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 2002-2021)
Total amount approved: USD 35,000
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; USD 3.8 million from the Japanese Government for the project ‘Sustainable Management of the Property - Preparing the Removal of Bamiyan from the List of World Heritage in Danger’ (2020-2022)

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 international assistance 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 2021

On 30 January 2020, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208/documents/ and provides updated information on the implementation of the Committee’s previous decisions, as follows:

The State Party also submitted to the World Heritage Centre, as per the Committee’s previous request, the Strategic Master Plan (SMP) for Bamiyan, finalized in 2018 with the support of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and Florence University (Italy) and endorsed by the President of Afghanistan, for review by the Advisory Bodies. Details on the traffic plan and bypass road project, requested at earlier sessions, were provided in November 2019.

The World Heritage Centre received third-party information in June 2020, reporting the completion of the road construction at Tepe Almas, in the vicinity of Sharh-i-Gholghola. Information was provided to the World Heritage Centre in July 2020 and the ICOMOS Technical Review on the road construction and the SMP were transmitted to the State Party on 27 July 2020.

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

The steps taken by the State Party to ensure due consultations with relevant stakeholders, including local communities, are welcome. It is recommended that the Committee acknowledge this fact and strongly encourage the State Party to continue such outreach activities and inscribe consultation mechanisms as a permanent component of the management system.

The July 2020 ICOMOS Technical Review of the SMP advises that several aspects should be discussed and integrated into a further revised version of the document, such as the concept of cultural landscape, community engagement, or the revision of the buffer zones. In its July 2020 Technical Review of the road from Dasht-e Isa Khan to Gholghola Bazaar, ICOMOS indicates that the project would have an adverse impact on the setting of the component site of Shahr-i-Gholghola and advises that aspects such as archaeology be further investigated and a detailed traffic and road hierarchy plan created. The Committee may wish to remind the State Party of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines regarding the submission of complete technical documentation to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies.

The suggestion by the TWC in the Action Plan to prioritize the removal of Bamiyan from the List of World Heritage in Danger over reconstruction efforts should be noted with satisfaction. To this end, the ICOMOS Technical Review of the Action Plan suggests revisions to the Action Plan in order to clarify the required actions for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and to ensure that the technical assignments foreseen through the operational projects are aligned with the requirements of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), approved by the Committee in Decision 31 COM 7A.21. Overall, it is recommended that the Committee welcome the steps taken towards the establishment of the Action Plan to achieve the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and recommend close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to agree on all the necessary work to finalize the Action Plan along with a timeline to achieve its full implementation.

It is recommended that the Committee express its appreciation of the substantial new funding provided by Japan (USD 3.8 million), aiming at supporting the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee may also encourage all stakeholders to make full use of the support provided via this project to develop a costed Action Plan. Details of the technical assignments and work plan foreseen by the project funded by Japan should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, and the project should be implemented so as to strengthen the active involvement of the Afghan authorities and foster a sense of ownership towards the various ongoing processes at the property.

Security measures and the coherence of management frameworks are dependent on the State Party’s perennial commitment to planning and its demonstrated capability to ensure these conditions. It should be noted that the permanent deployment of on-site guards for all components of the property remains vital for site security, and the State Party’s actions to ensure this important element of the DSOCR should be welcomed.

As was pointed out in earlier reports to the Committee, the successful management of the property is dependent on self-sufficient funding for all heritage-related activities. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee encourage again the State Party to prepare a long-term strategy to ensure that the necessary resources for the most important operations are continuously available.

As 2021 marks the tragic 20th anniversary of the destruction of Buddha statues in Bamiyan (see https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/2253), the Committee may wish to reaffirm its support to the Afghan people and reinforce its commitment to stand together in protecting and safeguarding our shared cultural heritage. The Committee may also wish to call upon the international community to provide further technical and financial support in order to assist the State Party in achieving the DSOCR for the property.

Finally, it should be noted that, despite earlier requests, no information was provided on the progress and planned use of the Bamiyan Cultural Centre. The Committee may therefore wish to strongly encourage the State Party to use this on-site facility to enhance the interpretation of the World Heritage property, providing information on its tangible as well as associative heritage values.

Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7A.28

Decision: 44 COM 7A.28

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 42 COM 7A.1 and 43 COM 7A.41 adopted at its 42nd (Manama, 2018) and the 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the steps taken by the State Party to ensure due consultations with relevant stakeholders, including local communities, and strongly encourages it to continue such outreach activities and inscribe consultation mechanisms as a permanent component of the management system;
  4. Acknowledges the submission of the Strategic Master Plan (SMP) for Bamiyan, developed in 2018 with the support of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and Florence University (Italy), and requests that the State Party further develop the SMP, taking into account the recommendations of the ICOMOS Technical Review;
  5. Noting that details on the traffic plan and bypass road project were provided, as requested at earlier sessions, takes note with great concern of the reported completion of the construction of the road in Tepe Almas near Shahr-i-Gholghola, and also requests the State Party to take the advice of the ICOMOS Technical Review into consideration, to fully comply with the provisions of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and not to take any decision that would be difficult to reverse before obtaining the approval of the Committee;
  6. Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with information about any restoration and proposed projects and their potential impact on the OUV of the property, including detailed information on Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), prepared in conformity with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for World Heritage cultural properties, and in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Also welcomes the submission of the draft Action Plan for Bamiyan, prepared by the Technical Working Committee (TWC) in conjunction with new funding from the Government of Japan, notes with satisfaction the TWC’s suggestion to prioritize the removal of Bamiyan from the List of World Heritage in Danger over reconstruction efforts, and urges the Afghan authorities to revise the Action Plan and the timeline for its implementation in order to achieve the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) as soon as possible, in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, and to work towards its full implementation;
  8. Thanks the Government of Japan for supporting activities towards the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger by providing funding through UNESCO, encourages all stakeholders to make full use of the support provided by this project to strengthen the involvement of the Afghan authorities and the fostering of a sense of ownership of all processes at the property, and to develop a cost projection for the implementation of the agreed Action Plan to achieve the DSOCR, and further requests that the technical assignments and work plan for the project funded by Japan be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as possible;
  9. Also notes with satisfaction the State Party’s efforts to increase site security, reiterates that the successful management of the property is dependent on sustainable financial and human resources, and also encourages the State Party to prepare a long-term strategy to ensure that the necessary resources for the most important operations towards the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and its sustainable management are continuously available;
  10. Reaffirms its support to the Afghan people on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the destruction of the Buddha statues, expresses again its strong commitment to stand together in protecting and safeguarding our shared cultural heritage, and reiterates its call to the international community to provide further technical and financial support in order to assist the State Party in achieving the DSOCR for the property;
  11. Regrets that, despite earlier requests, no information was provided on progress with the Bamiyan Cultural Centre and its planned use, and also strongly encourages the State Party to use this on-site facility to enhance the interpretation of the World Heritage property, providing information on its tangible as well as associative heritage values;
  12. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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 45th session;
  13. Decides to retain the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 44 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/21/44.COM/7A, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: