Nepal | July 09, 2020

Kathmandu Valley’s heritage at stake

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

UNESCO not happy with the pace of reconstruction in the Kathmandu Valley

post-earthquake reconstruction in basantapur

File – A monument, damaged by the 2015 earthquake, undergoes reconstruction in Basantapur Durbar Area in Kathmandu, on Friday, August 12, 2016. Photo: RSS

Kathmandu, March 24

A UNESCO mission, which arrived in Kathmandu a few days ago, is taking stock of the situation of World Heritage sites and is likely to recommend that Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Property be put in the ‘danger list’.

Last year too, the mission had recommended to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to place Kathmandu in the danger list. The committee, however, decided against it following ‘intense lobbying’.

Listed for their outstanding cultural values, the world heritage property of the Kathmandu Valley comprises seven monument zones — the durbar squares or urban centres with their palaces, temples and public spaces of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, and the religious ensembles of Swoyambhu, Bouddhanath, Pashupati and Changunarayan.

With the seven monuments in the Kathmandu Valley listed as a package, all sites will be placed in the danger list even if not all of them no longer meet the set criteria, claimed an official at UNESCO, who did not want to be named.

The Department of Archaeology, on the other hand, said the mission was in town for UNESCO’s regular monitoring of the heritage sites, and there was ‘no threat’ of the sites being placed in danger list.

“We have been following the UNESCO Convention and fully complying with the recommendations made by UNESCO,” DoA Spokesperson Ram Bahadur Kunwar said. The final decision on whether or not to put the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Property in the danger list, however, will be taken after the mission submits its report to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in July.

UNESCO, meanwhile, is not happy with the pace of reconstruction in the Kathmandu Valley and the way it is being done.

Seven monuments of the Kathmandu Valley made it to the list of UNESCO’s ‘cultural’ list for meeting three criteria — of bearing a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilisation which is living or which has disappeared; being an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history; and being directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.

For failing to meet UNESCO’s recommendations and curb haphazard urbanisation, which resulted into loss of traditional houses and unique architecture for which the Kathmandu Valley was known for, though most of the monuments were in good conditions, the World Heritage Committee repeatedly recommended to put the Kathmandu Valley in the List of World Heritage in Danger since 1993.

The Kathmandu Valley was listed in the danger list in 2003 for being ‘threatened by uncontrolled urban development’. The property was finally removed from the list four years later after the boundaries were redefined, buffer zones were created and management systems were put in place.

The World Heritage Committee had earlier noted that all seven monument zones suffered extensive damage from the earthquakes of April and May 2015 that resulted in adverse impacts on attributes, authenticity, integrity and management of the property and put its Outstanding Universal Value at risk.

The mission is visiting on the request of the government of Nepal to review the progress made since the last visit of the mission in 2016. The Department of Archaeology had submitted an updated report to the World Heritage Centre on February 1 on the state of conservation of property and the implementation of suggestions made in the previous review.

READ ALSO:


A version of this article appears in print on March 25, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepal COVID-19 Update: 255 new cases, 253 recoveries, no deaths

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. As of today, 266,457 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method and 312,402 Rapid Diagn Read More...

In Pictures: Rallying forth in Prime Minister's support

Supporters of Prime Minister KP Oli organised a rally at Lagankhel, Lalitpur, on Wednesday, for the seventh day. The pro-prime minister demonstrations were held in the wake of recent political developments wherein PM Oli is being asked to step down from his either of his posts. Read More...

Crash Landing on You's Son Ye-jin and Parasite's Lee Sun-kyun set for Hollywood debut?

KATHMANDU: Popular South Korean actress Son Ye-jin is set to make her Hollywood debut with film tentatively titled The Cross alongside Sam Worthington. Lee Sun-kyun from the Oscar-winning Parasite has also been a role in it. Qutoing an official from Son’s agency MS Team Entertainment, Th Read More...

Over 90pc COVID-19 recovery reported in Rautahat

RAUTAHAT: Rautahat district, which has been hard-hit by the pandemic, has shown a promising rate of COVID-19 recovery. The district with about 92 percent of patients being discharged from health facilities has bagged much appreciation for the efforts of the concerned authorities. According to Read More...

Billie Eilish's mother reveals singer's obsession with Justin Bieber

KATHMANDU: American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish's mother Maggie has revealed about the singer's childhood obsession with Canadian singer Justin Bieber. In a recent episode of the 18-year-old singer's Apple Music radio show me & dad radio, Maggie, who appeared as a special guest talked ab Read More...

BTS members accused of using MBA enrolment to delay military enlistment

KATHMANDU: The members of K-pop supergroup BTS are facing accusations that they are using a graduate programme to delay their mandatory military duty. The Korea Times reports that speculation started swirling when their agency, Big Hit Entertainment said on July 7 that Jimin and V will start the Read More...

Halle Berry won't play transgender role, apologises for considering it after backlash

KATHMANDU: Oscar-winning Hollywood star Halle Berry has pulled out from playing a transgender role in a film and apologised for conisdering the role following a backlash on social media. According to PTI, Berry had spoken about the role in an Instagram Live interview. "(The film is about) a char Read More...

Priyanka Chopra chosen Toronto International Film Festival's ambassador

KATHMANDU: Actor Priyanka Chopra has been chosen as the ambassador of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2020, joining the list of 50 celebrated filmmakers and actors who are invited as the ambassadors of the TIFF. Chopra, 37 put out a post on Instagram and shared a montage featuring Read More...