Decision : CONF 204 XI.1-7
XI.1 The Director of the World Heritage Centre introduced document WHC-2000/CONF.204/13, describing the Centre's plans for developing an Information Management Systems Plan. The plan has been developed based on the work of a Senior Information Consultant, Ms Gwynneth Martin, who worked at the Centre during a period of three months. The plan had already been presented by Ms. Martin to the Special Session of the Bureau in Budapest, 2-4 October 2000.
XI.2 The Director outlined the history of the initiative, including the early calls in 1998 by the Management Audit and the Expert Group on Information Management for an Integrated System to receive, process, and archive large quantities of information in an efficient and expeditious manner followed by a prototype in 1999. The plan, recognized the limited capacity of the Centre to implement such a system, and urged that an incremental approach should underlie all planning. Plan implementation would proceed in three stages, as follows:
Stage I: Design and consolidation (months 1-4) - to produce detailed system specifications; to begin building capacity in the Centre and to make better use of existing information technology facilities;
Stage II: Development and implementation (months 5-12) - to acquire and install hardware, to develop, install and test the system, and to train users; and
Stage III: Operation and review of an integrated data base (months 13-14) - to review and assess system operation, and recommend further developments.
XI.3 The Delegate of Hungary welcomed the Plan and said it formed the first step towards defining an overall information management strategy for the Centre and for the work of the Convention. He recalled discussions held during the Special Session of the Bureau in Budapest (2-4 October 2000) when the Ministry of Information and Technology of his Government indicated strong willingness and commitment to support the work of the Centre in this regard. He urged the Centre to continue the incremental approach recommended in the Plan with a view towards elaborating and adopting a fully-fledged Information Management Strategy by the time of the twenty-sixth session of the Committee in Hungary in 2002. He indicated fully Hungary's willingness to be a strategic partner in the process.
XI.4 The Observer of Argentina noted the discrepancy between the total budget indicated for the implementation of the Plan, i.e. US$ 165,000 and the sum allocated in the budget proposals for the year 2001 in document WHC- 2000/CONF.204/15Rev. The Director of the Centre pointed out that the shortfall between the total amount needed and the amount proposed for the year 2001 would be bridged by funds remaining unspent in the year 2000. He said that the latter funds are currently being held in order to pay for the services of a consultant who will commence work before the end of the year. He also responded to Hungary's points, which he was in agreement with, namely that the issue had to eventually be addressed in a wider context. Currently, the focus was on addressing an immediate problem to do with internal organization.
XI.5 The Delegate of Greece, echoing another remark of the Observer of Argentina, noted the importance of coordinating the Centre's information planning with that of UNESCO and asked if the Centre was in consultation with the Organization's Informatics Division. In response, the Director noted that both the consultant and members of his staff had established these contacts.
XI.6 The Observer of the United Kingdom expressed satisfaction with the Director's response and also highlighted the importance of this aspect of the Centre's work and recalled the fact that his Government, as well as the United States of America and Finland, have provided support to the Centre's work in this regard. He supported the views of the Delegate of Hungary about preparing an Information Management Strategy to be considered in the year 2002 which should look ahead to the needs of the Convention over the coming 10 years.
XI.7 The Chairperson concluded discussions on the subject. The Committee adopted the Information Management System Strategy as presented by the Centre and endorsed the incremental approach to its implementation. The Committee however, invited the Centre to work with Hungarian and other interested delegations to elaborate an Information Management Strategy that could be adopted at the time of the twentysixth session of the Committee in 2002. To this effect, he suggested that the Centre should be requested to submit a progress report on steps taken, to the next session of the Bureau in 2001.