1.         Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) (C 208rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2003

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2003-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

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 identified

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 

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2002-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 30,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 7,324,120 (2003-2018) from the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust; USD 159,000 (2011-2012) from the UNESCO/Switzerland Funds-in-Trust; USD 6,845,121 (2013-2021) from the UNESCO/Italy Funds-in-Trust; USD 7,336,166 (2013-2019) from UNESCO/Republic of Korea Funds-in Trust; USD 1,500,000 (2017-2026) from the Government of Afghanistan

Previous monitoring missions

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

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 9 February 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/documents, which provides the following information:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The recent progress with consultations on the Management Plan and its harmonization with other management tools is welcomed. The recommendations of the International Technical Meeting on the future of the property are noted, yet progress must be made first on the following points:

It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request that the State Party proceed with a boundary modification and revise its national legislation in order to enhance the permanent protection of heritage resources, notably the cultural landscape in the Bamiyan Valley that currently is not within protected zones.

It is suggested that the Committee strongly recommend the submission of all decisions adopted, as well as the Action Plan for the future treatment of the Buddha statues and niches, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, once the National Working Committee’s decision has been endorsed by the authorities. These decisions should bear in mind the outcomes of the September 2017 meeting held in Tokyo, Japan, which highlighted the need for further studies on any possible reconstruction, yet made no specific or final recommendation on the future treatment of the Bamiyan Buddha niches and/or statues, considering that “extensive consultation [should] be conducted by the local and national government with local communities, civil society, as well as spiritual leaders so as to ensure that all stakeholders’ interests are taken into consideration”.

One of the greatest concerns remains the shortage of resources for preservation, in particular the lack of additional budgets to continue the stabilization of the Western Buddha niche and to conduct other much-needed conservation activities for component sites under serious threat of collapse, and which would be necessary to achieve the adopted Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR).

The permanent deployment of on-site guards for all components of the property remains vital. As almost all significant activities for the property have been realized through international assistance, and while the existing financial constraints should not be underestimated, it is recommended that the Committee remind the State Party to prepare a long-term strategy to ensure that the necessary resources for the most important operations are continuously available.

Although, regrettably, no information was provided on the Bamiyan Cultural Centre, despite the provisions of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and repeated requests from the World Heritage Centre and the Committee (see Decisions 38 COM 7A.15, 39 COM 7A.39 and 41 COM 7A.54), the soon-to-be-completed building could also serve as an enhanced interpretation centre for the World Heritage property, providing information on the property’s tangible, and associative values.

Finally, the Committee may note with regret that a revised timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures was not presented.

Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7A.41

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.1, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Notes the initiatives taken by the State Party and international partners towards the conservation of important component parts of this serial property;
  4. Welcomes the establishment and regular meetings of the National Working Committee tasked with reviewing proposals for the Bamiyan Buddha statues and, also recalling the outcomes of the September 2017 International Symposium held in Tokyo, Japan, on the future of the Bamiyan Buddha statues, requests that the State Party submit any adopted decision and Action Plan for the future treatment of the Bamiyan Buddha niches and statues to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  5. Also welcomes the progress made with the establishment of the Management Plan and its harmonization with other management tools, in particular the Strategic Master Plan (SMP), endorsed by the President of Afghanistan, and also requests the State Party to:
    1. Maintain close consultations with all stakeholders to ensure an integrated approach towards heritage preservation in relation with the urban development and other, broader development initiatives;
    2. Submit the SMP to the World Heritage Centre for review of the Advisory Bodies, and;
    3. Submit to the World Heritage Centre all necessary documentation concerning the traffic plan component and the bypass road included in the SMP, which require further technical, geological and economic feasibility studies, including Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessments in accordance with the national regulations and the ICOMOS and IUCN Guidelines;
  6. Further requests the State Party to use the GIS-based cultural mapping and zoning information, as was done in the Cultural Master Plan, for future development of planning tools in Bamiyan;
  7. Further welcomes the recommendations of the International Technical Meeting on the future of the Bamiyan World Heritage property (Salalah, Oman, 3-5 December 2018);
  8. Notes with regret however that the State Party did not provide a revised timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures adopted by the Committee at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008);
  9. Regrets the absence of progress with the development of effective regulating mechanisms to address future population growth and industrial development in the vicinity of the property, and reiterates its request to the State Party to proceed with a boundary modification, in accordance with Paragraphs 163-164 of the Operational Guidelines, and revise national legislation in order to enhance the permanent protection of heritage resources, and notably the cultural landscape in the Bamiyan Valley that is currently not within protected zones, along with its setting;
  10. Notes with great concern that work to stabilize the Western Buddha niche has been pending and calls upon the international community to provide technical and financial support for the conservation of component sites that are threatening to collapse, in order to assist the State Party in achieving the adopted Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  11. Also notes that security personnel is currently funded through international cooperation and strongly urges the State Party to identify and use national financial resources to allocate security staff to all components of the property on a permanent basis;
  12. Further notes that most significant technical activities for the property have been realized through international assistance mechanisms, and strongly encourages the State Party to prepare a long-term strategy to sustainably secure resources for the most important operations, and to coordinate international cooperation funds to help carry out high-priority actions;
  13. Reiterates its deep regret that irreversible decisions concerning the Bamiyan Cultural Centre and Museum were taken without informing the Committee, despite the provisions of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and its repeated prior requests, and that construction progressed without the preparation and submission of a Heritage Impact Assessment for review by the Advisory Bodies, and recommends that the State Party carefully plan the Cultural Centre’s content by harnessing the opportunity for visitors to learn not only about the region’s cultural values, but also about the World Heritage property wherein the Cultural Centre is located;
  14. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, 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 44th session in 2020;
  15. Decides to retain Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 43 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/19/43.COM/7A, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3 and WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3.Corr),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: