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UNESCO and ICOMOS visit the World Heritage property of Moenjodaro, Pakistan

Friday, 15 March 2024 at 16:20
access_time 2 min read

UNESCO and ICOMOS visited the Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro, Pakistan, in early March 2024 to monitor the restoration work and elaborate a strategy for drastic intervention in recovering from the disastrous rainfall of August 2022.

Mohenjodaro, a world-renowned Indus civilisation metropolis dating back to the third millennium BCE, began to be excavated in 1922. From 1974 to 1997, UNESCO launched one of the most extensive international safeguarding campaigns at the request of the Pakistani government to 'Save Mohenjodaro' from multiple complex issues threatening its existence.

In addition to the threat of heavy flooding from the Indus River, the site's vast structure, made of burnt bricks, suffers from exceptionally high salinity due to capillary action, which attacks the earthen structures and causes them to decay quickly. In 2022, the site was hit by an exceptional amount of rainfall, and several parts of the site were critically damaged. UNESCO sent two emergency missions to the site in November 2022 and March 2023 to support the extensive efforts of the site management team and the Directorate of Antiquities and Museums of Sindh in implementing reactive measures, including underpinning, mud capping, and reinstatement of the surface water drainage system.

At the request of the World Heritage Committee, which maintains high vigilance over this emblematic site, experts from the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS undertook an extensive field mission to the site from March 3 to 6 and held meetings in Karachi with provincial authorities and Pakistani conservation experts. The authorities will be informed of the outcomes of their study of the state of conservation and the suggested way forward in due course.

As recommended by the World Heritage Committee in September 2023, the ancient Indus city site needs a new phase of large international cooperation, combining technical and financial support. The 240-hectare site is constantly threatened by harsh natural conditions and increased risks of extreme weather events due to global climate change. A multi-annual international project would enable an integrated approach embracing conservation, disaster risk reduction, and advanced research on the best conservation measures to be applied to this highly complex site.

Another key aspect will be the broader involvement of local communities, which will place people at the heart of heritage conservation as authentic custodians of this millennia-old heritage cherished by all kinds of visitors.

Friday, 15 March 2024 at 16:20
access_time 2 min read
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Asia and the Pacific
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