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Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha

Nepal
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Air pollution
  • Commercial development
  • Housing
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Legal framework
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Management Systems/Management Plan
  • Management activities
  • Legal framework
  • Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses
  • Commercial Development (Impact of the new structure of the Maya Devi Temple constructed in 2002 on the archaeological remains and the main sight lines of the property)
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Air pollution
  • Housing
  • Industrial areas
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

Total amount provided: USD 1,677,936 from the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust for 2009–2017; 34,376 EUR and USD 90,000 from the Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance from 2008 to 2018; and USD 7,200 from the UNESCO/Italy Funds-in-Trust in 2006

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 3 (from 2000-2007)
Total amount approved : 70,000 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 1 December 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/666/documents/ and addresses the requests of the Committee as follows:

  • The Integrated Management Framework (IMF) document has been finalized, but has not yet received final approval from the Government. The State Party has attached the final draft of the IMF (Nepalese version) as an annex to the report, indicating that a final, notary-translated English version would be submitted once the IMF is adopted by the Government;
  • Some development activities, i.e. pathways inside the Maya Devi Temple, have been completed as recommended by the Lumbini International Scientific Committee. Drainage, landscaping and work on the foot path have been undertaken as recommended by the Lumbini Development Master Plan and the Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs);
  • The project proposal for the development of the Lumbini World Peace City has been approved in principle, with a request that the implementation rigorously follow the national and international laws and guidelines for the World Heritage property without posing any threat to its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  • The strategy for the protection of the Greater Lumbini Area and its wider setting, including but not limited to Tilaurakot and Ramagrama, is being developed. As part of the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust (JFiT) project, a number of activities have been undertaken, including: a geophysical survey, non-destructive excavations, mapping and recording of archaeological remains at some heritage sites, and conservation activities for the Greater Lumbini Area and its wider setting;
  • The base map to control additional industrial encroachment has been completed. The air quality in the Lumbini Protected Zone is being assessed, and an air quality observatory has been installed in Lumbini for monitoring purposes.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

It is regrettable that the IMF remains to be approved by the Government, despite repeated requests by the Committee. Furthermore, while it is reported that certain activities have been carried out within the property and the buffer zone, the State Party provides no evidence whether impact assessments have systematically been carried out before their implementation. There is also no evidence that the activities carried out have followed the Archaeological Risk Map.

The ongoing research to better understand the property, the related sites and larger setting is noted. It is however of concern that, despite repeated requests by the Committee, the project proposal for the Lumbini World Peace City has been approved. The State Party did not provide details on the proposed project, nor have Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) been carried out before the approval of the project. As already highlighted in the 2016 state of conservation report, the project proposal does not refer to the World Heritage status of Lumbini, although this ought to be at the core of the development proposal, to ensure that there is no adverse impact on the OUV of the property. Given the scope of this mega-development project, the fragile nature of the property and its use as a place of pilgrimage for over 2,000 years, there are concerns that the Lumbini World Peace City project will likely have severe adverse impacts on the OUV of the property. The challenge of ensuring that the national and international laws and guidelines are followed strictly should have been addressed prior to granting approval of the implementation phase, and appropriate solutions developed ahead of time. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to carry out, as a matter of urgency, the necessary HIAs, in conformity with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for World Heritage Cultural Properties, and with a specific section focusing on the potential impact of the project on the OUV of the property. These HIAs will have to be provided to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before the implementation of any further activities.

Finally, the development of the base map to control additional industrial encroachment and the assessment and monitoring of air quality in the Lumbini Protected Zone are noted. Nevertheless, UNESCO continues to receive third-party information expressing concern about the property, especially with regard to the worsening environmental quality and increasing industrial development at Lumbini. In light of the potential impacts of development and of environmental degradation, it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to develop a clear strategy and concrete further actions for the protection of the 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 2018
42 COM 7B.13
Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha (Nepal) (C 666rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.42 adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Notes the progress made with the finalization of the Integrated Management Framework (IMF) document, but regrets the delays encountered with its adoption by the State Party;
  4. Notes with concern that development activities have been undertaken within the property and the Buffer Zone prior to the formal adoption of the Management Plan and without systematically conducting the necessary impact assessments or following the Archaeological Risk Map;
  5. Urges the State Party to adopt and implement the IMF document as a matter of priority, and to systematically carry out Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) for the proposed projects, with a specific section focusing on the potential impact of the development projects on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in conformity with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for World Heritage Cultural Properties, before undertaking any further work within the property or in the adjacent areas identified as having potential archaeological significance;
  6. Expresses concern about the Lumbini World Peace City project and its potential impacts on the property and reiterates its request to the State Party to provide details on the proposed project and carry out an HIA, in conformity with the aforementioned ICOMOS Guidelines, and that this assessment be provided to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, before any activity is implemented;
  7. Encourages the State Party to develop a clear strategy and concrete further actions for the protection of the Greater Lumbini Area and its wider setting, including but not limited to Tilaurakot and Ramagrama, and to further reduce the increasing industrial activity in the vicinity of the property;
  8. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, 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.
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7B.13

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.42 adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Notes the progress made with the finalization of the Integrated Management Framework (IMF) document, but regrets the delays encountered with its adoption by the State Party;
  4. Notes with concern that development activities have been undertaken within the property and the Buffer Zone prior to the formal adoption of the Management Plan and without systematically conducting the necessary impact assessments or following the Archaeological Risk Map;
  5. Urges the State Party to adopt and implement the IMF document as a matter of priority, and to systematically carry out Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) for the proposed projects, with a specific section focusing on the potential impact of the development projects on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in conformity with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for World Heritage Cultural Properties, before undertaking any further work within the property or in the adjacent areas identified as having potential archaeological significance;
  6. Expresses concern about the Lumbini World Peace City project and its potential impacts on the property and reiterates its request to the State Party to provide details on the proposed project and carry out an HIA, in conformity with the aforementioned ICOMOS Guidelines, and that this assessment be provided to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, before any activity is implemented;
  7. Encourages the State Party to develop a clear strategy and concrete further actions for the protection of the Greater Lumbini Area and its wider setting, including but not limited to Tilaurakot and Ramagrama, and to further reduce the increasing industrial activity in the vicinity of the property;
  8. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, 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.
Report year: 2018
Nepal
Date of Inscription: 1997
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2017) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 42COM (2018)
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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