1.         Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro (Pakistan) (C 138)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1980

Criteria  (ii)(iii)

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/138/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1982-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 101,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/138/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 23,500,000 (total of contributions for the International Safeguarding Campaign for Moenjodaro)

Previous monitoring missions

Following the closing of the UNESCO International Safeguarding Campaign (1974-1997), numerous UNESCO and expert missions have been carried out; November/December 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission, October 2010: Post-flood World Heritage Centre expert assessment mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of appropriate conservation work;

b) Deterioration of structures;

c) Suspension of management system.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/138/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

a) Emergency situation after the flooding of August 2010

On 12 August 2010, the impact of the floods on the Archaeological Ruins at Mohenjodaro was reported as critical, with around 1100,000-900,000 cusecs water flowing past the World Heritage property which is protected by bunds and spurs constructed during the UNESCO International Safeguarding Campaign (1974-1997). At that time, the river training scheme consisted of the construction of the outer bunds and stone pitched t-spurs for the purpose of preventing the river, with its ever shifting course and seasonal overflow, from eroding the site. To the north of the archaeological site the bunds and spur, beginning at the village of Hassan Wahan, have not been sheathed with stone.

In response to the August 2010 flood emergency in Pakistan, the Director-General of UNESCO set up a Task Force to respond to the situation on all levels of UNESCO’s programmes. At the request of the State Party and the Director-General, a World Heritage Centre Post-flood assessment mission was carried out to affected World Heritage properties in Pakistan, from 7 to 15 October 2010. The mission found that urgent consideration must be given to the possible strengthening of the vulnerable mud embankment and spur located to the north of the property. In addition, it must be determined whether the other embankments and spurs have been compromised internally. For this purpose a project proposal has been developed which includes a geothechnical and a submerger study based on high resolution topographic maps. Although the brick structures had suffered some damage due to the heavy rains, this could be addressed by the customary maintenance work. The mission also recommended that progress should be made on the site presentation and interpretation as noted by the 2006 mission.

The mission noted that the emergency response plan of the property functioned well. However, they consider that the disaster event presents an opportunity to review the property, review any ground floor level storage facilities that may contain artifacts or papers, and integrate the involvement of local communities to contribute to its effectiveness both in terms of site protection and saving of lives and livelihoods of the citizens in the surrounding villages.

The State Party submitted a state of conservation report to the World Heritage Centre on 31 January 2011. A number of management issues identified in Decision 33 COM 7B.81 have either been addressed or remain unresolved, and are outlined as follows:

b) Master Plan

An updated Master Plan for preservation, development and tourism at Moenjodaro has been under consideration by the Pakistan Federal Government since February 2009, with no resolution reported in the 2011 State Party report. 

An updated Medium Term Action Plan is reported as being implemented, but the clarification of the relationship of this document to the 2006 mission recommendations, as requested in Decision 33 COM 7B.81, has not been offered.

c) Redefinition of boundaries

The work to identify the extent of related archaeological remains outside the World Heritage property by dry core drilling has been held up by funding availability and flooding, but is scheduled for completion by June 2011.

d) Archaeological Research Strategy

The State Party has not reported any progress in the development of an archaeological research strategy, requested in Decision 33 COM 7B.81 as a necessary precursor to further major archaeological interventions at the property.

e) Land use encroachment on archaeological remains subject to future extension of the property

The State Party has identified the need to construct a wall or barrier to prevent grazing animals and other activities by villagers inside the property. This would suggest that the areas subject to future extension are also being impacted by such encroachment. 

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


The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the adoption of an updated Master Plan for preservation, development and tourism at Moenjodaro has been pending, and consider that the State Party should finally approve an updated Master Plan.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also consider that the State Party should implement measures recommended by the October 2010 mission, including the updating of a risk management plan, and preventive interventions, as well as the definition of the extent of the property by dry core drilling, and the development of an archaeological research strategy.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the State Party has identified the need for a boundary wall or fence, and encourages the State Party to investigate more fully the issue of land use encroachment both inside the property and in the area which may be subject to a possible extension of the property. 

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.77

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.81, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Notes that a comprehensive Master Plan has been prepared and is pending approval by the Pakistan Federal Government and that work is in progress to identify the actual extent of the archaeological area of Moenjodaro;

4. Also notes with appreciation the efforts made by the Director-General of UNESCO to address the emergency situation of August 2010 flooding at Moenjodaro through a post-flood assessment mission to the property in October 2010;

5. Requests the State Party to:

a) update the risk management plan,

b) submit a topographic map of the archaeological area including a possible extension of the property, once the dry core drilling to determine the extent of archaeological remains has been completed,

c) develop an archaeological research strategy, including non-invasive methods of investigation, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, and refrain from undertaking any major archaeological interventions until this strategy is in place,

d) provide a full report on the measures put in place to protect areas of archaeological interest both within the property boundaries and in any area subject to potential extension of the property from encroachments and land uses,

e) further develop a site presentation and interpretation programme as suggested by the 2006 World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission;

6. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a detailed report on the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the October 2010 World Heritage Centre post-flood assessment mission, as well as on the implementation of the above.