Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta (Pakistan) (C 143)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1981
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/143/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/143/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount granted: USD 30,000 from UNESCO Regular Programme Funds for condition survey of Jam Nizamuddin tomb (2011); USD 33,000 from Netherlands Funds-In-Trust: Emergency assessment and immediate response to damages caused by the floods (2012)
Previous monitoring missions
November-December 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; October 2010: World Heritage Centre fact-finding mission to the property following the major flood that devastated the area in August 2010; May 2012: Joint UNESCO/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2016: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Erosion and siltation/deposition; Other climate change impacts (Significant decay of the property caused by local climatic conditions and alluvial erosion)
- Earthquake (Stability of the foundations (earth mechanics) of the Jam Nizamuddin tomb)
- Management systems/ management plan (Lack of definition of boundaries of the property and buffer zone of the necropolis; Lack of a Comprehensive Master Plan and a management plan)
- Management activities (Lack of monitoring)
- Land conversion (Encroachment)
- Deliberate destruction of heritage (Vandalism, deteriorated monuments)
- Solid waste
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/143/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017
On 28 February 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/143/documents. This report details progress with the implementation of Committee Decision 40 COM 7B.44, as follows:
- Several urgent actions have been carried out, including provisions for regular litter removal, regular inspection of the site, as well as the stabilization of some original elements which were about to collapse;
- The Government of Sindh re-structured the Department of Archaeology and put together a new team for the property, composed of 27 staff members directed by a full-time archaeological conservator, with the assistance of four part-time professionals: an object conservator, an architect, a chemist and a civil engineer;
- A thorough cleaning of the property was undertaken and a team was established to work on the removal of vegetation and litter in each of the 4 zones. Much effort has been expended to remove graffiti;
- Four motorbikes were acquired to perform around-the-clock security checks and the main entrance to the property is staffed to block heavy vehicles. The remaining stretch of the barrier wall has not yet been completed, as it requires relocating numerous families living at the western edges of the property, which necessitates inter-ministerial co-operation with the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Interior. Once the barrier wall is complete, a survey will be undertaken to determine a new buffer zone and a minor boundary modification will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre;
- Three weather stations and crack monitors have been installed at the most fragile monuments, including at the Jam Nizzamudin Mausoleum, and a soil investigation has been undertaken on the surroundings of the Jam Nizamuddin Mausoleum. A procedure has been established to document original, displaced elements and a number of these elements have been collected and stored. Original, dangerously unstable elements have been stabilized in six monuments such as the tombs of Mirza Tughral Beg Turkhan, Meran Bai Tomb and the Lali Masjid;
- A provisional Management Plan has been developed in 2016-2017.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
Overall, it is noted that the Government of Sindh has made significant efforts to implement the Committee’s latest Decision and that the establishment of a documentation procedure is in progress. It is therefore recommended that the Committee commend the State Party for the noticeable improvements to the state of conservation of the property, in particular with regard to site management, and that it request the State Party to submit details of the inventory system and documentation of extant architectural surface decoration, notably the remaining glazed tiles, which constitutes an important part of the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).
While emergency conservation works were carried out for several monuments, it is regrettable that emergency works have yet to be initiated for the most important and endangered monuments, such as the Jamia Masjid and the Jam Nizzamuddin Mausoleum. The State Party’s cautious approach is understandable, but preparatory work, such as documenting the monuments’ condition, could already have been initiated. It is therefore recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to continue its work in this regard as a matter of urgency.
The efforts made by the Government of Sindh to deploy qualified staff and form a new team to manage and protect the property are welcome. However, there is still a need to enhance capacities, and it is therefore recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to provide further training opportunities for the new team, particularly for sustainable heritage conservation and management. It is also vital that the installation of monitoring devices such as crack monitors and weather stations be followed through with appropriate data recording and analysis leading to actual management responses.
It is unfortunate that encroachments on the property, including the ongoing problem of new burials, have not yet been addressed. This is crucial for the conservation of the property, and a mechanism should be established to deal with this issue urgently. In engaging with the local community about new burials and the relocation of dwellings currently found near the barrier wall at the western edges of the property, an educational and outreach component should be included to raise awareness of the property and its heritage values, and to ensure that community connections are maintained and that changes do not create further risk of vandalism or damage.
The elaboration of a Management Plan for the property was scheduled for the first quarter of 2017. However, at the time of writing this report, it has not yet been submitted to the World Heritage Centre. This work should be encouraged and must include measures to address conservation issues and encroachment along with the preparation of a regulatory plan for the buffer zone of the necropolis.
Although the OUV of the property remains under threat, particularly because of the perilous condition of a number of important monuments, in view of the positive approach of the State Party and the initiatives currently underway, it is recommended that the Committee postpone considering the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 43rd session in 2019, in the lack of any significant progress with the above. This will allow the State Party to continue its efforts towards improving the state of conservation of the property for another two years, in close co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies.
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.97
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.44 adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
- Expresses its appreciation for the significant efforts expended by the State Party to improve the state of conservation of the property by regularly removing litter, graffiti and vegetation from the property, hiring security guards, and documenting/storing displaced original architectural elements;
- Notes however that important requests made by the Committee are yet to be addressed or fully implemented, including the completion of the barrier wall, the encroachment of contemporary burials on the property, the stabilisation of important monuments, and the finalization of the Management Plan;
- Requests the State Party to:
- Submit, at its earliest convenience, details of the inventory system for displaced architectural elements and documentation on the remaining architectural surface decoration, and especially glazed tiles, which constitute an important part of the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property,
- Ensure that programmes to record and analyse data from weather stations and crack monitors are implemented and that the results contribute directly to the management and conservation of the property and its monuments,
- Finalize the Management Plan for the property, taking into account the findings and recommendations of the 2016 Reactive Monitoring mission, together with a regulatory plan for the buffer zone of the necropolis, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
- Urges the State Party to:
- Continue the stabilization of all elements in danger of collapse, in order of priority, particularly the Jamia Majid and the Jam Nizzamuddin Mausoleum and several other monuments groups, and produce the necessary preliminary assessments and studies, as requested by Decision 40 COM.7B.44,
- Determine the most appropriate way of accommodating new burials, notably by considering the allocation of an area outside of the property’s boundaries to this use, set up a mechanism for civilians to obtain burial authorisation, and ensure that the Management Plan acknowledges and addresses the living heritage values of the property and institutionalizes consultation with local communities,
- Consult with local communities regarding new burial arrangements and residential relocation and seek to incorporate programmes for education and outreach, making sure that changes do not create further risks of vandalism or damage,
- Establish clear standards and mechanisms for the continued supervision of all interventions carried out at the property, whether by the Sindh Government’s staff or by third parties, ensure that all regulations are followed and that proposals for works are submitted, reviewed, and approved before any work is undertaken on site,
- Develop a process for the prioritization of work and any related budgetary allocation to ensure that the most critical needs are met first. Priorities should be determined according to the significance and condition of the monuments, such that the most significant monuments in the worst condition are treated before those of lesser significance and/or in a less degraded state of conservation,
- For each major monument, create an extensive baseline photographic documentation that can be used to monitor visible structural changes (e.g. loss of material, cracks, discoloration and biological growth). All photographs should include size and colour scales for reference;
- Encourages the State Party to provide short- and mid-term training programmes for the staff of the Department of Archaeology, to hire experts whenever necessary, and to develop a detailed list of responsibilities and a schedule of activities for each member of staff;
- Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in the first half of 2018, in order to:
- Review the progress accomplished with the implementation of the decisions adopted by the Committee at its 40th and present sessions, as well as the recommendations made by the 2016 Reactive Monitoring mission, and in particular:
- the development of the Management Plan,
- the overall management of the property (e.g. litter collection, site security, contemporary burials encroachment),
- conservation works carried out on site,
- the mechanism established for physical interventions, including the prioritisation of interventions,
- the establishment of documentation/inventory and monitoring systems;
- Review the factors that constitute a threat to the property and consider whether there is still an ascertained or potential danger to the OUV of the property,
- Advise the State Party on the issues related to the boundaries and buffer zone of the property as well as the completion and implementation of the Management Plan;
- Further 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, with a view to considering, in the absence of substantial progress in the implementation of the above mentioned issues, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.