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World Heritage Convention

Decision 45 COM 7B.156
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/23/45.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7B.34, 41 COM 7B.88, 42 COM 7B.5 and 44 COM 7B.22 adopted at its 40th (Istanbul, 2016), 41st (Krakow, 2017), 42nd (Manama, 2018) and extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online, 2021) sessions respectively,
  3. Notes the important coordinating role of the Secretariat based at the ICOMOS International Conservation Centre-Xi’an (IICC-X) in ongoing research, interpretation, stakeholder involvement and monitoring, and the progress with management plans for some components of the property, but reiterates its previous requests that outstanding management plans be finalized as a matter of priority, taking into consideration the outcomes of the 2016 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission, and be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  4. Also notes the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting reduction in visitor numbers and again 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;
  5. Further notes the information provided by the State Party of Kazakhstan that the revised route of the Birlik-Akbulak highway and bridge will pass to the north of the buffer zone of the Talgar settlement and that the old bridge will be retained in pedestrian use as tourist infrastructure, and also reiterates its previous request to the State Party of Kazakhstan to 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;
  6. Again 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 attributes which support the OUV of the property, including Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) prepared in accordance with methodology of the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context, and to continue to submit detailed project documentation to the World Heritage Centre for review, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines before making any decision that would be difficult to reverse, and in particular, requests the State Party of China to submit detailed documentation of the integrated rural sewage treatment project and special education school proposed within the buffer zone of the Weiyang Palace in Chang’an City of the Western Han Dynasty;
  7. Welcomes the decision not to approve the proposed Eco-Village within the buffer zone of the Talgar settlement and also encourages the State Party of Kazakhstan to consider alternative options for such projects, outside the component site and its buffer zone;
  8. Further reiterates its previous requests 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 property through the existing agreements and management mechanisms, and further encourages the three States Parties to ensure the effective and coordinated conservation and management of component sites through the International Coordination Committee and IICC-X;
  9. Notes with concern that development issues in the buffer zones of the Ak-Beshim and Krasnaya Rechka settlements remain unresolved and also requests the State Party of Kyrgyzstan to continue efforts to ensure that attributes which support the OUV of the property are not impacted by development;
  10. Further requests the three States Parties to ensure that the boundaries and buffer zones of all inscribed component sites are duly documented in cadastral maps and that these maps are submitted to the World Heritage Centre and that 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape is implemented as a tool for integrating heritage protection with development plans and processes for the cities and settlements in the property;
  11. Also welcomes the use of new technologies and collaboration with the International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) to monitor World Heritage properties in Xi’an, but reiterates furthermore its previous request that all concerned partners work closely with the HIST and the International Institute for Central Asian Studies to use space technology applications to monitor the state of conservation of the entirety of the property, and invites again all parties 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 2024, 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 47th session.
Context of Decision