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Town of Luang Prabang

Lao People's Democratic Republic
Factors affecting the property in 1998*
  • Housing
  • Legal framework
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Inappropriate conservation methods
  • New constructions
  • Need for a Safeguarding and Development Plan of the town
  • Urgent need for the enactment of a Cultural Properties Protection Law


International Assistance: requests for the property until 1998
Requests approved: 5 (from 1994-1998)
Total amount approved : 92,242 USD
Missions to the property until 1998**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1998

The Heritage House (Maison du patrimoine),a conservation and development advisory service for inhabitants which is a service of the Provincial Authorities of Luang Prabang that reports to the Local Provincial Committee for the Protection and Development of Cultural and Natural Heritage, initiated the second phase of the Safeguarding and Development Plan of Luang Prabang. Architectural surveys of 1000 buildings owned by private individuals or religious groups located within the centre of the World Heritage site were completed and surveys of all Government-owned buildings and public space are currently being undertaken. The elaboration of this Plan and other related activities, such as the restoration of the traditional timber buildings and colonial buildings through on-site training activities are being carried out within the of the Luang Prabang‑ (France) decentralized co-operation agreement signed in Chinon August 1997 under the aegis of UNESCO. Following the study tour to France by the Governor of Luang Prabang in September 1997, the four Lao architects of the Heritage House visited France in July 1998, both financed by the French Foreign Ministry.

Following the Luang Prabang-Chinon-UNESCO technical meeting held in April 1998, the Governor of Luang Prabang was presented with a list of buildings recommended for protection. Upon approval by the Governor of the list of all scheduled buildings, it will be submitted to the national authorities for official legal protection.

In addition to the daily work of advising on building permits and field inspection of on‑going construction works, the Heritage House with support from the town of and UNESCO, developed two major project proposals. One on the protection of the urban humid zone prepared by the Institute of Aquatic and Research of Chinon (IMACOF/Tours University), under funding from the World Heritage Fund and was co-funded by the European Commission for ECU 350,000 (USD 380,000). The second, aimed to strengthen local capacity in urban management and to conduct a number of demonstrative rehabilitations of public space, has been funded by the French Agency for Development. for the sum of FF 10 million (USD1.95 million) over a 3-year period. Co-operation with Region Centre (France) has continued with the confirmation of their second earmarked contribution to the World Heritage Fund for the sum of FF 300,000 within the total amount of FF 1 million pledged in the Agreement with UNESCO in 1997 for the rehabilitation of the former French customs building being converted for re-use as the Luang Prabang Site Information Centre. Close collaboration has been established between the Heritage House and the project team executing the Asian Development Bank project on road and riverbank upgrading, and with the German development aid agency, KFW, implementing the drainage and sewage improvement project. Both these being important infrastructural projects that would greatly benefit the inhabitants, but could have a negative impact on the cultural heritage of the town if carried out without adequate care and sensitivity to the fragile patrimonial value of the site.

The 1998 World Heritage grant of has enabled the preparation of pedagogical tools to inform the local population of the Safeguarding and Development Plan and its implications to the inhabitants, which include a video film, panel exhibition and information leaflets. A community-based meeting foreseen under this WHF project is scheduled to commence in January 1999 upon the completion of the educational. tools.

The draft law on Protection of National Cultural and Natural Heritage which was prepared in 1996 with legal assistance from UNESCO and the French Government, was issued as a Decree of the Council of Ministers in May 1997 but has not yet been officially enacted as law by the National Assembly.

The Bureau commended the efforts of the Luang Prabang Provincial authorities, particularly the Heritage House as well as the national authorities in the substantive and rapid progress made in strengthening the legal and administrative framework to protect and conserve this site. The Bureau, also commended the Heritage House-Chinon-UNESCO project team for having successfully mobilized close to US$ 4.5 million from bilateral and multilateral donor sources in less than three years by using financial assistance from the World Heritage Fund in a catalytic manner to generate other co-operation projects. The Bureau however, recommended the national and local authorities of the State Party to remain vigilent in co-ordinating the numerous aid and investment projects, particularly those of the Asian Development Bank and German to ensure that these infrastructural development projects are carried out without undermining the World Heritage value of the site. The Bureau requested the State Party to make all efforts for the enactment of the national law on cultural and natural heritage protection by the National Assembly which is presently a decree, and to approve an official list of protected buildings and to forward a copy of these to UNESCO.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1998
22 COM VII.43
Reports on the State of Conservation of Cultural Properties Noted by the Committee

VII.43 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-98/CONF.203/5) and included in Annex IV of this report on the following properties:

Rapa Nui National Park (Chile)

The Mountain Resort and Its Outlying Temples in Chengde (China)

The Potala Palace, Lhasa (China)

Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu (China)

Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains (China)

City of Quito (Ecuador)

Memphis and its Necropolis - the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur (Egypt)

Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis (Egypt)

Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn (Estonia)

Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town in Quedlinburg (Germany)

Historic Centre of Florence (Italy)

Quseir Amra (Jordan)

Luang Prabang (Laos)

Baalbek (Lebanon)

Tyre (Lebanon)

Vilnius Historic Centre (Lithuania)

Old Towns of Djenné (Mali)

City of Cusco (Peru)

Archaeological site of Chavin (Peru)

Historic Centre of Lima (Peru)

The Baroque Churches of the Philippines (The Philippines)

Historic Centre of Porto (Portugal)

Island of Gorée (Senegal)

Sacred City of Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka)

Ancient City of Polonnaruva (Sri Lanka)

Ancient City of Sigiriya (Sri Lanka)

Site of Palmyra (Syrian Arab Republic)

Historic Areas of Istanbul (Turkey)

Kiev: Saint Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings (Ukraine)

Complex of Hué Monuments (Vietnam)

Old City of Sana'a (Yemen)

No draft Decision

Report year: 1998
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Date of Inscription: 1995
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(v)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 22COM (1998)

* : 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.