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Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

Philippines
Factors affecting the property in 2012*
  • Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system
  • Financial resources
  • Human resources
  • Illegal activities
  • Legal framework
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Society's valuing of heritage
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of an effective site management authority and adequate legislation;

b) Absence of a finalized strategic site Management Plan;

c) Development of inappropriate river control structures and irregular construction in the rice terraces;

d) Diminishing interest of the Ifugao people in their culture and in maintaining the rice terraces;

e) Lack of human and financial resources.

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Abandonment of the terraces due to neglected irrigation system and people leaving the area;
  • Unregulated development threatening the property;
  • Tourism needs not addressed;
  • Lack of an effective management system.
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2012

Total amount provided to the property: USD 20,000 under Italy Funds-in-Trust for study tour; USD 47,000 under the UNESCO Participation Programme for emergency assistance following typhoon Emong in May 2009; USD 40,600, Netherlands Funds-In-Trust, emergency stabilization and restoration for the Rice Terraces after typhoons Juaning 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2012
Requests approved: 4 (from 1994-2001)
Total amount approved : 153,200 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

On 31 January 2012, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, providing details on the progress attained to achieve the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (Decision 34 COM 7A.26) through implementing the corrective measures, while also responding to the recommendations of the March 2011 and previous reactive monitoring missions.  The following report has been structured around the three main headings of the Desired state of conservation adopted for this property.

a) Landscape restoration and conservation

i) Restoration through community efforts of at least 50% of collapsed terrace walls

The Provincial Government allots yearly 20% of its annual budget under the Development Fund for restoration projects within the World Heritage property. For 2011 an amount of USD 37,780 was provided. In 2011 additional funding was also received from the Globally Important Agriculture Heritage System (GIAHS) and the Prince Claus Fund. A total of 28.37% of the 40,000 cubic meters of damaged terrace walls have been restored. However, due to the onslaught of typhoons in 2011 the total amount of damaged rice terraces has risen to 102,663 cubic meters, according to the survey carried out by the Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office (ICHO).  In response to this, the National Commission for Culture and Arts and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have allocated an amount of USD 153,825 for the rehabilitation of the damages caused by the typhoons. All projects continue to be implemented in close partnership with the Barangay officials, Municipal Local Government Units (MLGUs), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Provincial Government. Further funding will be sought to support the rehabilitation activities from the World Heritage Fund, as well as from other funding sources.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the State Party has succeeded in developing a sustainable system for maintenance and stabilisation of the terraces which ensures that the percentage of collapsed walls will continuously decrease over time.

Nurturing Indigenous Knowledge Experts (NIKE) project continues to strengthen the transmission of traditional knowledge and skills both in restoration techniques and in the use of the terraces. For 2012 Indigenous Knowledge (IK) Centers or Community Learning Centers will be developed online, in academia, and in the terrace communities. Efforts also concentrate on building partnerships with concerned agencies, as well as supporting initiatives of each agency to lead and extend IK education programmes or projects within their respective organizations.

ii) Adoption of conservation guidelines for each of the five priority heritage cluster sites

The State Party reports that the Conservation Guidelines, based on the traditional practices in agriculture and farming, have been adopted by the 5 priority heritage cluster sites in 2011 and are being closely followed by the Farmer Organisations.

The World Heritage and the Advisory Bodies consider that the adoption and implementation of these guidelines further strengthen the conservation policies developed for this property and therefore this requirement has been met.

iii) Documentation and rehabilitation of major irrigation systems in the five priority heritage cluster sites

Continuous progress has been reported in the framework of the major programme for the repair and rehabilitation of the communal irrigation systems (CIS), with around 55 CIS projects implemented in 2011 in addition to the 67 CIS projects completed between 2006 and 2010. Collective funding was provided by the barangays, 4 heritage municipalities, the Provincial Local Government Units and the National Irrigation Administration. These projects have a significant impact on productivity of the rice terraces and prevent erosion and collapse of the terraces. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that given the extent of progress achieved in the rehabilitation of the major irrigation systems and the importance attached to this CIS programme, the requirement has been met.

b) Protection and planning

i) National government policies and laws enacted for the preservation of natural resources

The Environment Code for the Province of Ifugao adopted through an Ordinance in March 2010, serves as a guide for different government agencies, non-government organisations and other entities in the implementation of programmes and policies for the Province of Ifugao. It confers additional power to the Province in regard to the regulation and management of natural resources and the environment and the protection of the Rice Terraces. As for the protection, management and conservation of the Rice Terraces, it provides a clear direction to the Provincial, Municipal, Barangay and National Agencies in the implementation of programs and projects geared towards the restoration, protection, preservation, and conservation of the rice terraces within their political territories. An endowment fund for the terraces shall be created for the said purpose to be funded by the Local Government Units and other funding institutions. Contributions from other sectors are also encouraged.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the necessary steps have been taken to ensure regulation and effective management of the environment and natural resources through the additional provisions adopted at the provincial level. Therefore, this requirement has been met.

ii) Adopted guidelines, including Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures, and infrastructure guidelines, for the implementation of major projects

The Province of Ifugao is preparing a legislation which will require big-scale projects involving civil works to undergo Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).

Infrastructure and housing guidelines have been distributed and work is in progress to pass an ordinance adopting these guidelines. The project is a collaborative effort involving the UNESCO National Commission, the Ifugao Provincial Government, University of Santo Tomas and the University of Santo Tomas Center of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics. The housing guidelines will serve as a basis for local ordinances and serves as a reference document for current and future structural projects, and considers the changing needs of the communities finding sustainable solutions for contemporary problems. It will be published, promoted and disseminated during community and Rice Terrace Owner Organisations’ meetings to ensure that it is understood, accepted and implemented.

Comprehensive Infrastructure Guidelines for the four municipalities was a priority project in 2011 and addresses the aspects of terrace structures, houses, road networks, drainage, water systems, dams and bridges.

Preliminary studies have been undertaken to document aspects of the Muyong forests, which provide the primary recharge zone of water for the irrigation of the fields and are crucial for ensuring the conservation and sustainability of the rice terraces. The studies shall serve as a basis for the development of policies and legislation on the conservation of these watershed systems. The reforestation programme to include a wider range of endemic trees species to protect the watershed system for the rice terraces and prevent the introduction of exotic species in the private or communal watersheds of the rice terraces has continued, by means of the Muyong enhancement project in which benefitted the heritage cluster Kiangan. In addition, the Muyong systems have also been included in the GIS mapping carried out for establishing the boundaries and buffer zone of the property, and have been presented in the documentation for the Retrospective Inventory.  

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the necessary provisions have been made by means of the aforementioned guidelines to control and regulate developments within the property. These will be hopefully be reinforced in the future by a national legislation declaring the World Heritage property as Environmentally Critical Area. Therefore this requirement has been met.

iii) Implementation of Community-Based Land Use and Zoning Plan (CBLUZP) projects in all sites

The project was commenced in 2010 through the Save Ifugao Terrace Movement (SITMO), and the State Party reports that 100% of the 18 barangays in Banaue completed the information required for the GIS mapping, while work continues for the mapping of the cluster sites which will provide the baseline documentation to draft zoning ordinances. When completed the Comprehensive Barangay Land Use and Zoning Plans will regulate the construction of modern structures, improper disposal of waste, destruction of watershed and illegal practices affecting the rice terraces.

In the framework of the Retrospective Inventory the cartographic documentation, delineating the property and its buffer zone has been prepared in close collaboration with all stakeholders and submitted to the World Heritage Centre.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the necessary steps have been taken to develop the community-based land-use and zoning plans, although this requirement has not been fully achieved.

c) Management

i) Functioning management agencies at the provincial and municipal levels with adequate resources

Since October 2011 the Ifugao Provincial Council for Cultural Heritage was established. Its mandate is to strengthen protection, conservation and promotion of Ifugao culture and indigenous rights.

The Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office (ICHO) continues to implement the 10 year Master plan of the Rice Terraces and all related conservation activities while it remains an institutionalized office of the Provincial Government under the division of the Provincial Planning and Development Office.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the present organizational structures in place at both the provincial and municipal levels are effectively managing the property. Therefore this requirement has been met, although sustainable funding would still need to be ensured.

ii) Functional Rice Terraces Owner Organizations in place in the five priority heritage cluster sites;

From 2007 up to 2011 eighteen Rice Terrace Owner Organisations (RTO) and five Irrigators Associations (IA) have been registered at the Department of Labor and remain active partners of the Provincial Governmentin heritage endeavors through conditions stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement and Commitment between the Provincial Government and the Farmers Organisations (MOAC Agreement), which includes a 10% retention fund from implemented projects that serves as a revolving fund in support of further efforts to maintain, protect and preserve the Ifugao cultural landscape.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider this requirement has been met.

d) Other issues and developments

Typhoons

The Province was vastly affected by the typhoons Juaning, Pedring and Quiel that struck the Province in July/August 2011. Following this natural disaster the Province was declared under the state of calamity due to the destruction of infrastructure and agriculture. Costs for maintenance of the collapsed terraces and irrigation systems more than tripled and with the assistance of media coverage, support from various national and local government and non-government agencies was received for the restoration of the damaged rice terraces and rehabilitation of the communal irrigation systems. The Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other agencies gave their pledge for the restoration projects and the National Irrigation Administration which looks upon the communal irrigation systems allotted a total amount of PhP105.7 million for the province. All these conservation projects are scheduled to be implementation within 2012, while some restoration work already started in 2011. The World Heritage Centre has mobilized, through the Netherlands Funds-In-Trust cooperation, USD 40,600 for the Emergency stabilization and reconstruction for the Rice Terraces.

Ambangal Mini-Hyrdo Power Plant

The revenues generated by the power plant (approx. USD 24,500 in 2011) have been allocated for rehabilitation and conservation projects based on the agreed policies and guidelines of the Rice Terrace Conservation Fund.

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS)

The programme under GIAHS has contributed to the rehabilitation of major irrigation systems within the Municipality of Hungduan, amounting to 744 linear meters in length that serve around 62.6 ha of rice fields.

Other related conservation activities

A number of other activities funded by the NCCA (National Commission for Culture and the Arts) have been carried out and are ongoing. The “Ifugao Heritage Sites Cultural Mapping and Conservation Planning” implemented through the Indigenous People’s Organisation entailed mapping of heritage sites, damaged terraces and inventory of flora and fauna, loss of cultural values, migration, etc. The “Batad House Restoration Conservation Initiate” involved mapping, documentation, assessment, restoration and preservation of the baluys, the Batad Ifugao houses.

Small scale mining in Hungduan Cluster

After reviewing the situation with regard to the reported small scale mining exploration, the Technical Working Group of the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board halted the activities which were commenced without a permit. The Provincial Governor has issued a cease and desist order and is addressing the issue of mining in order to halt any future mining activities within the World Heritage property or its buffer zone.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2012

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are of the view that the State Party has fulfilled the requirements for achieving the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.  They consider that Committee may wish to commend the State Party for mobilizing resources and commitment to undertake this significant amount of work over the past decade. Nevertheless, the Rice Terraces remain vulnerable, particularly in the event of natural disasters such as typhoons.  This issue will remain a challenge and will always require particular efforts and underlines the need to ensure adequate sustainable human and financial resources. Further progress must still be made with the development of an integrated tourism strategy and that the control of tourism related infrastructure development must be addressed and carefully controlled. Similarly, guidelines and control mechanisms must be developed to address extraction and mining activities which may have an impact on the property. The required cartographic information defining the boundaries and buffer zone of the property has been submitted to the World Heritage Centre in February 2012 and is in the process of review.

In light of the above, and thanks to the exemplary cooperative efforts and commitments by the local communities, the municipalities and the Provincial Government as well as the national agencies, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend that the World Heritage Committee remove this property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2012
36 COM 7A.29
Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines) (C 722)

The World Heritage Committee, 

1. Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decisions 33 COM 7A.24, 34 COM 7A.26 and 35 COM 7A.29 adopted at its 33rd (Seville, 2009), 34th (Brasilia, 2010) and 35th (UNESCO, 2011) sessions respectively,

3. Commends the State Party for its significant efforts to address the threats that led to the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and the implementation of the corrective measures;

4. Considers that, in line with the state of conservation report and the findings of the 2011 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS monitoring mission, the threats to Outstanding Universal Value have been addressed; 

5. Notes nevertheless that the establishment of sustained financial resources for the property remains a critical long term requirement, and requests the State Party to:

a)  Ensure the necessary resources to sustain the implementation of the Conservation and Management Plan through operational arrangements,

b)  Continue with the development and implementation of community-based land-use and zoning plans which respond to traditional value systems,

c)  Develop an integrated Tourism Management Plan in close cooperation with the local communities as well as mechanisms to control tourism related infrastructure developments,

d)  Pursue the adoption of a legislation requiring Environmental Impact Assessment for development projects, as well as to establish Heritage Impact Assessment procedures,

e)  Pursue the adoption of a national legislation declaring the World Heritage property as an Environmentally Critical Area;

6.  Also requests the State Party to continue to actively follow the further implementation of the above measures, to sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014,an updated report on the progress made with the implementation of the above;

7. Decides to remove the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines) from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

36 COM 8C.3
Establishment of the World Heritage List in Danger (Removed Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-12/36.COM/7A and WHC-12/36.COM/7A.Add),
  2. Decides to remove the following properties from the List of World Heritage in Danger:
    • Pakistan, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Decision 36 COM 7A.28)
    • Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Decision 36 COM 7A.29)
Draft Decision:  36 COM 7A.29

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decisions 33 COM 7A.24, 34 COM 7A.26 and 35 COM 7A.29 adopted at its 33rd (Seville, 2009), 34th (Brasilia, 2010) and 35th (UNESCO, 2011) sessions respectively,

3. Commends the significant efforts of the State Party to address the threats that led to the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and the implementation of the corrective measures;

4. Considers that, in line with the state of conservation report and the findings of the 2011 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS monitoring mission, the threats to Outstanding Universal Value have been addressed;  

5. Notes nevertheless that the establishment of sustained financial resources for the property remains a critical long term requirement, and requests the State Party to:

a) ensure the necessary resources to sustain the implementation of the conservation and Management Plan through operational arrangements,

b) continue with the development and implementation of community-based land-use and zoning plans which respond to traditional value systems,

c) develop an integrated tourism Management Plan in close cooperation with the local communities as well as mechanisms to control tourism related infrastructure developments,

d) pursue the adoption of a legislation requiring Environmental Impact Assessment for development projects, as well as to establish Heritage Impact Assessment procedures,

e) pursue the adoption of a national legislation declaring the World Heritage property as an Environmentally Critical Area;

6. Also requests the State Party to continue to actively follow the further implementation of the above measures, to sustain of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 an updated report on the progress made with the implementation of the above;

7. Decides to remove the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines) from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 2012
Philippines
Date of Inscription: 1995
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)(v)
Danger List (dates): 2001-2012
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 36COM (2012)
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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