1. The 27th session of the World Heritage Committee was closed on 5 July 2003 by the Chairperson, Ms Vera Lacoeuilhe (St. Lucia). She thanked the Committee for their work and paid tribute to the 8 members of the Committee for whom this was their last session (Belgium, Greece, Finland, Hungary, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Zimbabwe).
2. The Chairperson made special mention of the co-operation of the Committee and the Observers, the exceptional work of the former and current Rapporteurs and of the Secretariat.
3. The World Heritage Committee thanked the Chairperson for her skill and patience in leading what had been a memorable session.
4. The Director of the World Heritage Centre thanked the Chairperson, the other members of the Committee and the staff of the Centre for their contributions to the session.
5. Finally the new Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee, H.E. Mr Zhang Xinsheng (China) addressed the Committee. He thanked the outgoing Chairperson Ms Vera Lacoeuilhe (St. Lucia), for her commitment and skill during the Committee session. He thanked South Africa for having agreed to defer its hosting of the Committee until 2005 and expressed his hope that the session in China would be a great success.
6. Before closing the session and welcoming all participants to Suzhou, China in 2004, the new Chairperson referred to the collective responsibility required to meet the challenges in conserving World Heritage.