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Kathmandu Valley

Factors affecting the property in 1991*
  • Avalanche/ landslide
  • Management activities
  • Other Threats:

    Need for restoration/consolidation works

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

 Collapse of the roof of the Patan Temple; Landslide; Revision of the implementation of the Action Plan; Need for restoration/consolidation works

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 1991

(1)             The UNESCO/UNDP Project NEP/89/060 "Preservation of the cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley and development of cultural tourism" intends to increase the capacity of the Government to preserve and present the cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley as a whole, and to develop a more integrated approach by improving the linkages between the preservation of cultural heritage and overall physical planning, tourism and education. The total budget is estimated at US$435,000 for three years. It is expected that the agreement on the financing of the project will be concluded in the spring of 1992.

(2)             The Nepal/UNESCO/Japan Trust Fund 536/NEP/71 "Preservation of the selected monuments in the Kathmandu Valley" foresees restoration works on several monuments and the development of Patan Durbar Square. The carrying out of this project the cost of which is estimated at US$376,300 begun in October 1991.

(3)             The Nippon Institute of Technology is presently undertaking the restoration of a Buddhist monument in Patan thanks to funding by the Japanese government (US$300,000).

International Assistance: requests for the property until 1991
Requests approved: 4 (from 1979-1989)
Total amount approved : 77,000 USD
Missions to the property until 1991**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1991

The Kathmandu Valley has already been mentioned during the Committee's last session. Since then, the Secretariat has obtained new information during the meeting of the working group responsible for the monitoring of the International Campaign for the Safeguarding of the Valley of Kathmandu which took place early in October 1991. Since the launching of the campaign in 1979 notable progress has been made, on the basis of the 1981 master plan, in the conservation work at some of the seven areas protected under the World Heritage Convention.

The major work includes:

(1) the restoration of Kathmandu Durbar Square, especially at Hanumandhoka Palace, Lohan Chowk which is intended to house a museum (Mahendra Memorial Museum and the Prithivi Gallery), Nasal Chowk, Lalitpur Tower and Bilas Mandir;

(2) Swayambhunath Hill stabilization and conservation work;

(3) Patan Durbar Square, restoration of Keshav Narayan Chowk;

(4) Bhaktapur, restoration of the palace and historical houses; Changu Narayan Temple, initial conservation work; Pashupatinath, preparation of a preliminary conservation plan.

The report prepared by the working group can be consulted by Committee members at the present session. Furthermore, three extrabudgetary projects were developed in 1990/91 to support the national authorities.

For the meeting of the working group, Professor Eduard Sekler, an international expert who has been technical adviser to the Nepalese Government and the Director-General on the implementation of the Campaign for over ten years, undertook monitoring investigations with the authorities in charge of the seven areas concerned.

Detailed reports on these missions will be sent to the Secretariat which will submit them to the Committee at its next session.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1991
Monitoring of the State of Conservation of the World Heritage Cultural and Related Technical Problems

18. The monitoring report presented by the Secretariat dealt with the following sites: Xanthos-Letoon (Turkey), the City of Valletta (Malta), Shibam (Yemen), National Historical Park - Citadel, Sans Souci, Ramiers (Haiti), Kathmandu Valley (Nepal), Moenjodaro (Pakistan), and the Madara Rider (Bulgaria). Monitoring visits had been made to seventeen sites by an expert who was in charge of co­ordinating action for the preservation of 115 Mediterranean sites within the framework of the UNEP - Barcelona Convention. These visits had yielded a wealth of information and documentation which needed analysis and the establishment of a dialogue with the national authorities before a report could be presented to the Committee. A summary of the findings of this expert concerning two sites was included in the Working Document SC-91/CONF.002/3. Reports on the state of conservation of the other fifteen sites will be presented to the Bureau in June 1992. In addition, the expert who was present at this session was ready to explain to the Committee his approach and to respond to specific questions. An additional monitoring report had been prepared by the Co-ordinator of the UNDP/UNESCO Regional Project on Cultural Heritage and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, who was also present at this session.

19. The Committee was also informed of the type of continuous monitoring which the Secretariat pursued with regard to projects which were the subject of international campaigns or supported by UNDP. A recently published brochure on the work carried out in Sana'a, as well as the report on the mission to Bulgaria which was annexed to the Document SC-91/CONF.002/3, showed that the most efficient monitoring could be done through technical assistance missions. Unfortunately, the financial and personnel resources of the Secretariat were far too small compared with the many World Heritage sites to be monitored.

20. In the opinion of the Secretariat, a monitoring action should be carried out in the form of a continuous dialogue with the State Party which should begin even before the inscription of the site, in order to inform local competent authorities (politicians and technicians) about the values to be maintained and the principles and methods of conservation to be applied. In particular, the implementation of the management plan requested at the time of the proposal for inscription should be verified by means of a monitoring exercise.

21. The representative of ICOMOS brought to the attention of the Committee alarming news about the deterioration of certain parts of monuments of Khizi Pogost (USSR). He stressed the fact that his organization was interested in sending a mission on the spot to evaluate the state of conservation of the site. With reference to the cultural centre in the process of being built between the Tower of Belem and the Monastery of the Hieronymites (Portugal), he underlined that the work was almost completed and that a comprehensive file submitted by the government showed that the rules of the competition had taken account of the fact that the site was classified as a World Heritage property. Part of the existing building replaced industrial constructions and this represented an improvement. This case proved that it was necessary to determine a future strategy to guide architects in charge of the development of sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. The Portuguese observer remarked that the project of integrating this cultural centre was part of a plan for safeguarding of the zone with a view to reasserting the value of the site. The Committee took note of the report of ICOMOS and, in the light of this example, emphasized that States Parties should attach the greatest attention to maintaining the values of World Heritage properties, when elaborating development projects, new constructions or major restorations. They should equally inform the Committee, through UNESCO's Secretariat, of their intention to undertake or to authorize projects in an area protected under the Convention before any irreversible decisions were taken. The need for close collaboration between the Secretariat and the local competent authorities was stressed during the debate. The Committee took note that ICOMOS, in co-operation with ICCROM, was preparing a guide on the management of sites for authorities responsible for World Heritage.

22. The Co-ordinator of the UNDP/UNESCO Regional Project on Cultural Heritage and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean introduced the method which had been used in the detailed analysis of six sites in the region. The documents presented only reflect work already achieved within the framework of a wider project concerning sixteen sites in all, the evaluation of which will be carried out up until 1993 and will cost the World Heritage Fund US$40,000.

23. The Committee took note of this report. While considering that the method was interesting, it judged that it would not be necessarily applicable to all regions.

24. The Co-ordinator of a network set up by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the protection of Mediterranean sites under the Barcelona Convention introduced in his turn his working method on monitoring. During visits to seventeen sites around the Mediterranean, he evaluated,, in collaboration with local experts, the different problems raised by the conservation of the sites concerned. Following his visits he kept in touch with the competent authorities with a view to assisting them in their task with technical advice and documentation.

25. Regarding the management of sites, a member of the Committee questioned the limits to the possibility of intervention by the Committee and the Secretariat. The Secretariat explained that national authorities, whose collaboration was obviously indispensable, were always informed.

26. The possibility of intervention by the private sector in activities of safeguarding and development of World Heritage was raised. A delegate considered that progress in this field remained far below desirable levels. For instance, various difficulties encountered by a high visiting capacity of the sites could be solved through co­operation with, private associations.

No draft Decision

Report year: 1991
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2003-2007
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 15COM (1991)

* : 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.