On Thursday, the governments of Pakistan and France, represented by the French Development Agency (FDA), signed a € 22 million financing agreement to provide technical and financial assistance for the renovation of Lahore Fort.
According to a French Embassy news release, the Heritage and Urban Regeneration in Lahore (HURL) project is part of the Walled City Lahore Master Plan and aims to renovate and restore the Lahore Fort, which is a symbol of Pakistan’s rich history and a landmark of Mughal heritage, as well as generate additional income and jobs through tourism promotion.
The primary goals will be to promote tourism, generate additional economic activity, and help local communities adapt to climate change.
The Fort and Walled City of Lahore, located in the heart of a metropolis of 11 million people, consists of a collection of unique monuments of exceptional historical and cultural value, as well as dense ancient neighborhoods.
UNESCO designated the fort as a World Heritage Site in Danger in 1981, highlighting the numerous threats to its integrity. The Government of Punjab, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) launched a decade-long conservation effort to restore and develop the site in 2012.
“France is proud to be part of the ambitious plan of the Punjab Government to develop and promote Lahore’s unique cultural heritage,” said French Ambassador in Pakistan Nicolas Galey. By increasing the tourist attractiveness of the places and improving the living conditions of the riparian populations, the rehabilitation and development of the Lahore Fort surroundings will be a powerful engine of the city’s sustainable economic development.”
The HURL project will be funded for five years and is expected to contribute to the restoration and enhancement of the Lahore Fort, strengthening its resilience.
The project will also provide additional income and employment opportunities, particularly for women and the transgender community.
It will also broaden tourism development by incorporating the neighborhoods surrounding the fort (buffer zone) as a growth interface, as well as strengthen the capacity of the WCLA and its partners.
WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari also attended the signing ceremony and praised the FDA’s efforts.