Kathmandu Valley, Beninese royal palaces removed from UNESCO danger list
The Royal Palaces of Abomey in Benin and the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal have been removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today.
The decision was taken by the World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand, to examine the state of conservation of sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Inclusion on the Danger List is intended to mobilize support for sites whose outstanding universal value is under threat.
The Committee commended Benin for its conservation plan to preserve the Palaces of Abomey site, which was placed on the Danger List in 1985, the same year it was inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Under the plan, financed partly by the World Heritage Fund, Benin has improved the management of the site – which was damaged by a tornado in 1984 – increased staff numbers and allowed the assembling of a database on the palaces, which were inhabited by 12 local kings between 1625 and 1900.
The Committee also praised Nepal for its efforts to protect the Kathmandu Valley, which joined the Danger List in 2003, from the impact of urban development. The valley features seven groups of monuments and buildings, including the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan and Bhaktapur, the Buddhist stupas of Swayamblu and Bauddhanath, and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan.
In addition to reviewing the Danger List, the World Heritage Committee will examine requests to inscribe three dozen new nature and culture sites on the World Heritage List.