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Kathmandu Valley

Nepal
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Air transport infrastructure
  • Earthquake
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Natural disaster (severe earthquake of 25 April 2015)
  • Uncontrolled urban development resulting in the loss of traditional urban fabric, in particular privately-owned houses
  • Lack of coordinated management mechanism
  • Construction of forest road ; project for tunnel road in Pashupati Monument Zone Project for the extension of the Kathmandu International Airport
  • New development projects, in particular the crematorium in Pashupati Monument Zone and the reconstruction of Bhaidegah Temple
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2015

Total amount granted: USD 10 million (1979-2001) from the International Safeguarding Campaign; USD 45,000 (2005) and USD 20,000 (2011) from Netherlands Funds-in-Trust. 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 16 (from 1979-2015)
Total amount approved : 417,619 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**

February 2003: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; April 2007: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; March 2011: UNESCO international expert advisory mission; November 2011: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 25 April 2015, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck middle Nepal, 80 kilometer northwest of Kathmandu. The earthquake and the aftermath resulted in disastrous loss of human life and extensive and irreversible damage to the historic monuments and buildings of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage property. According to initial assessments carried out by UNESCO and its partners on the ground, the monuments and sites within the property have suffered extensive damages, as well as other cultural and natural heritage sites located in the area. In particular, major damages have been reported in the Durbar Squares of Patan, Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu) and Bhaktapur. All historical structures within the seven monuments zones of the property were affected. 

On 25 January 2015, in response to Decision 37 COM 7B.65, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/121/documents.  However, the contents of this report will have to be assessed in the new context and therefore, are not presented in this report.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

The devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015 resulted in huge loss of human life and extensive damage to the historic monuments and buildings of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage property. Initial assessments conducted jointly by UNESCO and the Department of Archaeology, Nepal, recorded damages caused by the earthquake to the property. In particular, the historical structures of the Durbar Squares of Patan, Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu) and Bhaktapur are almost completely destroyed. The temples in all seven monument zones of the property have been severely affected and many of them have collapsed completely. It is therefore recommended that the Committee express its condolences to the States Parties of Nepal, India, China, Bangladesh and Pakistan for the tragic loss of life and damage to the property following this disastrous earthquake.

Considering the extensive damage of the earthquake to the property which represents both ascertained and potential danger, in accordance with paragraphs 177 to 179 of the Operational Guidelines, it is further recommended that the Committee inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Committee may also request the State Party, in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop and implement an Emergency Action Plan to address threats and to define both the corrective measures and the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) as soon as possible, and call upon the international community to assist the State Party of Nepal in its efforts to protect, conserve and rebuild the monuments after this disaster.

A first mission is already being planned with the participation from UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOMOS-ICORP, ICOM, and the Smithsonian Institution.  This mission is at the invitation of the Department of Archaeology of Nepal. It is scheduled to take place in the next few weeks, to be followed by an emergency field training for Nepali professionals to take place in June 2015. An update of this report may be presented to the Committee at the time of its 39th session in Bonn.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7B.69
Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) (C121bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.65, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Expresses its profound sympathy and deepest condolences to the State Party of Nepal for the tragic loss of life and damage caused to the property, following the devastating earthquake of 25 April 2015;
  4. Takes note of the information provided by the State Party, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies concerning the actions undertaken in response to the devastating earthquake and acknowledges the efforts made by the Department of Archaeology of Nepal to ensure the safeguarding of the property in spite of the difficulties being experienced;
  5. Considers that the extensive damage of the earthquake to the property represents both ascertained and potential danger, in accordance with paragraphs 177 to 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission at an appropriate time, and by 1 December 2015, to consider the state of conservation of the property and the further development of the emergency action plan;
  7. Calls upon the international community to provide financial and technical support to the State Party of Nepal in protecting, conserving and restoring the World Heritage property of Kathmandu Valley following the earthquake;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7B.69

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.65, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Expresses its profound sympathy and deepest condolences to the State Party of Nepal for the tragic loss of life and damage caused to the property, following the devastating earthquake of 25 April 2015;
  4. Considers that the extensive damage of the earthquake to the property represents both ascertained and potential danger, in accordance with paragraphs 177 to 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  5. Decides to inscribe the Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  6. Requests the State Party, in close co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop and implement an Emergency Action Plan to address threats, to establish corrective measures and to develop a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) as soon as possible, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  7. Calls upon the international community to provide financial and technical support to the State Party of Nepal in protecting, conserving and restoring the World Heritage property of Kathmandu Valley following the earthquake;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.


REVISED DECISION SUBMITTED ON 29/06/2015 BY THE WORLD HERITAGE CENTRE, ICOMOS AND ICCROM

Draft Decision: 39 COM 7B.69 Rev

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.65, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Expresses its profound sympathy and deepest condolences to the State Party of Nepal for the tragic loss of life and damage caused to the property, following the devastating earthquake of 25 April 2015;
  4. Takes note of the information provided by the State Party, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies concerning the actions undertaken in response to the devastating earthquake and acknowledges the efforts made by the Department of Archaeology of Nepal to ensure the safeguarding of the property in spite of the difficulties being experienced;
  5. Considers that the extensive damage of the earthquake to the property represents both ascertained and potential danger, in accordance with paragraphs 177 to 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Decides to inscribe the Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  7. Requests the State Party, in close co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop and implement an Emergency Action Plan to address threats, to establish corrective measures and to develop a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) as soon as possible, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  8. Calls upon the international community to provide financial and technical support to the State Party of Nepal in protecting, conserving and restoring the World Heritage property of Kathmandu Valley following the earthquake;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.
Report year: 2015
Nepal
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2003-2007
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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