1.         Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur (Bangladesh) (C 322)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1985

Criteria  (i)(ii)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/322/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1986-2005)
Total amount approved: USD 100,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/322/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 390,000 received from UNDP, UNESCO, Japan Funds-in-Trust and NORAD for the Safeguarding Campaign Project.

Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO missions in October 2002 and February 2003.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

General threats:

a) Lack of capacity in conservation techniques;

b) Lack of management mechanism;

c) Lack of monitoring system;

d) Lack of human and financial resources.

Specific threats:

e) Negative impact of telephone tower built by the State Party within the property buffer zone on heritage and landscape value; Property boundaries and buffer zone boundaries not clearly defined;

f) Inadequate statement of Outstanding Universal Value;

g) Absence of specific and practical management plan for Paharpur;

h) Drainage and internal moisture contents problem.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/322/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

On 21 December 2006, the Department of Archaeology of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs submitted a report to respond to the decisions taken by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session (Durban, 2005). The State Party report notes the following:

  1. In November 2005, four site attendants were hired to strengthen security, and the deployment of five additional guards is now being organised.
  2. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs conducted an “environmental impact assessment of the telephone tower on the heritage and landscape values of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur” in June 2005. Their report noted that the 43 meter high telephone tower located at a distance of 613 meters from the northeast corner of the monastery was aesthetically disturbing as it was much higher than the central temple of the monastery. They proposed that it should be shifted at least 500 meters further away. Following this recommendation, the tower was removed and replaced by two lower towers outside of the buffer zone and not visible from the site.
  3. The State Party will carry out a study of the property’s drainage problems for eventual consideration and review by the World Heritage Centre. This activity was delayed due to political unrest and changes within the Ministry.An international seminar on drainage problems is currently being planned to be held later this year.
  4. l>

    However, the report provided by the State Party does not respond to the request made by the 29th session (Durban, 2005) to redefine the limits of the core and buffer zones of the property “on the basis of a stronger Statement of Outstanding Universal Value”. This was the most critical of the Committee’s requests to the State Party, given its importance for defining and sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the site, and ICOMOS is very concerned that the State Party report makes no reference to this point.

    In addition, there is no specific site management plan, although this is urgently required in order to ensure the management and preservation of the property. The UNESCO Dhaka Office has suggested that assistance should be provided to the national authorities and therefore the State Party is encouraged to request International Assistance.

    Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM


    Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.76

    The World Heritage Committee,

    1.       Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B,

    2.       Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.48, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

    3.       Notes the positive steps taken by the State Party to remove the telephone transmission tower to a location not visible from the site, and to increase security at the property through provision of additional guards and site attendants;

    4.       Encourages the State Party to carry out the proposed analysis of the drainage problems and to report to the World Heritage Centre in due course about the outcome and the possible need for further assistance from the Centre and/or ICOMOS;

    5.       Strongly urges the State Party, on an urgent basis, to redefine and document, through the appropriate cartographic documentation, the limits of the core and  buffer zones of the property based on a stronger and more complete statement of Outstanding Universal Value, and to submit these changes to the Committee for approval;

    6.       Invites the State Party to request International Assistance in order to develop a management plan for the property in close collaboration with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS;

    7.       Requests the State Party to provide a progress report to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2008 on the drainage studies, and the efforts undertaken to redefine and document the limits of the core and buffer zones, and the new statement of Outstanding Universal Value, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008.