Decision : CONF 204 IX.1-11
Progress Report on Regional Actions for the Implementation of the Global Strategy Action Plan
IX.1 The Secretariat introduced document WHC-2000/CONF.204/11 describing the progress report on the implementation of regional actions as described in the Global Strategy Action Plan adopted by the Committee at its twenty-second session (Kyoto, 1998). The Committee reviewed progress achieved in the year 2000, noting the regional Action Plans for 2001-2002 and approved specific activities to be executed during 2001.
IX.2 The Delegate of Benin noted the importance of implementing the Global Strategy and linking it to issues related to improving the representivity of the List. The Centre's efforts in Africa were commended. He informed the Committee that international co-operation activities offered by countries such as Norway and France have improved support to African States Parties and appealed for the expansion of such effective partnerships with other donor nations. He drew the attention of the Committee to the recommendations of the meeting held in Zimbabwe on authenticity within the African context (reference: WHC-2000/CONF.4/INF.11) and suggested that the list of recommendations of that meeting be widely circulated. He welcomed planned activities to improve awareness of the work of the Convention in States Parties and urged the Centre to aim for a balanced distribution of activities 2.2 - 2.8 of the Action Plan among the various sub-regions of Africa.
IX.3 The Delegate of South Africa acknowledged the usefulness of Global Strategy activities in Africa and called for special attention to raise awareness for the protection of World Heritage of States Parties such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) suffering from war and armed conflict. She expressed the hope that peace would return to DRC soon and in the meantime urged the Centre to make efforts to raise awareness among decisionmakers and the people as a whole so that they can understand the universal significance of these sites. She proposed that consideration be given to designating World Heritage sites in zones of conflict, such as those in the DRC, as 'peace parks' and efforts be made to link protection of these sites to peace-making efforts.
IX.4 The Observer of Japan made reference to the Workshop on "Nature and Biodiversity as World Heritage", (page 12 of working document CONF.204/11), and expressed Japan's satisfaction with the successful conduct of that Workshop which was held in close cooperation with the Centre, IUCN and East and Southeast Asian States Parties, as well as with the participation of New Zealand. The Workshop had resulted in a "Strategic Statement on Natural World Heritage in East and Southeast Asia" describing practical measures to enhance the implementation of the Global Strategy Action Plan and raising awareness of the role of the Convention in biodiversity conservation. He said that copies of the "Strategic Statement" and the proceedings of the Workshop could be made available to interested States Parties. He expressed Japan's continuing interest to collaborate with the Centre and IUCN to improve the implementation of the Convention and attain the objectives of the "Strategic Statement" in East and Southeast Asia.
IX.5 Japan intends to host a thematic expert meeting on Asian Sacred Mountains as Cultural Landscapes at the Wakayama Prefecture from 4 to 12 September 2001 and hoped that the participation of representatives of less developed countries at the Workshop could be supported through international assistance from the World Heritage Fund.
IX.6 The Delegate of Greece pointed out that the document needed to set out priorities as well as emphasizing a selection of themes for meetings and workshops. She called for a better illustration of the links between the activities implemented as part of the Global Strategy Action Plan and the preparation of indicative lists and training activities. She noted that several workshops and seminars had been held, but a critical analysis and evaluation of such activities was lacking.
IX.7 The Representative of IUCN highlighted the need to link the implementation of the Global Strategy Action Plan and improving the representivity of the World Heritage List. He noted the importance of identifying critical gaps in the List and in that regard highlighted the work of the Centre and IUCN to undertake a global review of the application of the Convention in coastal and marine ecosystems. Currently, World Heritage sites in coastal and marine ecosystems are under-represented. To address that, there would be a workshop on marine World Heritage in 2001. The IUCN Representative also drew the attention to the World Parks Congress to be held in 2003 in Durban, South Africa. Referring to the comments of the Delegate of South Africa, he emphasized the significance of the links between the Global Strategy and periodic and reactive monitoring activities.
IX.8 The Ambassador of France to UNESCO made a presentation of the France-UNESCO Co-operation Agreement for Protection of Monumental, Urban and Natural Heritage signed in 1997. This instrument of cooperation aims to support the implementation of the Convention, and in particular, includes provisions for preparatory assistance to assist under-represented States Parties to meet the conditions required for the nomination of sites. The co-operation therefore includes activities that strengthen legal protection, management and restoration of sites on the tentative lists as well as designated World Heritage sites, and support for improvement of documentation and training of personnel in less developed countries. A joint co-ordination and a technical committee facilitate the selection and implementation of activities and emphasis is on decentralised co-operation; i.e. cooperation between designated sites in less developed countries (e.g. Luang Prabang in Laos) and in France (e.g. Chinon), or co-operation between local authorities. Most projects are of a minimum 3-year duration and between 1997 and 1999, 17 projects have been launched in 26 countries including amongst others, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia in Latin America, Benin, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Nigeria and Senegal in Africa and China and Laos in Asia. He invited other countries interested in participating in the co-operative programme to contact the French Delegation at UNESCO, Paris.
IX.9 The Chairperson thanked the Ambassador of France for the information provided and noted that the French-UNESCO co-operative programme could serve as a model for similar efforts of other interested States Parties. He requested the Ambassador of France to transmit the Committee's thanks to the relevant French authorities.
IX.10 The Delegate of Italy informed the Committee that following the "Regional Thematic Expert Meeting on Potential Natural World Heritage Sites in the Alps" (Hallstatt, Austria, 18 to 22 June 2000) it wished to follow-up on the important issues related to the definition and protection of the Alpine Arc as a transborder territory with outstanding natural and cultural landscape values. To this end, a meeting is to be organized in spring 2001 in Turin, Italy. States Parties from the Alpine Arc, the Centre, the advisory bodies, local communities, NGOs, as well as other institutions and organizations involved were invited to attend.
IX.11 The Observer of Germany congratulated the Centre for the excellent and valuable work in the framework of the Global Strategy. Following the comments from Greece, he felt that the results are sometimes not well recognized by the national and local authorities and that a more comprehensive follow-up including publication and dissemination of results, would be needed. He requested that the Centre report back on this matter to the next Committee session.