Decision : CONF 208 IX.4-19
IX. Progress Report on Regional Actions for the Implementation of the Global Strategy for a Representative and Balanced World Heritage List
IX.4 Several Committee members stressed the importance of the Resolution of the General Assembly concerning the Representivity of the World Heritage List and that the substantive work on the analysis of the current World Heritage List and the tentative lists must be given top priority. New thematic studies and meetings should be carried out only upon the completion of this global analysis, and on the basis of the priorities identified for each region. A number of delegates stated that since 1994, many regional and thematic meetings have been convened, and the results of these meetings need to be reviewed before others are launched.
IX.7 The Committee thanked the Secretariat for the document prepared but stated that the numerous activities proposed need to be prioritised. Members of the Committee noted the following points:
IX.8 For the Caribbean, the work proposed for coastal and marine sites has a high priority and needs to be linked to existing GEF/World Bank projects and other regional and sub-regional programmes and projects; that the Slave Route project also be given high priority for the Caribbean under the cultural heritage category; and that the proposed study and expert meeting on rock art are not priorities in view of extensive studies already existing on this subject. The Committee stressed the need to ensure complementarity of activities under the Global Strategy for a representative World Heritage List and the Periodic Reports.
IX.9 A number of delegates from Latin America underlined the importance of using the tentative lists as a planning tool and that the inclusion of sites on these lists indicated that they already meet minimum standards. Although agreement on the limitation of nominations is a major step forward, this should not negatively affect States Parties that are under-represented in the World Heritage List or having sites belonging to under-represented categories. States Parties that are already well represented on the List should voluntarily refrain from submitting nominations. It was mentioned that the Ibero-American network (Ushuaia, Argentina, 2002), would be an important forum to discuss potential natural heritage from the region.
IX.10 For the African region, priority should be given to the preparation of tentative lists and nominations from States Parties, and in the identification of underrepresented categories. Given the capacity-building requirements in the majority of States Parties of this region, the need to mobilize international co-operation was stressed. A number of African State Party representatives expressed concern over the demand for high quality documentation for the nomination files, often beyond the capacity of the African States Parties to provide.
IX.11 Concerning Asia, the Committee commended the Centre for the well-structured analysis by sub-region of the World Heritage List that provides a useful overview of the represented and under-represented categories in the region. The Delegate of India underscored the importance of identifying ancient routes and trade links within the southeast Asian sub-region. A standard presentation for all regions could be used as a strategic tool to assess the overall situation, and budget allocations should be made accordingly. The Committee noted the results of the regional thematic meeting on Sacred Mountains in Asia-Pacific and of the proceedings already published by the Government of Japan. The results should be also taken into account for discussions on criterion (vi), as many sites may only qualify for their relationship between the intangible values and the natural environment. It was stressed that the conditions of integrity need to be applied for cultural heritage in this region.
IX.14 The Committee was informed that a number of States Parties are currently preparing transboundary nominations. Co-operation between countries should be encouraged to ensure a better representivity of the World Heritage List and solidarity between countries from different regions. The fact that forty-nine countries still have no tentative lists indicated the urgent need to extend assistance in this field. The Committee agreed that transfrontier, serial and other nominations should be encouraged as well as links to the MAB programme.
IX.15 With regard to the Alpine Arc, the Committee noted that a new, co-ordinated and regional approach for international collaboration was promoted by the six countries of the Alpine region (Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland), and that following the expert meeting at Hallstatt (Austria, June 2000), two States Party meetings were convened (Turin, Italy, July 2001 and UNESCO Headquarters, October 2001) to discuss the diversity, values and composition of the Alpine Arc. Taking into account the complexity of such a regional approach, the countries agreed to schedule a follow-up meeting for the beginning of 2002. This process accompanied by international experts and the World Heritage Centre should encourage the States Parties to continue with this innovative and regional approach in World Heritage nomination.
IX.16 Commenting on the Secretariat's report on the Desert Landscape Meeting, organized in Egypt (September 2001), the Committee recalled the importance of this category of properties. It recommended that resources be allocated to further the process of identification of potential desert landscapes for possible inclusion on the World Heritage List, starting with those located across two or more countries. Committee members from the Arab region stated that this should be the focus rather than dispersing resources on less urgent initiatives, such as the proposed Thematic Study on Modern Heritage in the Arab States. In this respect, and taking into account that deserts are a common feature across several regions of the world, the Committee stressed the desirability of a more intense inter-regional co-operation in this field, such as in the Mediterranean Action Plan. The Delegate of Egypt suggested that the year 2003 be declared an International Year of the Desert.
IX.17 Concerning priorities, particularly in the Arab region, the Committee insisted also on the importance of addressing heritage legislation and institutional building, as these are an essential precondition for the establishment of appropriate conservation practices.
IX.19 The Committee concluded its examination of Global Strategy activities by reiterating the need for the Secretariat to focus on the analysis of the World Heritage List and the national tentative lists as a priority, as well as on assistance to States Parties for the establishment and revision of these tentative lists as required. The Committee however noted that a conceptual discussion is needed to provide a framework for such analyses and also recognized the need to identify methodologies to define under-represented categories of heritage.