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Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley

Afghanistan
Factors affecting the property in 2007*
  • Civil unrest
  • Other Threats:

    Fragile state of the cliffs and niche; Presence of anti-personnel mines in the area.

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Fragile state of the cliffs and niches;

b) Absence of a site management plan and monitoring system;

c) Presence of anti-personnel mines in the area.

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Risk of imminent collapse of the Buddha niches;
  • Irreversible deterioration of the mural paintings;
  • Looting, illicit traffic and illegal excavations of cultural heritage assets;
  • Continued use of certain heritage areas for military posts;
  • Anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordinances (i.e. munitions).
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Proposed in the draft Decision.

Corrective Measures for the property

Proposed in the draft Decision.

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
A timeframe of four years has currently been identified as necessary to meet the benchmarks.
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2007

Total amount provided to the property: USD 3,337,027 (2003-2007) through the Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the project “Safeguarding of the Bamiyan site”, Phases I and II.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2007
Requests approved: 1 (from 2002-2002)
Total amount approved : 30,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2007**

No reactive monitoring mission as such, but UNESCO expert missions sent every year since 2002 in order to implement the operational project for the property.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

The State Party submitted a progress report on the state of conservation to the World Heritage Centre on 8 February 2007. It described recent archaeological findings and mentioned that almost all the fragments of the Giant Buddha statueswere salvaged from the two large niches and then sorted, documented, and stored in temporary shelters. Scaffolding was installed inside the Eastern Giant Buddha niche to prepare for conservation works in 2007.

In order to avoid the imminent collapse of the cliffs affected by the 2001 explosion, the two Giant Buddha niches were subject to emergency consolidation. This operation, which began in 2003 under the UNESCO-Japan Funds-in-Trust project, was successfully completed in 2006. The project also continued to document the numerous Buddhist caves and conserve the mural paintings inside prioritized caves. A monitoring system was installed to measure the impact of climatic conditions and to identify the best measures to protect the mural paintings.  

The State Party is in the process of finalising the Management Plan for the property, following review of the draft that was completed in December 2006.The Governor of Bamiyan officially established the Bamiyan Cultural Landscape Coordination Committee (BCLCC) in 2006, to protect the Cultural Landscape of the Bamiyan Valley. This intersectoral body will implement the protective zoning plan (Cultural Master Plan), approved by the Ministry of Urban Planning in March 2006.

Looting, illicit traffic and illegal excavations of cultural heritage assets are being addressed by the initial site-management and monitoring system. However, due to the situation of the country, it remains extremely difficult to ensure effective governance of the site. Though the military is no longer active in the heritage areas of the Bamiyan Valley, anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordinances remain unidentified and uncleared in certain areas of the property, and no archaeological studies or conservation works can be carried out in these areas prior to demining. In 2006, UNMACA (United Nations Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan) demined the area of the Giant Buddha niches, but the demining needs continuation in other areas of the site.

During an Expert Working Group for the property in December 2006, the relevant Afghan authorities together with ICOMOS and UNESCO held discussions to define the benchmarks for eventual removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, in response to the request of the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006). Given that a number of on-site expert mission reports in 2006 provided sufficient information on the state of conservation and necessary future actions, they agreed that no reactive monitoring mission was necessary to reassess the state of conservation of the property or to set the benchmarks, which had now been collectively agreed to by ICOMOS, UNESCO and the State Party.

Afghanistan continues to be confronted by a post-conflict situation: a highly unstable security situation, lack of technical and institutional capacity-development, and extreme poverty. Proposed benchmarks taking into account this reality, have been identified and are proposed in the draft Decision, altogether with possible corrective measures.

As for the targeted timeframe, a minimum of four years has been identified as necessary to address the benchmarks and mitigate the threats to the state of conservation of the property. Recommendations of the Expert Working Group for the Preservation of the Bamiyan Site (https://whc.unesco.org/en/events/354) can be referred to as a detailed action plan, which complements the identified corrective measures in order to meet the proposed benchmarks.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2007
31 COM 7A.21
Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) (C 208 rev)
 

The World Heritage Committee,

1.       Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7A,

2.       Recalling Decision 30 COM 7A.23, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3.       Notes with satisfaction the efforts and commitment of the State Party and the international community for the safeguarding of this property;

4.       Adopts the following as the desired state of conservation for the property in view of its future removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger:

a)      ensured site security,

b)      ensured long-term stability of the Giant Buddha niches,

c)      adequate state of conservation of archaeological remains and mural paintings, and

d)      implemented Management Plan and Cultural Master Plan (the protective zoning plan);

5.       Encourages the State Party to implement corrective measures for:

a)      ensured site security by

(i)      exerting strict control of illicit excavations and looting through hiring of adequate number of trained site guards, and

(ii)      clearing unexploded ordinances and anti-personnel mines from the property;

b)      ensured long-term stability of the Giant Buddha niches by installing a permanent monitoring system;

c)      adequate state of conservation of archaeological remains and mural paintings by

(i)      completing the conservation of the fragments of the Giant Buddha statues and

(ii)      completing the conservation of the mural paintings in the prioritized buddhist caves;

d)      the Management Plan and the Cultural Master Plan (the protective zoning plan) both implemented by developing institutional capacity, notably for the Ministry of Culture and the intersectoral Bamiyan Cultural Landscape Coordination Committee (BCLCC);

6.       Invites the international community to continue its technical and financial support, in particular to achieve the above indicated desired state of conservation;

7.       Requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity and authenticity, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008;

8.       Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2008 the Management Plan and a progress report on the implementation of corrective measures, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008; and

9.       Decides to retain the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

31 COM 8C.2
Update of the list of the World Heritage in danger - maintenance

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-07/31.COM/7A and WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add, WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add.3),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 31 COM 7A.20)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, (Decision 31 COM 7A.21)
  • Azerbaijan, Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Decision 31 COM 7A.26)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 31 COM 7A.29)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 31 COM 7A.3)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Virunga National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.4)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.5)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Garamba National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Salonga National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 31 COM 7A.8)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 31 COM 7A.16)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 31 COM 7A.9)
  • Germany, Dresden Elbe Valley (Decision 31 COM 7A.27)
  • India, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (Decision 31 COM 7A.11)
  • Islamic Republic of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Decision 31 COM 7A.22)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 31 COM 7A.17)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 31 COM 7A.18)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 31 COM 7A.10)
  • Pakistan, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Decision 31 COM 7A.24)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 31 COM 7A.30)
  • Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Decision 31 COM 7A.25)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 31 COM 7A.28)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 31 COM 7A.15)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 31 COM 7A.31)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 31 COM 7A.19)
Draft Decision: 31 COM 7A.21

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7A.23, adopted at its 30thsession (Vilnius, 2006),

3. Notes with satisfaction the efforts and commitment of the State Party and the international community for the safeguarding of this property;

4. Adopts the following benchmarks for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger as follows:

a) ensured site security,

b) ensured long-term stability of the Giant Buddha niches,

c) adequate state of conservation of archaeological remains and mural paintings, and

d) implemented Management Plan and Cultural Master Plan (the protective zoning plan);

5. Encourages the State Party to implement corrective measures for:

a) ensured site security by

(i) exerting strict control of illicit excavations and looting through hiring of adequate number of trained site guards, and

(ii) clearing unexploded ordinances and anti-personnel mines from the property;

b) ensured long-term stability of the Giant Buddha niches by installing a permanent monitoring system;

c) adequate state of conservation of archaeological remains and mural paintings by

(i) completing the conservation of the fragments of the Giant Buddha statues and

(ii) completing the conservation of the mural paintings in the prioritized buddhist caves;

d) the Management Plan and the Cultural Master Plan (the protective zoning plan) both implemented by developing institutional capacity, notably for the Ministry of Culture and the intersectoral Bamiyan Cultural Landscape Coordination Committee (BCLCC);

6. Invites the international community to continue its technical and financial support, in particular to meet the above benchmarks;

7. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2008 the Management Plan and a progress reporton the implementation of corrective measures, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008; and

8. Decides to retain the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 2007
Afghanistan
Date of Inscription: 2003
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2003-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 31COM (2007)
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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