XIII.18 The Bureau at its twenty-third session had requested the Secretariat to propose specific revisions to paragraphs 113- 116 related to priorities in providing International Assistance to States Parties. The Secretariat, however, proposed to the Committee that these revisions be prepared on the basis of the outcome of the evaluation of International Assistance that was currently being undertaken.
XIII.19 The Delegate of Belgium stated that a revision was necessary, as the present Guidelines do not exactly reflect the priorities set out in the resolution adopted by the twelfth General Assembly of States Parties. The Observer of Japan made reference to the statement of the former Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee at the twelfth General Assembly that, in the absence of clear guidelines, he had to evaluate requests for international assistance on the basis of first come, first served. Instead, the international assistance should have a linkage with the Global Strategy and thus priority should be given to least developed countries as well as low income countries and especially those that are under-represented on the World Heritage List. In supporting the Observer of Japan, the Delegate of Benin recalled that the Bureau at its twenty-third session had encountered the situation whereby there were insufficient funds for international assistance requests and therefore precise priorities should be defined and adhered to when examining these requests. The Committee expressed its gratitude that the Government of Japan had made a voluntary contribution of US$ 300,000 in order to respond in a timely fashion to requests for preparatory assistance that were fully justified and responded to the objectives of the Global Strategy.
XIII.20 The Committee decided to refer this matter to the Strategic Task Force chaired by Canada for further consideration. It requested that this be done on the basis of the concerns expressed during the discussions by the Bureau at its twenty-third session, the deliberations at the twenty-third session of the Committee, the outcomes of the evaluation of International Assistance and in line with the resolution adopted by the twelfth General Assembly of States Parties.