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Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha

Nepal
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Air pollution
  • Housing
  • Industrial areas
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Legal framework
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Management Systems/Management Plan
  • Impact of the new structure of the Maya Devi Temple (constructed in 2002) on the archaeological remains, as well as on the visual integrity
  • Commercial Development, Interpretive and Visitation Facilities & Industrial Areas
  • Air pollution
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2016

Total amount provided: USD 1,677,936 from the Japanese Funds-in-Trust for 2009 – 2017; 21,776 Euro and USD 70,000 from Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance from 2008 - 2015; and USD 7,200 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust in 2006.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 3 (from 2000-2007)
Total amount approved : 70,000 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 1 December 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at the following address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/666/documents/, responding to the requests of the World Heritage Committee as follows:

  • The Integrated Management framework document has been finalized but has not yet been approved by the Government. Therefore, no implementation has commenced. The State Party reports that no development work has been carried out that would impact the potential archaeological remains within the property. However, the following developments have been carried out within the property: a pedestrian walkway with meditation platforms; additional meditation platforms; and the planning of a Pipal tree (Bodhi Tree).  Within the buffer Zone, the following works were undertaken: drainage work; an outer pedestrian walkway; and the paving of a walkway along main axis from the north;
  • The project document for the proposal for development of the Lumbini World Peace City has been finalized and awaits approval and implementation by the Government. A summary report of the Master Vision Plan for the Lumbini World Peace City has been provided;
  • The strategy for the protection of the Greater Lumbini Area and its setting, including but not limited to Tilaurakot and Ramagrama is being developed. Under the UNESCO /Japan Funds-In-Trust project Phase II, the team has carried out a GPS survey in Kapilvastu district following the survey done by a Nepali/Italian joint archaeological team in 1994. The team has identified 120 archaeological sites in Kapilvastu district. An Archaeological Risk Map has also been prepared;
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The finalization of the Integrated Management framework document is noted, but it is regrettable that it remains to be approved by the Government, despite the repeated request by the Committee. Furthermore, it is reported that certain activities have been carried out within the property and the buffer zone, but there is no evidence provided as to whether these activities were part of the Management Plan or whether systematic impact assessments have been carried out before implementation. Some of the activities carried out are aimed at facilitating pilgrims and for religious reasons, but the report should have made it clear that they were part of the Management Plan (except the planting of the Bodhi tree). There is also no evidence that the activities carried out have followed the archaeological risk map, which has identified the areas with no archaeological remains.

The ongoing research to better understand the property and its related sites and larger setting is noted, as is the programme to utilize the property to propagate the message of world peace through the Lumbini World Peace City. However, as explained in the report, this is a mega-development project, which will have an immense impact on the World Heritage property, focal point for the project.  The report makes no reference to the status of Lumbini as a World Heritage property, although this fact must be made a central feature of the overall development proposal, in order for it to be implemented without any adverse impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). Considering the scale of the proposal, the fragile nature of the property and its use as a place of pilgrimage for over two thousand years, there are concerns that the mega-project Lumbini World Peace City may have an adverse impact on the OUV of the property, if the latter is not taken into consideration at the outset. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to carry out, as a matter of priority, Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), with a specific section focusing on the potential impact of the project on the OUV, and to provide details of the project and the HIAs to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to the approval of the project.

UNESCO continues to receive third-party information expressing concern for the property over the environmental quality and industrial development at Lumbini. In light of the potential impact of development and environmental degradation, it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to develop a strategy for the protection of the larger Greater Lumbini Area and its setting, including but not limited to Tilaurakot and Ramagrama, and to further reduce industrial activity in the vicinity of the property.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7B.42
Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha (Nepal) (C 666rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.18, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Notes the progress made in finalizing the Integrated Management framework document, but regrets the delay in its adoption;
  4. Also notes that development activities have been undertaken before the adoption of the management plan and without conducting Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs);
  5. Urges the State Party to adopt and implement the Integrated Management framework document as a matter of priority, and to carry out HIAs, with a specific section focusing on the potential impact of the project on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), in conformity with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for World Heritage Cultural Properties, for the proposed projects, before undertaking any new work within the property or in the adjacent areas identified as having potential archaeological significance;
  6. Takes note of the State Party’ strategy with the international community to utilize the property to develop a Lumbini World Peace City, but expresses its concern with the project’s potential impact on the property and its current use and therefore, requests the State Party to provide details on the proposed project and to carry out a HIA, with a specific section focusing on its potential impact on the OUV of the property, in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for World Heritage Cultural Properties, before the project proposal is approved;
  7. Encourages the State Party to develop a strategy for the protection of the larger Greater Lumbini Area and its wider setting, including but not limited to Tilaurakot and Ramagrama, and to further reduce industrial activity in the vicinity of the property;
  8. Also 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.
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7B.42

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.18, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Notes the progress made in finalizing the Integrated Management framework document, but regrets the delay in its adoption;
  4. Also notes that development activities have been undertaken before the adoption of the management plan and without conducting Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs);
  5. Urges the State Party to adopt and implement the Integrated Management framework document as a matter of priority, and to carry out HIAs, with a specific section focusing on the potential impact of the project on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), in conformity with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for World Heritage Cultural Properties, for the proposed projects, before undertaking any new work within the property or in the adjacent areas identified as having potential archaeological significance;
  6. Takes note of the State Party’ strategy with the international community to utilize the property to develop a Lumbini World Peace City, but expresses its concern with the project’s potential impact on the property and its current use and therefore, requests the State Party to provide details on the proposed project and to carry out a HIA, with a specific section focusing on its potential impact on the OUV of the property, in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for World Heritage Cultural Properties, before the project proposal is approved;
  7. Encourages the State Party to develop a strategy for the protection of the larger Greater Lumbini Area and its wider setting, including but not limited to Tilaurakot and Ramagrama, and to further reduce industrial activity in the vicinity of the property;
  8. Also 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.
Report year: 2016
Nepal
Date of Inscription: 1997
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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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