1.         Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Uganda) (C 1022)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2001

Criteria  (i)(iii)(iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2010-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Fire that resulted in the destruction of part of the property

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4351

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4351

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4351

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1022/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-2010)
Total amount approved: USD 111,292
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1022/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: 2011-2012: 68,365 USD from the Japanese FIT for an Expert Appraisal Mission; 2013-2015: 650,000 USD from the Japanese FIT for the project: Technical and financial assistance for the reconstruction of Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga, architectural masterpiece of the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi, Uganda, World Heritage property in Danger.

Previous monitoring missions

April 2010, August 2011 and November 2011: World Heritage Centre mission; November 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission; April 2012: Joint ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Destruction by fire of the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1022/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

The State Party submitted a State of Conservation report on 21 March 2013 in response to the request of the Committee at its last session.

a)  Reconstruction of the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga and development of a Master Plan

The State Party reports that the Buganda Kingdom, in consultation with government, has completed a draft Master Plan for the reconstruction and conservation of the entire property. This Plan will be implemented in six phases. The main forth phase is the reconstruction of the main tomb house Muzibu Azaala Mpanga in accordance with the agreed restoration strategy. The Plan was not submitted for review and it is not clear whether it has been approved, or is a revised version of that mentioned in the 2012 Report, or whether it responds to the request of the Committee to address critical issues such as landscape management, urban pressure, enforcement of regulatory measures and increased collaboration between the different levels of authority and stakeholders.

The preliminary phases of the Plan, which cover the reconstruction of the Wamala tombs and the Balongo houses, and the re-construction of the protective fence, are in effect preparatory work for the main project during which craftspeople can gain experience on traditional construction.

It was anticipated that details in the design drawings for the main project will be informed by the results from the renovations and repairs carried out at Wamala. No report was provided on progress with the Wamala tomb work, which started in March 2012, nor a timeline for its completion or for its integration with the Kasubi Action Plan.  The 2011 mission had noted the need for the timeline for the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga project to be revised and suggested that a critical path be established with proposed benchmarks. These have not been provided.

On 1 March 2013, a plan of operation was signed between UNESCO and the Government of Uganda for the project “Technical and financial assistance for the reconstruction of Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, architectural masterpiece of the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi, Uganda, World Heritage property in Danger”. This project is generously supported through the Japanese Funds-in-Trust for an amount of USD 650,000. It aims to support the cost of qualified supervision and of scientific support for the reconstruction of the destroyed roof to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property is sustained.  It will also provide an opportunity for a programme to carry out research on thatching of the royal tombs under the responsibility of a technical team from Japan.

b)  Fire fighting and disaster risk management

The Uganda Government and the Buganda Kingdom have jointly developed a draft risk management strategy, which is being discussed with Japanese experts. The technical team from Japan visited the site in March 2013 with a view to contribute to finalizing the strategy. Meanwhile the site manager, who has been trained in Japan on disaster preparedness, is due to undertake capacity building on site for the rest of the stake holders.

Emergency fire fighting equipment has already been installed on site for protection during the reconstruction process.

The UNESCO-Japan technical project mentioned above also aims to set up an efficient disaster risk management scheme at the property with all necessary equipment.

c)  Research on traditional practices and knowledge associated with traditional architecture

The State Party reports that the Makerere University School of Architecture has been commissioned to collect and document the traditional building practices of other Gandan tombs and palaces that will inform the detailed plans and practices for the reconstruction of Kasubi Tombs. Over the past year the team has studied the Wamala Tombs, Buddo Nagalabi coronation site, Kyebando Kyabaggu Tombs, Bamunanika Palace and Bumera Tombs. They have also undertaken archive work at Lubaga Cathedral, at Namirembe Cathedral and at the Brothers of Christian Instruction at Entebbe. The team is expected to continue their research at archives and libraries in the wider East African region.

d)  Capacity building strategy

The State Party reports that the Chief Thatcher Wabulakayole and other thatchers have undergone training whilst re-building the three small Balongo houses in the property. The main areas where further capacity building is needed have been identified and a capacity building plan is being implemented in consultation with all relevant stakeholders and agencies. This includes various campaigns to involve young people and volunteers at the Kasubi tombs.

e)  Interpretation and public awareness programme

The State Party reports that with support from UNESCO emergency funds, the Government together with Buganda Kingdom has commenced an interpretation and public awareness programme on the restoration of the property. A national sensitization workshop has taken place, meetings with elders, county chiefs and clan leaders have been organized, information pamphlets and an exhibition have been created, and a radio programme broadcast.  The second phase of this awareness programme is yet to be finalized.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies welcome the further progress made with preliminary work for the major reconstruction work of the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, in particular the continuing research on traditional architecture, the training of craftspeople, capacity building in skills needed for the project, and pilot re-building projects. They note the need for capacity building to be structured, as recommended by the 2011 mission, and suggest that a fully-fledged capacity building strategy still needs to be put in place to include components such as maintenance, resources management, conservation and documentation training, among others.

They note that no details were provided on progress with the Wamala tomb work, which started in March 2012 and was seen as a crucial project that would inform technical and design details on the main project, nor details as to how it will be integrated with the Kasubi Action Plan.  The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recall that the 2011 mission had noted the need for the timeline for the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga project to be revised and for a critical path to be established with proposed benchmarks, and that these have so far not been provided.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also note that a draft Master Plan for the property has been drawn up. Based on the recommendations made by the 2011 mission, they reiterate the need for this Plan to address wider issues than the restoration project, such as urban encroachment and unregulated urban development that can pose additional threats to the property, and the need for the Plan to include appropriate regulations, guidelines, and a work plan and timeframe for its implementation. They also suggest that the Committee request that this Plan be submitted for review.

Finally, they recommend that the Committee welcome the continued support for the reconstruction of the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga tomb, and particularly for fire fighting and disaster risk management, and research on thatching of royal tombs, which is being provided with financial support by the Government of Japan through UNESCO.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7A.21

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add,

2.   Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.18 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.   Welcomes the continued progress made by the State Party on preliminary work for the major reconstruction project on the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, in particular the continuing research on traditional architecture, the training of craftspeople, capacity building in skills, and pilot re-building projects, and   urges   it to continue its efforts in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

4.   Notes that no revised timeline for the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga project has been provided, or a critical path established with proposed benchmarks, as recommended by the 2011 mission; and also urges the State Party to progress on these as soon as possible;

5.   Takes note with appreciation of the important contributions provided by the Government of Uganda and the Buganda Kingdom for the reconstruction project for the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga;

6.   Thanks the Government of Japan for providing additional funding, and for its continuing support through UNESCO to the re-construction project, in particular towards fire fighting and disaster risk management, and for research on thatching of royal tombs;

7.   Also notes the progress made with the development by the Buganda Kingdom, in consultation with the Government, of a phased draft Master Plan for the reconstruction and conservation of the entire property;

8.   Reiterates the need for the Master Plan to address wider issues than the restoration project, such as urban encroachment and unregulated urban development that can pose additional threats to the property, and to include appropriate regulations, guidelines and a work plan and timeframe for its implementation; and requests the State Party to submit the Master Plan to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;

9.    Also takes note of the capacity building work that has been undertaken, especially the continuing research on traditional architecture, the training of craftspeople, and development of skills needed for the project, and further notes the need for capacity building to be structured, as recommended by the 2011 mission;

10.  Suggests that a fully-fledged capacity building strategy still needs to be put in place to include components such as maintenance, resources management, conservation and documentation training, among others, and also requests the State Party to submit this strategy to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;

11.  Further takes note of progress made with the first phase of an interpretation and public awareness programme on the restoration of the property, and further urges the State Party to continue this work through the development of the second phase of this programme;

12.  Encourages the State Party to invite an ICOMOS advisory mission to the property in order to provide technical advice on the continued implementation of the reconstruction project and appropriate monitoring arrangements;

13.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, and on the implementation of the above and the recommendations of the 2011 mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

14.  Decides to retain the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Uganda) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-13/37.COM/7A, WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add and WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add.
  2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: