Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley

Afghanistan
Factors affecting the property in 2017*
  • Civil unrest
  • Commercial development
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Military training
  • Other Threats:

    Risk of collapse of the Giant Buddha niches; Irreversible deterioration of the mural paintings

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Looting, illicit traffic and illegal excavations of cultural heritage assets (issue resolved)
  • Military Training (Continued inappropriate use of certain heritage areas for military posts)
  • Anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordinances (i.e. munitions) (issue resolved)
  • Commercial development, Housing (Development pressure around the property and in the buffer zone)
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Others (Risk of collapse of the Giant Buddha niches; Irreversible deterioration of the mural paintings)
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Site security not ensured
  • Long-term stability of the Giant Buddha niches not ensured
  • State of conservation of archaeological remains and mural paintings not adequate
  • Management Plan and Cultural Master Plan (the protective zoning plan) not implemented
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1287

Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1287 

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1593 

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2017

Total amount granted: USD 7,170,807 (2003-2017) from the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust; USD 159,000 (2011-2012) from the UNESCO/Switzerland Funds-in-Trust; USD 900,000 (2013) from the UNESCO/Italy Funds-in-Trust

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2017
Requests approved: 1 (from 2002-2002)
Total amount approved : 30,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2017**

November 2010: World Heritage Centre/ICCROM Advisory mission; April 2011: UNESCO Kabul/ICOMOS Advisory mission; May/June 2014 ICOMOS technical Advisory mission; UNESCO expert missions in the context of the implementation of specific projects

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 9 April 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/documents and reports the followings:

  • Conservation: a condition assessment of the western Buddha niche was undertaken in 2016, providing an accurate picture on the rear wall of the niche on the basis of which a future conservation planning will be made. The work to complete the scaffolding has been ongoing and is supposed to be completed in 2017. The report further mentions some conservation work at Shahr-i Ghulghulah in 2015, and a conservation treatment plan was developed to address erosion problems at the site, where mud brick structures are gradually collapsing. The State Party hopes to continue conservation work at Shahr-i Ghulghulah in 2016 and 2017. No conservation work has been carried out at other component sites of the property;
  • Security: Eight on-site guards are deployed in each component of the property in order to control illegal access to the sites. Additionally, a team of police officers from the specialized unit for protection of cultural heritage has been deployed;
  • Management: A Bamiyan Expert Working Group meeting took place in December 2016 in Munich (Germany) to discuss, amongst others, the management of the property;
  • Cultural Master Plan: In the framework of the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust (FiT) project, the State Party and UNESCO jointly organized in October 2016 a community consultation workshop to assess the levels of integration between the Cultural Master Plan and the Governments’ City Master Plan. It is reported that the Cultural Master Plan has been an efficient tool to control urban growth in and around the components of the property (for example, two bazaars relocated from the city centre to adjacent valleys and a new housing project planned further out of the city centre). However, the report mentions some development projects close to heritage sites. Another workshop, organised as part of the FiT project, is planned in 2017 to provide further support and guidance to integrate the Cultural Master Plan into the City Master Plan;
  • The construction of the Bamiyan Cultural Centre, funded by the UNESCO/Republic of Korea FiT, was initiated in June 2016 and will provide a creative hub for Bamiyan’s vibrant cultural scene with a music room, viewing galleries and lecture theatres;
  • An International Symposium on the Future of the Buddha Statues is planned in Tokyo on 27–30 September 2017 within the UNESCO/Japan FiT project, in which experts will present proposals for physical and non-physical reconstruction and for the revitalisation of the eastern Buddha statues. The selected proposals will be sent to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for review and also for the examination of the 42nd session of the Committee in 2018.

Finally, the State Party stresses the need to revise the Cultural Master Plan developed in 2007 due to strong development pressures and to proceed with a boundary modification. Much of vernacular architecture, traditional land use, canal and irrigation systems that make up the cultural landscape of Bamiyan lie outside the present boundaries of the property, and are hence under increasing pressure for development and urban growth. Therefore, it would be crucial in the near future to include the values of the Cultural Landscape, to help the entire site face increasing development pressures, and to review the entire system (the Cultural Master Plan as a control mechanism, the legal management system and the boundaries of the properties).

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2017

The approval of the Phase V of UNESCO/Japan FiT project for the Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Valley, in August 2016, which allowed UNESCO and the Government of Afghanistan to resume the long-awaited conservation activities at the Western Buddha niche, is most welcome.

On the other hand, there remain concerns over the other seven component sites that form the property, which are gradually collapsing, as no emergency conservation work have been carried out, except for Shahr-i Ghulghulah, where emergency conservation works were carried out in 20015-2016 thanks to a UNESCO/Italy FiT project. According to the State Party’s report, there is still no budget allocated to carry out minimum emergency conservation work at these sites, which could at least prevent the further collapse of the remaining structures. In light of this, it should be recalled that, in accordance with Article 4 of the Convention, the duty of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage lies primarily with the State Party. So far, all the conservation works and efforts have been covered by various UNESCO FiT projects and other bilateral projects, and it should be underlined that it is high time that the State Party allocate minimum funding to the property, in particular for those sites where international funds are available to carry out the necessary conservation work, and without which these sites would certainly disappear, resulting in the loss of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.

The resuming of the Bamiyan Expert Working Group meeting, organized via the UNESCO/Japan FiT project, is also welcomed. It is however recommended that the Committee draw the attention of the State Party to the fact that this mechanism is meant as a means of helping coordination between different international experts/institutions which intervene through different activities related to the conservation of the property, and are not meant to function as a mechanism for the management of the property. Hence, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide detailed information on the implementation of the Management Plan and how it is integrated into the Bamiyan City Master Plan.

The efficient role played by the Cultural Master Plan, established in 2007 in interaction with the Bamiyan City Master Plan, is duly noted. So far, it seems that this mechanism has been able to control strong development pressures in and around the property. However, the concerns of the State Party concerning the increasing development pressure should be noted, along with the State Party’s wish to revise the Cultural Master Plan and to modify the boundaries of the property in order to fully reflect the value of the cultural landscape.

Concerning the Bamiyan Cultural Centre and Museum, the State Party did not follow the Committee’s request at previous sessions (see Decision 38 COM 7A.15 and 39 COM 7A.39) to submit detailed information, including a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), for any major planned development within or nearby the property as well as proposed visitor’s facilities, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies before any irreversible decision is taken. It is therefore recommended that the Committee regret that no information on the HIA of the Cultural Centre and Museum in Bamiyan was submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, which goes against Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

As no progress on a capacity-building programme has been reported, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its encouragement to the State Party to elaborate and implement, with the support of international donors, a capacity-building programme to strengthen local and national capacities with regard to heritage conservation and management, including the development of the local communities’ capacity to contribute to the safeguarding the property.

Finally, the importance of the forthcoming International Symposium on ‘The Future of the Bamiyan Buddha Statues’, which is to take place in Tokyo in September 2017, is acknowledged and details of the outcomes of the Symposium should be provided to the World Heritage Centre.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2017
41 COM 7A.54
Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) (C 208 rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.26, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Welcomes the approval of Phase V of the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust (FiT) project for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan Buddha Niches in 2016, which allowed to resume various long-awaited conservation activities at the Western Buddha niche and the organization of the Bamiyan Expert Working Group meeting in December 2016;
  4. Expresses its concerns over the state of conservation of the other components of the property, which have seriously deteriorated and are in imminent danger of collapse, except the site of Shahr-i Ghulghulah where emergency activities were carried out in 2015-2016 along with other conservation activities, and urges the State Party to allocate a minimum amount of funding for those components which have not received any international funds, as these might otherwise crumble beyond repair and thereby cause the loss of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  5. Calls upon the international community to provide technical and financial support not only to the Bamiyan Valley, but also to other components of this serial property, such as Shahr-i-Zohak, Kakrak and Shahr-i Ghulghulah, in order to help the State Party attain the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) adopted by the Committee in 2007;
  6. Notes that the Cultural Master Plan, along with the City Master Plan, have been functioning efficiently to control increasing development pressures in and around the property, and also urges the State Party to continue vigilantly implementing this protection framework;
  7. Acknowledges the State Party’s intention to revise the Cultural Master Plan in order to better respond to the increasing development pressures, and expresses its full support for the State Party’s proposal to revise the boundaries of the property in order to fully reflect the values of the cultural landscape;
  8. Deeply regrets that irreversible decisions concerning the Cultural Centre and Museum in Bamiyan were taken without informing the Committee, which goes against Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and that construction has progressed without submission of detailed information, including a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) to the World Heritage Centre for review by Advisory Bodies;
  9. Also notes that, in the framework of the UNESCO/Japan FiT project, an international symposium is to be organized in September 2017 to discuss the long-term conservation of the Buddha niches, taking into account the wish of the State Party to partially reconstruct at least one of these niches, and that the meeting will also discuss proposals for partial reconstruction, and requests the State Party to submit the outcomes of the symposium, as well as any selected proposals or options, for review by the Advisory Bodies and consideration by the World Heritage Committee;
  10. Also welcomes the deployment of on-site guards to each component of the property, in addition to the police officers deployed by the Ministry of Interior, who together can effectively stop any illicit trafficking of cultural property and increase the sites’ security;
  11. Further urges the State Party to review, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, the timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures and to submit this revised timeframe to the World Heritage Centre, for examination by the Committee;
  12. Reiterates its encouragement to the State Party to elaborate and implement, with the support of international donors, a capacity-building programme to strengthen local and national capacities with regard to heritage conservation and management, including the development of the local communities’ capacity to contribute to the safeguarding the property;
  13. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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;
  14. Decides to retain Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
41 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/17/41.COM/7A, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add and WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
    • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 41 COM 7A.54)
    • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 41 COM 7A.55)
    • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 41 COM 7A.2)
    • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 41 COM 7A.23)
    • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.4)
    • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 41 COM 7A.24)
    • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.6)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.7)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.8)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.9)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.10)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.11)
    • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 41 COM 7A.32)
    • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.3)
    • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.18)
    • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 41 COM 7A.33)
    • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.34)
    • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 41 COM 7A.35)
    • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 41 COM 7A.36)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 41 COM 7A.37)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 41 COM 7A.38)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 41 COM 7A.39)
    • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 41 COM 7A.40)
    • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 41 COM 7A.41)
    • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 41 COM 7A.14)
    • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 41 COM 7A.28)
    • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 41 COM 7A.29)
    • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 41 COM 7A.30)
    • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 41 COM 7A.56)
    • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 41 COM 7A.15)
    • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 41 COM 7A.42)
    • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 41 COM 7A.43)
    • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 41 COM 7A.25)
    • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 41 COM 7A.26)
    • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.16)
    • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 41 COM 7A.21)
    • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 41 COM 7A.19)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 41 COM 7A.44)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 41 COM 7A.45)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 41 COM 7A.46)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 41 COM 7A.47)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 41 COM 7A.48)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 41 COM 7A.49)
    • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 41 COM 7A.31)
    • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 41 COM 7A.22)
    • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.17)
    • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.1)
    • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 41 COM 7A.57)
    • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 41 COM 7A.27)
    • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 41 COM 7A.51)
    • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 41 COM 7A.52)
    • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 41 COM 7A.53)
      Draft Decision: 41 COM 7A.54

      The World Heritage Committee,

      1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
      2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.26, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
      3. Welcomes the approval of Phase V of the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust (FiT) project for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan Buddha Niches in 2016, which allowed to resume various long-awaited conservation activities at the Western Buddha niche and the organization of the Bamiyan Expert Working Group meeting in December 2016;
      4. Expresses its concerns over the state of conservation of the other components of the property, which have seriously deteriorated and are in imminent danger of collapse, except the site of Shahr-i Ghulghulah where emergency activities were carried out in 2015-2016 along with other conservation activities, and urges the State Party to allocate a minimum amount of funding for those components which have not received any international funds, as these might otherwise crumble beyond repair and thereby cause the loss of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
      5. Calls upon the international community to provide technical and financial support not only to the Bamiyan Valley, but also to other components of this serial property, such as Shahr-i-Zohak, Kakrak and Shahr-i Ghulghulah, in order to help the State Party attain the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) adopted by the Committee in 2007;
      6. Notes that the Cultural Master Plan, along with the City Master Plan, have been functioning efficiently to control increasing development pressures in and around the property, and also urges the State Party to continue vigilantly implementing this protection framework;
      7. Acknowledges the State Party’s intention to revise the Cultural Master Plan in order to better respond to the increasing development pressures, and expresses its full support for the State Party’s proposal to revise the boundaries of the property in order to fully reflect the values of the cultural landscape;
      8. Deeply regrets that irreversible decisions concerning the Cultural Centre and Museum in Bamiyan were taken without informing the Committee, which goes against Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and that construction has progressed without submission of detailed information, including a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) to the World Heritage Centre for review by Advisory Bodies;
      9. Also notes that, in the framework of the UNESCO/Japan FiT project, an international symposium is to be organized in September 2017 to discuss the long-term conservation of the Buddha niches, taking into account the wish of the State Party to partially reconstruct at least one of these niches, and that the meeting will also discuss proposals for partial reconstruction, and requests the State Party to submit the outcomes of the symposium, as well as any selected proposals or options, for review by the Advisory Bodies and consideration by the World Heritage Committee;
      10. Also welcomes the deployment of on-site guards to each component of the property, in addition to the police officers deployed by the Ministry of Interior, who together can effectively stop any illicit trafficking of cultural property and increase the sites’ security;
      11. Further urges the State Party to review, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, the timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures and to submit this revised timeframe to the World Heritage Centre, for examination by the Committee;
      12. Reiterates its encouragement to the State Party to elaborate and implement, with the support of international donors, a capacity-building programme to strengthen local and national capacities with regard to heritage conservation and management, including the development of the local communities’ capacity to contribute to the safeguarding the property;
      13. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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;
      14. Decides to retain Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
      Report year: 2017
      Afghanistan
      Date of Inscription: 2003
      Category: Cultural
      Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)
      Danger List (dates): 2003-present
      Documents examined by the Committee
      SOC Report by the State Party
      Report (2017) .pdf
      arrow_circle_right 41COM (2017)
      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.


      top