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Decision : CONF 002 XI
Preparation of the Celebration of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the World Heritage Convention

46. The Committee took note of the report of the Secretariat on the progress made in the preparation for the commemoration in 1992 of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention presented in Document SC-91/CONF.002/7, consisting, on the one hand, of an evaluation of the implementation of the Convention and the elaboration of a strategy for the future, and on the other, of the organization of promotional events at UNESCO Headquarters and elsewhere.

47. With regard to the evaluation, the basis of the work had been prepared during 1991 and an outline submitted to the Committee. A first version of the report would be sent to the members of the Committee during January 1992. The Committee noted that this first version would be completed in the light of national reports which should be received early next year. At the same time, a draft strategy would be prepared by the Secretariat and presented to the Bureau at its next session. Following discussions of the Bureau, it may prove necessary to consult a small group of experts in order to assist the Secretariat to finalize the text of the strategy which will be submitted to the next session of the Committee for adoption.

48. Throughout the session, the members of the Committee indicated that the celebration of the 20th anniversary was the opportunity for an in-depth reflection on the Convention which could even lead, according to one member of the Committee, to the possible revision of its text, as noted in the Resolution of UNESCO's General Conference of 6 November 1991 on this question. According to this Committee member, the most important questions to be studied concerned the restrictions that the Convention imposed on interventions by the Committee, which could be compared to the right of intervention often evoked for questions of human rights and more recently environmental protection. In particular, the Committee was faced with this problem when it wished to inscribe a property on the List of World Heritage in Danger without waiting to receive a formal nomination and a request for technical assistance from the State Party concerned. Such cases recurred several times during the debates of the session of the Committee.

49. More generally, reflection should be given to the ethical dimension of the Convention, particularly taking into account the increase of poverty and the ignorance it engenders, both of which are destructive elements for heritage, and to the universality of heritage and cultural diversity, in order to seek a better balance within the World Heritage Committee, and in the World Heritage List between different regions and cultures of the world. In this respect, the need for a global study on cultural properties was recalled as an important part of the overall reflection to be undertaken in connection with the 20th anniversary.

50. With regard to natural heritage, a revision of criteria, including the incorporation of a criterion for geological sites, should be envisaged, particularly in the light of discussions which will take place during the Fourth World Parks Congress, to be held in Caracas, Venezuela, in February 1992, during a one-day workshop organized on the World Heritage Convention. The question of landscapes will also be raised and discussions on this subject will contribute towards the elaboration of criteria for landscapes. The possibility to bestow a World Heritage value to certain areas of Antarctica which, according to IUCN, deserve to be inscribed on the World Heritage List, should also be evoked taking into account the fact that the Convention at present is not applicable to this continent because of problems related to national sovereignty.

51. The Committee was also of the opinion that the twentieth anniversary should be the occasion to recall to the States Parties their obligations under the Convention, particularly the setting-up of national structures and payment of their contributions to the World Heritage Fund, and to encourage them to organize events during 1992 to make the Convention better known. The Committee also wished to launch an appeal to major private foundations for contributions to the World Heritage Fund and to study the modalities of organizing a World Heritage Day.

52. Finally, the Committee noted that the events to be organized at UNESCO Headquarters, opening with a Gala Evening on 10 or 11 July and terminating in mid-October, will consist of a large exhibition with the participation of many States Parties, and national days or weeks organized by States Parties with the assistance of the Secretariat.

53. The events taking place elsewhere should be implemented by the States Parties themselves, with national or regional workshops or seminars. For its part, the Secretariat will organize one seminar by region, partly financed by UNESCO's Regular Programme budget and taking place in East Africa, Venice (Italy), Indonesia, Quito and the Galapagos (Ecuador) and Fez (Morocco) respectively. These seminars will be open to the press and the different themes to be evoked will also contribute to the overall reflection on the Convention.

 Decisions Report
Context of Decision
Themes: Communication
Year: 1991
Decision Code: CONF 002 XI