The World Heritage Convention is approaching two important milestones: 40 years since it came into force and the inscription of the 1000th property on the World Heritage List. However, the very success of the World Heritage Convention poses a series of challenges and opportunities not fully envisaged when it was adopted in 1972.
At its 33rd session (Seville, 2009), the World Heritage Committee agreed that it was timely to consider how best to respond to these challenges and opportunities for the more effective implementation of the World Heritage Convention in the coming decades.
The General Assembly of States Parties, at its 17th Session, welcomed the offer by Japan and Australia to host a meeting to explore creative approaches to reduce the number of properties that encounter significant problems in the nomination process.
The World Heritage Committee, in Decision 33 COM 14.A2 para 14, recognised that challenges exist in the process for nominating a property to the World Heritage List. States Parties spend considerable time and money developing nominations which may be delayed or unsuccessful. The Advisory Bodies are sometimes constrained in their ability to provide support to States Parties on possible nominations due to potential conflicts with evaluation processes. International Assistance does not always result in successful nominations and the World Heritage Committee is often faced with difficult, pressured inscription decisions.
The Foreign Ministry of Japan and the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of Thailand and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre with the support of the UNESCO Bangkok Office, will host a meeting in Phuket, Thailand from 27-29 April 2010.
The meeting will focus on options for improving and strengthening the current nomination process. This will include Tentative Listing procedures, the technical check performed by the World Heritage Centre, and the evaluation processes undertaken by the Advisory Bodies.