In 1972, UNESCO adopted the convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Nepal ratified the convention in 1978. So far, four sites have been inscribed on the World Heritage List: two cultural sites, the Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha; and two natural sites, the national parks of Chitwan and Sagarmatha. The Kathmandu Office specifically focusses on protection and conservation of those sites.
2015 Nepal earthquakes: Cultural heritage rehabilitation
The April and May 2015 earthquakes affected about 2,900 heritage structures (including private houses) with cultural and religious value within the Kathmandu Valley as well as in the north-western region of Nepal.
The Office played a coordination role and supported the Department of Archaeology in rehabilitating Nepal’s vibrant cultural sector, tangible and intangible heritage, as well as crafts and cultural industries.
The Office established the Earthquake Response Coordinating Office at the Department of Archaeology, for damage assessment, salvaging and emergency protection of the sites. It laid the ground for the establishment of a heritage management database system and drafting guidelines for restoration.
The Office led the cultural heritage sector in the preparation of Post Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA), which serves as basis for the recovery work which will be carried out in the coming six years.
Archeological investigations of the foundations of the collapsed temples at the three Durbar Squares of Bhaktapur, Patan and Kathmandu, were carried out with Durham University.
Damage mapping was carried out, with detailed documentation (drone images, photographs, measurements, drawings and descriptions) of selected monument zones of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site, such as Swayambhu; Hanumandhoka; Patan; Bhaktapur; and Changunarayan and Sankhu.