Chichen Itza
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World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

No Buffer Zone

WHS without a Buffer Zone where this lack has been publicly acknowledged and accepted within UNESCO processes

The need for a Buffer Zone was first mentioned in the 1997 Operational Guidelines -
"17. Whenever necessary for the proper conservation of a cultural or natural property nominated, an adequate "buffer zone" around a property should be provided"

a further paragraph was added in the Feb 2005 version to strengthen the requirement -

"106. Where no buffer zone is proposed, the nomination should include a statement as to why a buffer zone is not required."

Subsequent to these 2 dates some sites which had been inscribed beforehand without buffer zones have formally created them - others have not and in some of these cases UNESCO (via its review processes) has not progressed the matter or else has merely asked that a buffer zone be created at some time in the future. Some sites, however, have come under active pressure to do so and some of these have argued (apparently successfully in that they have not been de-listed or placed under danger because of it) that formal buffer zones were unnecessary. Further, since 1997 (and particularly since the strengthening of the requirement in 2005), some sites have been inscribed without buffer zones such that this was clearly identified and accepted at the time of evaluation/inscription.

The connection belongs to World Heritage Process connections.

Connected Sites

  • First Coffee Plantations: Insc 2000 without buffer zone. "Given the strong legislative protection in force in the region, and in particular in the Sierra Maestra Grand National Park, it therefore appeared to ICOMOS that it would be desirable for the entire area to be inscribed on the List, without a buffer zone" (AB eval)
  • Mammoth Cave: "4.1.1 - Buffer zone status. There is no buffer zone, and it is not needed" (May 20, 2014 UNESCO Periodic Report - Section II- Mammoth Cave National Park)
  • Papahanaumokuakea: Insc 2010 without buffer zone "The nominated property has no buffer zone, as it is in an extremely remote region and its boundaries have been set at 50 nautical miles (~100km) out over open sea from each of the islands and atolls"....."IUCN considers that the boundaries of the nominated property meet the requirements set out in the Operational Guidelines"
  • Poverty Point: Insc 2014 without buffer zone "The nominated property enjoys the highest level of protection at the national level as well as a well-established and effective management that ensures adequate maintenance and presentation to the public.However, the absence of a buffer zone coupled with a high density of archaeological features located in the vicinity of Poverty Point and a legal framework which protects designated properties only from publicly-driven or funded development activities raise some concerns with regard to the retention of the integrity of the property in the long term" (AB Eval)..... ICOMOS asked that additional safeguards/actions "should be put in place to act like a buffer zone"
  • Tower of London: Insc 1988. Subsequently came under pressure to identify buffer Zones (31 COM 7B.90 - "Urges the State Party to adopt the policies set out in the Heritage Protection White Paper .....by updating the site boundaries and buffer zones;". "The mission spent some considerable amount of time discussing and understanding the absence of buffer zones for both the Tower and Westminster World Heritage Sites, which instead are replaced by the definition of "settings".... "Overall, it was explained, the term "buffer zone" carries a negative connotation in the UK. It's perceived as being overly restrictive in that it provides for a blanket protection, which is not fit for complex, dynamic urban environments. Instead, it was put forward, setting is a much broader concept than buffer zone, which is often a hard line on a map,".... "In order not to bother too much with the semantics, it was commonly agreed that the appropriate policies at a local level, and their implementation, make the protection and conservation of World Heritage sites effective - whether surrounded by a buffer zone or a designated setting (Mission Report Dec 2011)
  • Westminster: Insc 1987 Subsequently came under pressure to identify buffer Zones (32 COM 8B.72 -" Recommends that a buffer zone with a view to protecting the visual integrity of the inscribed property in its environment be created"). "The mission spent some considerable amount of time discussing and understanding the absence of buffer zones for both the Tower and Westminster World Heritage Sites, which instead are replaced by the definition of "settings".... "Overall, it was explained, the term "buffer zone" carries a negative connotation in the UK. It's perceived as being overly restrictive in that it provides for a blanket protection, which is not fit for complex, dynamic urban environments. Instead, it was put forward, setting is a much broader concept than buffer zone, which is often a hard line on a map,".... "In order not to bother too much with the semantics, it was commonly agreed that the appropriate policies at a local level, and their implementation, make the protection and conservation of World Heritage sites effective - whether surrounded by a buffer zone or a designated setting (Mission Report Dec 2011)

Suggestions?

Do you know of another WHS we could connect to No Buffer Zone?

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A connection should:

  1. Not be "self evident"
  2. Link at least 3 different sites
  3. Not duplicate or merely subdivide the "Category" assignment already identified on this site.
  4. Add some knowledge or insight (whether significant or trivial!) about WHS for the users of this site
  5. Be explained, with reference to a source