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


Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO missions in October 2002 and February 2003

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Lack of capacity in conservation techniques; Lack of management mechanism; Lack of monitoring system; Lack of human and financial resources.

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

According to a report from the Government of Bangladesh received by the World Heritage Centre on 3 February 2005, a number of steps have been taken by the State Party, in close cooperation with the World Heritage Centre, to address the recommendations made by the UNESCO mission of October 2002.  These include:

a)  The development of an inventory of all the terracotta plaques, which should be completed by March 2005;

b)  The production of 26 shelves to restore the terracotta plaques in an appropriate manner (the UNESCO Mission requested these shelves to “exhibit” the plaques);

c)  Sign boards have been installed at the property;

d)  The holding of a Workshop on the elaboration of an Archaeological research Strategy for Parhapur, in Dhaka, from 25 to 25 March 2004 (a report on this activity has been already presented to the Committee at its 28th session);

e)  The organization of a training activity on the conservation of the Terracotta plaques, from 22 October to 15 November 2004, addressed to technical staff from the Department of Archaeology.  This was carried out through a request for training activities approved by the Committee at its 27th session (UNESCO, 2003), for an amount of USD 35,000.  A preparatory meeting for organizing this Workshop was held in Dhaka and Paharpur from 27 September to 3 October 2004 within the framework of the France-UNESCO Convention, involving the World Heritage Centre, the UNESCO Office in Dhaka and the Department of Archaeology, Bangladesh;

f)  As regards the appointment of at least five additional Ansars (Semi Armed Security force), the Ministry of Cultural Affairs is pursuing the matter, which is still not finalized;

g)  With regard to the need to study the effectiveness of existing drainage systems and ways of improving them, a Technical Co-operation request for a “Study of Existing Drainage Problems and Monitoring the Internal Moisture Conditions of the Monument” for the Paharpur property (US$ 40,000) had been submitted to the Committee at its 28th session.  Unfortunately, due to budgetary constraints, the Committee could not approve the request and requested the State Party to re-submit it in 2005.  The authorities of Bangladesh did so, but increased the amount of the request to USD 45,000 to take into account the recommendations of the Advisory Bodies.  This request will be examined by the Committee at its 29th session.

Finally, the moratorium concerning major conservation works at the Paharpur Monastery has continued. 

Moreover, on 1 February 2005 the World Heritage Centre received two further requests concerning the organization of training activities in moulding techniques for the terracotta plaques and in computerized management of collections.  Considering the limited resources under the World Heritage Fund, these requests were submitted by the World Heritage Centre for possible funding to the French Government under the France-UNESCO Convention. 

With regard to the above-mentioned report, ICOMOS noted the significant efforts made by the State Party in addressing the long-term conservation of the terracotta plaques.  It commented, however, that priority questions of property security and improving property drainage remain outstanding. ICOMOS is also concerned by two important related issues as follows:

No reference in the various reports is made to the strengthening of the management regime for the property;

The statement of significance proposed by the State Party in preparing the 2003 Periodic Report falls far short of capturing the sources of the outstanding universal value of this property.  As site management efforts must be built to strengthen and ensure respect for these values in decision-making, this statement of significance should be strengthened.

On the other hand, the State Party should be encouraged to prepare and implement a management regime for the property according to the values recognized by the Committee at the time of designation.

In March 2005, finally, the World Heritage Centre received information from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh concerning the installation of a high telephone tower in the vicinity of Paharpur World Heritage property.  The tower, erected at approximately 600 metres from the Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara, falls within an area which, according to the management provisions contained in the original nomination file, should have been placed under special protection (the extent of the buffer zone for this property was never clearly defined).  The World Heritage Centre requested the Bangladesh authorities to provide further information on the visual impact of the tower on the landscape value of the property. 

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


Decision Adopted: 29 COM 14A

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/14A,

2. Recalling paragraph 3 of its Decision 28 COM 10A.1, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Noting that no funds are available in 2005 for consideration of technical cooperation requests for cultural properties,

4. Aware of the importance of the study to be undertaken for the conservation of the property,

5. Noting that US$ 217,000 are still available under the emergency assistance reserve six months before the end of the biennium and that the financial regulations allow transfers between budget lines,

6. Decides to approve the following request:

a) Bangladesh: Study of, and recommendations on remedial actions for, the drainage problems and monitoring of the internal moisture conditions of the monument of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur, for an amount of US$ 45,000

7. Requests the Secretariat to transfer US$ 45,000 from the emergency assistance reserve to the technical cooperation assistance budget in order to finance the above mentioned international assistance request,

8. Also requests the World Heritage Centre to ensure that in implementing this activity, adequate attention be paid to integrate the conclusions of the study into an overall management and conservation strategy, including provisions for day-to-day maintenance and training of relevant staff.

Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7B.48

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15B.53 adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Commends the State Party of Bangladesh for the significant efforts made in addressing the conservation problems of the terracotta plaques,

4. Requests the State Party to pursue the efforts towards the strengthening of security at the property by the recruitment of five additional guards by the end of 2005 at the latest;

5. Urges the State Party to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment of the telephone tower on the heritage and landscape values of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur, and consider the possibility of moving the tower further away from the property;

6. Requests the State Party, possibly with the assistance of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to redefine and document, through the appropriate cartographic documentation, the limits of the core and buffer zones of the property, on the basis of a stronger Statement of outstanding universal value;

7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2007, a report on the impact of the telephone tower on the visual integrity of the World Heritage property and the progress achieved in the implementation of the above recommendations, for examination by the Committee at its 31st Session (2007).