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Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur

Bangladesh
Factors affecting the property in 2003*
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Deterioration of the authentic characteristics of the property

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of capacity in conservation techniques;
  • Lack of management mechanism (including legislation);
  • Lack of monitoring system;
  • Lack of human or financial resources.
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2003
Requests approved: 2 (from 1986-2003)
Total amount approved : 55,000 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003

At its 26th session in 2002, having examined the state of conservation of the property, the Committee requested and encouraged the authorities to consider the nomination of the property to the List of World Heritage in Danger in order to mobilize the significant international financial and technical resources to address the conservation challenges facing the property. The Committee also requested to elaborate an action plan to enhance the long-term conservation and management of the site, remove the ascertained and potential threats facing the property and to submit an international assistance request.

Following the Committee's decisions, a second UNESCO mission to Paharpur took place in October 2002, which concluded that the site was no longer facing immediate threats and danger as the inappropriate rehabilitation work had regretfully been completed leaving some irreversible changes to the authentic character of the property. However, to reverse the inappropriate work to the extent possible, the following specific measures were recommended: Enact and enforce a moratorium on all future work involving further excavations and rehabilitation;  Training for the conservation for terracotta plaques and other archaeological materials;  Digital inventory and publication of all terracotta plaques as a precaution against theft and to facilitate future study; Enhancement of visitor management;  Organization of an expert workshop to define the medium and long-term strategy of archaeological study and conservation of the site.

A third UNESCO mission was organized in February 2003 to assist the authorities in further implementing the UNESCO recommendations made during the October 2002 UNESCO mission. The mission found that the previously recommended "moratorium" had been respected, and that no major restoration or construction work had been carried out on the site. However, the mission noted some degradation, notably on the upper terrace where a terracotta plaque was almost detached from the wall, as well as a few inscriptions on the walls, a few bricks missing, and a sidewall collapsing. The mission recommended that a regular monitoring of the monument be maintained. The mission also recommended that in order to improve the protection of the monument, access to the upper terrace should be forbidden, in accordance with the second UNESCO mission's recommendation, as the current number of guardians is insufficient to adequately control visitor flow.

A first part of the inventory had been completed between October 2002 and February 2003 in which 870 terracotta plaques from three different store-rooms had been numbered, though with no photographic information. General improvements in storage are required after the training for terracotta plaque conservation has taken place. However, a large amount of fragmentary terracotta plaques currently lying on the floor of the custodian’s house, require urgent and proper storage and protection. On 6 March 2003, the authorities of Bangladesh submitted a project proposal for the organization of a workshop to elaborate archaeological research and a strategy for the Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur, to be funded under the France-UNESCO Convention.

On 30 March 2003, the authorities of Bangladesh submitted two International Assistance requests, one for Training Assistance and one for Technical Co-operation, which are in the process of reformulation. The two requests are presented in the working document for International Assistance, according to the request of the World Heritage Committee (26th session). 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2003
27 COM 12.7
Training in Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur. Conservation training and organization of a workshop to elaborate a management plan. 

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Decides to approveUS$ 35,000 from 2003 funds under the Technical Co-operation budget, the Training budget for cultural heritage being exhausted. Approval is subject to the request being reformulated with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to meet the priority needs of the property. The final reformulated workplan and budget breakdown will be approved by the Chairperson.

27 COM 7B.42
Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur (Bangladesh)

The World Heritage Committee [27],

1. Having examined the state of conservation of the property, the progress made by the national authorities since the previous session of the World Heritage Committee, the findings and recommendations of the two UNESCO missions in October 2002 and February 2003,;

2. Expressing its appreciation to the State Party for having submitted the International Assistance requests to the Committee to enhance conservation and management of the property,;

3. Encouraging the State Party, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to maintain efforts to plan and implement enhanced conservation of the property,;

4. Decides to defer inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger until the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2005, in light of the findings and recommendations of the UNESCO missions and to permit the State Party to undertake corrective measures to reverse the negative work undertaken on site;

5. Requests the World Heritage Centre, UNESCO Dhaka Office, the Regional Advisor for Culture in Asia and the Pacific and the Advisory Bodies to provide technical support to the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures;

6. Requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2004, a report on the progress made in implementing the corrective measures in order that the World Heritage Committee can examine the state of conservation of the property at its 28th session in 2004.

[27]  Decision adopted without discussion.

Draft Decision: 27 COM 7 (b) 42

The World Heritage Committee, 

1. Having examined the state of conservation of the property, the progress made by the national authorities since the previous session of the World Heritage Committee, the findings and recommendations of the two UNESCO missions in October 2002 and February 2003,

2. Expressing its appreciation to the State Party for having submitted the International Assistance requests to the Committee to enhance conservation and management of the property, 

3. Encouraging the State Party and the World Heritage Centre to maintain efforts to plan and implement enhanced conservation of the property,

4. Decides to defer inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger until the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee, in light of the findings and recommendations of the UNESCO missions and to permit the State Party to undertake corrective measures to reverse the negative work undertaken on site; 

5. Requests the World Heritage Centre, UNESCO Dhaka Office, the Regional Advisor for Culture in Asia and the Pacific and the Advisory Bodies to provide technical support to the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures,

6. Requests the State Party to provide by 1 February 2004, a report on the progress made in implementing the corrective measures for examination at the 28th session of the Committee. 

Report year: 2003
Bangladesh
Date of Inscription: 1985
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 27COM (2003)
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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