Kathmandu Valley (Nepal)
Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) will be discussed during the UNESCO World Heritage Committee Meeting this year. This World Heritage site, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979, and is proposed for inscription on the list of World Heritage in danger.
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Since the earthquake damages in 2015, the Kathmandu Valley has been recommended to be placed on the Danger List several times based on the reports of previous Monitoring Missions. Considering the active involvement of several national and international NGOs in the post earthquake recovery process, it will be good to hear the views of civic bodies involved in the process.
I would like to bring to your notice that following the earthquake of 2015, the Government of Nepal and Government of India have been collaborating for the post-earthquake conservation and rehabilitation of 28 cultural heritage sites out of which 12 are in the Kathmandu valley.
The National Reconstruction Authority is the nodal agency for the implementation of the projects under this collaboration, and INTACH one of India’s foremost cultural heritage organization has been working closely with the National Reconstruction Authority and providing technical expertise for the conservation and post-earthquake reconstruction of these 12 cultural heritage sites in the valley by ensuring that the traditional approach to reconstruction is adopted with traditional materials, methods and skills while ensuring increase seismic resistance of the building for longevity of the building.
With USD 50 million grant funds from the Government of India, the 12 heritage sites identified by the Department of Archaeology, Government of Nepal in the Kathmandu valley for conservation and reconstruction includes tiered temple, Buddhist monasteries, a traditional house, Hindu Math and a public building thus shifting the focus from beyond the key monuments in the WHP to their significant setting thereby addressing one of the concerns of the Reactive monitoring mission. Some of these properties lies in buffer or in the immediate vicinity of the KVWHP and will contribute to the architectural character of the monument zones and their buffer zones.
These cultural heritage sites are but a small fragment out of many that still need attention. However these projects have ably demonstrated the coordination that is needed between NRA, DOA, CLPIU (Building), and community stakeholders which is necessary to ensure the successful implementation of the projects which is currently underway. However with the tenure of the NRA coming to a close shortly in the next few months, the institutional mechanism and funding for the implementation of future cultural heritage recovery projects definitely needs to be prioritized considering the need for more trained and multidisciplinary teams needed for such projects.
@paromd thank you for this useful piece of information. Do share images of work done by INTACH. With the current draft decision on this properpty, one hopes that State Party is extending the tenure of NRA now. Can you elaborate more on the community stakeholders involved in this process?
Indeed, the coordination is essential, as the monument rehabilitation cannot be devoid of the socio-economic rehabilitation of the community. In 2006 when the Kathmandu Valley inscription was reduced to 7 monument zones, it created a planning dissonance which has been aggravated by the 2015 disaster. The comprehensive approach through the Historic Urban Landscape BEYOND the historic ensembles may assist in providing for an integrative approach, that puts the people in the centre.
@shikhajain the project implementation just started in March /April 2021. Prior to that the detailed conservation report for 10 earthquake damaged buildings was finalized which involved extensive community consultation. It may be noted that after the 2015 earthquake the community through their representatives played an important role in approaching both Govt. of Nepal and Govt of India embassy officials to seek funds for the projects. The community stakeholders consulted during documentation and conservation report preparation included religious groups who conduct daily rituals, local community groups that use the premises of the building for various cultural or social activities as in the case of Mahavihars, community members living in the premises of the historic building and local ward officials. The deliberations with the community guided the conservation strategy and understanding past interventions which have caused significant changes to the original building of which no documented evidences remain and also helped in arriving at a consensus on the adaptive reuse of the buildings in a few cases. The projects are therefore informed and supported by the community but being implemented under a strictly monitored tender system.