1.         Historic City of Ahmadabad (India) (C 1551)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2017

Criteria  (ii)(v)

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/1551/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1551/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Factors identified at the time of inscription:

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1551/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 9 December 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1551/documents and provides the following information:

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

The progress towards the documentation of historic buildings in Ahmadabad is welcomed and constitutes an essential foundation for the long-term management and preservation of the city’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). Not only should such documentation be curated as a static archive, but the State Party should also be encouraged to continue considering how it can be effectively incorporated into the management system, so that the records assist decision-making and monitoring processes, ensuring that future changes are recorded. The State Party advises that this work will be completed by July 2021; however, given that there could be more than 2,000 buildings to record, many of which are residences, this timeframe for completion could be ambitious.

The request for HIAs in relation to all applications for development is welcomed as an important component of urban World Heritage management systems. The concerns raised by the ICOMOS Evaluation related in particular to developments on the western side of the property and in the buffer zone, but it is not clear from the material provided by the State Party whether these have now been fully addressed. The State Party has indicated that no high-rise development is permitted, but it is not clear whether this provision also applies to the buffer zone as well as the inscribed urban area. It is also recommended that HIA be applied to heritage restoration projects, since these can have impacts on the values of the property that should be understood in advance.

Following the inscription, media reports highlighted problems associated with traffic congestion, pollution and neglected pol buildings in poor condition. The State Party’s response of May 2018 regarding the efforts made by the Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation to monitor and address these long-term challenges is noted. In 2019, the State Party provided information about the Hutheesing Jain Temple, noting that some conservation work had been completed, but that further restoration works awaited the required financial resources. Concerns from civil society have also been received about the state of conservation of the Said Tomb of Hazarat Qutub-e-Aalam, demonstrating the scale of the needed programme of conservation works; there have been forwarded to the State Party with a request for feedback, in line with Paragraph 174 of the Operational Guidelines.

Improvements to the local regulations to support the conservation of the urban fabric of Ahmadabad are welcomed, particularly for the pol houses. The extent of the newly established Core Walled City Zone is not indicated, but is presumed to correlate with the boundaries of the World Heritage property; it is suggested that an accurate map, realized in accordance with the specifications of Annex 5, point 1.e of the Operational Guidelines, be provided along with the text of the regulations (in English).

While a number of tourism and visitor management actions have been implemented, the creation of the Visitor Management Plan is considered an essential component of the management system. Recalling the Committee’s recommendation that the Local Area Plan be completed, with a special focus on the conservation of wooden houses, the updated information on the process and expected timeframes for the Heritage Conservation Plan (including the Local Area Plan and the Visitor Management Plan) is noted.

Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7B.25

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 8B.17, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Welcomes the information provided by the State Party concerning the progress made with the documentation of buildings in the city and the scheduled completion of the Conservation Plan (encompassing the provisions of the Local Area Plan and Visitor Management Plan) by December 2020, and requests the State Party to prioritize the completion of these key elements of the management system and to provide updated information concerning:
    1. The completion of the documentation of historic buildings and structures in the city, particularly the distinctive ‘pol’ housing, planned for July 2021,
    2. The completion of the Conservation Plan, incorporating the Local Area Plan and Visitor Management Plan, planned for December 2020,
    3. The completion of Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA) for all major new constructions in the western section of property and in the buffer zone,
    4. The continued efforts to address issues of traffic congestion, pollution and the neglected ‘pol’ buildings in poor condition;
  4. Also welcomes the information provided by the State Party regarding the establishment of the Ahmadabad World Heritage City Trust, and also requests the State Party to continue its efforts to strengthen the capacities for urban heritage conservation at the municipal level;
  5. Notes the changes to the regulations for Ahmadabad in the Common Gujarat Development Control Regulations and the establishment of the Core Walled City Zone, and further requests that an accurate map, realized in accordance with the specifications of the Operational Guidelines, be provided the World Heritage Centre along with the text of the regulations (in English);
  6. Also notes that HIAs are required for all new developments and urges the State Party to ensure that development projects in the buffer zone are also subject to this requirement, and that information about any planned project that may have an impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. 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 examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session.