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Committee Decisions

CONF 003 XIV.1-9

Revision of the Operational Guidelines

XIV.1 Work Group 2 examined working document WHC­94/CONF.003/9Rev., particularly the proposed revisions of the Operational Guidelines regarding the 'criteria for the inclusion of cultural properties in the World Heritage List', 'monitoring and reporting' and the 'timetable for the processing of nominations'.

XIV.2 The Committee decided that the following proposals, that had not been examined by the Work Group, should be brought forward to the nineteenth session of the Bureau in July 1995: 'deadline for presentation of requests for technical assistance', 'establishment of the World Heritage List' (role of the advisory bodies) and 'international assistance' (rules for approval of requests for preparatory, technical and training assistance).


XIV.3 The Committee, having taken note of the recommendations made by the Work Group and discussed the proposal of the Delegate of Senegal, who, in order to encourage a less restrictive use of criterion (vi) proposed to replace, in this paragraph, "universal" by "regional", adopted the following text of the Operational Guidelines:

"Para. 24. A monument, group of buildings or site - as defined above -which is nominated for inclusion in the World Heritage List will be considered to be of outstanding universal value for the purpose of the Convention when the Committee finds that it meets one or more of the following criteria and the test of authenticity. Each property nominated should therefore:

(a)(i) represent a masterpiece of human creative genius; or

[replace in the French version de l'homme by humain and, in the English version, delete a unique artistic achievement so that it corresponds with the French, and delete the and insert human];

(ii) exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture, .monumental arts or town-planning and landscape design; or

[replace have exerted great influence by exhibit an important interchange of human values so as to reflect better the interaction of. cultures, instead of the present formulation, which suggests that cultural influences occur in one direction only];

(iii) bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared; or

[reverse the order of a civilization and cultural tradition, add to a and which is living, to include living cultures]

(iv) be an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage (s) in human history; or

(v) be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement or land-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), especially when i t has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change; or

(vi) be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance (the Committee considers that this criterion should justify inclusion in the List only in exceptional circumstances or in conjunction with other criteria cultural or natural);

[add cultural or natural in order to encourage a more open interpretation of this criterion]


(b)(i) meet the test of authenticity in design, material, workmanship or setting and in the case of cultural landscapes their distinctive character and components (the Committee stressed that reconstruction is only acceptable if it is carried out on the basis of complete and detailed documentation on the original and to no extent on conjecture).

(ii) have adequate legal and/or traditional protection and management mechanisms to ensure the conservation of the nominated cultural property or cultural landscapes. The existence of protective legislation at the national, provincial or municipal level or well-established traditional protection and/or adequate management mechanisms is therefore essential and must be stated clearly on the nomination form. Assurances of the effective implementation of these laws and/or management mechanisms are also expected. Furthermore, in order to preserve the integrity of cultural sites, particularly those open to large numbers of visitors, the State Party concerned should be able to provide evidence of suitable administrative arrangements to cover the management of the property, its conservation and its accessibility to the public.

XIV.4 Following the proposal of the Delegate of Japan, the Committee requested the Secretariat to undertake a study on the modifications which should be made to criterion (b)(i) of paragraph 24 to take into account the conclusions of the Nara meeting on Authenticity.

XIV.5 Criterion (b)(ii) of paragraph 24 remains unchanged for the time being but coherence of its wording will be studied by the Secretariat and proposals for its revision will be presented, if deemed necessary, to the nineteenth session of the Bureau.


XIV.6 The Committee, recalling the decisions it had taken already on the principles and framework for systematic monitoring (see Section IX) and having taken note of the recommendations of the Work Group, adopted the following text for inclusion in the Operational Guidelines as a new Chapter II:


xx. One of the essential functions of the Committee is to monitor the state of conservation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List and to take action thereupon. In the following, a distinction will be made between systematic and reactive monitoring.

a) Systematic monitoring and reporting

xx Systematic monitoring and reporting is the continuous process of observing the conditions of World Heritage sites with periodic reporting on its state of conservation.

The objectives of systematic monitoring and reporting are:

World Heritage site: Improved site management, advanced planning, reduction of emergency and ad-hoc interventions, and reduction of costs through preventive conservation.

State Party: Improved World Heritage policies, advanced planning, improved site management and preventive conservation. 

Region: Regional cooperation, regional World Heritage policies and activities better targeted to the specific needs of the region.

Committee/Secretariat: Better understanding of the conditions of the sites and of the needs on the site, national and regional levels. Improved policy and decision making.

xx It is the prime responsibility of the States Parties to put in place on-site monitoring arrangements as an integral component of day-to-day conservation and management of the sites. States Parties should do so in close collaboration with the site managers or the agency with management authority. It is necessary that every year the conditions of the site be recorded by the site manager or the agency with management authority.

xx The States Parties are invited to submit to the World Heritage Committee through the World Heritage Centre, every five years, a scientific report on the state of conservation of the World Heritage sites on their territories. To this end, the States Parties may request expert advice from the Secretariat or the advisory bodies. The Secretariat may also commission expert advice with the agreement of the States Parties.

xx To facilitate the work of the Committee and its Secretariat and to achieve greater regionalization and decentralization of World Heritage work, these reports will be examined separately by region as determined by the Committee. The World Heritage Centre will synthesize the national reports by regions. In doing so, full use will be made of the available expertise of the advisory bodies and other organizations.

xx The Committee will decide for which regions state of conservation reports should be presented to its forthcoming sessions. The States Parties concerned will be informed at least one year in advance so as to give them sufficient time to prepare the state of conservation reports.

xx The Secretariat will take the necessary measures for adequate World Heritage information collection and management, making full use, to the extent possible, of the information/documentation services of the advisory bodies and others.

b) Reactive monitoring

xx Reactive monitoring is the reporting by the World Heritage Centre, other sectors of UNESCO and the advisory bodies to the Bureau and the Committee on the state of conservation of specific World Heritage sites that are under threat. To this end, the States Parties shall submit to the Committee through the World Heritage Centre, specific reports and impact studies each time exceptional circumstances occur or work is undertaken which may have an effect on the state of conservation of the site. Reactive monitoring is foreseen in the procedures for the eventual deletion of properties from the World Heritage List as set out in paras. 50-58. It is also foreseen in reference to properties inscribed, or to be inscribed, on the List of World Heritage in Danger as set out in paras. 75-82.

XIV.7 The Committee also decided to revise paragraph 57 as follows:

57. In this connection, the Committee recommends that States Parties co-operate with the advisory bodies which have been asked by the Committee to carry out monitoring and reporting on its behalf on the progress of work undertaken for the preservation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List.


XIV.8 The Committee took note of the positive recommendation made by Work Group 2 to revise paragraph 66 and approved the following timetable for processing of nominations:

1 July:

Deadline for receipt by the Secretariat of nominations to be considered by the Committee the following year.

15 September:

The Secretariat:

(1) registers each nomination and thoroughly verifies its contents and accompanying documentation. In the case of incomplete nominations, the Secretariat must immediately request the missing information from the States Parties.

(2) Transmit nominations, provided they are complete, to the appropriate international non-governmental organization (ICOMOS, IUCN or both), which:

immediately examines each nomination to ascertain those cases in which additional information is required and takes the necessary steps, in co-operation with the Secretariat, to obtain the complementary data, and



The report of the Bureau is transmitted by the Secretariat as soon as possible to all States Parties members of the Committee, as well as to all States Parties concerned. The Secretariat endeavours to obtain from the States Parties concerned the additional information requested on the properties under category (c) above and transmits this information to ICOMOS, IUCN and the States members of the Committee. If the requested information is not obtained by 1 October, the nomination will not be eligible for review by the Committee at its regular session in the same year.

XIV.9 The Committee decided that this revision of the timetable would only be effective as of 1 July 1996 and that ample diffusion should be given of its revision.


Themes: Working methods and tools, Operational Guidelines
Session: 18COM