State of conservation of Historical Monuments of Mtskheta
In February 2018, a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission will take place to the World Heritage property “Historical Monuments of Mtskheta” (Georgia), as requested by the World Heritage Committee to assess current conditions at the property.
The World Heritage property of the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1994 and on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2009.
In this context, the Georgian authorities developed reinforced collaboration with the World Heritage Centre through the signature, in October 2015, of an agreement for technical assistance by UNESCO to Georgia within the framework of a project “Cultural Heritage Advisory Service to the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation (NACHP)” financially supported by the World Bank.
This technical assistance, primarily intended to lead to removing the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, had larger objectives: to enhance the institutional and technical capacity of the national and local authorities, to ensure cross-institutional collaboration, and to ensure long-term planning and the reinforcement of management mechanisms and capacities required to deal with the integration and sustainable implementation of heritage protection and development needs.
In 2016, by Decision 40 COM 7A.29, the World Heritage Committee decided to remove the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) from the List of World Heritage in Danger, welcoming the important work and commitment by the State Party and noting the measures taken by the authorities to guarantee protection of the property.
The World Heritage Centre is closely following the state of conservation of the property in collaboration with the Georgian authorities and relevant stakeholders, including the representatives of the Patriarchate of Georgia.
The World Heritage Committee will review the state of conservation of this property, based on the findings of the UNESCO advisory assistance and the forthcoming reactive monitoring mission, at its 42nd session in 2018.
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decisions 38 COM 7A.17, 39 COM 7A.41 and 40 COM 7A.29, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014), 39th (Bonn, 2015) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions respectively,
- Welcomes the progress made by the State Party with the implementation of the recommendations, notably improvements to the Urban Land-Use Master Plan (ULUMP);
- Also welcomes the progress made by State Party in establishing a Temporary Working Group for Urban Planning and Steering Committee;
- Takes note of the tripartite agreement signed between the State Party and UNESCO, and the World Bank (Georgia/UNESCO Agreement,) to provide technical assistance in the elaboration of the Urban Master Plan of the City of Mtskheta;
- Encourages the State Party to develop a detailed operational workplan and procedures for the revision and finalisation of the ULUMP and development of the Master Plan, as well as ensuring stakeholder involvement and proceed with the finalisation and implementation of the ULUMP and Master Plan, as a matter of priority;
- Encourages the State Party to implement the recommendations and advice of the technical assistance reports provided in the framework of the Georgia/UNESCO Agreement;
- Requests the State Party to ensure that, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, any projects which may be proposed in the future in the immediate and wider setting of the World Heritage property be submitted to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible, before any tender is launched or decision taken to implement projects;
- Recommends that the State Party reviews the projects, such as the Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP) sectional replacement, the rehabilitation of the fragment of the Western Wall of the Defense Wall at Svetitskhoveli Church and the Mtskheta Archaeological Museum collection conservation and new building finalisation, according to the recommendations provided;
- Takes note with satisfaction that the State Party has submitted the proposal for a minor boundary modification of the unified buffer zone;
- Also takes note that the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission has been invited by the State Party and also requests that it be undertaken before 31 December 2017;
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 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 42nd session in 2018.
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
- Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.41, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
- Welcomes the important work and commitment by the State Party to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) forms the core of the development of the Urban Land-Use Master Plan (ULUMP);
- Notes the measures taken by the authorities to guarantee protection to the property through the Decree on the Moratorium on Urban Development and Land Privatization as well as a revised ULUMP which has yet to be finalized and implemented in accordance with World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS recommendations;
- Decides to remove the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
- Recommends that the State Party take into consideration the recommendations provided by the 2015 and 2016 World Heritage Centre technical assistance missions, and by ICOMOS, notably to:
- Strengthen the strategic spatial planning vision and ensure that the urban dimension of the property be fully reflected in the policies, measures and tools adopted to ensure the conservation of the latter, using if necessary the approach carried by the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011),
- Address the governance issue at the local level in order to ensure adequate planning, efficient management and decision making,
- Pursue a stakeholder involvement strategy and methodology, together with communication tools,
- Review the administrative borders especially in relation to the Jvari site,
in order to finalize and implement the ULUMP including supportive land use regulations, and a management plan, and also continue to ensure the long term conservation of monuments and archaeological sites through the development of adequate plans and restoration programmes;
- Welcomes the establishment of a unified buffer zone, encompassing the landscape surrounding the components, including in particular the panorama along the rivers and the mountain setting and requests the State Party to provide this enlarged buffer zone with appropriate protection, and to submit a minor boundary modification proposal of the unified buffer zone of the property to the World Heritage Centre;
- Also welcomes the initiative of the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations;
- Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.