Several media reports mention that UNESCO allows the construction of a commercial complex at the Hanumandhoka World Heritage Site.
According to a press release issued by UNESCO, first of all, UNESCO does not stop or allow constructions on or around a World Heritage Sites. This is the role of the national authorities concerned, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Department of Archaeology.
When UNESCO receives information with concerns on World Heritage Sites, it verifies the information with the concerned parties. In the case mentioned by the media, UNESCO was informed at a late stage when the basement structure had already been excavated. UNESCO therefore immediately transmitted the information to the Department of Archaeology and the Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, and as the construction was already advancing, it drew attention of the building owner to existing regulations. UNESCO then examined if this construction presented any adverse impact to the outstanding universal values of the Hanumandhoka World Heritage Site.
Our examinations revealed that the building was situated outside the World Heritage Core Zone, and it seemed that the owner had obtained necessary legal permission from the authorities. The plans of a four-story building, which we were shown, seemed to respect the authorized high and its design matched better than the previous concrete building with the historic environment. UNESCO therefore noted that at this stage it did not see any negative impact on the outstanding universal values of the World Heritage Site. UNESCO however urges concerned authorities to investigate and take actions as necessary.
UNESCO is a keen advocate for the preservation Nepal’s cultural heritage and, jointly with the Department of Archaeology, is carrying out many projects for the post-earthquake restoration of the cultural heritage. It is committed to continuing its support to the country in this regards.