USD 64 million needed to complete Master Plan for Lumbini
An amount of USD 64 million is needed to fully complete the Master Plan that Japanese Architect Kenzo Tange developed almost 35 years ago for Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha and a UNESCCO World Heritage property since 1997. This estimate that was prepared by the Lumbini Development Trust and UNESCO was presented to representatives of the international community in Nepal at a recent event in Kathmandu.
At the gathering on 17 July 2013, which was organized by the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and Lumbini Development Trust, representatives of the diplomatic community, the UN system and other development agencies, and members of the Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee were present.
The purpose of the information sharing event was to lay a solid foundation for a fundraising campaign for the full completion of the Kenzo Tange Master Plan for Lumbini.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Chair of the Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee, Ram Kumar Shrestha, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Sushil Ghimire, Secretary of the Ministry, and Acharya Karma Sangbo Sherpa, Vice-Chair of Lumbini Development Trust, all reiterated the Government of Nepal’s commitment to the development of Lumbini as a place of national pride and one of the world’s most sacred spots for Buddhists and non-Buddhists. They invited the international community to assist in completing the remaining components of the Master Plan.
Throughout the decades, considerable efforts by both national and international stakeholders had gone into constructing many elements of the Master Plan. However, major parts of the Plan are yet to be implemented with an estimated total cost of USD 64 million that is required for the full completion. As the numbers of visitors to the site have steadily risen over the years, so is the increasing need to fully complete the Master Plan, including components that are geared toward providing facilities, services and accommodation for growing numbers of pilgrims and tourists.
“The completion of the Master Plan is urgent not only to ensure that pilgrims, when visiting Lumbini, have this unique spiritual experience that Kenzo Tange so brilliantly envisioned. It is also urgent, because the realization of the Plan will safeguard the historical remains of Lumbini from irreversible damage and loss”, says Axel Plathe, Head of the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu.
The preparation of the Master Plan was initiated by the International Committee for the Development of Lumbini in 1972, which entrusted the renowned Architect Kenzo Tange to design and conceptualize the Plan for Lumbini. The ICDL was formed in 1970 at former UN Secretary General U Thant’s initiative after he visited Lumbini in 1967. The Kenzo Tange Master Plan was approved by the Government of Nepal and the UN in 1978, and soon after, the implementation of the Plan commenced.
The Master Plan was designed to turn Lumbini into a major centre of pilgrimage and tourism. To realize this vision, considerable financial support and assistance are needed, so that the historical accounts as well as the spiritual, archaeological and cultural assets that are associated with Lord Buddha’s life, are fully preserved and protected for current and future generations.
More information on Lumbini and the need to complete the Master Plan are available in the brochure Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha in Nepal. Completing the Kenzo Tange Master Plan at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002208/220846E.pdf.
Kathmandu, 19 July 2013
Press release UNESCO/KAT 14/2013
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