jump to the content

Committee Decisions

37 COM 7

Emerging trends and general issues

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Documents WHC-13/37.COM/7A, WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add, WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC-13/37.COM/7B, WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add and WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add.Corr,

I

2.  Expresses its utmost concern about the many conflicts which are affecting World Heritage properties and in particular the recent cases where World Heritage properties are intentionally destroyed by parties involved in the conflict, and the people in charge of their protection targeted;

3.  Takes note of the efforts of the World Heritage Centre and partners to try to minimize the impacts of conflicts on the properties by raising the awareness of the parties concerned and mobilizing financial support for their conservation, and appreciates the United Nations Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013 to ensure that, for the first time, the protection of cultural and historical sites, in collaboration with UNESCO, has been included in the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA);

4.  Launches an appeal to UNESCO and to the Parties to The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954), seeks their support for Mali and their cultural and technical cooperation, in particular for establishing property inventories and also requests the implementation of conservation measures for cultural properties threatened by armed conflict in other countries;

II

5.  Also expresses its utmost concern about the impacts on World Heritage properties due to the rising poaching pressure on African elephants and rhinoceros linked to a growing illicit trade to Asia, fuelled by soaring prices for rhino horn and ivory and the increasing involvement organized crime in this lucrative business;

6.  Welcomes the measures taken by the 16th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to help address this poaching crisis and requests the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to strengthen its cooperation with the CITES Secretariat to assist States Parties to implement these measures;

III

7.  Also welcomes the relevant conclusions of the “Living with World Heritage in Africa” Conference held in Gauteng, South Africa (26-29 September 2012), which build on the recommendations of the independent review of the “No-go” commitment of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICCM) concerning mining exploration/exploitation in World Heritage properties, noted in Decision 36 COM 7C ;

8.  Notes with concern the growing impact of the extractive industries on World Heritage properties, and urges all States Parties to the Convention and leading industry stakeholders, to respect the “No-go” commitment by not permitting extractives activities within World Heritage properties, and by making every effort to ensure that extractives companies located in their territory cause no damage to World Heritage properties, in line with Article 6 of the Convention;

9.  Also requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to continue a dialogue with the extractive industries on extending the commitment made by Shell and the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) to not explore or develop oil, gas and mineral resources within World Heritage properties to other companies and parts of the industry, and also to ensure that existing and future operations in areas surrounding World Heritage properties are compatible with the protection of their Outstanding Universal Value and do not threaten their integrity;

IV

10.  Takes note that guidance on impact assessments is now available from the Advisory Bodies for both natural and cultural properties, and that more detailed joint guidelines are needed to provide a comprehensive overview of how the results of these assessments can be successfully integrated into decision-making processes for land-use planning;

V

11. Thanks the State Party of the Netherlands, and the European Union for their support for the publication of the Managing Natural Heritage Resource Manual in printed versions and encourages other States Parties to the Convention to support translation and dissemination of this resource manual in a range of regional languages.