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International Assistance

What is International Assistance?

International Assistance under the World Heritage Convention, articles 13.1, 13.2 and 19 to 26 is an assistance granted to the State Parties to the World Heritage Convention, in order to help them protect the World Cultural or Natural Heritage located on their territories and inscribed on the World Heritage List, the List of World Heritage in Danger or on their Tentative List. The World Heritage Committee or its Chairperson allocates International Assistance through the World Heritage Fund, priority being given to the most threatened properties. For the detailed principles and priorities for International Assistance, please refer to the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, paragraphs 236 to 239. International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund can support requests falling under one of the following three categories (for more details, see also the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, paragraph 241):

  • Emergency assistance: to address ascertained or potential threats facing properties inscribed on the World Heritage List which have suffered severe damage or are in imminent danger of severe damage due to sudden, unexpected phenomena (eg. land subsidence, extensive fires, flooding or man-made disaster). This assistance does not concern cases of damage or deterioration caused by gradual processes of decay, pollution or erosion.
  • Conservation and management, which include:
    • Technical cooperation: to provide equipment or experts for the conservation, management and presentation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List. For example, conservation works, preparation or update of management plans or risk-preparedness plans fall under this category;
    • Training & research assistance: to support the training of staff and specialists at all levels in the fields of identification, monitoring, conservation, management and presentation of World Heritage properties, with an emphasis on group training (individual scholarships cannot be funded and should be sent to UNESCO’s Fellowship Section instead). It can be requested also to undertake scientific research or studies benefiting to World Heritage properties;
    • Promotional and educational assistance (maximum amount: 10,000 USD): to raise awareness and develop educational materials for the general promotion of the Convention and the World Heritage List.
  • Preparatory assistance (maximum amount: 30,000 USD): to prepare or update tentative lists, as well as to prepare nomination files for sites inscribed on national Tentative Lists, or to prepare requests for Conservation and Management assistance.

Who Can Submit an International Assistance Request?

All States Parties to the Convention are eligible in principle. However, the Operational Guidelines outline that when funds available are limited and a selection has to be made, preference should be given to:

  • a Least Developed Country or Low Income Economy as defined by the United Nations Economic and Social Council's Committee for Development Policy, or
  • a Lower Middle Income Country as defined by the World Bank, or
  • a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), or
  • a State Party in a post-conflict situation.

States Parties in arrears of payment of their compulsory or voluntary contributions to the World Heritage Fund are not eligible for international assistance. For the 2013 cycle, it means that all contributions up to 2012 included have to be paid.

The status of contributions can be checked on whc.unesco.org/en/world-heritage-fund

Individuals, foundations, IGOs and NGOs are not eligible for submitting International Assistance requests to the World Heritage Fund.

How Submit an International Assistance Request?

According to paragraph 244 of the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, International Assistance requests must be transmitted by a State Party National Commission for UNESCO or Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, or an appropriate governmental Department or Ministry. Individuals who do not represent one of these bodies are therefore not entitled to submit requests for International Assistance.

  1. Request a log-in at wh-intassistance@unesco.org, fill in the application online at whc.unesco.org/en/intassistance in English or French. Persons belonging to National Commissions for UNESCO, Permanent Delegations to UNESCO or appropriate governmental Departments or Ministries can send their name, function, institution and email address to the World Heritage Centre (wh-intassistance@unesco.org); they will receive their log-in directly to their email address. The advantage of the online form is that the automatic calculations in the budget part can help avoiding mistakes;
    OR
    Download the electronic application form on the WHC website in Word or PDF and fill in the application either in English or French. If you experience difficulty downloading this file, please contact the Convention Secretariat (wh-intassistance@unesco.org);
  2. Attach relevant supporting documents and information that are deemed appropriate;
  3. The application form must be signed and dated by National Commissions for UNESCO, Permanent Delegations to UNESCO or appropriate governmental Departments or Ministries;
  4. The completed application form must be sent to the World Heritage Centre at the following address:
    UNESCO World Heritage Centre
    7, place de Fontenoy
    75352 Paris 07 SP
    France

Electronic application forms

In order to help you filling in the above form, here are some written guidelines giving explanations and examples:

You can also consult the evaluation criteria that will be used by the Advisory Bodies (ICOMOS, IUCN, ICCROM) in their evaluation of the request:

Rules for International Assistance

Preparatory Assistance Conservation & Management Assistance Emergency Assistance
Technical Cooperation Assistance Training & Research Assistance Educational & Promotional Assistance
Decision by Director up to $5,000 up to $5,000 up to $5,000 up to $5,000 up to $5,000
Decision by Chairperson from $5,001 to $30,000 from $5,001 to $30,000 from $5,001 to $30,000 from $5,001 to $10,000 from $5,001 to $75,000
The Chairperson cannot approve requests submitted by his/her own country
Decision by Committee N/A above $30,000 above $30,000 N/A above $75,000
Budgetary Ceiling Amount maximum = $30,000 None None Amount maximum = $10,000 None
Payment of contributions to the World Heritage Fund States Parties must have paid all their contribution up to 31 December of the previous calendar year - for example, they can have requests approved in 2011 if they have paid up to 31 December 2010. N/A
Submission date For $5,000 or less: any time Above $5,000: 31 October For $5,000 or less: any time Above $5,000: 31 October For $5,000 or less: any time Above $5,000: 31 October For $5,000 or less: any time Above $5,000: 31 October Any time
Comments by the Advisory Bodies* Mandatory above $5,000 Mandatory above $5,000 Mandatory above $5,000 Mandatory above $5,000 Mandatory above $5,000
Evaluation by the panel** Mandatory above $5,000 Mandatory above $5,000 Mandatory above $5,000 Mandatory above $5,000 N/A

* ICOMOS  and ICCROM for cultural heritage, IUCN for natural heritage, ICOMOS, ICCROM and IUCN for mixed heritage
** The panel is composed of representatives from the Secretariat, the Advisory Bodies, and is chaired, if possible, by the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee or
a Vice-Chairperson. It is held every year in January.

Process for an International Assistance Request for Conservation & Management Assistance or Preparatory Assistance

 
Submission - Deadline

Evaluation by

Examination by the panel (conveyed in January)
Final decision made by
Request for 5,000 USD or less Any time during the year World Heritage Centre No Director of the World Heritage Centre
Request between 5,001 USD and 30,000 USD 31 October at the latest Advisory Bodies* Yes
Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee
Request above 30,000 USD
(conservation & management assistance only)
31 October at the latest Advisory Bodies* Yes
World Heritage Committee (June/July)

* Advisory Bodies are: ICOMOS and ICCROM for cultural heritage requests, IUCN for natural heritage requests. The 3 Advisory Bodies evaluate mixed heritage requests (see paragraphs 248 to 250 of the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention)

Process for an International Assistance request for Emergency Assistance

 
Submission – Deadline


Evaluation by



Examination by the panel (conveyed in January)
Final decision made by
Request for 5,000 USD or less Any time during the year World Heritage Centre No Director of the World Heritage Centre
Request between 5,001 USD and 75,000 USD Any time during the year Advisory Bodies* No Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee
Request above 75,000 USD Anytime before the Committee (June/July) Advisory Bodies* No World Heritage Committee (June/July)

* Advisory Bodies are: ICOMOS and ICCROM for cultural heritage requests, IUCN for natural heritage requests. The 3 Advisory Bodies evaluate mixed heritage requests (see paragraphs 248 to 250 of the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention)

Documents Relating To International Assistance

Background information documents

  • Evaluation of International Assistance: Examination of the recommendations of the twenty-third session of the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee concerning prioritization in granting International Assistance to States Parties (document WHC.99/CONF.209/16, 21 October 1999)
  • International Assistance: Report on the Evaluation of International Assistance provided under the World Heritage Fund (document WHC.2000/CONF.204/16, 12 October 2000)
  • Progress Report on the Evaluation of the World Heritage Fund Emergency Assistance (document WHC.04/28.COM/10B, 17 June 2004)
  • Information on the Evaluation of the World Heritage Fund’s Preparatory Assistance, Technical Cooperation, Training, and Promotional and Educational Activities (document WHC.05/29.COM/14B, 30 June 2005)
  • Examination of the Recommendations on International Assistance (document WHC.06/30.COM/14A, 23 June 2006)
  • Reform of International Assistance (document WHC.07/31.COM/18B, 10 May 2007)
  • Examination of International Assistance requests – part III: proposals to improve the international assistance process (document WHC-12/36.COM/14, page 10-16, 11 May 2012).