Bagan, one year on: Forum to ensure coordination, excellence in restoration efforts

Bagan, one year on: Forum to ensure coordination, excellence in restoration efforts

Bagan, one year on: Forum to ensure coordination, excellence in restoration efforts

It has been one year since a 6.8 magnitude earthquake damaged over 400 monuments in Myanmar’s Bagan Archaeological Area and Monuments site.

UNESCO has been working closely with Myanmar and international experts since then to ensure that recovery and restoration efforts are well coordinated and meet the highest international technical standards.

A Technical Coordination Forum on 27 August will introduce a platform aimed at solidifying these aims and making them sustainable over the long term. The Forum would provide national and international partners contributing to the site’s restoration a platform to present new planned projects, provide updates on ongoing work as well as to receive feedback.

With UNESCO’s support, Myanmar’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture (MORAC) will convene expert advisors to provide technical inputs at the Forum, comprising well-respected senior national and international specialists in architecture conservation, conservation engineering, art conservation and heritage management.

Internationally renowned Bagan experts Pierre Pichard, Rodolfo Lujan Lunsford and Predrag Gavrilovic will join local counterparts from the Association of Myanmar Architects, the Myanmar Engineering Society and other Myanmar expert bodies to assess the progress of restoration work so far.

Minister of Religious Affairs and Culture, HE Thura U Aung Ko, will open the forum, followed by remarks from the Chief Minister of Mandalay Region Government.  Representatives of China, India, Italy and Korea who have been supporting restoration efforts will also be present.

The Forum will identify priority restoration activities and share technical guidelines prepared by experts with UNESCO’s support on areas such as mural restoration and engineering stabilization.

The Technical Coordination Forum being held on the 27th is proposed to occur annually, with MORAC organizing future meetings. This regular coordination mechanism has proven essential to harmonize conservation work at World Heritage sites such as Angkor in Cambodia and Vat Phou in Lao PDR.

The Government of Myanmar is currently preparing to nominate the “Bagan Archaeological Area and Monuments” site to the World Heritage List. The site is home to more than 2,500 Buddhist monuments built from the 10th to the 14th centuries AD.  With support from Italy, Japan, the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan (NFUAJ), Switzerland and the World Bank, UNESCO has been providing technical assistance for strengthening the protection and management of the site and in responding to the 2016 earthquake.

Photo: Cristina Stoian/