Historic City of Ayutthaya (Thailand) (C 576)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1991
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/576/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/576/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount granted: USD 26,549 (2016) from the Netherlands Funds-in-Trust
Previous monitoring missions
April/May 2014: ICOMOS Advisory mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Deterioration due to time
- Flooding (Impact of the 2011 heavy floods on the mural paintings)
- Management activities (Extensive interventions lacking in skill and documentation)
- Management systems/Management Plan (Lack of a comprehensive plan for conservation and utilization)
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/576/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017
On 30 November 2016, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/576/documents and provides the following information in relation to issues previously noted by the Committee:
- Training programmes: Two short-term training activities were held to provide technical assistance for restoration with traditional techniques and materials. In addition, a new training curriculum has been developed, in keeping with research on the situation of local craftspeople and stakeholders and on traditional building materials. A long-term capacity-building programme will be carried out on an annual basis to ensure that adequate human resources and capacities are available to appropriately carry out restoration works at the property and at other national heritage sites;
- The draft Master Plan for Conservation and Development for the Historic City of Ayutthaya was revised in 2016 and will be implemented after approval by the Cabinet in 2017. It has an implementation cycle of ten years, with eight Action Plans addressing notably questions of legal land use, archaeological and historical research and conservation, controlled development of infrastructure, community management for sustainable development, prevention of disasters and risk management;
- The International Symposium on the Conservation of Brick Monuments at World Heritage Sites, held in October 2016, involved more than 200 participants, including experts from outside Thailand, officials from national and local authorities and other stakeholders, and led to the consideration of a contextualized approach to the conservation and management of the property;
- New construction within the property: The Fine Arts Department (FAD), in consultation with a technical advisory committee, has rejected a proposal for new water drainage gate within the property, adjacent to the Ancient Palace, and revised two new construction projects located within the property in 2015 and 2016 (one for the university, the other for a hospital). In addition, the FAD is currently drafting an announcement concerning the buildings within the property to regulate issues previously not covered;
- Restoration projects: The report provides detailed information on post-flood interventions undertaken from 2012 to present and foreseen for 2017. The FAD has implemented conservation and restoration works for 16 temples within the property and included details on several other projects according to the recommendations of the ICOMOS Advisory mission.
The World Heritage Centre received media reports that a fire occurred within property, destroying one traditional building on 16 April 2017. At the time of writing this report, the World Heritage Centre is verifying this information with the State Party.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
The efforts undertaken by the State Party to address training needs and to improve skills and techniques in conservation are noted. The training activities carried out so far have considerably improved the capacities of FAD officials and local craftspeople. Moreover, the State Party developed a new curriculum, based on scientific analyses accumulated over 20 years, to upgrade the understanding and technical capacities of local craftspeople. This new curriculum has been designed to enable participants to share the knowledge they acquired during the lessons. These efforts, which enhance the quality of conservation, are highly welcome. The conservation project on stuccoes and plasters, carried out with the support of the German government, and the conservation and training activities for Wat Chaiwatthanaram, organized with support of the World Monuments Fund, are also acknowledged.
Progress has been made with the Master Plan for Conservation and Development of Historic City of Ayutthaya, drafted using a multidisciplinary approach. It tackles problems, which stood in the way of the implementation of the earlier Master Plan, combining local development with community-related cultural heritage conservation, to revive this prime cultural destination. Suggestions provided during the International Symposium contributed to updating the conservation philosophy for brick monuments and were taken into account for the revision of the Master Plan. However, the State Party did not provide detailed information on the comprehensive plan for conservation and utilization, as requested by the Committee in its previous decision. In addition, in view of the recent fire incident at the property, it is recommended that the State Party carry out an assessment study of the vulnerability of the property against disasters and develop a systematic strategy for disaster risk reduction and integrate it into the Master Plan.
It is further noted with appreciation that the State Party has been eager to protect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property by restricting developments within the property. However, based on the information provided in the report, it was not possible to conclude whether the two construction projects revised by the State Party had been subject to Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs). It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide further information on the projects to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and to ensure that there are no negative impacts on the OUV of the property. It is also recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to take all necessary steps to finalize the announcement restricting buildings within the property to appropriately protect its OUV, and submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies and revise the document according to their feedback prior to its adoption.
Finally, it is noted that the State Party will commence the recovery project for the extensive interventions at the property after a pilot training activity foreseen in 2017 under the revised Master Plan. The conditions of upcoming interventions need to be updated accordingly.
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.98
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.71, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
- Welcomes the efforts made by the State Party to improve the capacities of local craftspeople who undertake conservation activities via a training curriculum based on scientific conservation principles and the use of traditional material and skills;
- Notes with satisfaction the information provided by the State Party on the organization of the international symposium on brick monuments and on the revision of the Master Plan for Conservation and Development, and reiterates its request to the State Party to continue its efforts towards developing a comprehensive plan for conservation and utilization, as requested in Decision 39 COM 7B.71, with the assistance of experts and specialists from different disciplines;
- Recommends that the State Party carry out an assessment study of the vulnerability of the property against disasters, develop a systematic strategy for disaster risk reduction and integrate it into the Master Plan;
- Also notes with appreciation that the State Party has been eager to protect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property by controlling development within the property and by preparing an announcement on additional regulations;
- Requests the State Party to provide further information on the revised construction projects for the university and the hospital to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and to ensure that there are no negative impacts on the OUV of the property, and encourages the State Party to take all necessary steps to finalize the announcement restricting buildings within the property, submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, and revise the document according to their feedback prior to its adoption;
- Invites the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with updates on the progress achieved with the approval and implementation of the Master Plan for Conservation and Development, including the restoration projects and post-flood interventions at the property;
- Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 43rd session in 2019.