On 10 July 2017, during its 41st session in Krakow, Poland, the World Heritage Committee officially launched the Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting while also adopting the revised format of the Periodic Reporting questionnaire and endorsing the recommendations of the Periodic Reporting Reflection Expert Group.

The decision taken by the Committee sets out the timetable for reporting in each region, which will begin with the Arab States in 2018 (report to the Committee 2020), followed by Africa in 2019 (report to the Committee 2021), Asia and the Pacific in 2020 (report to the Committee 2022), Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021 (report to the Committee 2023) and finally Europe and North America, who will report in one year, 2022 (report to the Committee 2024), unlike previous cycles when reporting for the region was spread over two years. The timeframe adopted will allow sufficient time for States Parties to prepare for the reporting in their region and implement any necessary training and capacity building activities.

The Periodic Reporting Reflection Expert Group carried out its work between June 2016 and June 2017. The Expert Group was tasked with developing proposals and recommendations for the revision and updating of the Periodic Reporting process and questionnaire in response to Committee requests and feedback gathered from States Parties after the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting.

The results of the work of the group were thus presented to the Committee in a final report accompanied by a proposed revised format of the questionnaire. An extensive number of changes and improvements have been introduced into the revised format of the questionnaire, which now fully integrates the Sustainable Development approach, highlights synergies with other conventions and programmes relevant to World Heritage and incorporates a monitoring indicator framework for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. A suite of guidance materials to assist States Parties and site managers complete their Periodic Reports is currently being prepared by the World Heritage Centre and will be available on the Periodic Reporting webpage in early 2018.

Periodic Reporting is a core monitoring process of the World Heritage Convention with four key objectives; assessing the application of the World Heritage Convention by States Parties, assessing whether values of the properties inscribed on the World Heritage List are being maintained over time, gathering updated information about the properties, and serving as a mechanism for regional co-operation and exchange of information and experiences between States Parties with regards to World Heritage. For further information on the Third Cycle, visit the recent developments on the Periodic Reporting platform.