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Kathmandu Valley

Nepal
Factors affecting the property in 2011*
  • Housing
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Uncontrolled urban development resulting in the loss of traditional urban fabric, in particular privately-owned houses;

b) Lack of coordinated management mechanism. 

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2011

Total amount provided to the property: USD 10 million (1979-2001) - International Safeguarding Campaign; USD 45,000 (2005) - Dutch Funds-in-Trust 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2011
Requests approved: 15 (from 1979-2006)
Total amount approved : 342,679 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

The State Party at the request of the World Heritage Centre provided a reply letter on the state of conservation issues, dated 29 December 2010.

a) Study on the impact of the proposed road on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property

The property, comprising of seven Monument Zones, includes the Hindu temples of Pashupati. The World Heritage Committee, at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008), adopted Decision 32 COM 7B.76, requesting the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of the mitigation efforts for the proposed new road in the Pashupati Monument Zone, initiated in 2007, crossing the Pashupati monument zone from West to East and cutting through the forest. Following several consultation meetings and the World Heritage Centre mission of April 2008, the State Party was requested to undertake a technical study on the impact of the proposed road on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. Despite the Government of Nepal’s commitment in its state of conservation report of 2009 to advise its Department of Roads (DoR) to re-examine and realign the trajectory of the road in order to ensure the safeguarding of the property, the World Heritage Centre has not, to date, received any further information on the matter.

b) Tunnel road construction

A project proposal for the tunnel road construction from 2007 was received by the World Heritage Centre in late July 2010. The Advisory Body (ICOMOS) indicated in August 2010 that the proposed road would negatively impact the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and the World Heritage Centre requested the Nepalese authorities to consider suspending road construction on 1 September 2010, until such time as an independent environmental assessment could be carried out. Further, upon a request from the Government of Nepal in December 2010, the World Heritage Centre organized a UNESCO - Netherlands Fund-in-Trust funded international expert advisory mission to Kathmandu from 12 to 18 March 2011, to provide technical advice on the proposed road construction design, taking into consideration the local needs and context and its possible impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage property.

The advisory mission report cites many potential threats faced by the property including previously unidentified threats such as the proposed extension of the Kathmandu International Airport. The mission’s recommendations include the need to define and secure clear boundaries for the property, the stabilization of the hills along the damaged area, the re-establishment of the damaged natural drainage system, the introduction of measures to secure the property from unauthorized pedestrian and vehicle access and the restoration of the disturbed forest area. The advisory mission also states that the current tunnel road construction proposal is unsatisfactory and can neither be implemented in its current form nor improved by additional studies. Finally, the mission report notes that there is a need to carry out a detailed study of alternative routes for the road around the property boundary. 

c) Lightning damages 

Pratapur Temple in the Swayambhu Monument Zone of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage site, suffered damage from a lightning strike on 14 February 2011, during a sudden thunderstorm. According to the UNESCO Kathmandu office, the temple appears to be quite heavily damaged, probably by two different lightning strikes. The main damage appears to be on the north and south sides, while there are cracks to the temple's east side. The stairway to the south side entrance to the temple is heavily damaged, with at least one sculpture dislocated. The Department of Archaeology, Nepal, is undertaking the necessary emergency repairs.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2011

The World Heritage and the Advisory Bodies are of the view that the proposed construction of the road and the extension of the Kathmandu International Airport will have significant adverse impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and that alternative approaches for both projects should therefore be closely reviewed by the State Party. They underscore the importance of the State Party immediately implementing the recommendations of the UNESCO advisory mission. In light of the above, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies would propose that the State Party consider requesting a reactive monitoring mission to review the overall state of conservation of the property and propose necessary corrective measures to achieve the desired state of conservation of the World Heritage property. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2011
35 COM 7B.75
Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) (C 121)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.76, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Takes note of the conclusions and recommendations of the March 2011 UNESCO international expert advisory mission to the Pashupati Monument Zone of the Kathmandu Valley with respect to the proposed tunnel road construction of 2007 and the proposed Kathmandu International Airport extension;

4. Urges the State Party to abandon its plans for the tunnel road construction crossing the Pashupati monument zone, to determine a road trajectory that goes around the property boundary and to restore the pre-2007 situation at the monument zone;

5. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/Advisory Bodies reactive monitoring mission to the property to assess the state of conservation of the property, including the tunnel road construction crossing the Pashupati monument zone and the planned extension of the Kathmandu International Airport;

6. Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with detailed information including an independently prepared Heritage Impact Assessment for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, prior to the mission;

7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the implementation of the March 2011 UNESCO international expert advisory mission recommendations and on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.

Draft Decision: 35 COM 7B.75

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B, 

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.76, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Takes note of the conclusions and recommendations of the March 2011 UNESCO international expert advisory mission to the Pashupati Monument Zone of the Kathmandu Valley with respect to the proposed tunnel road construction of 2007 and the proposed Kathmandu International Airport extension;

4. Urges the State Party to abandon  its plans for the tunnel road construction crossing the Pashupati monument zone, to determine a road trajectory that goes around the property boundary and to restore the pre-2007 situation at the monument zone;

5. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre / Advisory Bodies reactive monitoring mission to the property to assess the state of conservation of the property, including the tunnel road construction crossing the Pashupati monument zone and the planned extension of the Kathmandu International Airport;

6. Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with detailed information including an independently prepared Heritage Impact Assessment for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, prior to the mission;

7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the implementation of the March 2011 UNESCO international expert advisory mission recommendations and on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012. 

Report year: 2011
Nepal
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2003-2007
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 35COM (2011)
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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