1.         Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines) (C 722)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1995

Criteria  (iii)(iv)(v)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2001-2012

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/722/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1994-2001)
Total amount approved: USD 153,200
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/722/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 20,000 under Italy Funds-in-Trust for study tour; USD 47,000 under the UNESCO Participation Programme for emergency assistance following typhoon Emong in May 2009; USD 40,600, Netherlands Funds-In-Trust, emergency stabilization and restoration for the Rice Terraces after typhoon Juaning in July 2011

Previous monitoring missions

September 2001: joint ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; June 2005: UNESCO expert mission; April 2006: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; March 2011: 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/722/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 19 December 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/722/documents/ and presents the progress in addressing the conservation issues highlighted by the Committee at its previous sessions, as follows:

The State Party’s 2016 report mentioned climatic vulnerabilities including regular storms and floods, annual typhoons and strong earthquakes that greatly affect the property and its inhabitants. Climate change hazards in the region with major impacts have recently increased, potentially endangering peoples’ lives and the property. The Master Plan addresses the importance of the Disaster Risk Preparedness Plan, but its implementation is not indicated in the State Party’s 2019 report.

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

It should be acknowledged that the State Party has sustained its efforts to implement the multiple action points of the Rice Terraces Master Plan. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to continuously implement the Master Plan and maintain the long-term perspective on sustainability, ensuring the conservation of the OUV of the property and the viability of community livelihoods. Additionally, considering that the midterm review of the Master Plan is scheduled for the first semester of 2020, it is expected that the outcomes of the review should be integrated into future conservation activities.

It should also be noted that the State Party has deployed consistent efforts to address the current conservation issues of the property, notably through the mobilization of financial resources and by ensuring the involvement of the local community. These efforts have resulted in a number of initiatives aimed at sustainably improving of the property’s state of conservation and management through education, integration of traditional knowledge, research and sustainable community development.

In particular, the establishment of inter-agency mechanisms between the Ifugao Rice Terraces Rehabilitation and Development Council and the GIAHS Sustainable Development Committee should be highlighted, as it provides an overarching mechanism to oversee the implementation of various projects and research on the property. It is recommended that the Committee also note with satisfaction the implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Education Program, the documentation of indigenous knowledge and the support for indigenous living traditions.

However, it is noted that conservation issues might continue to affect the property, especially in view of the moderate implementation rate of projects due to the discrepancy between the available human resources and the management workload for the property. In addition, the outmigration and economic development issues resulted in an apparent lack of interest in maintaining the rice terraces, while a shift from rice growing to more profitable agricultural items would result in a loss of traditional knowledge and practices. These challenges are being addressed in line with the Master Plan, and it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to continue addressing these conservation issues accordingly.

Finally, it is recommended that the Committee also encourage the State Party to continue monitoring the implementation of regulations, to control infrastructure and physical developments within the property, and to address factors (including earthquakes and increasing storms and typhoons) that can become threats and result in major hazards. The Disaster Risk Preparedness Plan and climate change adaptation strategies to address increasing climate vulnerability should be implemented as soon as possible. In light of construction projects, including the energy plant projects that are planned in areas surrounding the property, it is also recommended that Heritage Impact Assessments be carried out for each project, in accordance with the relevant ICOMOS and IUCN guidelines.

Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7B.36

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.15 adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Welcomes the substantial efforts and progress made by the State Party to implement the Rice Terraces Master Plan 2015-2024 and improve the overall state of conservation and management of the property;
  4. Encourages the State Party to continuously implement the Rice Terraces Master Plan 2015-2024 and take into account the outcomes of the 2020 midterm review;
  5. Notes with satisfaction the establishment of inter-agency mechanisms between the Ifugao Rice Terraces Rehabilitation and Development Council and the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Sustainable Development Committee of FAO, along with the implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Education Program to support the integration of traditional knowledge systems in formal and informal education, and also encourages the State Party to enhance synergies with GIAHS programme and use these mechanisms to address emerging conservation issues, with consideration for the full participation of local communities and other stakeholders;
  6. Further encourages the State Party to implement the Disaster Risk Preparedness Plan and climate change adaptation strategies as soon as possible, due to the possibility of major earthquakes and the increasing climate vulnerability of the region in the face of regular typhoons and floods;
  7. Encourages furthermore the State Party to continue monitoring the implementation of regulations to control infrastructure and physical developments within the property, and strongly encourages the State Party to prepare Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) for the upcoming energy plant projects in the vicinity of the property, including a specific section on their potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and to submit these HIAs to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above for review by the Advisory Bodies.