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Committee Decisions

CONF 208 IX.1-9

Progress Report of the Global Strategy and Thematic and Comparative Studies

The Committee took note of Information Documents WHC-97/CONF.208/INF.7, WHC-97/CONF.208/INF.8, WHC-97/CONF.INF.12 and WHC-97/CONF.208/INF.13.

IX.1 The Global Strategy approved by the Committee in 1994 aims at improving the representivity of cultural heritage on the World Heritage List and redressing the imbalance due to the pre-eminence of Europe, Christianity and monumental architecture, as well as to encourage the nomination of properties illustrating archaeological, industrial and technical heritage from non-European cultures and, in general, of all living cultures, particularly traditional societies and their many continuing interactions with their natural environment.

IX.2 In its presentation, the Secretariat did not repeat the information contained in Document WHC-97/CONF.208/11 relating to progress on the Global Strategy for cultural heritage, but took this opportunity to evaluate the activities undertaken in Africa since the adoption in 1994 of the Global Strategy. From 1995 to 1997, the World Heritage Centre, in close co-operation with ICOMOS, organized two expert meetings to which representatives of States Parties and non-States Parties to the Convention were invited, as well as two workshops during which the participants were able to practise the preparation of tentative lists and proposals for the inscription of properties. Although the methodology adopted had enhanced the knowledge of the procedures in force, and fifteen of the thirty States Parties had already prepared tentative lists and a calendar of proposals for inscription on the World Heritage List up until the year 2001 had been prepared, the Secretariat underlined the specificity of the situation and drew attention to the conditions for "preparatory assistance", for which many countries from the region could not apply until they have paid their outstanding dues to the World Heritage Fund. Furthermore, during meetings and workshops, African experts emphasized that the ceiling of "preparatory assistance" (US$ 15,000) was insufficient to prepare nomination dossiers, because at many African sites, listed on the tentative lists, the costs for the gathering of documentation, preparation of conservation and management plans, was far superior to US$ 15,000. Therefore, complementary measures appear indispensable to assist these countries in the efficient implementation of the Global Strategy. This situation implies a proposal for a coherent training policy in co-operation with ICCROM. To achieve this, the Secretariat also proposes to use UNESCO offices.

IX.3 During the debate, the African delegates recognized the pertinence of the methodology proposed and suggested associating their efforts with those undertaken by the World Heritage Centre to encourage countries south of the Sahara to ratify the 1972 Convention. The Delegate of Benin suggested that the Director of the Centre be a member of the UNESCO Delegation participating at the Organization for African Unity (OAU) to inform as many States as possible about World Heritage. The Observer of South Africa proposed that the African States Parties should, in the same way, create national committees for the implementation of the 1972 Convention, so as to activate the process from the establishment of tentative lists through to the preparation of the nomination dossier. The delegates reiterated their support for the training strategy adopted at the twentieth session of the Committee (Merida, 1996). It was also recommended to invite experts from all Sub-saharan African regions to the expert meeting on African Cultural Landscape, scheduled in 1998, in Kenya. Finally, the suggestion to organize a meeting on Global Strategy in Western Africa was welcome and the Republic of Benin offered to host it in autumn 1998, instead of 1999, as it was originally foreseen.

IX.4 Concerning the implementation of the Global Strategy in the Pacific, it was noted that there are still very few States Parties to the Convention in the Pacific. The Director of the Centre informed the Committee that the need to encourage greater adherence to, and implementation of the Convention in the Pacific has been included as part of UNESCO's new strategic approach called "Focus on the Pacific". The Delegate of Australia gave her encouragement and support for Global Strategy work in the Pacific stressing that the region's cultural and natural heritage is currently under-represented on the List. She made reference to the Global Strategy work already performed in the Pacific, most notably the meeting held in Suva, Fiji, in association with the Fiji Museum, which was already leading to tangible results (WHC-97/CONF.208/INF.8). She supported the proposal to hold a follow-up meeting for the Pacific in 1998, indicating that Australia would be active in assisting in the meeting and asked that a progress report on Global Strategy work in the Pacific be presented to the next session of the Committee. The Delegate of the Republic of Korea suggested that the Committee members of the region, Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea and Thailand, participate in the meeting together with experts, to undertake joint efforts regarding those small islands' Governments of the Pacific, especially noting that the main objective of the proposed Global Strategy meeting is to encourage those Pacific islands to accede to the Convention. IUCN asked that the meeting address both cultural and natural heritage as they are so intrinsically linked in the Pacific.

IX.5 The Committee took note of the comparative studies which were undertaken by ICOMOS in 1997 on Fossil Hominid sites, Iberian Colonial towns in Latin America, Islamic military sites in Central and South Asia, and Castles of the Teutonic Order in Central and Eastern Europe.

IX.6 The Committee recalled that the Global Strategy was originally devised with particular reference to cultural heritage and that in March 1996 an expert meeting in the Parc National de la Vanoise, France, affirmed the application of the Global Strategy for natural heritage.

The Committee noted that thematic studies (e.g. on tropical forests and wetlands, coastal and marine ecosystems) funded by an earmarked contribution from Australia, have commenced in co-operation with IUCN. The Committee was informed of a number of actions concerning geological heritage, including a thematic brochure on World Heritage sites of geological value and co-ordination meetings with the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), the International Geological Correlation Programme (IGCP) and the UNESCO Division of Earth Sciences. The Committee noted that within the framework of the Global Strategy a study was carried out in 1997 on the "Identification of potential natural heritage sites in the Arab Countries" and was provided to States Parties in the Arab Region.

IX.7 The Committee took note of the preliminary Draft European Landscape Convention (Resolution 53/97 of the Council of Europe) and Recommendation 31 of the Council of Europe's "Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe" (CLRAE) presented in Information Document WHC-97/CONF.208/INF.12. The Committee welcomed the complementarity of the World Heritage Convention and the proposed Preliminary Draft of the European Landscape Convention and the synergy of efforts. The Committee was informed of the "Intergovernmental Consultation Conference on the Preliminary Draft European Landscape Convention" organized by CLRAE and to be held from 2 to 4 April 1998 in Florence (Italy) and welcomed the initiative by CLRAE to enhance the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of European landscapes. The Delegate of France underlined that new instruments should find their place among existing legal instruments, on the national, regional and international level and that a collaboration between the World Heritage Committee, the Centre and the new European instrument should be organized. The Committee recalled that at its twentieth session in December 1996, it approved US $30,000 for an Expert Meeting on cultural landscapes of the Andean Region to guide States Parties in the identification, selection and presentation of cultural landscapes in the Andes. The meeting will be held in Peru in May 1998.

IX.8 The Committee recalled that a preliminary consultation meeting took place in conjunction with the World Heritage Bureau session, on 28 June 1997, to further define the objectives and agenda for the Global Strategy Expert Meeting on Natural and Cultural Heritage to be held in 1998. The report of the consultation meeting was included as ANNEX XI of the report of the twenty-first session of the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee (WHC-97/CONF.208/4A). The Secretariat informed the Committee that co-ordination meetings were held with the advisory bodies and with colleagues from the Culture and Science Sectors of UNESCO. These meetings reviewed replies to the circular letter on the Selection of National Experts, and refined the agenda items into more detailed terms of reference, noting in particular that the meeting should focus on an analysis of issues through case studies. The Committee also recalled that it approved US $30,000 for this activity at its twentieth session in December 1996 and welcomed the offer by the Government of the Netherlands to host the Expert Meeting.

IX.9 While referring to the Global Strategy meeting scheduled in South East Asia in 1999, the Committee stressed the importance of wood architectural heritage and its conservation. In addition, it emphasized the relation of this heritage to ritual ceremonies and therefore its link to intangible heritage. The Observer of India underlined the importance of living cultures and the suggested meeting in Central Asia and offered to host a Global Strategy meeting for South Asia in India in 1999.

 

Themes: Credibility of the World Heritage List, Reports
Session: 21COM