The 8th Expert Working Group on Safeguarding the Bamiyan World Heritage Site
The 8th Expert Working Group for the Preservation of the Bamiyan site was held in Munich, Germany from the 25th - 26th of March 2010 at the Munich Technical University in cooperation with ICOMOS Germany.The meeting was attended by over 50 participants and observers from the Afghan Government, UNESCO and the international community. A range of important issues were discussed, including the necessary steps to be taken to further address site security, the stability of the Giant Buddha niches and fragments, the conservation of mural paintings and archaeological sites in Bamiyan, and the further elaboration and implementation of the Cultural Master Plan and Management Plan for all the Bamiyan World Heritage areas.
Since the destruction of the giant Buddha sculptures of Bamiyan in March 2001, the Eastern Buddha probably dating back to the 6th Century AD, The Western Buddha to the early 7th century, international agencies have come together in an emergency effort to safeguard the remains of this invaluable Afghan heritage. In 2003, the cultural landscape of Bamiyan was inscribed on the World Heritage List, and simultaneously placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Since then, thanks to the generous grants through the UNESCO - Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the Preservation of World Cultural Heritage, UNESCO has undertaken three phases of a major project for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley.
Substantial progress was made during the period since 2003 covered by this project, notably in relation to the considerable improvement of the state of preservation of the Bamiyan site, ensuring the long-term consolidation of the site, an increase in national capacities in the conservation of cultural heritage, and the creation of a basis for the inception of cultural tourism in Bamiyan.
In the course of the project UNESCO and ICOMOS organized review meetings at the end or at the beginning of each year, inviting representatives from the Afghan Government and international experts and implementing partners for the purposes of monitoring and evaluation of the project activities carried out and to update and coordinate future priority actions for the following year. The Afghan Government has participated fully in these coordination meetings (representatives of both the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Ministry of Urban Development, as well as the Governor of Bamiyan) and consensus has been achieved on the need to focus on emergency measures to safeguard the site and ensure the sustainability of the heritage values for which it was inscribed on the List. Further technical interventions are still required to ensure the continued preservation of the site and in order to remove the site from the List in Danger and to ensure long-term conservation.
The recommendations from the Expert Working Group meeting are currently being finalized and will be available online shortly.
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