1.         The Grand Canal (China) (C 1443bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2014

Criteria  (i)(iii)(iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1443/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1999-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 20,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1443/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Threats identified at the time of inscription of the property:

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1443/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

The State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property on 18 November 2015, and a summary is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1443/documents.

The State Party recalls that the very large size of the property (31 different sites, more than 1,000 km in length of the inscribed canal), its complex history, (more than 2,000 years of hydraulic, archaeological, architectural and urban history) its living character, (transport of extremely heavy tonnage) its function as a waterway transport system from central-eastern China to the north, high tourist traffic in some areas), and its present environment, (all types of environment: rural, natural, urban, suburban and industrial) make it a very complex property to manage and conserve. The organizational and methodological efforts carried out to improve the protection and conservation of the Grand Canal and its surroundings must be considered in this overall perspective and take into account the different levels of intervention (local, regional, national).

The management of the conservation of the Grand Canal is experiencing a series of issues which the State Party is responding to:

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

In respect of the management system in place at the time of inscription of the property, and taking into account the recommendations contained in Decision 38 COM 8B.23 (Doha, 2014), it must be noted that the State Party has specifically oriented its action as follows:

The important efforts made by the State Party correspond closely to the recommendations contained in Decision 38 COM 8B.23 and have resulted in the improvement of the management of the property, its environment and monitoring. Therefore, it is recommended that the State Party be encouraged to continue its efforts and strengthen them in some sensitive areas such as landscape conservation in general and in urban areas in particular, water quality and the coordination of tourism development.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.33

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 8B.23 adopted by the Committee at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Notes the efforts made by the State Party in the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee, and requests the State Party to:
    1. Continue its reflection and work for the protection of the surroundings of the Grand Canal to guarantee the sustainable maintenance of the attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and specifically:
      1. study whether an adjustment will be required to the buffer zones in the sectors of the property which are not affected by the request for a minor boundary modification under examination at the present session,
      2. confirm that the regulatory standards in force for constructions apply to all the buffer zones and are effectively taken into consideration by the municipal development plans,
      3. further develop the concept of a “visual corridor”, for example by defining priority cones of vision and protecting them, if necessary, from the negative impact of new buildings,
    2. Continue the identification work concerning the historical and archaeological signification of constitutive elements of the property,
    3. Inform the Committee of the effective functioning and results of the different components of the property, in particular:
      1. the monitoring system for the Grand Canal that has recently been established,
      2. the maintenance and improvement policy for water quality in the different sectors of the property,
      3. conservation and policy programmes for the traditional villages and urban zones of a historic character alongside the Grand Canal,
      4. tourism development and coordination programmes,
      5. training programmes and activities aimed at strengthening the capacities of staff concerned with the conservation, valorisation and promotion of the property;
  4. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 8B.38

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/16/40.COM/8B.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/INF.8B1.Add,
  2. Approves the proposed modification of the buffer zones of six component parts of The Grand Canal, China;
  3. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
    1. considering whether or not the other component parts forming the Grand Canal serial property necessitate buffer zone adjustments,
    2. continuing environmental and landscape conservancy efforts, for example by defining prioritised vision cones for the properties and protecting them from the impact of new buildings.