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Kathmandu Valley

Nepal
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Air transport infrastructure
  • Earthquake
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Localised utilities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Underground transport infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Earthquake (Severe earthquake of 25 April 2015)
  • Housing (Uncontrolled urban development resulting in the loss of traditional urban fabric, in particular privately-owned houses)
  • Management systems/management plan (Lack of a coordinated management mechanism)
  • Ground transport infrastructure (Construction of a forest road)
  • Underground transport infrastructure (Project for tunnel road in Pashupati Monument Zone)
  • Air transport infrastructure (Project for the extension of the Kathmandu International Airport)
  • Localized utilities (New development projects, in particular the reconstruction of Bhaidegah Temple)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

Total amount granted: USD 10 million (1979-2001) from the International Safeguarding Campaign; USD 45,000 (2005) and USD 20,000 (2011) from UNESCO/Netherlands Funds-in-Trust. Several UNESCO extra-budgetary projects have been approved in 2015-2016 for the emergency safeguarding, conservation and rehabilitation process of the Kathmandu Valley after the 2015 earthquake. They include USD 1 million from the Chinese Hainan Airlines Group (Cihang Foundation), USD 250,000 from the Hong Kong based Fok Foundation, USD 145,000 from the UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust, USD 100,000 from the Nepal Investment Bank and USD 18,000 from voluntary contributions.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 16 (from 1979-2015)
Total amount approved : 417,619 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

February 2003: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; April 2007: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; March 2011: UNESCO Advisory Mission with international experts; November 2011: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; October-November 2015: joint World Heritage Centre /ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; March 2017: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 31 January 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/121/documents and highlights the following:

  • After the 2015 earthquake, the Department of Archaeology (DoA) of Nepal has been improving its capacity to manage damaged cultural heritage and its rehabilitation at all levels. The number of staff of the DoA, especially the archaeologists, engineers, architects and other support staff has been increased, focusing on rehabilitation work and also integrating higher-level experts in different fields for the post-earthquake conservation, reconstruction and rehabilitation process. Detailed documentation and research activities have also been carried out throughout the reporting period;
  • Although all seven Protected Monument Zones suffered from the disaster and the main monuments were affected, this concerned only some 17% of all monuments located within the World Heritage property, which the State Party does not consider especially significant;
  • The State Party considers that these monuments can be rehabilitated through the Nepalese tradition of cyclical renewal and is committed to using traditional conservation and reconstruction techniques as well as traditional construction materials, and the post-earthquake conservation, reconstruction and rehabilitation projects have been carried out using the traditional system of conservation and rehabilitation of cultural heritage;
  • The DoA has prepared the six-year plan and the Recovery Master Plan and implemented post-earthquake guidelines for conservation, reconstruction and rehabilitation. The State Party considers that there will be no negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property at the end of the reconstruction and rehabilitation process;
  • The post-earthquake conservation, reconstruction and rehabilitation activities have been carried out in accordance with the six-year plan and the Recovery Master Plan, and the works are carried out with community participation, which ensures social and economic benefits for local communities;
  • The State Party has allocated a sufficient budget for conservation, reconstruction and rehabilitation of cultural heritage. The DoA has also received significant support from the international community, especially technical, human resources and financial support; and is calling for support from governmental and non-governmental sources and from the international community to support the post-earthquake rehabilitation process;
  • The State Party is preparing to invite an Advisory mission from UNESCO before the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee in order to provide advice and guidelines for the already-formulated Recovery Master Plan;
  • Finally, the State Party reports that they have been working hard for the protection of the property’s OUV and requests that the World Heritage Committee do not put the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The report also provides some details of the progress accomplished for individual monuments of the seven Protected Monument Zones of the property.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

It is recommended that the Committee acknowledge the commitment of the State Party and the considerable amount of work that it has undertaken for the recovery of the property, particularly its capacity-building efforts, and the work undertaken by other international agencies. However, it must be acknowledged that scale and scope of the disaster, goes well beyond the capacity and resources of the DoA to deliver an adequate response or to coordinate the work of others.

At the time of drafted this document, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies have received neither the invitation nor the Terms of the Reference for an Advisory mission to the property, as strongly encouraged by the Committee in its previous decision.

The detailed results of the Reactive Monitoring missions of October 2015 and March 2017 clearly highlight that the property is facing serious deterioration of its architectural and town-planning coherence. This has arisen not only from the immediate impact of the earthquakes, but worryingly also from most of the work undertaken during the subsequent recovery process, which is adding to the erosion of the property’s integrity and authenticity. The 2017 mission report describes in clear details the scale and scope of damage to all the monument zones two years after the earthquake, the lack of any support or protection for many damaged areas, the demolition of ancillary structures, and the degradation of housing areas and commercial properties. The slow pace of recovery and the damaging restoration work carried out on some of the monuments appears to reflect the current management weaknesses across the property, the lack of adequate planning or coordination, and the overall lack of capacity to undertake the necessary documentation, research and analyses that should underpin all of the work. It is regrettable that the recommendations of both missions have not been systematically and fully followed and implemented by the State Party.

The potential and ascertained threats identified by the aforementioned missions are so considerable that the recovery process needs to be quickened and made more effective. To achieve the considerable amount of work that remains to ensure recovery, the property needs more support and more structures that allow a proportionate response to the significant threats that it faces; and it needs the development of a coherent and coordinated overall Recovery Master Plan, along with Recovery Plans for individual monument zones. It also needs stronger mechanisms to coordinate and control projects undertaken by international agencies, over-arching guidance within which all projects should be undertaken and the development of clear justifications for interventions based on evidence and documentation. To these ends, it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to initiate, with technical support from the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, an International Scientific Steering Coordination Mechanism tasked with assisting the State Party with developing structures to coordinate and guide the recovery of the property and its OUV and balance the needs of the fabric of the property with the social and economic needs of its communities.

Notwithstanding the good measures adopted by the State Party, the recovery process is not currently at an adequate scale to deal with the major challenges that have arisen following the earthquake. Worryingly there is a lack of evidence to support the work undertaken, which often does not respect the distinctive traditional structures, materials and local practices. All of this is impacting adversely on the OUV of the property and has potential to inflict even greater damage in the future. Therefore, the property is clearly currently facing actual and potential threats to its OUV, in accordance with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines.

In line with the above, it is strongly recommended that the Committee consider inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in order to ensure that immediate measures can be taken to focus recovery on projects that sustain the attributes of OUV, particularly the distinctive building structures and materials, in order to avoid reconstruction and conservation that is problematic and damaging to authenticity. It is also recommended that the same support from the international community should be encouraged to support local communities in terms of their housing and social needs, as well as for conservation and reconstruction.

Finally, it should be noted again that the March 2017 mission discussed in detail with the State Party the technical, planning, legal and management measures necessary to recover the attributes of OUV. These could be considered as a contribution towards a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), which the State Party would need to propose following an inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7B.12
Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) (C 121bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.95 adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Acknowledges the strong commitment of the State Party and the work that it has undertaken for the recovery of the property, particularly its capacity-building efforts, as well as the efforts of international agencies and the six year plan for the recovery of the monuments damaged by the earthquake;
  4. Also acknowledges the scale and scope of the disaster (as described in the reports of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring missions to the property of October 2015 and March 2017), the laudable work undertaken and the continuing, serious deterioration of the property's architectural and town-planning coherence resulting from the immediate impacts of the earthquakes;
  5. Recognizes that the pace of recovery and the damaging restoration work on some monuments appears to reflect the current need for improvement in management capacity across the property, to undertake the necessary documentation, research and analyses that should underpin all recovery work;
  6. Requests that the recommendations of the October 2015 and March 2017 missions be systematically carried out, fully followed and implemented in a best way by the State Party;
  7. Encourages the State Party to invite the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to provide technical support to assist the State Party with developing structures to coordinate and guide the recovery of the property and its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  8. Also considers that the potential and ascertained threats to the OUV of the property are so considerable that the recovery process needs to be made more effective, and that the scale and scope of the disaster and the response required goes well beyond the capacity and resources of the Department of Archaeology of Nepal (DoA), and also considers that much greater input, collaboration and coordination of support is needed from the international community;
  9. Requests the State Party to fully commit to use appropriate methods and materials in recovery works;
  10. Reiterates its request that the State Party integrate the Recovery Master Plan (RMP) within an overall socio-economic revitalization programme for urban communities, encourage residents and local business to engage in the recovery process and ensure that it delivers wide-ranging social and economic benefits;
  11. Calls upon the international community to support the State Party’s urgent recovery work through financial, technical or expert assistance, including support for local communities in terms of their housing and social needs;
  12. Suggests the State Party to invite a Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Advisory Mission to ascertain the progress accomplished by the State Party to assist in the implementation of the six year RMP as well as to give guidance on reviewing it and recommends that this mission take place by the end of 2018;
  13. Also 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; with a view to assuring the maintenance of the OUV of the site.
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7B.12

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.95 adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Acknowledges the strong commitment of the State Party and the work that it has undertaken for the recovery of the property, particularly its capacity-building efforts, as well as the efforts of international agencies;
  4. Also acknowledges the scale and scope of the disaster (as described in the reports of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring missions to the property of October 2015 and March 2017), the laudable work undertaken but the very slow pace and quality of work and the as yet inadequate responses to recovery of the property;
  5. Expresses concern that the continuing, serious deterioration of the property’s architectural and town-planning coherence, which results not only from the immediate impacts of the earthquakes, but worryingly also from some of the work undertaken during the subsequent recovery process, is eroding the property’s integrity and authenticity; and that damaging restoration work on some monuments reflects the current management weaknesses across the property, the lack of adequate control or coordination, and the overall lack of capacity to undertake the necessary documentation, research and analyses that should underpin all recovery work;
  6. Regrets that the recommendations of the October 2015 and March 2017 missions have not been systematically and fully followed and implemented by the State Party;
  7. Considers that, in order to carry out successfully the considerable amount of work needed to recover the property, significantly stronger structures must be put in place for collaboration and coordination around the support extended by the international community;
  8. Encourages the State Party to initiate, with technical support from the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, an International Scientific Steering Coordination Mechanism to assist the State Party with developing structures to coordinate and guide the recovery of the property and its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  9. Also considers that the potential and ascertained threats to the OUV of the property are so considerable that the recovery process needs to be made more effective, and that the scale and scope of the disaster and the response required go well beyond the capacity and resources of the Department of Archaeology of Nepal (DoA);
  10. Further considers that inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger will ensure that immediate measures can be taken to focus recovery on projects that sustain the attributes of OUV, particularly the distinctive building structures and materials, in order to avoid reconstruction and conservation that is problematic and damaging to authenticity;
  11. Decides therefore, in conformity with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines, to inscribe Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  12. Requests the State Party to prepare, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and a set of corrective measures and a timeframe for their implementation, for adoption by the Committee at 43rd session in 2019;
  13. Calls upon the international community to support the State Party’s urgent recovery work through financial, technical or expert assistance, including support for local communities in terms of their housing and social needs;
  14. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 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: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2003-2007
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2018) .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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