Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Kathmandu Valley

Nepal
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
  • Air transport infrastructure
  • Earthquake
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • 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)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019

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/Japan Funds-in-Trust, USD 100,000 from the Nepal Investment Bank, and USD 18,000 from voluntary contributions to the World Heritage Fund

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 16 (from 1979-2015)
Total amount approved : 417,619 USD
Missions to the property until 2019**

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 2019

On 1 February 2019, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/121/documents and reports the following:

  • After the 2015 earthquake, the Department of Archaeology (DoA) of Nepal has improved its capacity to manage, repair and restore damaged cultural heritage, in collaboration with the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and other stakeholders. The Earthquake Response Coordination Office, established immediately following the 2015 earthquake, has improved coordination between the Government of Nepal and national and international authorities, NGOs, and local communities. The Coordinative Working Committee of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Property has facilitated the involvement of relevant parties in the repair and restoration of many monuments;
  • Repair and restoration works have followed the Nepalese practices and have been undertaken in accordance with the ‘Post-Earthquake Conservation Guidelines 2072’, the ‘Manual, 2073’, and the Recovery Master Plan prepared by the DoA. The number of DoA staff, including archaeologists, engineers and architects, has increased, and staff focused on work programmes and the integration of higher-level experts in the post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation processes. Detailed documentation and research activities have also been organized;
  • More than 50% of the damaged monuments have been addressed, with works documented through the new Cultural Heritage Information Management System, a database established in collaboration with technical and financial support from the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu. A soil characterization study addressing slope stabilization is being implemented in Swayambhu to help guide mitigation measures. The State Party report includes illustrated ‘state of conservation’ reports for individual monument zones within the property;
  • Some recommendations from the 2015 and 2017 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring missions and Committee decisions have been implemented, but the requested joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Advisory mission has not occurred for technical reasons, despite two invitations;
  • Information was submitted on the sewer management project at Patan Durbar Square Monument Zone in August 2018;
  • Training programmes have been organized by ICCROM, Riksantivaren University, Ritsumeikan University, the Smithsonian Institute, ACCU Nara, and JICA Nepal. Photo exhibition programmes have continued to inform communities and private owners about World Heritage. Other awareness programmes have also been instigated for groups such as the Engineers Network and municipality mayors.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019

The State Party, the DoA, the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and many other national and international organisations have worked with local agencies and the community to repair and recover the property in very challenging circumstances.

Although some recommendations of the 2015 and 2017 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring missions have been addressed, they have not yet been systematically implemented. The 2017 mission report outlined the scale and scope of damage across all seven monument zones as well as degraded housing and commercial properties, and highlighted the need to support and protect many damaged areas. Although there have been some conservation achievements, the architectural and town-planning coherence of the property continues to deteriorate. This has arisen not only from earthquake impact itself, but particularly because of the unforeseen enormity of the resulting repair and conservation challenges. Conservation efforts have not covered the full extent of the property and four years after the earthquake, nearly half of the reported damage is yet to be repaired. Despite some welcome success stories, not all of the works undertaken respect the distinctive traditional structures, materials and local practices, and some are therefore inconsistent with the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including integrity and authenticity.

It is noted that a major sewer line is being constructed through the Patan Durbar Square Monument Zone, to alleviate the annual monsoonal floods that affect local residents, businesses and visitors, causing disruption, health issues, and building decay. Improving sewerage and drainage would benefit the property, improve access and reduce issues with dampness in historic buildings. Although the affected area has been disturbed in the past for other service installations, some adverse physical impacts are inevitable. In April 2019, ICOMOS undertook a technical review of the proposed works and provided recommended mitigation measures, which should be implemented.

With regard to the latest Advisory mission, which the Committee strongly encouraged in Decision 42 COM 7B.12 (Manama, 2018), the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies defined the Terms of Reference, but mission planning was subsequently deferred on two occasions. It is therefore considered that a Reactive Monitoring mission is now warranted.

To achieve the considerable amount of work still required to ensure recovery, the property needs even stronger mechanisms to coordinate and control projects undertaken by international and national agencies, along with overarching guidance and clear justifications for interventions, based on evidence and documentation. It is recommended that the Committee encourage again 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 in the development of structures and resources to guide the recovery of the property and its OUV, while balancing social and economic community needs.

The property continues to face ascertained and potential threats to its OUV as defined in Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines, and as identified by the 2015 and 2017 Reactive Monitoring missions, despite the fact that the Committee previously elected not to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The immediate measures adopted by the State Party and other organizations notwithstanding, the recovery process is not currently at an adequate scale to deal with the major challenges that have arisen following the earthquake. Some of the physical work undertaken does not respect the distinctive traditional structures, materials and local practices. The extent of unrepaired damage and the inappropriate works impact adversely on the property’s authenticity and integrity, and therefore on its OUV, and there is high potential for even greater damage in the future. Therefore, the property is currently subject to both actual and potential threats to its OUV, in accordance with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines.

It is therefore recommended that the Committee consider inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in order to ensure that measures are taken to focus recovery on projects that sustain the attributes of OUV, and so as to avoid reconstruction and conservation activities that have potential to damage the authenticity of the property. It is also recommended that the international community continue supporting local communities and their housing and social needs, as well as ongoing conservation and reconstruction efforts.

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 2019
43 COM 7B.70
Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) (C 121bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 39 COM 7B.69, 40 COM 7B.41, 41 COM 7B.95 and 42 COM 7B.12, adopted at its 39th (Bonn, 2015), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), 41st (Krakow, 2017) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. Acknowledges the ongoing commitment of the State Party and of national and international organizations towards the recovery of the property, through the implementation of the Recovery Master Plan (RMP), as well as through repair and conservation works already undertaken;
  4. Reiterates its requests that the State Party integrate the 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;
  5. Notes again the scale and scope of the 2015 earthquake disaster, as described in the reports of the 2015 and 2017 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring missions to the property, and expresses concern at the serious deterioration of the property's architectural and town-planning coherence;
  6. Considers that the recovery process needs to be further improved and hastened, and requests the State Party to:
    1. Initiate with technical support from, and in on-going dialogue with, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, an International Scientific Steering Coordination Mechanism tasked with assisting with the development of structures and resources to guide the recovery of the property and its OUV,
    2. Invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property, to review progress with the implementation of the recommendations of the October 2015 and March 2017 missions, to assist with the development of a strategy for the implementation of the six-year RMP, and to provide guidance on its review,
    3. Seek further technical support from the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies in order to coordinate and guide the recovery of the property, based on documentation, research, analysis and use of appropriate traditional methods and materials, and
    4. Ensure all recommendations and outcomes of the above are fully integrated within the 6 year RMP;
  7. Also requests the State Party to implement fully the recommendations of the ICOMOS Technical Review of the Patan Durbar Square Monument Zone sewer project;
  8. Further requests the State Party implement fully its already declared six year plan and complete all rehabilitation works by the end of 2021 and report to the World Heritage Committee;
  9. Calls upon the international community to continue supporting the State Party’s recovery work through financial, technical or expert assistance, including support for local communities and their housing and social needs;
  10. Requests furthermore 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, with a view to considering in the absence of significant progress in the implementation of the above recommendations to address the ascertained danger to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  11. Underlines that the State Party’s cooperation in conducting the requested and overdue mission will be a key consideration for the Committee at its 44th session;
Finally reiterates, consistent with Decision 40 COM 7, that the inscription of a property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, should not be viewed negatively by the State Party; its purpose is to marshal international support to help the State Party effectively address the challenges faced by the property by engaging with the Advisory Bodies to develop a programme of corrective measures to achieve the Desired state of conservation for the property as provided for under Paragraph 183 of the Operational Guidelines.
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7B.70

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.12, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Acknowledges the ongoing commitment of the State Party and of national and international organizations towards the recovery of the property, through the implementation of the Recovery Master Plan (RMP), as well as through repair and conservation works already undertaken;
  4. Reiterates its requests that the State Party integrate the 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;
  5. Notes again the scale and scope of the 2015 earthquake disaster, as described in the reports of the 2015 and 2017 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring missions to the property, and expresses concern at the serious deterioration of the property's architectural and town-planning coherence;
  6. Encourages the State Party to seek further technical support from the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in order to coordinate and guide the recovery of the property, based on documentation, research, analyses and the use of appropriate traditional methods and materials;
  7. Considers that the potential and ascertained threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are so considerable that the recovery process needs to be further improved, and therefore also encourages again 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 with the development of structures and resources to guide the recovery of the property and its OUV, while balancing social and economic community needs;
  8. Requests that the State Party invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property, to review progress with the implementation of the recommendations of the October 2015 and March 2017 missions, to assist with the development of a strategy for the implementation of the six-year RMP, and to provide guidance on its review;
  9. Also requests the State Party to implement fully the recommendations of the ICOMOS Technical Review of the Patan Durbar Square Monument Zone sewer project;
  10. Also considers that inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger will ensure that 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 damages the property’s 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. Further 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 along with a timeframe for their implementation, for adoption by the Committee at its 44th session in 2020;
  13. Calls upon the international community to continue supporting the State Party’s recovery work through financial, technical or expert assistance, including support for local communities and their housing and social needs;
  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.
Report year: 2019
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 (2019) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 43COM (2019)
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.


top