11th Bamiyan Working Group
The 11th Bamiyan Working Group meeting for the preservation of the Cultural Landscape of Bamiyan was organized by UNESCO on the 10th and 11th December 2012. The meeting was held in Aachen, Germany and in cooperation with the Aachen University. The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate the works implemented in Bamiyan during 2012 and to identify future priority actions for the conservation of the site, based upon the recommendations of the previous Expert Working group, which was held in Tokyo, Japan (December 2011).
An Afghan government delegation led by H.E. Dr Sayed Makhdoum Raheen, Minister of Information and Culture and also representatives from the ministry of Public Works and Urban Development participated at the meeting. The minister in his opening speech requested UNESCO and International experts to assist the Afghan government in implementing the following four activities:
1. At least partial-reconstruction of one Buddha niche (Eastern Buddha, small Buddha of 38 metres)
2. Building and managing the Bamiyan Museum and Centre for Peace
3. Consolidation of the Western Buddha Niche.
4. Achieving the “Desired State of Conservation” for the removal of the property from the list of World Heritage in Danger
The two-day meeting discussions emphasized on the importance of a cultural development approach in Bamiyan that incorporates and demonstrates the contribution of culture to sustainable livelihoods, education and the promotion of peace in Afghanistan. The meeting also served as a vector for the coordination of international efforts and as a discussion concerning a range of issues that included infrastructure and development plans of the Afghan Government for Bamiyan in the short and long term and the broader spectrum of heritage management challenges facing Bamiyan and its population.
The Expert Working Group was formed in 2002 within the framework of the coordination mandate for all cultural projects in the country entrusted to UNESCO by the Afghan government. It coordinates activities carried out under different UNESCO projects (funded by the governments of Japan, Switzerland and Germany) for preserving and protecting the cultural heritage of the Bamiyan valley. In addition, the group welcomed new projects, notably the important financial contribution of the Italian government for the conservation of Shahr-i-Gholghole, one of the 8 components of the Bamiyan World Heritage property.