The “Thinking Ahead” initiative is intended to improve dialogue, communication and transparency among all stakeholders involved in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, with the objective of enhancing the credibility of the Convention.

A half-day meeting was convened by the Director-General on 21 January 2015 to take stock of progress made to improve dialogue, communication and transparency.

The January 2015 meeting was convened as a follow-up to the meeting that was held from 2 to 3 October 2012 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention.
The 2012 meeting produced a number of recommendations that were eventually submitted to the 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013) and 38th session (Doha, 2014) of the Committee for review of their state of implementation. The progress was also reviewed at the 19th General Assembly of States Parties to the World Heritage Convention in November 2013, when the Director-General convened another exchange session. The General Assembly adopted Resolution 19 GA 11, which encouraged all parties concerned to continue contributing to the process of enhancing the credibility of the Convention.

The present “Thinking Ahead” meeting was mainly devoted to the presentation by the Chairperson of the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee, Prof. Maria Böhmer, Minister of State in the German Federal Foreign Office (thereafter, “the Chairperson”) on the ongoing work of the ad hoc working group, established by the 38th session to examine issues related to the working methods of the evaluation and decision-making process of nominations and formulate recommendations (Decision 38 COM 13). The ad hoc working group inter alia, called upon the Advisory Bodies to consult and have dialogue with all States Parties concerned. The meeting also gave the Heads of the Advisory Bodies the opportunity to report on the ongoing changes and initiatives in view of their contributions to the objectives of the “Thinking Ahead” initiative.