August 2014

On June 25, 2014 KOICA unveiled the ‘Master Plan for the Lumbini World Peace City Preservationa and Development’ in Kathmandu in the presence of Hon. Culture Minister Bhim Acharya, Chief Secretary Lila Mani Paudel, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nepal Choe Yong-jin. (Link) 

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in its State of Conservation Report (SOC 2820) observes the following:

There is also some concern with developments currently being undertaken both within the property and its buffer zone, and in the Greater Lumbini Area, notably the proposed development of a Lumbini World Peace City. Considering the close relationship of the property to the Tentative List sites of Tilaurakot and Ramagrama, which are subject to ongoing research, development in both areas is particularly sensitive. Therefore it is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to undertake comprehensive HIAs prior to any development or construction to determine the potential impact on the OUV of the property and to submit detailed plans of the Lumbini World Peace City, and any other proposed major restoration or new development projects, to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for review. All activities undertaken should be in conformity with the IMF and the vision established to protect the OUV of the property.’ - (Link)

The World Heritage Committee at its 38th session (Doha, June 15 – 25, 2014) adopted decision 38 COM 7B.18 with regard to the Lumbini World Peace City:

Notes with concern the proposed development of the Lumbini World Peace City in the Greater Lumbini Area, and requests the State Party to submit detailed information on this development, and to submit information about any other proposed major restoration or new construction in the vicinity of the property, to the World Heritage Centre for review by the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines  -(Page 73) –  (Link ) 

Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA) in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on Heritage Impact Assessments for World Heritage cultural properties have not yet been conducted for the proposed development of the Lumbini World Peace City nor has an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) been carried out. UNESCO has clearly identified that the UN approved Kenzo Tange Master Plan covers an area of 5 miles x 5 miles.  (Link) -The Lumbini World Peace City planners, however, have designed the Lumbini World Peace City within the Buffer Zone of the Kenzo Tange Master Plan. This is not in conformity with long-lasting UN planning for Lumbini, in particular the existing Kenzo Tange Master Plan, the Lumbini Development Trust Act 5 (Lumbini Development Trust Act 1985 – amended 2008) and guideline 4 of the Guidelines for the Physical Plan of the Sacred Garden of Lumbini, Integrated Management Framework.  (Link)

The emphasis of Lumbini’s development should remain as the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha and the Kenzo Tange master plan deserves to be fully implemented as approved by the United Nations and the Government of Nepal in 1978 with UN planning dating back to 1969. The United Nations continues to actively support the Kenzo Tange Master Plan as is evident from the JFIT project ‘Strengthening the Conservation and Management of Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha’ (Link) and the UNDP/UNESCO Lumbini Support Project to raise funds towards the completion of the Kenzo Tange Master Plan.  (Link) The Lumbini World Peace City plan has not been approved by the UN in any way.
The World Peace City is designed for a population of 200,000 inhabitants to live within the twenty five square miles of the Lumbini Development Area and beyond. This represents a significant increase in population, population density, and population pressure.
Recent Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS, Germany) air quality sampling in Lumbini and the region has revealed dangerously poor air quality that might affect human health. (Air Quality news) ……..(Youtube)

Urbanization will lead to a significant increase in air pollution, noise pollution, surface and ground water pollution, and flooding, which will further degrade the archaeological remains in Lumbini. (Link – Page 20-21-33)

It has taken over thirty years to implement the Kenzo Tange master plan for Lumbini and there are still a number of unfinished project components. It seems more appropriate to first implement the entire Kenzo Tange Master Plan before embarking on some new project.
The Kenzo Tange master plan’s buffer zones deserve to be fully respected. Land-use guidelines and building guidelines need to be urgently formulated and implemented for the restricted area and agricultural area of the twenty two square miles of the Lumbini Development Area (KTMP) to ensure that the World Heritage property is not affected in any manner.

We hope you will continue to actively support the implementation of the Kenzo Tange Master Plan to ensure that Lumbini’s identity remains as the birthplace of the Buddha.