Report of the Secretariat on Activities Undertaken since the Eighth Session of the World Heritage Committee
8. The Secretary, Mr. B. von Droste, Director, Division of Ecological Sciences, reported on activities undertaken since the Committee's eighth session held in Buenos Aires from 29 October to 2 November 1984. He began by reviewing the general status of implementation of the Convention, announcing that six new States, viz. in chronological order, Qatar, New Zealand, Sweden, Dominican Republic, Hungary and Philippines had adhered to the Convention, bringing the number of States Parties to 88. The Convention thus continued to arouse the interest of an increasing number of States. It was to be noted, however, that the geographical representation of States was still very uneven, with few States Parties from the Asian and Eastern European regions. Furthermore, while the number of nominations for inclusion in the World Heritage List was growing steadily, too few States (only 23) had as yet provided tentative lists, which were needed for evaluations of nominations to the List. It was also necessary to make sure that a balance was maintained between cultural and natural properties so as to abide by the spirit of the Convention; the present ratio being two-thirds/one-third. The state of the World Heritage Fund continued to be a major concern, despite the payment of a number of mandatory contributions. The level of the Fund's resources was in fact lower than in previous years (1980-1983), whereas the number of States Parties and entries on the World Heritage List had grown substantially.
9. He then reviewed activities since the Committee's eighth session in terms of preparatory assistance, technical co-operation, training and emergency assistance. On the subject of promotional activities, the Secretary said that an exhibit had been produced with the support of the Spanish Ministry of Cultural Properties and shown successively in Madrid, Canada and in the metro in Paris. He called on States to avail themselves of the Secretariat's copy of the exhibit - or to have it reproduced - for circulation in their own countries.
10. The Secretary stressed the excellent co-operation with ICOMOS and IUCN, but emphasized the fact that the Secretariat's workload had increased considerably while the number of staff working for the implementation of the Convention had remained the same since the Convention had become operational. He thanked the Canadian authorities for having provided the Secretariat with the services of an expert for two years.
11. He concluded his statement by underscoring the challenges to be faced at the beginning of the second decade of the Convention - its universality, commitment and mobilization of States Parties, in particular by establishing national structures for the implementation of the Convention, and making the public aware of the need to safeguard the world heritage.
12. In response to the Secretary's report, the Committee expressed the view that the Director-General's attention should be drawn to the situation of the Secretariat and the need to strengthen it. The Chairman of the International Fund for the Promotion of Culture and the representative of ALECSO reiterated their offer to co-operate with the World Heritage Committee.