Resolution : CONF 206 53-73
Representivity of the World Heritage List (follow-up to the Resolution adopted by the twelfth General Assembly of States Parties)
53. The Chairperson referred to document WHC-2001/CONF.206/5 and requested the General Assembly to take note of the decision of the World Heritage Committee at its twenty-fourth session in Cairns 2000.
54. The Director of the World Heritage Centre recalled that a Resolution had been adopted by the 12th General Assembly concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. Furthermore, he acknowledged the work of the Working Group that was chaired by H.E. Ambassador Yai (Benin) in 2000 whose mandate was to make recommendations, based on the Resolution, towards improving the representivity of the World Heritage List.
55. The Director of the World Heritage Centre summarised the main points of the decision of the World Heritage Committee at its twenty-fourth session in Cairns 2000, which were based on the recommendations of the Working Group.
56. The Delegate of Argentina supported the decision of the World Heritage Committee and stressed the importance of the preparation of tentative lists as a first step to protecting heritage. He advised that a committee was recently established in Argentina for this purpose and there were already 10 sites on the tentative list that would be valid until 2010. Under-represented heritage such as cultural landscapes and intangible heritage had been considered as well as sites bordering neighbouring countries.
57. The Delegate of France welcomed the Committee decision but questioned the priority system to be used to select the 30 nominations to be considered by the Committee in 2003. He asked when information from the analysis of the World Heritage List and Tentative Lists (requested by the Committee at its twenty-fourth session) would be available to States Parties to assist them in prioritising their nominations. The Director of the World Heritage Centre responded that an initial analysis would be completed in early 2002.
58. The Delegate of Finland commented that the World Heritage List should be analysed according to a whole range of typologies and categories so that States Parties can identify when they had too much or not enough of a type of heritage represented on the List. He suggested that this would be an important discussion topic at the next World Heritage Committee meeting in Helsinki.
59. The Delegate of Israel referred to document WHC-2001/CONF.206/INF.5 "Distribution of World Heritage properties in States Parties" in which it was stated that 33 States Parties had no properties inscribed on the World Heritage List. He stated that by proposing a limit of 30 nominations to be examined, a "gate keeper" was created whereby underrepresented States Parties may be able to present only 1 or 2 properties, thus limiting their potential for representation on the List. He stated that a limitation of 30 nominations was too strict and suggested that the scale of contributions to the World Heritage Fund for each State Party be based on the number of properties it had inscribed on the World Heritage List.
60. The Director of the World Heritage Centre reminded the General Assembly that it was only asked to note the document on Representivity of the List (WHC-2001/CONF.206/5). He also recalled that the Committee had decided to limit the number of new nominations to be examined in 2003. The World Heritage Committee would decide on the number of nominations to be examined in future years.
61. The Delegate of Greece reiterated the comments made by the Delegate of France emphasising that the results of the analysis of the World Heritage List and tentative lists were required by States Parties to prepare nominations of categories of heritage not well represented on the List. She stressed that the analysis should be a priority of the World Heritage Centre.
62. The Director of the World Heritage Centre provided a brief explanation of the analysis of the World Heritage List and tentative lists which had been requested by the World Heritage Committee in Cairns. The deadline for the report of the analysis was 30 September 2001, but the World Heritage Committee had not provided funding for the study and the World Heritage Centre was unable to find resources to initiate the study. He advised that the study would be funded in 2002.
63. The Delegate of New Zealand supported the work done to date to balance the World Heritage List and acknowledged that the Pacific region was underrepresented on the World Heritage List. He mentioned that the Pacific was under-resourced and welcomed assistance to prepare nominations. He noted that the General Assembly must not forget the objective of quality in the words "outstanding universal value". He stated that New Zealand did not believe that properties of "outstanding universal value" should be restricted from being inscribed just because they were located within a State Party that was well represented on the List. He stressed that New Zealand did not want a distorted List or suppression of high-quality nominations.
64. The Delegate of Chile shared the misgivings of the Delegate of France regarding the priority system to be used to select the 30 nominations to be examined by the Committee in 2003. He asked the Director of the World Heritage Centre to explain how joint nominations between two or more State Parties would be considered. The Director responded by noting that while this type of nomination had not been considered by the Cairns Committee, a solution would be proposed in Helsinki that might encourage more of these nominations in the future.
65. The Delegate of Lithuania supported the work conducted to date to balance the World Heritage List and stated that they eagerly awaited the results of the analysis of the World Heritage List and tentative lists. The Delegate of Denmark supported the decision of the Cairns Committee as indicated in the document (WHC-2001/CONF.206/5) and commented that Denmark had selected three natural/cultural areas in Greenland that they would like to nominate for inclusion in the World Heritage List. Furthermore, he informed the General Assembly that the government of Denmark would provide the expertise to assist in the preparation and co-ordination of these nominations.
66. The Delegate of Slovenia mentioned the importance of scientific research for World Heritage properties and suggested that Karstic phenomena be used as one of the criteria for inclusion in the World Heritage List. She also offered to host a seminar in Slovenia in 2002 on Karstic phenomena.
67. The Delegate of India agreed with the comments made by the Delegates of France, New Zealand and Chile. She stated that nominations of properties of quality should not be excluded from the List in the search for new categories, typologies and themes of heritage. She stated that the process for selecting which nominations were to be examined by the World Heritage Committee must be inclusive and consultative rather than exclusive.
68. The Delegate of Iceland welcomed the work to date to ensure a representative World Heritage List and mentioned that Iceland hoped to nominate a property in the near future.
69. The Delegate of Sudan supported the criteria for selecting nominations to be examined by the Committee in 2003. He stated that Sudan had no sites on the World Heritage List even though it covered a large land mass and contained a considerable number of cultural and natural sites. He commented that as part of the priority system for selecting nominations to be examined, the date when a State Party became a signatory to the World Heritage Convention should be considered as Sudan ratified the Convention 25 years ago.
70. The Delegates of Armenia, Iraq and Indonesia all supported the work achieved to date in trying to achieve a more representative and balanced World Heritage List and mentioned that they had cultural and natural sites that could potentially be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
71. The Delegate from the Democratic Republic of the Congo stated that his country had a number of sites on the World Heritage List but due to war, one of the sites had been put on the List of World Heritage in Danger. He appealed to the General Assembly for appropriate funds to be allocated to enable restoration of the site. Furthermore, he stated that the Congo was full of cultural riches that were not on the World Heritage List and asked that a balance be made between cultural and natural sites.
72. Following these interventions, and at the request of the Chairperson, the General Assembly took note of the decision adopted at the twenty-fourth session of the World Heritage Committee as presented in document WHC-2001/CONF.206/5.
73. The Director of the World Heritage Centre reiterated that the priority system for limiting the number of nominations to be examined by the Committee each year would be evaluated by the Committee in one to two years' time. He thanked the General Assembly for their words of appreciation and stated that there was a need to establish ongoing activities for States Parties with no sites on the World Heritage List such as Sudan. He advised that the World Heritage Centre had begun a process to identify desertic sites in this region that may have the potential to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. He also stated that with the assistance of a major grant from the United Nations Foundation work was now being conducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He noted that the Director-General of UNESCO would visit the Congo in 2002.