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Decision 41 COM 7B.86
The Great Wall (China) (C 438)

The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Commends the State Party for its efforts towards the protection and conservation of this vast cultural property, especially with regard to the systematic cataloguing of all elements of the Great Wall and the introduction, revision and/or implementation of national and provincial legal frameworks, and encourages the State Party to proceed with the adoption of all provincial programmes for the protection of the Great Wall as soon as possible;
  3. Takes note of the information provided on the proposed high-speed railway line linking Beijing and Zhangjiakou, which is to pass underneath the property via an underground tunnel and foresees the construction of an underground station and a ground building at Guntiangou, within the boundaries of the property, and urges the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), to be prepared in line with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage Properties, for review by the Advisory Bodies; and to ensure that the HIA includes consideration of all potential impacts on the integrity and authenticity of the property, along with appropriate mitigation strategies, including:
    1. Physical impacts from tunnelling and construction activity,
    2. Visual impacts on sightlines and views, and
    3. Alternative options which can reduce such impacts;
  4. Notes with concern that the State Party has not indicated how the proposed new station may influence the already high number of visitors, or what preventive measures have been introduced to address this issue and also urges the State Party to:
    1. Ensure that the potential impacts arising from increased visitation are also addressed in the HIA,
    2. Take all necessary measures to mitigate the impacts of mass tourism on the property, and
    3. Take all necessary measures to minimize the cumulative impacts of tourism infrastructure on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, especially with regard to sight lines to and from the Great Wall;
  5. Requests that the State Party ensure that the construction of the aforementioned high-speed railway line and the proposed station at Guntiangou does not proceed to a point where it is no longer possible to implement changes recommended through the HIA process;
  6. Also takes note of the information provided on the works carried out at the Damao Mountain Section of the Great Wall in Suizhong County, Liaoning Province, and also encourages the State Party to continue its regular conservation and protection efforts to ensure the structural stability of all extant sections of the Great Wall;
  7. Also notes with concern that some of the works were carried out using unsuitable methods, leading to results which are incompatible with the fabric and appearance of the adjoining sections of the Great Wall;
  8. Also requests the State Party to ensure that all works are carried out in accordance with international conservation standards, and that no irreversible damage is done to the fabric of the property and reminds the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre about any major development project that may negatively impact the OUV of the property, before any irreversible decision is made, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, 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 43rd session in 2019.
Decision Code
41 COM 7B.86
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2017 The Great Wall
Decisions adopted during the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee (Krakow, 2017)
Context of Decision