Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1987
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/400/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/400/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount provided: 800 million HUF (ca. 2.7 million EUR) EU support for the “Street of Culture” project
Previous monitoring missions
March 2005: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission; November 2007, February 2018: ICOMOS Advisory missions; February 2013, April 2019: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/400/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 27th February 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report. An executive summary of this report is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/400bis/documents. An ICOMOS Advisory mission visited the property from 4 to 8 February 2018. The State Party submitted the comments on the mission report, which is not yet publically available. A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission visited the property from 28 to 30 April 2019. The report of this mission is pending ICOMOS peer review and will be available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/400bis/documents.
The State Party report addresses some of the recommendations of the Committee and those of the 2018 mission. It reported that a new heritage conservation organisational structure has been introduced with further improvement envisaged, although at this stage this only relates to domestic heritage, as well as that an enlargement to the buffer zone is planned. It noted that the funds necessary for preparing the Management Plan are now available and that the document could be completed by 2021.
The 2018 mission reviewed and analyzed all the documentation (available in working languges) for all revised, planned, ongoing or implemented major projects submitted by the State Party. These included the National Hauszmann Plan for the restoration/reconstruction of the Buda Castle Quarter, the "Liget Budapest Project", and proposals for high-rise buildings in the setting of the property.
Buda Castle quarter: In 2016, the State Party submitted a brief report on the National Hauszmann Plan, which is a masterplan for the rehabilitation, revitalization and partial reconstruction of the Buda Caste Quarter. This Plan, that has continued to develop, includes the reconstruction of buildings that were damaged and demolished as a result of the Second World War as well as some partially re-built during the Communist era. As requested by ICOMOS, in 2017, the State Party submitted an HIA of the Plan in English along with a number of explanatory notes, drawings, and plans that were in Hungarian. As requested by the Committee, the State Party invited an ICOMOS Advisory mission to review the overall Plan and the HIA. The 2018 mission found that work on implementing the Plan had already commenced but with an absence of any overall clear and detailed rationale that could offer a justification for the major interventions that were in progress or planned and which had the potential for highly adverse impact on OUV. It requested further details on the overall rationale for the Plan and for these to submitted (in working languges) for review. The State Party reported that construction work has continued, in particular on the Carmelite Monastery, Riding School, Main Guards building, Stöckl stairs, and on proposed projects for St Stephen’s Hall, and the Ministries of Interior and Finance. The State Party also reported support for enlarging the buffer zone to include Margaret Island, and the area west of the Buda Castle Quarter.
Liget Budapest Project: An HIA for this project within Városliget Park in the buffer zone, involving the reconstruction and construction of new public buildings such as the Museum of Ethnography and the Biodome, was submitted as part of the State Party report. The 2018 mission had expressed concerns at the potential impact of this extensive project and recommended that work on the Biodome should be halted. The State Party reported that the projects for the Museum of Ethnography and the Biodome do not need amending and appear not to have been stopped. The 2019 mission observed that the HIA submitted by the State Party needed to conform to the ICOMOS guidelines and be based on verifiable data which currently is not the case.
High-rise buildings: The 2018 mission noted that in general there is potential for negative impact from high rise buildings in the setting of the property which, at the time of the mission, could be erected up to 120 metres high. It recommended that the State Party stop any permits for high-rise building in the 11th District and that HIAs of projects should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review. The State Party reported that, as an impact on the property’s OUV is minimal, a permit for construction of the 120 metre high MOL Campus building in District 11 was issued in February 2018. The State Party also reported that new stricter regulations were introduced in July 2018 that requires buildings higher than 65 meters to receive the planning council’s approval on the ‘architectural and technical plan documentation’. However, it is clearly stated that the permission for the MOL building cannot be reversed. A detailed study of the impact of high-rise buildings on OUV of the property is planned for District 11.
The 2019 mission observed a number of other projects, new developments as well as reconstruction works ongoing in the property and buffer zone for which the World Heritage Centre had no previous information, including a demolition at 52 Paulay Ede Street and a renovation of the Opera house.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
Some progress has occurred with implementation of the Committee’s Decisions, including the introduction of a new heritage conservation organisational structure, availability of funds for the elaboration of the Management Plan, new Llaw restricting the height of buildings from 120 m to 65 meters. However, key steps are yet to be achieved, particularly the development and approval of a City development plan for the entire urban landscape, including the stringent regulations for assessment of the potential impact of proposed projects on the OUV, as well as an overall and comprehensive Management Plan. The integration of the Management Plan with a comprehensive city development plan following the approach of the 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape is essential.
It is noted that no single office, person, or authority had an overview of the complete list of all projects ongoing and proposed, in the property and its buffer zone. The absence of adequate governance for World Heritage, including a site manager or authority over the entire property and its buffer zone to ensure clear management of the property based on its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), which requires permanent interaction among all stakeholders, is an important factor of risk for World Heritage properties. The 2018 ICOMOS Advisory mission was undertaken in response to concerns by the Committee in 2017 at number of large-scale development projects proposed at Buda Castle within the property, in Városliget Park within the buffer zone and in the 11th District within the wider setting of the property. It is recommended that the Committee express its concern regarding the lack of an appropriate approach for the ongoing and proposed works being undertaken as part of the Hauszmann Plan for the Buda Castle Quarter which involves substantial reconstruction and new construction of the Royal Palace and adjoining civic district and represents a specific and imminent threat. The general policy to reconstruct buildings or parts that have been destroyed during World War II or in the Communist period in order to recover an idealized older history is leading to an important and cumulative loss of authenticity of the property. The blurring of the distinctions between conservation, restoration, reconstruction, and new construction is not in line with the principles of international norms and standards. The cumulative impact of these reconstruction activities presents a danger to the OUV of the property, especially its authenticity. The Committee is invited to request the State Party to halt all ongoing and planned works and to consider and develop an alternative approach to conservation and development, supported by appropriate policies and conservation plans and to submit these for review and approval before work re-commences in order to prevent any further threats to the OUV of the property, and to its authenticity and integrity.
It is recommended that the Committee express its concern regarding the potential impact of extensive developments within the Liget Budapest project, as well as to invite the State Party to submit all additional documents and clarifications requested by the 2018 and 2019 missions, including for the HIA of the Museum of Ethnography. It recommended that if the revised verifiable HIA shows an adverse visual impact on the property, mitigation measures should be examined and implemented.
It is also recommended that the Committee invite the State Party to halt any permits for high-rise building in the 11th District and that HIAs of projects should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review. It is noted that numerous documents, projects and drawings have been submitted to the World Heritage Centre only in Hungarian. This does not allow review and feedback by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies. Moreover, HIAs and analysis need to be in conformity with ICOMOS guidelines.
The April 2019 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission, which followed previous missions, including the 2018 ICOMOS Advisory mission, found that the state of conservation of the property is impacted by negative factors which represent potential threats to the OUV of the property. The 2019 mission found that compounded together, the numerous unsolved issues, the blurring of the distinctions between conservation, restoration, reconstruction, and new construction in addition to the speed of the development work ongoing, collectively and cumulatively impact the authenticity and integrity of the property adversely.
The progress made by the State Party is acknowledged but is not sufficient to address the ongoing threats to the integrity, authenticity and OUV of the property, as confirmed by the findings of the 2019 mission, which in accordance with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines, considered that the property warrants inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to explore as a matter of urgency a dialogue with the Advisory Bodies to support the development of alternative approaches to conservation and development in and around the property and its buffer zone and also explore possible mitigation measures.
Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7B.84
The World Heritage Committee,