1.         Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro (Pakistan) (C 138)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1980

Criteria  (ii)(iii)

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/138/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1982-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 101,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/138/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 23,500,000 (total of contributions for the International Safeguarding Campaign for Moenjodaro)

Previous monitoring missions

Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission in November/December 2006. Following the close of the UNESCO International Safeguarding Campaign (1974-1997), numerous UNESCO and expert missions have been carried out.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of appropriate conservation work;

b) Deterioration of structures;

c) Suspension of management system.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/138/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

The State Party began its report by quoting the 1972 Master Plan for the Preservation of Moenjodaro, prepared by international experts. It is comprised of five schemes, covering River Training, Ground Water Control, Plantation and Landscaping, and Cultural Tourism. The huge sums needed to implement the Master Plan led to the creation of the UNESCO International Campaign in 1974. Substantial sums were collected that financed measures aimed at eliminating the threat of flooding, lowering the water table by 7m, and preserving the structural remains against the effects of salt and drainage problems. The State Party acknowledges that only the first of these objectives was achieved.

New executive and advisory structures were set up when the International Campaign came to an end. Despite this arrangement, Moenjodaro received little attention. Therefore in 2003, UNESCO and Pakistan jointly decided to create a new management structure to accelerate the conservation and rehabilitation works, financed under the National Fund for Moenjodaro.

The management structure was temporarily suspended by the Secretary of Culture in January 2006, but was re-established by the Secretary’s letter of 13 December 2006. The Department of Archaeology and Museums has prepared a ten-year Master Plan for Rehabilitation and Cultural Tourism at Moenjodaro that is currently being evaluated by the relevant national authorities.

The joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission carried out in November/December 2006 found that despite remaining issues concerning organization and coherence of conservation and rehabilitation works, overall progress had been made in the protection of the exposed brick structures. The action plan proposed by the mission to address the outstanding issues supplements and updates the Medium-Term Action Plan prepared in 2003. It was therefore agreed with the national authorities that the expertise, guidance and financial assistance provided by the World Heritage Centre is imperative and shall be continued. In addition, close collaboration between the Department of Archaeology and Museums in Islamabad, the Federal Secretary of Culture and the World Heritage Centre as well as ICOMOS was requested by the State Party in order to ensure and guide the implementation of the proposed ten-year Master Plan, as well as the two-year Action Plan.

The principal general recommendations of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS missionwere the need to:

(i) define the boundaries of the property following the archaeological investigations;

(ii) carry out and continue activities concerning conservation and protection of the excavated and unexcavated areas jointly with scientific documentation of all activities;

(iii) improve the management plan in connection with the recommendations of the reactive monitoring mission;

(iv) improve and continue monitoring of the property;

(v) identify training needs and improve capacity building.


Specific recommendations addressed the need to:

(i) as a matter of priority, produce a topographic map of the property and record the current boundaries of the World Heritage property;

(ii) development and approval of an excavation strategy before any further archaeological interventions are undertaken;

(iii) carry out initial geophysical surveys to explore the actual extent of the property together with careful archaeological excavations where necessary in order to re-define the core and buffer zones accordingly;

(iv) further develop the conservation plan for the exposed structures and continue the successfully employed protective measures;

(v) closely monitor human encroachment and develop an action plan for the areas which have human settlements;

(vi) further improve the management of documents and historic data through the development of a specific documentation plan;

(vii) further develop a tourism management and development plan in order to improve tourism facilities and guidance in close coordination with the draft Master Plan for Moenjodaro to establish an archaeological park ;

(viii) identify training needs of site staff and within the national institution in general;

(ix) enhance the quality of the site laboratory for better scientific monitoring.


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


Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.86

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.       Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.69, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3.       Notes with concern the significance of conservation and rehabilitation works still to be carried out at Moenjodaro and identified by the joint WHC/ICOMOS mission (December 2006), in particular the lack of clearly defined core and buffer zones of the property;

4.       Requests the State Party, in close collaboration with the World Heritage Centre, to revise the Action Plan for Moenjodaro according to the recommendations made by the mission and to address as a matter of urgency all of the recommendations, giving priority to the following:

a)      Redefine the core and buffer zones of the property and submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2009 all necessary documentation for the extension of the property according to Paragraphs 163-166 of the Operational Guidelines;

b)      Ensure the implementation of the conservation and rehabilitation programme;

c)      Develop an excavation strategy for approval by the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS before any further archaeological interventions are undertaken;

5.      Requests the World Heritage Centre and, where appropriate, the Advisory Bodies ICOMOS and ICCROM, to assist and guide the State Party with the activities identified in the Action Plan;

6.      Also requests the State Party to submit a detailed report on the progress made in the implementation of the Action Plan to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2009 for examination by the Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.