1.         Trang An Landscape Complex (Viet Nam) (C/N 1438bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2014

Criteria  (v)(vii)(viii)

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/1438/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1438/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

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/1438/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

From 7 to 11 September 2015, Ninh Binh Provincial People’s Committee hosted an international workshop on the revised management plan of the property, which was attended by representatives from ICOMOS and IUCN. On 1 December 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1438/documents/ and reports on the following:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies

The progress made by the State Party in addressing the concerns raised by the Committee regarding the boundaries of the property is welcomed.

The revised Management Plan notes that overcrowding on some days is already a concern, yet it projects an increase from one million visits to two million by 2020. The Trang An Management Board (TAMB) expresses confidence that it can manage a cited peak of around 25,000 visits without undesirable environmental and social impacts, but the property is already experiencing this level of visitation so if visits do double by 2020 then 50,000 visits in a single day is possible. While the plan prescribes surveys to identify impacts of overcrowding and imposes controls “as required”, it does not identify potential problems and also does not elaborate a strategy to prevent overcrowding. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure measures are in place to limit overcrowding and its impacts, such as a clearly justified maximum daily quota on visitor numbers, and an assessment of the facilities required to adequately service the anticipated increase in visitation.

Following the September 2015 workshop, IUCN noted with concern that the draft Plan proposed to encourage rock-climbing, which would result in an increased risk of impacts on the OUV of the property. The Plan submitted by the State Party in December 2015 notes, on page 77, that climbing is considered inappropriate in the property but, on page 48, it states that the main festival held at Tran temple every year ends with mountain climbing. It is therefore recommended that the Committee express its concern over the potential impacts of rock and/or mountain climbing on the OUV of the property, and that it request the State Party to place a ban on climbing in sensitive areas and to prepare a detailed Plan. This Plan shall clearly define the additional recreational activities which are to be encouraged, where they will be permitted, what facilities will be provided; and it shall also identify the potential impacts on OUV and how these will be addressed.

In addition, it is noted with concern that the Management Plan refers to a new urban university area in Bai Dinh, which would result in a population growth of 20,000 people in the buffer zone by 2030. It is recommended that Committee request the State Party to provide further information on these plans , and to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment  for development of the buffer zone, taking into account potential impacts on the OUV of the property in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment and to carry out Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties for the proposed projects, prior to allowing any such development to take place. 

As the Plan notes that archaeological sites will become better-known among the public, and as tourist numbers increase, the management of these sites will become of greater concern. Therefore, the Management Plan should be further revised to include detailed information on which specific actions will be conducted, in terms of staff training, and long-term planning, and much more detail needs to be included as to how the archaeological heritage is to be catalogued, condition-surveyed, monitored and protected through conservation measures, including the method by which the Management Board legally acquires, archives and stores archaeological artefacts, in order to ensure their adequate conservation.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.67

The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 8B.14 adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Warmly welcomes the progress made by the State Party in addressing the concerns raised by the Committee regarding the boundaries of the property, as well as the State Party’s initiative to host an international workshop on the revised management plan of the property, which was attended by representatives from ICOMOS and IUCN;
  4. Acknowledges the cooperative agreement signed with two United Kingdom-based universities for a comprehensive 5-year programme (2015 to 2020) of archaeological and palaeo-environmental research;
  5. Notes with significant concern that the State Party has not included adequate measures in the revised management plan concerning the management of tourism and cultural heritage, and requests the State Party to:
    1. Ensure measures are in place to limit overcrowding, including the establishment of a clearly justified maximum daily quota for peak and normal visitation days,
    2. Include sections concerning the archaeological heritage, which clearly detail the actions to be undertaken, in terms of staff training, conservation/restoration methods, and long-term planning,
    3. Develop the skills of the management body to successfully plan the management of the archaeological heritage at the property,
    4. Establish a system for the cataloguing, condition-surveying, monitoring and protection of archaeological heritage through conservation measures, in order to adequately conserve archaeological artefacts;
  6. Also requests the State Party to undertake an assessment of the facilities and services required to adequately service the anticipated increase in visitation from one to two million visitors, including the extrapolated festival-day peaks of up to 50,000;
  7. Further requests the State Party to clarify whether or not any additional recreational activities are to be encouraged, where they will be permitted, what facilities will be provided and identify the potential impacts on OUV and how they will be addressed;
  8. Also notes with concern that the revised Management Plan refers to a new urban university area in Bai Dinh, which would result in a population growth of 20,000 people within the buffer zone by 2030, and requests furthermore the State Party to:
    1. Submit, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, detailed information on any proposed development projects within the property, its buffer zone and setting for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies prior to any decisions being taken that could be difficult to reverse,
    2. Undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment for development of the buffer zone, taking into account potential impacts on the OUV of the property in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment and a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties for the proposed projects, prior to allowing any such development to take place;
  9. Requests moreover 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.36

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/16/40.COM/8B.Add, WHC/16/40.COM/INF.8B1.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/INF.8B2.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 8B.14 adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Approves the proposed minor boundary modification of Trang An Landscape Complex, Viet Nam;
  4. Requests the State Party to ensure that any developments in the property, its buffer zone, or in any adjacent areas that might threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, are subject to early notice to the World Heritage Centre, as per the requirements of the Operational Guidelines, and in line with the newly adopted Policy Document for the Integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective into the Processes of the World Heritage Convention;
  5. Recommends that the State Party finalise the Management Plan and strengthen the management system;
  6. Notes with appreciation the progress in enhancing the management of the property, including the further work to complete the management plan, and encourages the State Party and its property managers to continue this work, in close partnership with the local communities.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 8B.50

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/8B.Add,
  2. Adopts the following Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for the following World Heritage properties inscribed at the 38th (Doha, 2014) and the 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions: