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Decision : CONF 203 XIII.13-24
World Heritage Documentation, Information and Educational Activities

XIII.13 The Chairperson then opened the floor for comments, recalling that there were three decisions for the Committee to adopt regarding: the Strategic Plan; Programme and Budget for 1999, and the World Heritage Review.

XIII.14 The Committee commended the Secretariat for the high quality and clarity of both the written document and the presentation. Expressing appreciation for the strategic approach of the five-part programme, the Committee remarked on the wide range of activities being undertaken by the Centre in spite of limited staff and financial resources and approved the contents of the proposed Strategic Plan for Documentation, Information and Education Activities. The Special Project for Young People's Participation in World Heritage Preservation and Promotion received wide acclaim and support from the Committee.

XIII.15 Cautious approach was however recommended by the Delegate of Canada in soliciting corporate sponsorship for the proposed cause-oriented public information campaign, stating that this should be done only in accordance with the Guidelines on the use of the World Heritage Emblem and Fund-raising. She also stated that activity A.4 on application of thematic categories to properties on the World Heritage List and Tentative Lists was premature. Other comments included the suggestion by the Delegate of Belgium for the Secretariat to make a presentation to the General Assembly of States Parties. The Delegates of Belgium and Finland stated that there should be a better definition of the respective role of the Secretariat and the States Parties in information activities and requested an analysis in the future identifying the objectives and expected results for both the States Parties and the Centre. They indicated that local resources should be used as much as possible.

XIII.16 The Delegate of Hungary expressed particular appreciation of the CD-ROMs on the nomination files and encouraged continued development in this area with appropriate attention paid to the format of the geographical information. He also proposed to incorporate in the future into the Strategic Plan a new World Heritage Fellowship Programme.

XIII.17 The Delegate of the United States of America commended the dynamic and rapid response of the Secretariat in the development of the radio strategy.

XIII.18 The Delegate of Lebanon expressed concern over the delay in the distribution of this working document and noted that it was not available on the Internet even last week.

XIII.19 The Representative of IUCN, while indicating full support for the Strategic Plan as well as the programme, suggested that greater focus be given on success stories and closer links between the global strategy and the information strategy. He also stated the need for an information strategy visà- vis the tourism sector and suggested links with groups such as the Green Globe, promoting sustainable tourism. He invited the Centre's participation in high profile IUCN events such as the 2000 World IUCN Congress to be held in Jordan and 2002 World Parks Congress.

XIII.20 The Representative of ICCROM suggested more focus on conservation in the Centre's information material, particularly in the Review and said that the advisory bodies can provide this input. With regard to the World Heritage Education Kit, ICCROM stated that the success of this initiative would depend upon its wide distribution in an affordable format, at little or no cost to teachers and other educators around the world. He indicated ICCROM's interest in being involved in preparing a distribution strategy of the World Heritage Education Kit.

XIII.21 Numerous delegates echoed the concern raised by France over the sustainability of the World Heritage Review. Being a co-publication with UNESCO, the Committee stated that the Review should aim to promote the Convention and to increase awareness of the conservation needs of the sites under its protection. The Review as it is lacks an editorial line and is no different from other travel and tourism magazines, and the need to develop its specificity was stressed. The Committee requested information on the actual sales figure rather than on the number of copies being printed and for a readership survey. Concerns were also expressed over the limited geographical reach of the Review as well as of the implication on staff time, especially if the periodicity is changed from a quarterly to a bimonthly. The Committee, however agreed to continue its support to ensure the quality control of the articles by approving US$ 25,000 for coordination and editing fees upon noting the statement of the Centre that the articles for the Review will also be disseminated on the web site as the World Heritage feature article series. Support for the publicity of the Review was not approved by the Committee that indicated that this should be done by the commercial partner and the distributors.

XIII.22 In responding to the comments on the Review, the Representative of the UNESCO Publishing Office (UPO) stated that it was in the interest of the commercial partners and distributors to publicize the Review and to maximize sales, hence there was no question of them trying to profit from the Committee's support. He informed the Committee that negotiations were underway for a Japanese and Korean edition of the Review and hoped that other language versions will follow. In response to queries concerning the expected financial break-even date, he stated that this could not be predicted and UPO hoped that the commercial partners would continue to absorb the deficit until it became self-financing.

XIII.23 The Director of the Centre agreed with the comments of IUCN regarding the need for a more pro-active approach to promote sustainable tourism. The section of sustainable tourism introduced into the Centre's recently redesigned web site, is an attempt in that direction.

XIII.24 The 1999 proposed activities and budget were approved for the total sum of US$ 385,000, which takes into account the following cuts: US$ 25,000 for co-ordination and editing fees of the World Heritage Review and US$ 5,000 for activity A.4; application of thematic categories to properties on the World Heritage List and Tentative Lists.


 Decisions Report
Context of Decision
Themes: Communication, Partnerships
Year: 1998
Decision Code: CONF 203 XIII.13-24