1.         Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa (China) (C 707ter)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (i)(iv)(vi)

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/707/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/707/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March 2001: ICOMOS monitoring mission; April 2003: UNESCO/ICOMOS expert mission; May 2005: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission. 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Uncontrolled urban development and expansion of tourism-related facilities in and adjacent to the boundary of the property;

b) Negative impact of the rehabilitation projects on the protection of the traditional urban tissue of the historic centre. 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/707/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

At its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), the World Heritage Committee noted the efforts made by the State Party and requested it to continue the revision of the Urban Development Plan and the elaboration of conservation plans for the three areas of the property, ensuring that they are coherent and complementary and include conservation policies for the traditional buildings within the historic areas of the City. The Plans should be prepared based on an assessment of the foreseeable socio-economic impacts of the conservation policies adopted by the State Party for the property on the local communities, as well as proposed mitigation measures. The World Heritage Committee also requested the State Party to share drafts of the above-mentioned plans with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, before their finalisation and enactment by the competent authorities. It further requested the State Party to submit a report on the state of conservation of the property.

The State Party submitted its report on 26 March 2008. It contained buffer zone modifications submitted in response to the World Heritage Committee’s decision at its 31st session in 2007, by which the World Heritage Committee referred back to the State Party the proposal for minor modifications, to allow for the rationale for the boundaries to be set out and for protection to be put in place. The revised proposals will be considered by the World Heritage Committee as a minor modification.

Urban Development Plan

The report provides a detailed outline of the revision of the Urban Development Plan of Lhasa and the elaboration of conservation plans for the three areas of the property. The report does not make clear whether the Master Plan for the City of Lhasa (1995-2015) is the same as the Urban Development Plan being revised or, if they are indeed two plans, how they complement each other since both appear to include regulations on the protected heritage sites. The report indicates that, at the time of its submission to the World Heritage Centre in March 2008, the Autonomous Region’s Cultural Heritage Bureau and the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage were in the process of formulating the conservation plans for the three sites, together with the Henan Research Institute of Ancient Architecture Protection in the cases of Potala and Norbulingka.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that it would be important that the Urban Development Plan/Master Plan and the conservation plans are developed in a coherent and complementary manner. The State Party’s report refers to protected historic sectors of the old city that are rich in ethnic tradition and culture and contain traditional structures, including Tibetan houses in which a large number of residents continue to live, as well as temples and monasteries. Further information is required about the conservation policies being applied by the State Party within these protected sectors, as well as the impacts of the conservation policies on the local communities living in these areas and elsewhere in the inscribed property. No draft of these plans has been provided, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session.

In the framework of the forthcoming periodic reporting exercise for the Asia Pacific region, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies will be able to provide assistance to the State Party in the development of the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for the property.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 33 COM 7B.68

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.77, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes the efforts made by the State Party to revise and extend the boundaries of the proposed buffer zones;

4. Acknowledges progress with the Urban Development Plan for Lhasa and with elaboration of conservation plans for the three areas of the property and requests that the State Party ensures that they are:

a) Coherent and complementary,

b) Include conservation policies for the traditional buildings within the protected sectors and other parts of the property,

c) Based on an assessment of the foreseeable socio-economic impacts of the conservation policies on the local communities and include proposed mitigation measures, and

d) Implemented through an institutional coordination body;

5. Also requests the State Party to submit the drafts of the above-mentioned Plans to the World Heritage Centre, before their finalisation and enactment by the competent authorities, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

6. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.

Decision Adopted: 33 COM 8B.47

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-09/33.COM/8B and WHC-09/33.COM/INF.8B1.Add,

2. Refers the proposed minor modification to the boundary of the Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa, China, back to the State Party in order to allow it to:

a) Reconsider to supplement the delineation of information provided on the property and the buffer zone for the Potala Palace, to bring the boundaries in line with the 1993 nomination map;

b) Bring the buffer zone for Johkang Temple in line with that shown in the nomination file;

c) Bring the buffer zone for Norbulinka in line with that shown in the nomination file;

d) Provide a scaled map of the three buffer zones;

e) Provide details of height restrictions for the buffer zones, related to the protected perspectives;

f) Submit, when completed, a copy of the revised Urban Plan for Lhasa.