In 1972, UNESCO adopted the convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Nepal ratified the convention in 1978 and so far, four properties have been recognized as World Heritage properties: two cultural, the Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha; and two natural sites, Sagarmatha National Park and Chitwan National Park.
Since then, the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu has been assisting authorities with the management of the properties, finding solutions to the protection of the sites, and meeting the development needs of the communities living at the site boundaries.
Activities concerning all four properties include:
- Providing guidance and updates to concerned authorities on processes related to the implementation of the convention through meetings and information sharing
- Establishing a “World Heritage Sites Managers Forum” to provide a platform for managers dealing with both cultural and natural sites to discuss issues of common concern
- Training national focal points for cultural and natural World Heritage properties
The Kathmandu Valley was inscribed on the World Heritage List in October 1979. This World Heritage Property is composed of seven Monument Zones: the Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapurm the Hindu temples of Pashupatim and Changu Narayan, and the Buddhist stupa complexes of Swayambu and Bauddhanath. Collectively, these Monument Zones represent the highly developed architectural expression of religious, political and cultural life of the Kathmandu Valley, with a concentration of monuments and urban fabric unique and unparalleled in the rest of the world.
The UNESCO Office in Kathmandu is assisting authorities to manage the properties by:
- Assisting in the development and the implementation of an Integrated Management Plan for the Kathmandu Valley
- Preparing booklets focussing on the need to establish institutional, legal and financial frameworks for continuous commitment by the State Party for Kathmandu Valley preservation
- Launching advocacy campaigns for the Kathmandu Valley properties, including a Heritage Pass distributed in schools, and a community radio programme covering heritage issues
Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha
Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997. The sacred area is one of the holiest places , of one of the world’s great religions, and it contains crucial evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centres from a very early period.
The UNESCO Office in Kathmandu is assisting the authorities to manage and preserve the area by:
- Implementing the project “Strengthening Conversation and Management of Lumbini, the Birthplace of Lord Buddha. This programme will aid the conservation of the Ashoka Pillar, the Marker Stone and the Nativity Sculpture; provide a survey of the archeological vestiges within and around the property; review the present state of the Sacred Garden; and establish an Integrated Management Plan for the entire property
- Preparing a study on the multiple aspects of the Sacred Garden, the birthplace of Lord Buddha
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