A. Methodology and Procedures for Periodic Reporting
VII.1 The Committee considered the manner in which to implement the decision of the General Conference on the basis of some initial reflections that were presented by the Secretariat in Working Document WHC-97/CONF.208/7.
VII.2 While recognizing the need for the States Parties to report on the legislative and administrative provisions which they have taken for the application of the Convention, the Committee stressed the importance of periodic reporting as a mechanism for exchange of information and experiences between States Parties. In this context, the attention was drawn to Article 29.1 of the Convention in which States Parties are requested to report also on other actions, together with details of the experience acquired.
VII.3 A regional approach for the examination of the periodic reports by the Committee, as already proposed in paragraph 72 of the Operational Guidelines, was supported as a means to promote regional co-operation and to identify specific needs.
VII.4 As to the format of the periodic reports, the Committee stressed that this should be practical and simple with due consideration given to the specific characteristics of different types of cultural and natural heritage properties. It should, furthermore, focus on the main issue, which is the maintenance of the World Heritage values of the site and the identification of indicators for its measurement.
VII.5 The Committee reviewed different options for the periodicity of the periodic reporting, i.e. four, five or six years. Although these options will have to be studied in more detail, a great number of Committee members expressed their preference for a six-year cycle, whereas some others were of the opinion that a four- or five-year cycle would be preferable.
VII.6 There was general agreement that the decision-making on periodic reporting would not affect the importance and continuing role of reactive monitoring that is foreseen in the procedures for the eventual deletion of properties from the World Heritage List, and in reference to properties inscribed, or to be inscribed, on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
VII.7 Finally, a suggestion was made to look into the relation between the allocation of international assistance and compliance with the periodic reporting requirement.
VII.8 Concluding the debate, the Committee, having examined the resolution adopted by the 29th General Conference of UNESCO, as well as Working Document WHC-97/CONF.208/7:
1. requested the Secretariat jointly with the advisory bodies to prepare, on the basis of the observations made by the Committee, for consideration by the twenty-second session of the Bureau in 1998, a draft format for the periodic reporting by the States Parties on the application of the World Heritage Convention and on the state of conservation of World Heritage properties;
2. requested the Secretariat to submit, for consideration by the twenty-second session of the Bureau in 1998, proposals for the handling and the examination and response by the Committee to the periodic reports;
3. requested the Secretariat to prepare, on the basis of the discussions at the twenty-second session of the Bureau, a draft revision of Section II of the Operational Guidelines for consideration by the twenty-second session of the World Heritage Committee.