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Historic City of Ayutthaya

Thailand
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
  • Flooding
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Deterioration due to time

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Flooding (Impact of the 2011 heavy floods on the mural paintings)
  • Management activities (Extensive interventions lacking in skill and documentation)
  • Management systems/Management Plan (Lack of a comprehensive plan for conservation and utilization)
  • Others (Deterioration due to time)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019

Total amount granted: USD 26,549 (2016) from the Netherlands Funds-in-Trust

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2019**

April/May 2014: ICOMOS Advisory mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 3 December 2018, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/576/documents/, and presents progress with a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions, as follows:

  • The Fine Arts Department (FAD) has undertaken capacity-building activities for craftspeople, including collaboration with the UNESCO Office in Bangkok for monument conservation, with the development of curricula and on-site training. Additional training is foreseen in 2019;
  • FAD is finalizing the updated Master Plan for Conservation and Development (2018-2027), which will be promulgated after approval by the Cabinet of Thailand. An executive summary of the draft updated Master Plan has been provided, including an outline of sub-plans for conservation, utilization and risk reduction. Sub-plan 4 outlines the continuing process of community relocation and programmes to provide improved facilities;
  • FAD has also carried out studies on disaster preparedness and mitigation, installed flood prevention systems at major monuments, and enhanced the ancient waterways to improve drainage management and reduce the risk of flooding;
  • Following the October 2016 International Symposium on the Conservation of Brick Monuments at World Heritage Sites, an updated ‘Notification on Rules and Procedure in Pursuing Permission of Building Construction within Ayutthaya City Island’s Archaeological Area’ has been finalized and implemented. This document provides some more stringent measures and specifies detailed guidelines to request permission for building construction at the property;
  • Construction projects for the hospital and the university are located outside the property, but are subject to the same laws, regulations and planning permissions. The hospital project has been cancelled, and FAD has ordered a stop to construction of the university, which was undertaken without permission;
  • Restoration and intervention projects have been conducted at 154 archaeological sites and buildings affected by the 2011 floods, including the Wat Ratchaburana Safeguarding Project (2012-2017), funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, the project to conserve Wat Chaiwatthanaram in cooperation with the World Monuments Fund and the United States of America, and the project ‘Thai Traditional Building Craftsmanship for the Conservation of World Heritage Site’, undertaken in collaboration with the UNESCO Bangkok Office with funding from FAD.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019

The finalization of the updated Master Plan for Conservation and Development (2018-2027), which is a revision of an earlier Master Plan (1993-2001), is an important accomplishment. The reported comprehensive and over-arching management framework with eight sub-plans, and the inclusion of a strategy for disaster risk reduction are welcome, but greater clarity is needed about how disaster responses will be co-ordinated with conservation priorities, and on how the impact on communities of re-location programmes will be assessed. The updated Master Plan is currently in the process of review and approval by the Cabinet of Thailand and will be promulgated once adopted; further updates should therefore be provided to the World Heritage Centre, as it is important to ensure its timely adoption and effective implementation.

Together with the updated Master Plan, the updated Notification on Rules and Procedure in Pursuing Permission of Building Construction, demonstrates commitment to the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. This document introduces welcome provision to regulate the location and size of construction, requiring more rigorous documentation, but not the preparation of a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), and allows developments in new zones 1 and 2, within the city footprint, contrary to the state intention to expand the property boundary in the retrospective Statement of OUV.  ICOMOS has provided a technical review of the updated Notification on Rules and Procedure in Pursuing Permission of Building Construction for consideration by the State Party.

Concerns remain about two construction projects previously considered by the Committee. It has been clarified that the two projects are located outside the property, yet subject to the same legislation, and consent requirements. While the construction of the hospital has been cancelled, the construction of the University’s Faculty of Fine Arts building commenced without permission.  The FAD demolition order should be fully implemented and the State Party should inform the World Heritage Centre of progress, to ensure that there is no negative impact on the OUV of the property.

The interventions conducted at more than 150 sites following the 2011 floods are acknowledged, as is the contribution of these conservation activities to raising conservation standards in Thailand. In addition, continued training activities, including the programme to improve capacities of local craftspeople who undertake conservation activities, are welcome. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to monitor the inscribed monuments regularly and to ensure that any work undertaken is based on scientific conservation principles and respects use of traditional materials and skills. It would be timely for the Committee to remind the State Party of its obligations under Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines to inform the World Heritage Centre of any future plans for major restoration or new construction projects that may affect the OUV of the property.

It is also recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to pursue an extension to the boundary of the property to reflect the complete footprint of the City of Ayutthaya.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
43 COM 7B.76
Historic City of Ayutthaya (Thailand) (C 576)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.98, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Acknowledges the State Party’s efforts to continue addressing conservation and management issues, and in particular the finalization of updated Master Plan for Conservation and Development (2018-2027), including a disaster risk prevention strategy, and encourages the State Party to ensure the timely adoption and implementation of the updated Master Plan and any associated strategies and to provide further information on the implementation of provisions for disaster responses and evaluation of the impact on communities of relocation programmes;
  4. Welcomes the updated Notification on Rules and Procedure in Pursuing Permission of Building Construction in an effort to protect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, on which further comments are provided in an ICOMOS technical review for consideration by the State Party;
  5. Requests the State Party to pursue comprehensive implementation of the demolition order for the University Faculty of Fine Arts building, to ensure that there is no negative impact on the OUV of the property;
  6. Notes with satisfaction the continued training activities organized to improve the capacity of local craftspeople who undertake conservation activities, and also encourages the State Party to continue organizing such capacity-building activities to respond to identified training needs;
  7. Further encourages the State Party to monitor the inscribed monuments regularly and to ensure that any intervention is based on scientific conservation principles and respects the use of traditional materials and skills;
  8. Also requests the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre, of any future plans for major restoration or new construction projects that may affect the OUV of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, before such projects commence or any irreversible decisions are made;
  9. Further requests the State Party to pursue an extension to the boundary of the property to reflect the complete footprint of the City of Ayutthaya in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, with a view to submitting a re-nomination or minor boundary modification proposal;
  10. Finally Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, including the updated Master Plan for Conservation and Development and the updated Notification on Rules and Procedure in Pursuing Permission of Building Construction at the property, for review by the Advisory Bodies.
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7B.76

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.98, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Acknowledges the State Party’s efforts to continue addressing conservation and management issues, and in particular the finalization of updated Master Plan for Conservation and Development (2018-2027), including a disaster risk prevention strategy, and encourages the State Party to ensure the timely adoption and implementation of the updated Master Plan and any associated strategies and to provide further information on the implementation of provisions for disaster responses and evaluation of the impact on communities of relocation programmes;
  4. Welcomes the updated Notification on Rules and Procedure in Pursuing Permission of Building Construction in an effort to protect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, on which further comments are provided in an ICOMOS technical review for consideration by the State Party;
  5. Requests the State Party to pursue comprehensive implementation of the demolition order for the University Faculty of Fine Arts building, to ensure that there is no negative impact on the OUV of the property;
  6. Notes with satisfaction the continued training activities organized to improve the capacity of local craftspeople who undertake conservation activities, and also encourages the State Party to continue organizing such capacity-building activities to respond to identified training needs;
  7. Further encourages the State Party to monitor the inscribed monuments regularly and to ensure that any intervention is based on scientific conservation principles and respects the use of traditional materials and skills;
  8. Also requests the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre, of any future plans for major restoration or new construction projects that may affect the OUV of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, before such projects commence or any irreversible decisions are made;
  9. Further requests the State Party to pursue an extension to the boundary of the property to reflect the complete footprint of the City of Ayutthaya in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, with a view to submitting a re-nomination or minor boundary modification proposal;
  10. Finally Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, including the updated Master Plan for Conservation and Development and the updated Notification on Rules and Procedure in Pursuing Permission of Building Construction at the property, for review by the Advisory Bodies.
Report year: 2019
Thailand
Date of Inscription: 1991
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2018) .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.


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