20.12.2018 - UNESCO Office in Kabul

Italy Supports a new UNESCO Program for Safeguarding and Promoting of the Bamiyan Valley Cultural Heritage

From left to right: Mr. Masanori Nagaoka, Head of Culture Unit for UNESCO Kabul Office, Mr. Roberto Cantone, Italian Ambassador in Afghanistan, Mr. Abdul Baqi Popal, Deputy Minister of Municipalities, and Mr. Mauro Ghirotti, Director of the Italian Cooperation in Afghanistan. © UNESCO/S.Habibullah

The Government of Italy, through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, supports a 4.1 million Euros initiative for the Preservation and Promotion of the Bamiyan Valley through Culture-Oriented Sustainable Development.

On 17th December, in the presence of senior government officials from the Afghan Ministry of Information & Culture and from the Governorate of Bamiyan, the Italian Ambassador in Afghanistan Roberto Cantone and UNESCO Kabul Office signed the agreement for implementing the new 4.1 million Euros initiative in Bamiyan.

This 3-year program is aimed at supporting the Afghan Government in its efforts to protecting and managing the archaeological and cultural landscape of the Bamiyan Valley through an integrated approach that combines direct conservation actions along the main Buddha Cliff with the preservation and valorization of their natural and cultural environment.

Inscribed in the List of World Heritage Property in Danger in 2003, Bamiyan’s Cultural Landscape contains a wealth of important archaeological and historical sites, from the well-known Buddha statue niches, to the fortified settlements and fortresses of Shahr-i Zuhak and Shahr-i Ghulghulah, as well as many shrines, caves, and fortified houses. Bamiyan is also the tourist location most visited by Afghans, with promising economic opportunities for the local Valley.

The program includes three main components: 1) the elaboration of a management plan that will contribute to the removal of the Bamiyan Valley from the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger list; 2) The creation of an Archaeological Park that will contribute to protect and enhance the unique heritage, to promote local employment, and to encourage economic growth by providing space   and context for tourism-related industries. It will strengthen local and national awareness by having public services offering accessible information about the historical and cultural significance of the Bamiyan sites; 3) A detailed analysis of the Buddha Cliff in order to mitigate the hydro-geological risks.

The program will contribute to the objectives of the Afghanistan National Program for Culture & Creative Economy (NPCE), and will benefit of synergies with other cultural projects in the Bamiyan Valley, including the on-going Italian funded initiative for the preservation and valorization of the Shahr-e Gholghola archaeological site.

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