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Fourth Expert Working Group on the Preservation of the Bamiyan Site issued recommendations for Safeguarding Bamiyan

Tuesday, 20 December 2005 at 12:00
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The Fourth Expert Working Group on the Preservation of the Bamiyan Site was successfully held in Kabul/ Aghanistan from 7 to 10 December 2005. Afghan and international experts working on the safeguarding of Bamiyan issued a list of concrete recommendations for further activities to preserve the site. The Expert Working Group was formed in 2002 within the framework of the coordination mandate for all cultural projects in the country entrusted to UNESCO by the Afghan government. It presently coordinates activities carried out under the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust project "Safeguarding of the Bamiyan site, Second Phase" (US $1,308,060), which aims to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of the Bamiyan valley. In addition, the group oversees bilateral projects, notably the conservation of fragments of the statues of the Buddha presently carried out by ICOMOS Germany thanks to an important financial contribution of the German government.

The goals of the Fourth Expert Working Group Meeting, organized by the Afghan Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and UNESCO, were to review the work carried out, to set priorities, to secure funding and to coordinate activities to be implemented in 2006. Participants at the meeting expressed their appreciation for the activities undertaken to consolidate the Buddhas' niches, preserve the statues' remains, protect the mural paintings, map the site, develop a Management Plan for the site as World Heritage property and a New Master Plan and train local personnel. The experts discussed the finalization of the preliminary World Heritage Management Plan and the Bamiyan New Master Plan. They also weighed the feasibility of a site museum. Furthermore, with a view to ensure the appropriate conservation of the fragments of the statue of the Buddha, the experts discussed the possibilities of anastylosis as one well established method of proper relocation of the fragments to their original position.  The participants concurred that the activities undertaken in 2005, which focused on emergency measures, should be continued. In addition, longer-term measures are urgently required to ensure the continued preservation of the site.