Paris - The World Heritage Committee will hold its 26th annual session from June 24 to 29 in Budapest, Hungary, during which it will inscribe new sites on the World Heritage List and review the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The intergovernmental World Heritage Committee consists of 21 members elected by the General Assembly of the 172 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention. The Committee members are Argentina, Belgium, China, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Oman, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe. As many as 50 observer delegations from other States Parties to the Convention are also expected to attend. The Committee is responsible for the implementation of the Convention and determines the inclusion of sites on the World Heritage List on the recommendation of two advisory bodies: the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), for cultural sites and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), for natural sites. The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) provides expert advice on building restoration and organises training sessions for specialists.

The World Heritage Convention presently protects 721 sites of "outstanding universal value," - 554 cultural sites, 144 natural sites and 23 mixed sites - in 124 countries.

This year, the Committee will examine nominations for eleven cultural properties from nine countries. Among these is the first proposal in twenty years from Afghanistan, The Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam. If inscribed, the site would be the first property on the World Heritage List in Afghanistan.

Two extensions for sites already inscribed on the World Heritage List will also be examined. The decisions of the Committee will be based on the recommendations of its Bureau, which met in April and on the technical advice of ICOMOS and IUCN.

As fewer nominations are being presented this year because of the change in the Committee's calendar, more time has been planned to discuss substantive issues such as the Revised Operational Guidelines and other reform issues.

The Committee will also examine reports on the state of conservation of more than 100 World Heritage sites.

For more information about the meeting, please visit the official web site of the 26th session of the World Heritage Committee.