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Reflection Period (2015-2017) after the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting

The Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting came to a close at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee (Bonn, 2015). It has brought to light important efforts underway to improve the protection, conservation and management of World Heritage properties and has helped identify the key factors affecting World Heritage.

However, a number of issues surrounding the process and format of Periodic Reporting have been identified by different World Heritage stakeholders. For this reason, the World Heritage Committee, recognizing the need to further improve the procedures of the exercise and to update it in line with various evolving factors, decided to enact a two-year reflection period from 2015 to 2017.
The Reflection Period will involve an Expert Group that will propose improvements to the process and the questionnaire.

In addition, two Periodic Reporting Reflection Meetings should be held with the participation of the Expert Group, representatives of States Parties, the World Heritage Centre, Advisory Bodies, UNESCO Field Offices, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, and Category 2 Centres, depending on extra-budgetary funding.

Periodic Reporting Reflection Survey for States Parties of the World Heritage Convention

Gathering comments from States Parties is the instrumental first step in the Reflection Period. Therefore, a Periodic Reporting Reflection Survey invites States Parties to comment on various elements of the Periodic Reporting exercise, including the process, format, use and analysis of data, relevance and efficiency.

Feedback from States Parties in these key areas outlined by the World Heritage Committee will provide valuable information to guide the working group and reflection meetings in developing revisions to the process.

Outcomes of the Periodic Reporting Reflection Survey

Over 75 States Parties participated in this survey in the course of two months and the World Heritage Centre received very useful feedback regarding the process and format, use and analysis of data, relevance and efficiency of the Periodic Reporting exercise. 

A brief summary of the outcomes of this survey has been prepared by the Centre and is available for download.

Progress Report on the Periodic Reflection Period

A progress report on the Periodic Reflection Period was presented to the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016. This report included a summary of the feedback collected from the Periodic Reporting Reflection Survey and the First Periodic Reporting Expert Group Meeting as well as the Terms of Reference of the Expert Group.

Periodic Reporting Reflection
Expert Group

Two Expert Group meetings organized by the World Heritage Centre have been held within the Periodic Reporting Reflection Period (2015-2017). The meetings (2 June 2016 and 28-30 September 2016, at UNESCO Headquarters Paris) brought together World Heritage experts from across the globe with richly diverse professional backgrounds in natural and cultural heritage.

The Inception meeting of the Expert Group that was held in June 2016 allowed the experts to review the Terms of Reference of their work and plan the way forward. This meeting also provided the opportunity for an initial review of lessons learned from the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting and the feedback on the questionnaire gathered from States Parties in the Periodic Reporting Reflection Survey.

The Second meeting of the Expert Group was held between 28-30 September 2016. This working meeting allowed the group to present and review their work to date and further develop the proposals and recommendations for the revision and updating of the Periodic Reporting process and questionnaire.

A third meeting of the Periodic Reporting Reflection Expert Group was held in December 2016. The questionnaire is currently undergoing revisions prior to an online consultative testing phase with States Parties to be held in the first quarter of 2017.

During the testing phase National Focal Points and Site Managers will ‘test drive’ the updated questionnaire in a simulated reporting exercise. Feedback provided by States Parties will be taken into consideration before the questionnaire is finalized in mid-2017.

Key recommendations and the proposals for the Periodic Reporting process and questionnaire by the Expert Group will be discussed and adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017. The adoption of the updated questionnaire will signal the launch of the Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting.

Expert Group Meetings

First Meeting of the Expert Group, 2 June 2016, UNESCO Headquarters

Second Meeting of the Expert Group, 28 – 30 September 2016, UNESCO Headquarters

Second Cycle Periodic Reporting Questionnaire

Section I
Section II


Second Cycle Regional Periodic Reports

Arab States




Asia and Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean


Europe and North America

Europe: PDF
North America: PDF

Decisions (6)
Show 41COM 10A
Show 39COM 10B.1
Show 39COM 10B.2
Show 39COM 10B.3
Show 39COM 10B.4
Show 39COM 10B.5