanbul, 2016), 43rd (Baku, 2019) and extended 44th (Fuzhou/online, 2021) session respectively,
  3. Regrets that the State Party has not submitted a state of conservation report for this property, as requested by this Committee;
  4. Notes with appreciation the submission and review of the 2022 Management Plan for the property, also noting that the ICOMOS technical review concluded that this is a preliminary plan that requires augmentation to create a comprehensive document and that concluded that the plan should be augmented to embed a clearly defined processes for protecting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies:
    1. An update of the Management Plan which specifically provides the tools to effectively halt the erosion of the OUV of the property,
    2. An update of the 2022-2026 Action Plan that comprehensively reflects the recommendations and actions in the Management Plan,
    3. An update of the 2016 Champasak Cultural Landscape Master Plan;
  5. Reiterates its requests to the State Party to:
    1. Mobilise the necessary resources required for the implementation of the road network, including Roads 14A and 14B,
    2. Submit an up-to-date topographic map of the property as inscribed in 2001 by 1 December 2023, for examination by the Committee at its 46th session if the technical requirements are met,
    3. Submit a report on progress with the implementation of the mitigation measures suggested in the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) on the water supply extension implemented by Champasak Water Supply State Enterprise,
    4. Consider the establishment of a legal framework which would require that appropriate Impact Assessments are carried out proactively for all development projects that could have potential impacts on the OUV of World Heritage properties in the Lao PDR;
  6. Notes with concern the tree planting project and the Phou Ngoy Dam hydropower development project and also requests that the State Party to:
    1. Provide clarification on the planting project, including whether potential impacts of this project were evaluated, notably through a HIA or an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and how it intends to take necessary measures to avoid impacts on the OUV of the property,
    2. Before taking any further decisions, granting further rights or entering into any commitments with regards to, or dependent on, the development of the Phou Ngoy Dam hydropower project, develop an independent multidisciplinary HIA or EIA, which should include cultural, environmental and social components, in conformity with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context, and provide as soon as possible the Impact Assessment along with complete details, technical documents and any other relevant material to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Further requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess its state of conservation, the efficacy of its management system and the threat that the Phou Ngoy Dam hydropower development project may pose to the OUV of the property;
  8. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2024, 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.
Context of Decision