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Kathmandu Valley

Nepal
Factors affecting the property in 2006*
  • Housing
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    loss of traditional urban fabric

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Uncontrolled urban development resulting in the loss of traditional urban fabric, in particular privately-owned houses;

b) Lack of co-ordinated management mechanism

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Partial or significant deterioration of traditional elements of heritage in six of the seven monument zones;
  • General loss of authenticity and integrity.
Corrective Measures for the property

Proposed corrective measures are included in the draft Decision

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
A timeframe has been proposed in the draft Decision
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2006

Total amount provided to the property: between USD 10 and 15 million under the International Safeguarding Campaign for the Kathmandu Valley (1979-2001). The campaign was officially closed in 2001. An amount of USD 45,000 was provided in 2005 by the Dutch Funds-in-Trust for the establishment of the management plan for the property.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2006
Requests approved: 15 (from 1979-2006)
Total amount approved : 342,679 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

In response to the Decisions made by the Committee at its 27th (UNESCO, 2003), 28th (Suzhou, 2004) and 29th (Durban, 2005) sessions, the State Party submitted on 1 February 2006 a proposal for a “minor modification” to the boundaries of the seven monument zones and a proposal for a name change, according to the procedures established in the Operational Guidelines paragraphs 163, 164 and 167. These modifications have been examined by ICOMOS and are presented in Document WHC-06/30.COM/INF.8B.1. It is currently not possible for the State Party to legally redefine the World Heritage boundaries, pending the Committee’s approval of these redefined boundaries. Until such a time, legislative provisions are being made in order to facilitate their timely adoption.

As requested by the Committee, the State Party reviewed the validity of the existing criteria (iii)(iv)(vi) and in its proposal, indicated that the criteria used for inscription of the Kathmandu Valley in 1979 would be still applicable and define the Outstanding Universal Value of the site. The proposed modification to the boundaries has been prepared bearing in mind the criteria for inscription, the integrity of the site, and the conservation of the attributes that define the Outstanding Universal Value of the site.

The technical evaluation carried out by ICOMOS of the proposed new property name and the proposed “minor modification” of boundaries suggests that the modification proposal made by the State Party is sufficiently important to constitute consideration as a “major modification”, and should therefore follow the same procedures as for new nominations.

ICOMOS considers that the boundary revision and the development of a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value should correspond to both the monumental ensembles and the surrounding traditional vernacular buildings, which had been inscribed in 1979 and have retained their Outstanding Universal Value.

The State Party suggested the name “Kathmandu Valley” be changed to “Seven Monument Ensembles of the Kathmandu Valley”, whereas ICOMOS recommends “ “Seven historic ensembles of the Kathmandu Valley”.

The comprehensive progress report on the state of conservation received on 6 February 2006 provides an extensive description of a number of major restoration works to monuments which have been carried out and monitored by the national and municipal heritage units. The ongoing preparation by the State Party of the inventory of categorised heritage buildings in the seven monument zones is reported as partially complete. The Department of Archaeology, together with the municipalities, also continues to undertake conservation activities of these inventoried heritage buildings, in particular the monumental ensembles.

The integrated management plan (IMP) for the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site is currently under preparation by the Department of Archaeology, in close collaboration with the World Heritage Centre and the UNESCO-Kathmandu Office, with financial assistance from the Dutch Government. The complexity of the management of the World Heritage property is a result of the widespread and varied nature of the seven Monument Zones, which are situated in three municipalities and a village, as well as having a royal Trust as a site-management agency in one of the zones. The IMP addresses this situation by advocating that each municipality and agency make appropriate decisions for the conservation priorities and to be able to provide coherent technical advice to the local population. The significant efforts made by the Nepali authorities to complete the IMP are to be commended. Although the completion of the IMP was initially scheduled for summer 2006, given the complex nature of the plan as indicated above, it is judged important to provide an additional year, until summer 2007, in order to ensure its full and effective completion. Without this extra time to ensure stakeholder agreement and support for the results, ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre believe that the IMP would not have sufficient local support, nor the necessary credibility to be fully implemented.

ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre wish to note that, while the technical evaluation carried out by ICOMOS in Document WHC-06/30.COM/INF.8B.1 recommends to postpone the approval of the proposed redefined boundaries and encourages a full nomination document be compiled for the renomination of the property, it is important that such efforts should not delay the on-going work on the Integrated Management Plan for the property.

In the framework of the IMP, the State Party has adopted a policy to revise building by-laws in order to ensure the integrity of the heritage areas. The revised building by-laws will take into consideration the specificity of monument zones, and prioritise restoration over reconstruction. This is intended to function as a corrective measure to address illegal building activities. Furthermore, monitoring measures are being devised to improve the implementation of conservation policies and by-laws, using the Bhaktapur monument zone as a pilot case.

A digital documentation database on the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site, which centralises all information available concerning the site, is being prepared as the basis for the establishment of a heritage documentation centre for the Kathmandu Valley, to be accessible to the public. A third and final mission of the University of Venice (IUAV) in summer 2005 completed the inventory and categorization of privately owned buildings in the World Heritage property. The results of all three IUAV surveys in 2003, 2004 and 2005 have been transmitted to the State Party, notably to the municipalities, who will now be able to make use of this data for monitoring purposes. ICOMOS emphasises that a conservation expert mission in August 2005 noted that the State Party did not possess the important documentation from many earlier missions carried out to the site during the 1990s with the support of the World Heritage Fund. ICOMOS recommends that the process of preparing a consultable database should begin with efforts to recover, catalogue and scan all earlier documentation projects carried out on the World Heritage property.

The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS consider that, in light of the progress made in implementing the Decisions of the Committee, a fully operational site management system including assured implementation of conservation guidelines and building regulations within the IMP, and appropriate legislative protection in order to safeguard the remaining integrity of the property, would constitute the benchmarks for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. Furthermore, these benchmarks could be met within the framework of the requested renomination procedure, following the evaluation presented in Document WHC-06/30.COM/INF.8B.1. Given the complexity of the issues involved and the difficult political situation in Nepal, these benchmarks could be achieved by 1 February 2009 in time for the 33rd session of the Committee.

A review mission is planned for late June 2006 with a view to providing guidance in the finalisation of the IMP. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2006
30 COM 7A.26
Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) (C 121)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7A.24, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Noting the updated information provided by the UNESCO mission in June 2006,

4. Commends the State Party for the co-ordinated efforts made, despite the difficult situation amidst political transformation, in improving the conservation of the property, progress made in redefining the property's boundaries, and recognizes the high quality of the participatory process for the establishment of the integrated management plan ;

5. Notes that the integrated management plan may require a further year for completion and adoption, given the commitment to the participatory process and the changing political situation;

6. Requests the State Party to continue the establishment of an integrated conservation management system by:

a) Completing and adopting the integrated management plan by 1 June 2007;

b) Ensuring establishment of concrete conservation guidelines and their dissemination;

c) Completing the categorized inventories in the seven Monument Zones in order to effectively link these with conservation guidelines;

d) Implementing appropriate building regulations to control the transformation of heritage buildings within the World Heritage boundaries and in their buffer zones;

e) Undertaking effective monitoring measures to assess the implementation of the management plan, by documenting and evaluating physical transformation of heritage buildings regularly;

7. Encourages the State Party to request Technical Assistance from the World Heritage Fund in order to implement such integrated conservation management system through the process of establishing the management plan, in close cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2007 a progress report including the state of implementation of all the actions recommended as above, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007;

9. Further requests the State Party to invite a joint mission World Heritage Centre/ ICOMOS to the property in 2007 to assess whether the integrated conservation management system is in place;

10. Decides to consider the possible removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 31st session in 2007, based on the examination of the progress report and the report of the World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission;

11. Decides to retain the Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

30 COM 8B.42
Minor Modifications to the Boundaries (Kathmandu Valley)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-06/30.COM/8B and WHC-06/30.COM/INF.8B.1,

2. Noting the information provided by the UNESCO mission in June 2006 and in particular the updated proposal submitted by the State Party for the modification to the boundaries;

3. Considers that this updated proposal for the modification to the boundaries of the seven monument zones of the property reflects the remaining outstanding universal value justified for criteria (iii)(iv)(vi) from the time of its inscription;

4. Approves the proposed modification to the boundaries of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, as Minor Modification;

5. Requests the State Party to continue with the establishment and implementation of the Integrated Management Plan, built around the outstanding universal value of the property, for the long-term conservation of the property.

30 COM 8C.2
Update of the World Heritage List in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-06/30.COM/7A and WHC-06/30.COM/7A.Add.Rev),

2. Maintains the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

   • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 30 COM 7A.22)

   • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, (Decision 30 COM 7A.23)

   • Azerbaijan, Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Decision 30 COM 7A.29

   • Benin, Royal Palaces of Abomey (Decision 30 COM 7A.16)

   • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.1)

   • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 30 COM 7A.31)

   • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.2)

   • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.3)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.8)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.6)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Virunga National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.7)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Garamba National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.4)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Salonga National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.5)

   • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 30 COM 7A.19)

   • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.9)

   • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.15)

   • India, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (Decision 30 COM 7A.13)

   • Islamic Republic of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Decision 30 COM 7A.25)

   • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 30 COM 7A.20)

   • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 30 COM 7A.34)

   • Nepal, Kathmandu Valley (Decision 30 COM 7A.26)

   • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 30 COM 7A.10)

   • Pakistan, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Decision 30 COM 7A.27)

   • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 30 COM 7A.32)

   • Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Decision 30 COM 7A.28)

   • United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 28 COM 7A.17)

   • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.14)

   • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 30 COM 7A.33)

   • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 30 COM 7A.21)

Draft Decision: 30 COM 7A.26

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7A.24, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Commends the State Party for the co-ordinated efforts made in improving the conservation of the property and for the progress made in redefining the property’s boundaries;

4. Encourages the State Party to complete the categorised inventories in the seven Monument Zones;

5. Recognises that the integrated management plan will require some time for completion and adoption;

6. Requests the State Party to prepare a full new nomination document, in reference to the paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines, based on modified boundaries, with a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, integrated management plan and appropriate legal protection, and to submit it as soon as possible according to the procedures indicated in paragraph 168 of the Operational Guidelines, preferably by 1 February 2008;

7. Requests the State Party to continue the establishment of an integrated conservation management system:

a) completing and adopting the integrated management plan by summer 2007;

b) ensuring establishment of concrete conservation guidelines and their dissemination;

c) adopting appropriate building regulations to control the transformation of heritage buildings within the World Heritage boundaries as well as in their buffer zones;

d) undertaking appropriate monitoring measures in order to assess the implementation of the management system by documenting and evaluating all physical changes (including alterations and demolitions) regularly;

8. Encourages the State Party to request Technical Assistance from the World Heritage Fund for the implementation of the appropriate corrective measures stated above, in close cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

9. Invites the international community to provide financial and technical assistance in support of the implementation of the corrective measures stated above;

10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2007, a report on the progress made in the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007;

11. Decides to consider the possible removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger based on the examination of the new nomination document to be submitted as well as the effectiveness of the established conservation management system; and

12. Decides to retain the Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 2006
Nepal
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2003-2007
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 30COM (2006)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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