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Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur

Bangladesh
Factors affecting the property in 2009*
  • Financial resources
  • Human resources
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Relative humidity
  • Water (rain/water table)
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of an effective management system;

b) Lack of adequate human and financial resources;

c) Property and buffer zone boundaries not clearly defined;

d) Drainage and internal moisture contents problem.

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2009

Total amount provided to the property: USD 800,000 from UNDP, UNESCO, Japan Funds-in-Trust, France UNESCO Cooperation Agreement and NORAD

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2009
Requests approved: 3 (from 1986-2005)
Total amount approved : 100,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2009**

October 2002: ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; February 2003: UNESCO experts mission; February/March 2009: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

The World Heritage Committee in Decision 32 COM 7B.64 noted the lack of progress in the implementation of the activity concerning drainage problems at the property and in the development of a management plan. In particular, it expressed serious concern about recent works carried out at the site concerning the installation of draining pipes along the main stupa and light fittings in its immediate vicinity and requested the State Party to suspend these works and implement appropriate mitigating measures to prevent possible deterioration of the property until the situation is reassessed by a joint World Heritage Centre/Advisory Bodies reactive monitoring mission. The World Heritage Committee also requested the State Party to continue its efforts towards the definition of the boundaries of the property and the buffer zone and encouraged the State Party to submit a request for International Assistance to undertake this task. The proposed delimitation of the property and its buffer zone, as well as the management plan for the property, were to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2010. The World Heritage Committee further requested the State Party to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity and authenticity. The World Heritage Committee urged the State Party to strengthen the capacity of the Department of Archaeology by providing it with adequate human and financial resources.

The State Party’s progress report was sent on 23 February 2009, just before the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission (24 February-1 March 2009). It indicated that the State Party is in the process of implementing the recommendations of previous advisory missions carried out in the framework of International Assistance projects in 2007 and 2008 and looked forward to advice from the forthcoming reactive monitoring mission.

The State Party indicated that the drainage pipes from the top of the structure had been replaced, as previously recommended, and that all the drains, including both open air non-metallic and underground, had been cleared. The Department of Archaeology (DOA) had submitted a project proposal to the central government for approval that will deal with the drainage issue and also enable completion of the management plan.

The State Party further indicated that the light fittings near the central stupa were temporary and would be removed after the original terracotta plaques have been replaced by replicas. It recognised the need for adequate human and financial resources and agreed to submit a request for International Assistance to undertake a project to define the boundaries of the property and the buffer zone. The State Party assured the World Heritage Committee that it would develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity and authenticity, and that it would seek assistance from the Advisory Bodies and/or the forthcoming mission to that end.

The mission noted that, while the authorities had made some progress in implementing the recommendations formulated by the World Heritage Committee, a large number of key conservation and management issues had not been resolved. The mission found that these problems were directly linked to the lack of a methodological approach to conservation and the absence of a management plan. In addition to the considerable number of staff vacancies within the DOA, the staff require professional guidance and training in concepts and practices of heritage conservation and management. Failure to seek assistance and advice from national experts, national institutions, universities and the public sector have added to the isolation of decision making. The replacing of drainage pipes embedded in the brickwork, as reported to the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee (Quebec City, 2008), was found to have caused irreversible damage to the original brickwork. As regards the processes leading to damage caused by water and salinity, further studies are needed. Systematic monitoring of the property, especially the terracotta plaques, both in situ and in storage, is required to measure the extent of the decay, while better security and visitor management is needed to prevent visitors climbing on the central shrine.

The mission recommended that no major interventions should be carried out until a management plan that sets the priorities for protection and conservation has been established, and provided advice on maintenance activities to be carried out. With regard to boundary definition, the mission found that, while the DOA is in the process of developing new boundaries, this is not being done on the basis of an agreed Statement of Outstanding Universal Value. Further, adequate maps of the geomorphology, hydrology and land-use/ownership status of the area are needed to inform the definition of the buffer zone.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that unless the management effectiveness and conservation of the property are significantly improved by the State Party in the near future, the impact of the above-mentioned threats could eventually lead to its inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Priority should be given to developing a management plan based on a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, including appropriate conservation policies and provisions for a buffer zone. The State Party should be encouraged to request International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund to this end.

 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2009
33 COM 7B.64
The Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur (Bangladesh) (C 322)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.64, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Takes note of the information provided by the State Party on the steps taken in the past year and the readiness for cooperation of its authorities;

4. Regrets that issues of drainage, management and conservation of the property have not been adequately addressed by the State Party despite International Assistance;

5. Urges the State Party, as a matter of priority, to address the recommendations made by the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission carried out in February-March 2009, in particular to:

a) Draft in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value of the property,

b) Elaborate in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies a comprehensive management plan which includes conservation policies and provisions for a buffer zone,

c) Refrain from carrying out any major conservation works until the management plan has been developed and adopted and to ensure in the meantime that all necessary maintenance works are carried out in line with the recommendations made by the 2009 reactive monitoring mission,

d) Ensure that the necessary professional staff are recruited to fill the vacant posts in the Department of Archaeology, including additional guards at the property,

e) Remove the incompatible light fittings installed within the courtyard of the monastery once additional guards have been deployed at the property,

f) Build the capacity of the staff of the Department of Archaeology in heritage management and conservation, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

6. Invites the State Party to request International Assistance to implement the recommendations contained in paragraph 5 above;

7. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a detailed report on the progress achieved in the implementation of the recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.

Draft Decision: 33 COM 7B.64

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.64, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Takes note of the information provided by the State Party on the steps taken in the past year and the readiness for cooperation of its authorities;

4. Regrets that issues of drainage, management and conservation of the property have not been adequately addressed by the State Party despite International Assistance;

5. Urges the State Party, as a matter of priority, to address the recommendations made by the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission carried out in February-March 2009, in particular to:

a) Draft in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value of the property including condition of authenticity and integrity;

b) Elaborate in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies a comprehensive management plan which includes conservation policies and provisions for a buffer zone;

c) Refrain from carrying out any major conservation works until the management plan has been developed and adopted and to ensure in the meantime that all necessary maintenance works are carried out in line with the recommendations made by the 2009 reactive monitoring mission;

d) Ensure that the necessary professional staff are recruited to fill the vacant posts in the Department of Archaeology, including additional guards at the property;

e) Remove the incompatible light fittings installed within the courtyard of the monastery once additional guards have been deployed at the property;

f) Build the capacity of the staff of the Department of Archaeology in heritage management and conservation, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

6. Invites the State Party to request International Assistance to implement the recommendations contained in paragraph 5 above;

7. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a detailed report on the progress achieved in the implementation of the recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011. 

Report year: 2009
Bangladesh
Date of Inscription: 1985
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 33COM (2009)
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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